Anthony Elanga recently beat United with Nottingham Forest.

7 former Man Utd academy graduates currently thriving away from Old Trafford

Manchester United have plenty of former academy players at other clubs and a handful of them are currently living their best lives since leaving Old Trafford.

As Erik ten Hag’s team desperately try and find some consistency, several of their former players are enjoying somewhat better seasons elsewhere.

We’ve identified seven former United academy graduates who are currently loving life since leaving the club.

Dean Henderson

“Saying goodbye to United is an emotional moment for me,” wrote Henderson on social media after securing a £15million transfer to Crystal Palace on deadline day.

“This club has been a part of my life since I was a kid.

“From growing up as a United fan, to joining the academy aged 14, to stepping out on the pitch at Old Trafford! The journey has been a dream come true and I feel very blessed and fortunate to have fulfilled that dream.”

Henderson impressed out on loan at Sheffield United and briefly challenged David de Gea for the No.1 shirt back in 2020-21, but it increasingly became clear he’d need to move if he wanted to play regularly.

After suffering an injury on his Palace debut, against United at Old Trafford would you believe, Henderson has returned and started the club’s last five matches.

The goalkeeper remains a very capable player and we wouldn’t be surprised if he returned to the England squad one day.

Anthony Elanga

United pocketed a reported £15million on selling Elanga to Nottingham Forest last summer.

The Swedish academy graduate made an eye-catching start to life at the City Ground, scoring the winner at Chelsea and providing a jaw-dropping assist at Arsenal on his debut.

While Elanga’s form dipped along with the rest of the Forest side, resulting in Steve Cooper’s sacking in December, the winger looked back to his devastatingly effective self in recent victories over Newcastle and United.

Angel Gomes

United’s second-youngest-ever player when he replaced Wayne Rooney aged 16 in 2017, Gomes was unquestionably talented but never kicked on at the club.

The diminutive midfielder left after just 10 first-team appearances in three years and, still just 23, has put in several fine performances for Lille this season.

Tahith Chong

Highly sought after when he arrived from Feyenoord in 2016, Chong made 16 senior appearances but spent much of his United career out on loan.

The midfielder joined Birmingham permanently in 2022 and signed for Premier League outfit Luton last summer. He’s played an important role for Rob Edwards’ battling side, scoring against Liverpool in a 1-1 draw in November.

Dwight McNeil

McNeil spent his formative years at Old Trafford before being released at the end of the 2013-14 season. He impressed at Burnley and earned himself a £20million move to Everton after the Clarets relegation in 2022.

Considering he’s working under Sean Dyche once more, it’s unsurprising that McNeil is thriving. He finished last season as the Toffee’s top scorer with seven goals and still looks their most threatening player this year too.

James Garner

After shining at Nottingham Forest during their promotion campaign of 2021-22, Garner was tipped to play a role under Erik ten Hag but was sold to Everton instead.

Despite a difficult debut season at Goodison Park, the classy midfielder is showing his worth this year and has credited Sean Dyche for allowing him to flourish.

“Dyche gave me a chance, which is ultimately the most important thing,” Garner told the club media. “It was up to me to take it, which I feel like I did. He gave me that chance and confidence to play – to show what I can do with belief.

“He also really wants me to get goals and assists. That’s what he’s telling me to do each week and in the games that I play. He really wants me to shoot, cross and assist – that’s what he’s trying to help me with.”

Andreas Pereira

After four loan spells away from United, Pereira left permanently in 2022. Fulham picked him up and he hasn’t looked back since.

Now a firm fan favourite at Craven Cottage, the Brazilian midfielder helped guide Marco Silva’s men to a top-half finish last year and into the League Cup semi-finals in 2023-24.

Considering Fulham signed him for just £10million, he’s been worth every penny so far.

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