Manchester United have produced plenty of world-class stars over the years, but not every academy prospect manages to make the grade at Old Trafford.
For every Paul Scholes or Marcus Rashford, there are countless other examples of youngsters who aren’t quite good enough to make it at the Theatre of Dreams.
We’ve gone back through the archives and have checked out what the five academy kids United released back in 2014 are up to these days.
Despite being highly thought of during his early years at United, Barmby never made a senior appearance for the club. Upon his release in 2014, he made to switch to Leicester City, although he didn’t get much of a chance with the Foxes either.
He spent a few years in the United States playing for the likes of Portland Timbers, San Antonio and Phoenix Rising before stepping away from professional football in 2020.
Nowadays, the former United youth product works as a health and safety specialist.
Undoubtedly, the most recognisable name on this list. Macheda was tipped for stardom in his early days and the hype levels went into overdrive following the brace he scored on his debut against Aston Villa.
However, things never quite panned out for Macheda at the club. Following a series of unremarkable loan spells, the Italian forward was cut loose in 2014.
He enjoyed the best spell of his career with Panathinaikos where he managed to bag 40 goals across 116 appearances for the Greek club.
These days you can find him playing for Turkish side Ankaragucu in the Super Lig. So far this season, he’s managed to score three goals.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 5, 2021
The Belgium midfielder spent four years in the United academy, but he didn’t manage a senior appearance. Following his release in 2014, Ekangamene returned to his native country to join Zulte Waregem.
Since that point, he’s rarely settled in one place for long. The 29-year-old has played for 13 different clubs throughout his career and now plays for Berchem Sport who compete in the Belgium fourth tier.
The full-back spent three years in the United academy and moved to Leicester City upon his release in 2014. Shortly after the switch to Leicester, he retired from professional football entirely at the age of 21.
Rowley decided to leave football behind and instead pursue a career in accountancy. He also does public speaking events and hopes to inspire others with his journey.
“I can honestly say with my hand on my heart I have never once doubted the decision I’ve made and I hope to inspire others that there is a life outside of professional sport,” Rowley said via The Speakers Agency.
The Italian midfielder spent six years on the books at United from 2008 to 2014. He got the chance to develop during loan spells with Peterborough United, Antwerp and Charlton Athletic, but never made a senior appearance for United.
After hopping around several different countries, he’s now back in Italy playing for Serie C outfit Brindisi. He still keeps in touch with plenty of his former United teammates too.
“I’m still really, really good friends with Federico Macheda,” Petrucci told The Mirror in 2021.
“I speak with [Paul] Pogba, with [Jesse] Lingard, with Joshua King. I try to keep relationships with everybody. I just try to be friendly with everybody. If I can, it’s always a pleasure to speak to them.”