Paul Pogba’s time in Manchester United’s youth set-up was a successful one.
Between 2009 and 2012, the France superstar was the club’s most promising young prospect, and helped the young Red Devils to the 2011 FA Youth Cup.
United beat Sheffield United 6-3 on aggregate, with Pogba playing in both legs of the final.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the duration of the world’s most boring transfer saga, you’ll know what became of Pogba; but what about his team-mates from United’s Class of ‘11?
Here’s what a few of them are doing now.
Now 23, the goalkeeper is one of the few of the 2011 team still on Manchester United’s books. Unlikely to depose David de Gea any time in the future, he’s spent time on loan at Oldham, Scunthorpe, Walsall, Yeovil, Doncaster Rovers and Preston North End. Louis van Gaal named him in his squad behind Sergio Romero when De Gea looked set to join Real Madrid at the beginning of last season, but he was subsequently sent back to the reserves.
A promising young defender, Keane made his senior debut for United back in 2011, but saw opportunities limited in the years that followed. Having made just five first-team appearances in six seasons with the club, he was loaned to Burnley, a move that was made permanent last January. Keane has since been linked with Premier League champions Leicester. Either way, we’ll see him back in the Premier League this season.
In May 2013, Sean McGinty became the final player to have his contract terminated by Sir Alex Ferguson. Having spent four years at the club, McGinty was sacked off by Fergie after turning up late to training while at Tranmere Rovers. It remains to be seen as to whether McGinty would have cut the mustard at United, but he now plays for Torquay United.
An Italian centre-back who spent four years at the club, Fornasier returned to his homeland in June 2013 after failing to break into the first team. After a spell at Sampdoria, he moved to Pescara, who won promotion to Serie A last season.
Tunnicliffe famously earned his father £10,000 when he appeared in a League Cup game against Newcastle United in 2012. When Ryan was just nine years old, Tunnicliffe’s dad had put £100 on his son making a senior appearance for United. But he since failed to establish himself in the first-team setup, and joined Fulham in 2014.
Like Pogba, Lingard is in the early stages of a career that should see him playing at an extremely high level. Not only did he score the final goal of Louis van Gaal’s reign at Manchester United, winning them the FA Cup, but he also netted a beaut to mark Jose Mourinho’s tenure as manager at Wembley against Leicester. As a younger professional, Lingard spent time at Leicester, Birmingham City, Brighton and Derby County before LVG gave him the nod last season.
You’ve probably heard of this guy. Unlike a number of players before him, his fall-out with Ferguson didn’t lead to a burnt bridge with the club. Pogba has just rejoined the Old Trafford club for a world-record £89million. Let’s see if he’s worth the fee…
Morrison’s story could have been so different. Like Pogba, he was a youngster who Ferguson rated highly; like Pogba, he was a youngster who Fergie ushered out the door for a perceived poor attitude. Morrison found a run of form while playing for West Ham, who he joined in 2012, but would go on loan to Birmingham, QPR and Cardiff before joining Italian club Lazio last season. Unlike Pogba, he hasn’t improved immeasurably in the time he’s been in Italy, and the 23-year-old’s future is still in doubt.
Twin brother of Michael, Will Keane is still at United, but looks as though he’ll be off soon. Having spent nine years at the club, Keane has only made three senior appearances and has been out on loan at Wigan, QPR, Sheffield Wednesday and Preston.
Fryers was on the bench in the 2011 Youth Cup final having struggled with a knee injury that season. Tipped for stardom, Fryers made six senior appearances at United before heading to Tottenham in the summer of 2012 ahead of an expected move. Tottenham sent Fryers to Belgium where he played for Standard Liege (reportedly for Spurs to avoid paying United compensation) before eventually returning to White Hart Lane. Despite making 16 appearances in 2013-14, he was sold to Crystal Palace in 2014.
Broke into Louis van Gaal’s senior squad in 2014-15 and looked solid until a shaky game at Leicester saw him red-carded. He lost his place last season, and spent time on loan at Scottish champions Celtic. It remains to be seen whether Jose Mourinho will want to keep the 22-year-old.