Mainoo made his United U21 bow in November 2021.

Where are they now? The Man Utd U21 XI from Kobbie Mainoo’s debut

Kobbie Mainoo’s start to life as a regular in Manchester United’s first team has been nothing short of a dream, but the midfield wonderkid wasn’t an overnight success.

The 18-year-old has enjoyed a breakout 2023-24 campaign under Erik ten Hag, earning Player of the Match on his Premier League debut, scoring a late winner away at Wolves, a scorcher in front of the Stretford End against Liverpool and making his senior England debut.

We’ve looked back at the XI that started alongside him as he made his full Premier League 2 debut in November 2021 – starting in a 3-2 win against Leeds – and caught up with where those young colleagues are now.

GK: Matej Kovar

Joining United in 2018, Kovar progressed through the age groups and enjoyed a variety of loans, also impressing at under-21 level for United.

A changing of the guard in the goalkeeper department in the summer of 2023 aligned nicely with the young Czech, who had just won the league title with Sparta Prague, but he was sold during pre-season to Bundesliga champions-elect Bayer Leverkusen, following Andre Onana’s arrival.

Kovar has played a rotation role, but is about to become a Bundesliga champion and remains one of Europe’s top goalkeeper prospects. Thankfully, United have first refusal on any potential future deal.

RB: Marc Jurado

The Spanish full-back left Barcelona to join United in October 2020 and featured regularly, but left in the summer of 2023 and headed back to Barcelona, instead signing for Espanyol.

Jurado has played 25 times for Espanyol B this season.

CB: Teden Mengi

Highly rated by fans and staff alike at Old Trafford, injuries derailed what seemed otherwise to be a very clear pathway to United’s first-team, having made his senior debut in August 2020 under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Mengi seemingly got lost in the shuffle following injuries and loan spells and left to join Luton in the summer of 2023. His debut season in the Premier League with The Hatters has been outstanding and he’s proven himself to be capable at the top level.

At just 21, the future looks bright for the England youth international, regardless of whether or not Luton survive the drop.

CB: Rhys Bennett

Local lad Bennett wore the captain’s armband and scored as United won the FA Youth Cup final in 2022 and has been in around the first-team, taking part in training and friendlies under Erik ten Hag.

Injuries unfortunately ruled him out at the beginning of 2023 and again at the beginning of the 2023-24 season. He’s currently on loan with promotion-chasing Stockport County in League Two, but has made just one start since joining in January.

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LB: Charlie Wellens

Wellens left United in the summer of 2023 after being with them since childhood and signed for League One Reading later that year.

The 21-year-old made his senior debut for the club in November, but has spent the bulk of his first season playing in Premier League 2.

CM: Martin Svidersky

Svidersky joined the club in 2019 and signed his first professional contract come the turn of the new year, but his progression slowed after a strong start and he was released in 2022 – the same summer as Ten Hag’s arrival.

He penned a five-year deal with Almeria that summer, but suffered an ACL injury in early 2023 and returned to action in November. He’s currently out on loan at Murica, aged 21.

CM: Kobbie Mainoo

The star of the show. Main event Mainoo. Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Rasmus Hojlund, Alejandro Garnacho.

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RW: Amad Diallo

The Ivory Coast international ripped it up at under-21 level after joining United from Atalanta and after a tough loan with Rangers, he found his feet with Sunderland in 2022-23, finishing the campaign as the club’s Young Player of the Year.

It’s been quite the process and he’s still not fully there yet, but almost three years on from that £37million transfer, Amad is now a regular among the squad in Ten Hag’s first-team, scored a winner against Liverpool to send United to Wembley in the FA Cup and is very much adored by fans.

The 21-year-old has also been capped four times at international level. One to watch.

AM: Isak Hansen-Aaroen

Signing for United in 2020 after being pursued heavily by Solskjaer, Hansen-Aaroen was largely considered the crown jewel of United’s academy at the time and considered to be a top prospect by many.

His performances at youth level reflected that, but after becoming concerned with a lack of opportunities to make it into the first-team, the Norwegian left to sign for Werder Bremen in January 2024.

LW: Anthony Elanga

Elanga was promoted under Solskjaer and quickly became Ralf Rangnick’s favourite player during his bizarre interim spell as manager, scoring away in the Champions League against Atletico Madrid.

He was sold to Nottingham Forest last summer for just £15million and has since proven to United that he’s more than just rotation fodder and a one-trick pony.

The 21-year-old has been capped 15 times for Sweden and has five goals and eight assists from 31 Premier League games this season.

Manchester United's Anthony Elanga during their Premier League defeat against Everton at Goodison Park, Liverpool, April 2022.

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ST: Charlie McNeill

There was a huge buzz around the club when McNeill swapped Manchester City for United in 2020, the local lad costing the Red Devils around £750k and arriving having scored hundreds of goals at youth level.

He ripped it up in his first season with the under-18s and made his senior debut in September 2022 as a substitute in the Europa League, but has since struggled to get up to speed with senior game on loans to Newport County and Stevenage.

The 20-year-old is now back at United and still playing under-21 football.