Football

Tom Thorpe captained the United team that won the title in 2012-13..

The Manchester United team that won the first ever U21 Premier League title in 2013

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Manchester United have a long and proud history of producing young talent.

The most famous example traces back to the 'Class of 92' which saw the Red Devils produce players such as David Beckham, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Ryan Giggs.

It helped to spur on an era of Premier League domination under Sir Alex Ferguson and raised two fingers to Alan Hansen's claim 'you can't win anything with kids.'

United haven't exactly replicated that same level of success in the years since, but their respective youth teams have still scored victories against their biggest rivals.

Perhaps the most famous example of recent times was the FA Youth Cup victory in 2010 which saw players such as Ravel Morrison and Paul Pogba taking to the pitch.

Man Utd win 2013 U21 Premier League

However, the success didn't end there with the Red Devils immediately entering what is now known as Premier League 2, which was first introduced for the 2012-13 season.

And it was United who took home the inaugural trophy, defeating Tottenham 3-2 in a dramatic comeback at Old Trafford with none other than Sir Bobby Charlton in attendance.

A proud day in the history of the club's youth teams no doubt, even if the starting XI that day hasn't necessarily made the biggest impact since.

Manchester United v Leicester City - Premier League

United's play-off team

That considered, here's the team that started that day and where their careers have taken them in the last five years: 

Ben Amos

By the time Amos appeared in the Premier League 2 climax he already had seven senior appearances and five seasons under his belt. However, he eventually departed for Bolton Wanderers in 2015 and currently finds himself out on loan at Millwall.

Marnick Vermijl

The Belgian defender found the back of the net against Tottenham on the day, but only made one appearance for the United first-team at Old Trafford. Sheffield Wednesday snapped him up in 2015 and he's now on loan with Scunthorpe United from Preston North End.

South Africa's Marc van Heerden (L), Ama

Tom Thorpe

The captain for United, Thorpe's career has waned dramatically since leaving in 2015 and his move to Rotherham United quickly deteriorated. The 25-year-old is currently without a club after a season in the Indian Super League with ATK.

Michael Keane

One of the biggest successes from the victorious United team, the centre-back turned his career around at Burnley after leaving Old Trafford. His form secured him a move to Everton in 2017 and he's still finding his feet at Goodison Park.

Reece James

Sadly, there was only senior appearance for James at United before he signed for Wigan Athletic in - you guessed it - 2015. After making 48 appearances in the north-west, the Englishman moved to Sunderland fresh from their Championship relegation.

Liverpool v Manchester United - Barclays U21 Premier League Semi Final

Larnell Cole

Despite being the hero on the night with two goals against Tottenham, Cole has experienced one of the biggest declines in the squad. Fulham welcomed him through the door in 2014 but he now makes his living with League Two Tranmere Rovers.

Charni Ekangamene

The young midfielder never made the cut in England and returned to his native Belgium in 2014 after a brief loan spell with Carlisle United. He's now on the books of FC Eindhoven in the Dutch second division but is still awaiting his first appearance for the club.

Ben Pearson

Fourteen years is a long time to spend at one club without making a senior appearance, but things worked out for Pearson despite leaving in 2016. The winger has spent the last two years at Preston North End and has garnered 74 league outings along the way.

Manchester United U21 v Tottenham Hotspur U21: Barclays U21 Premier League

Ryan Tunnicliffe

His father famously won £10,000 on a bet he made 10 years earlier when Tunnicliffe made his first appearance for United and it just wasn't meant to be. The 25-year-old moved onto Fulham the following year and currently plies his trade at Millwall.

Jesse Lingard

Whatever happened to him? Lingard is the only played who lifted the Premier League U21 trophy and has remained at the club ever since. He made his breakthrough under Louis van Gaal and last year makes his best goal return yet with 13 strikes.

Adnan Januzaj

Just months after winning the accolade in question, Januzaj had made an unforgettable impact in David Moyes' first-team with two goals against Sunderland. It wasn't to last, though, and the Belgian international now players for Real Sociedad but with a possible buy-back clause.

Manchester United v Club Brugge - UEFA Champions League: Qualifying Round Play Off First Leg

It's definitely sad that just one player from the team still plays for United.

Nevertheless, it's becoming harder and harder for young players and goes to show that even success in the youth teams at United is no guarantee.

Do you think any of these players were sold too early? Have your say in the comments section below.

Topics:
Football
Michael Keane
Jesse Lingard
Jose Mourinho
Paul Pogba
Adnan Januzaj
Premier League
Manchester United

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