Man Utd’s stars and flops from FA Youth Cup triumph 11 years before 2022 victory

Manchester United have historically been known for being home to some of the greatest footballing talents in England.

The Class of ‘92 undoubtedly set the bar high by becoming some of the club’s most iconic players of all time, but the Old Trafford side has had its fair share of talented youngsters come through since.

Among those were the stars of the Red Devils’ famous FA Youth Cup Final back in 2011. The team blitzed through Sheffield United to achieve a 6-3 victory, with several of its key members going on to represent the senior side and even become household names.

Over 63,000 fans were in attendance at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening to cheer on their side as Alejandro Garnacho scored in a 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest in the final of the same competition over a decade on from the famous triumph.

But history shows that not all of the prospects will go on to achieve the same levels of success.

Daily Star Sport takes a look at some of the biggest stars and flops from United’s Youth Cup-winning 2011 side and where they are now.

Sam Johnstone

The 29-year-old goalkeeper spent seven long years struggling to break into the first-team after his Youth Cup success. Johnstone was sent out on countless loans, never making an appearance for United’s first team.

Eventually, he made the brave decision to leave the comfort of the nest and sign for newly-relegated West Brom in 2018. And the 6ft 4in shot-stopper has since proved that life exists beyond United, having impressed enough to receive multiple call-ups to the England squad by Gareth Southgate.

Sean McGinty

McGinty was signed as a youngster from Charlton before demonstrating his versatility during the Youth Cup success. But after failing to make an impression on loan in the lower leagues, he made his way down the football ladder, joining Sheffield United in 2013 and then Rochdale in 2014.

The 6ft 5in defender now plays for Ayr United in the second division of Scottish football, having signed a two-year contract in 2021.

Michael Keane

Keane left United in 2015 to join Burnley, who he had played for on loan the previous season. He is another success story despite making just one league appearance for the Old Trafford club.

The centre-back earned himself a move to Everton in 2017 where he has gone on to make just shy of 200 appearances. His regularity in the starting line-up has ensured he is another former United academy boy to go on and represent the Three Lions, having received 12 caps.

Tom Thorpe

Centre-back Thorpe captained the exuberant United side to victory on that historic 2011 night. Yet he made just one senior appearance before being released.

He spent time at the likes of Bolton and last played for ATK in the Indian Super League in the 2017/18 season. Thorpe is currently a free agent despite showing great promise at United.

Michele Fornasier

Man United were on the wrong end of a formal complaint by Fiorentina to FIFA over the Italian’s transfer to England in 2009. Fortunately, no action was taken by the governing body.

Unfortunately, the FA Youth Cup victory was the highlight of Fornasier’s United career and he was shipped off to Sampdoria two years later. After stints at the likes of Pescara and Parma, the 28-year-old centre-back now plays in the Serie C for Monopoli.

Jesse Lingard

One of the golden boys of the Red Devils’ academy, Lingard broke onto the scene during the 2015/16 season under Louis van Gaal. He quickly racked up the first team appearances and thrived under Jose Mourinho, netting 13 goals under the Portuguese icon.

Lingard eventually fell out of favour under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before resurrecting his career last season with a fruitful loan move to West Ham. Having been shunned once again this campaign, the Englishman is finally set for a permanent move away from Old Trafford in the summer.

Paul Pogba

Midfield maestro Pogba was always destined for stardom but left Man United for Juventus in 2012, where he became one of the most promising talents in the game. The rangy playmaker’s brilliance forced the Premier League giants to bring him back in 2016 for a club record fee.

But despite winning the World Cup and becoming one of the biggest stars in world football, Pogba’s United career has left much to be desired. And the Frenchman is likely to join his old pal Lingard in leaving Old Trafford at the end of the season once his contract expires.

Ravel Morrison

Morrison is one of the greatest ‘what-ifs’ in modern English football. The ultra-talented midfielder’s attitude and off-field controversies have denied the world of one its potentially most-gifted stars.

After years of journeying down the English Leagues, across to Lazio and even Sweden, Morrison finally appears to have found a home under Wayne Rooney at Derby County. He has made 36 league appearances for the Rams this season, scoring four times as they look to achieve the impossible by avoiding relegation.

Ryan Tunnicliffe

The now-Portsmouth man was once Pogba’s midfield partner. But the similarities end there in terms of career trajectories.

Tunnicliffe has played for the likes of Fulham, Wigan, Millwall and Luton.

Will Keane

The twin brother of Michael Keane was in charge of scoring goals rather than preventing them during their Youth Cup success. He remained at the club until 2016, having gone out on loan to an array of lower league sides.

Eventually he settled at Hull and Ipswich, before truly finding his feet at Wigan Athletic. The 29-year-old has netted 36 goals in 80 appearances for the Latics and was a crucial part in them winning League One this season.

Gyliano van Velzen

Signed as a bright prospect, he won the Youth Cup soon after his arrival.

He would leave for Royal Antwerp in 2012/13 and then spent years in Holland, playing for Erik ten Hag's former side FC Utrecht He returned to England in 2019 with Crawley and Aldershot but is now with Telstar in Holland.

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