Where are they now? The last Man Utd XI picked by David Moyes
Despite being hand-picked as Sir Alex Ferguson’s replacement, David Moyes endured a disastrous 10 months in charge of Manchester United.
Moyes’ final game in charge at United came against his former club Everton at Goodison Park. In keeping with a disastrous season, goals from Leighton Baines and Kevin Mirallas secured a 2-0 win for the Toffees and made it mathematically impossible for United to qualify for the Champions League.
We’ve taken a look back at their side from that day to see how those players have fared since.
GK: David de Gea
De Gea was one of United’s standout performers during the mid-2010s, winning the club’s Player of the Year award a record four times.
His position has come under increased scrutiny after a series of high-profile mistakes in the 2020-21 campaign, but he put that behind him and has been back to his best despite United’s dire form in 2021-22.
There have been some question marks over whether De Gea is good enough with his feet to fit the style of football Erik ten Hag is looking for, but he’s proving able enough so far. But his contract situation has yet to be resolved and it will be fascinating to see what happens next.
RB: Chris Smalling
Smalling became an ever-present at the heart of United’s defence under Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, helping the club win the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League.
But the centre-back fell down the pecking order following Harry Maguire’s arrival in 2019 and decided to join Roma on loan.
After an impressive season in Italy, the Serie A side signed Smalling permanently and this term he’s been part of Jose Mourinho’s weird up-and-down campaign that’s somehow ending with scintillating displays of champagne football…
Smalling recently signed a new two-year contract extension, which could see him see out the remaining years of his career at the Olimpico.
READ: Mourinho’s turned Roma into Brazil 1970 and we can’t believe our eyes
CB: Phil Jones
Jones was a highly-rated prospect when he joined United from Blackburn in 2011 and was tipped for a bright future by Sir Alex Ferguson.
“Jones, arguably the way he is looking, could be our best ever player,” Ferguson said in 2013.
“I think Jones may be one of the best players we have ever had, no matter where we play him. At 21 years of age, he is going to be a phenomenal player. I think he can play anywhere on the pitch.
“He has such a massive influence, with his instinct and reading of the game. He has a drive about him.”
But the defender failed to live up to those lofty expectations and has been plagued with injury problems over the last six years. He’s now more renowned for his facial expressions than his defensive prowess.
CB: Jonny Evans (Javier Hernandez, ’61)
Evans won three Premier League titles during his nine years at Old Trafford but was deemed surplus to requirements by Van Gaal after a few mistakes in the 2014-15 season.
The 35-year-old got his career back on track at West Brom and has since become a defensive stalwart at Leicester City. His sale was one of the more baffling of the post-Fergie era.
After spells at Bayer Leverkusen, West Ham and Sevilla, Hernandez joined LA Galaxy in January 2020, becoming the highest-paid player in MLS.
He only scored twice during the 2020 season but bagged 17 in 2021 and 18 in 2022.
LB: Alexander Buttner
Buttner only made one more appearance for United before being shipped off to Dynamo Moscow.
The left-back struggled to nail down a regular place in Russia and eventually returned to his native Holland with Vitesse Arnhem in 2017.
He then joined MLS side New England Revolution in 2019. His contract was terminated in January 2021 and he returned to Holland with RKC Waalwijk. Last summer, he joined the second-tier side De Graafschap. He remains destined to be a very difficult pub quiz answer for years to come.
READ: Ranking Sir Alex Ferguson’s last 20 Man Utd signings from worst to best
CM: Darren Fletcher
Fletcher only had a bit-part role at United after recovering from a serious illness and joined West Brom in search of regular first-team football in January 2015.
The Scotland international rebuilt his career at The Hawthorns, making 97 appearances for the club before a two-year spell at Stoke City.
He only retired from football in 2020 and is currently the technical director at Old Trafford.
This appears to be in line with Fletcher’s ambitions. He told BBC Sport in November 2019: “It’s always something I thought I would go into. I love the game, would love to still be involved in the game, coaching and speaking in dressing rooms and motivating players.
“Inspiring players comes naturally to me so hopefully that transcends to management.”
CM: Michael Carrick
Carrick played an integral role in United’s Premier League title triumph in 2012-13 but generally struggled under Moyes.
“I got on fine with David,” Carrick wrote in his autobiography in 2018. “Never had a bad word with him, never fell out with him. He arrived full of energy and ideas for how to improve us.
“I remember at one of his first meetings, David said to us, ‘I believe I can make you better. I know you won the league last year and I’ve obviously been watching you. I can make you run more.’
“Being fair to David, he was looking for a chink, like what needed improving and where we were weak, so that he could take us to another level. I just think what he said didn’t come across the right way.”
After hanging up his boots in 2018, the midfielder joined Jose Mourinho’s coaching staff at Old Trafford and was retained by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
He took over from Solskjaer on an interim-before-the-interim basis when the Norwegian was sacked while the club waited for interim boss Ralf Rangnick to arrive.
To the surprise of most – including Rangnick – Carrick then left the club entirely, and has since taken charge of Championship side Middlesbrough. And he’s doing a superb job up on Teesside.
READ: Michael Carrick the manager: ‘The way he thinks makes him stand out’
RW: Nani (Antonio Valencia, ’61)
Nani fell out of favour under Van Gaal and was loaned out to Sporting Lisbon in 2014 before joining Fenerbahce on a permanent deal the following year.
The winger then had spells in Spain and Italy before joining MLS side Orlando City in 2019. He’s now at Melbourne Victory after a short stint with hipsters favourites’ Venezia.
Valencia was released by United in 2019 and retired in 2021 after a spell at Queretaro in Mexico.
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CAM: Juan Mata
Mata was brought to Old Trafford by Moyes in January 2014, but his acquisition was not enough to save the manager from the sack.
The Spain international has provided some memorable moments over the last eight years, most notably his overhead kick winner against Liverpool in 2015.
The 34-year-old finally left Old Trafford when his contract expired in the summer, and is now turning out for Galatasaray in the Turkish Super Lig. A first league title of Mata’s playing career appears imminent.
LW: Shinji Kagawa (Danny Welbeck, ’75)
Despite a few flashes of brilliance, Kagawa failed to live up to expectations at Old Trafford and returned to Borussia Dortmund in 2014.
The Japan international made 145 appearances during his second spell in Germany but fell down the pecking order following the arrival of coach Lucien Favre.
He then joined second-tier Spanish outfit Real Zaragoza in 2019, helping the club finish in the play-off places in his debut season. Kagawa is currently back in Japan, turning out for J1 League club Cerezo Osaka
Welbeck spent five injury-plagued years at Arsenal, but has successfully rebuilt a respectable career at Brighton. He retains the knack of scoring against his former clubs.
ST: Wayne Rooney
Rooney spent another three years at United and became their all-time record goalscorer before returning to boyhood club Everton in 2017.
The striker scored 11 goals in all competitions during an underwhelming spell back at Goodison Park and left for MLS side DC United in 2018.
After a year-and-a-half in America, the 34-year-old returned to England with Derby County – first as a deep-lying midfielder, then as player-coach before being appointed manager in January 2021.
He did a very good job, but couldn’t quite keep Derby up after the club had 21 points deducted for financial irregularities. He left the Rams at the end of the season and is now back at DC United as the MLS club’s head coach.
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