Manchester United have produced some of the biggest legends in English football history, but there are countless more footballers who fail to make the grade at Old Trafford.
While every youngster that rises through the ranks with Manchester United will dream of becoming the next Paul Scholes or Marcus Rashford, the harsh realities of modern football mean the majority will have to make their reputations elsewhere.
We’ve done some digging to investigate what’s become of the five youth teamers that Man Utd released last summer.
Note: we have not included players sold for fees, such as Ethan Laird and Charlie Savage.
After moving from Northern Ireland on a scholarship in 2017, Galbraith would make one appearance for United’s first team in a Europa League defeat to Astana in deepest Kazakhstan.
Loans at Doncaster and Salford were important experiences for the midfielder and Galbraith moved to League One side Leyton Orient when United released him this summer.
He’s made 15 appearances for the east Londoners in 2023-24, providing one assist, and remains part of the Northern Ireland squad.
— Northern Ireland (@NorthernIreland) June 14, 2023
Another academy graduate whose sole first-team appearance came against Astana, Bernard joined newly-promoted Sheffield Wednesday after being let go by United.
Despite playing a respectable 11 Championship games this year, Bernard is part of a Wednesday side rooted to the bottom of the league and in turmoil on and off the pitch.
“We’ve got good players and some good players out injured so there’s a lot more for us to give and in the coming weeks we’re going to prove that,” he said last month.
“There have been individual errors that have cost us so it’s just a case of everyone making sure we’re at it all the time.” We’ll see.
Ninteen-year-old goalkeeper Hanbury is still looking for a new club after being released by United in the summer.
He was one of a number of former academy graduates who recently took part in a training camp for United’s new alumni project, which aims to support their former charges as they navigate life away from Old Trafford.
“This isn’t just about us helping the boys. It is about them helping each other,” Nick Cox, United’s academy head, explained to the MEN.
“It is about some of them going off and achieving some amazing things and having inspirational stories and amazing skills and qualities. If we can let the network interact with itself, there is an enormous amount of support that can be generated across that cohort.”
Wellens was released by United in June, with Erik ten Hag deciding ultimately not to extend the 20-year-old’s contract at Old Trafford. He moved to League One side Reading, reuniting with Charlie Savage who also joined the Royals over the summer.
After his debut in the 5-2 win over Arsenal’s U21s in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy, Reading boss Ruben Selles said: “Charlie joined us three months ago and has been training with us sometimes, especially in the international break.
“The Academy reports are good. We also had a right-back on the bench from the Under-18s that we went to use a couple of times and he has all the attributes we want.
“Unfortunately, we did not have the space to make his debut, but young players are working hard, and you know we aren’t afraid to give them the opportunities. We are happy for Charlie.”
Charlie Wellens with a superb free-kick today against Arsenal U21s 🎯 pic.twitter.com/EFWkh0KJU9
— utdreport Academy (@utdreportAcad) August 6, 2022
Norkett signed for United when he was 13 in 2018 after interest from a number of top flight clubs.
He went on to be a regular scorer for the Red Devils’ Under-18 side and also performed for the Under-21s, making his debut for that age range in 2021.
But, having been born in the city, the striker decided to move to Nottingham Forest this summer.
“We would like to wish Manni the very best of luck at Forest, and hope to come across him in Premier League 2 next season,” a United club statement read.
He’s scored one goal in four PL2 appearances to date.