A few are already first-team stars...

Where are they now? Man Utd’s star-studded 2022 FA Youth Cup winners

Manchester United’s youth team returned to the top of the mountain in 2022, winning the FA Youth Cup in emphatic style at Old Trafford with a 3-1 victory over Nottingham Forest.

Renowned worldwide for their historic academy and talent factory, the Red Devils slipped off the pace throughout the 2010s, but a refocus on the academy in the last few years has paid dividends and culminated in the club winning the prestigious youth trophy with a supremely talented bunch of players for the first time since that iconic squad of 2010-11.

It’s been two years since that sliding doors moment for the young United side, so we’ve checked in on the XI that started and how they’ve developed since.

GK: Radek Vitek

A regular for the under-18s in 2021-22, Vitek conceded only six goals in the tournament as United went onto lift the trophy.

Now 20, he’s still on the books at the club, but has spent the season out on loan at Accrington Stanley in League Two. It’s been a very productive spell away from United, making 18 appearances in League Two and gaining some invaluable experience in the senior game in doing so.

The Czech stopper is progressing well and likely needs another loan next season to continue doing so.

RB: Marc Jurado

The Spanish full-back was a regular in the youth setup at United after joining the club from Barcelona in 2020, but left the club in the summer of 2023 to return to the city of Barcelona with Espanyol.

Jurado has spent his first year with the club in the B-team, making 32 appearances in total.

CB: Louis Jackson

With Tyler Fredericson falling ill on the day of the final, Jackson was drafted in to start the final and played brilliantly to help United to victory. He represented the club’s under-23s at just 15 years old and is highly thought of at United.

It’s been a steady ascent within the club since then for the defender who only turned 18 earlier this season. Defensive injuries saw him named on the bench for Erik ten Hag’s first team when United beat Sheffield United at Old Trafford in April. A debut feels imminent.

CB: Rhys Bennett

Local lad and captain of the side, Bennett opened the scoring against Forest with a towering header early on in the game to give United an important lead.

He’s since featured in pre-season for the first-team and trained around the senior squad regularly, but unfortunately timed injuries and a loan spell to Stockport County that didn’t work out has made his 2023-24 campaign difficult.

He’ll be looking to hit the ground running in pre-season with a chance of breaking in while United’s defence is weak.

LB: Sam Murray

Murray inked his first professional deal with United in the summer of 2023 and has featured regularly for the under-21 side in Premier League 2 this season.

Given United’s struggles at left-back all season long, it’s a surprise that the 19-year-old hasn’t been thrust into the spotlight with a debut at some point, but it’s also probably best for his development that he hasn’t. There’ll be plenty of opportunity for the young defender next season, with Luke Shaw never able to maintain fitness over a full campaign.

CM: Kobbie Mainoo

Recently scored in the FA Cup final to make sure United beat Manchester City and lifted the trophy. Doesn’t look too bad, this kid.

Gary Neville Kobbie Mainoo Quote

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CM: Daniel Gore

Gore would go on to win the club’s Reserve Team Player of the Year award in 2022-23 and make his senior debut for United against Crystal Palace in the League Cup in September 2023, before making his Premier League debut as a substitute on Boxing Day.

Highly rated by fans, the 19-year-old has spent the second half of the season out on loan at Port Vale, but has struggled for consistency due to injuries. Mainoo’s emergence and his own previous breakthrough, along with United’s midfield needing a refresh, suggests that the door is still open for Gore to play a key role next season.

AM: Isak Hansen-Aaroen (Maximillian Oyedele, ’64)

The one that got away. Hansen-Aaroen signed for United in 2020 having been persuaded to the club by fellow Norwegian Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and continued to build on his potential as one of the country’s brightest young talents.

He scored in the FA Youth Cup semi-final against Wolves that season and continued to impress at various youth levels for United, but was sold on deadline day of the 2024 winter transfer window to Werder Bremen, after a dispute over a new contract agreement.

Hansen-Aaroen was replaced on the night just after an hour by Oyedele, who joined Forest Green Rovers on loan in January but was sent back to United in March following a tough spell in a side that ultimately ended up getting relegated from League Two. Still, there’s plenty of potential there to make it right again.

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RW: Sam Mather (Sonny Aljofree, ’86)

Salford-born winger Mather was a key cog in the machine in the season United lifted the FA Youth Cup, but his progress was stunted by a long-term injury after the success.

He’s bounced back strong in 2023-24, though, bagging six goals and one assist from nine Premier League 2 games and impressing even more in the second half of the season as he split his time between youth football and senior football on loan at Rochdale. Mather seems to have found his groove on the left flank and is certainly a name to remember at just 19.

Aljofree has spent the second half of the 2023-24 season on loan with non-league Altrincham after playing with the under-21s in the first half.

ST: Charlie McNeill (Joe Hugill, ’64)

It just hasn’t gone to plan for McNeill, who seemed destined for a dream career at United after hundreds of goals at youth level with City before rejoining his boyhood club for a significant fee in 2020.

Two years on from the youth cup triumph and four from him signing, however, and 20-year-old McNeill will leave United this summer, following underwhelming loan spells at Newport County and Stevenage.

Hugill is yet to make his official, senior debut for United, but has spent the second half of the 2023-24 season on loan in League One with Burton Albion, scoring once and assisting three times.

LW: Alejandro Garnacho

Two goals on the night was just the start for a seriously special talent. Two years on, he scored the opener in the FA Cup final against City to cap off a brilliant individual campaign.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Rasmus Hojlund, Alejandro Garnacho.

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