Manchester United are well known for having one of the best academies in Europe – but where are the young stars that won the 2022 FA Youth Cup final these days?
United managed to win the youth tournament in 2022 after a convincing 3-1 triumph over Nottingham Forest. The young stars looked like bright prospects at the time and a handful of stars from that XI have since gone on to star for the first team,
We’ve gone back and checked out United’s starting XI from that day and have seen what those players are up to nowadays.
GK: Radek Vitek
The Czech Republic goalkeeper is still on the books at Old Trafford, but he is yet to make a senior appearance.
Vitek has made the bench in several Champions League and Premier League matches this season, but Ten Hag is yet to use the 20-year-old in a competitive game.
Goalkeepers often have to be patient in waiting for their first opportunity and Vitek is no different. We wouldn’t be surprised if a loan move is eventually on the cards to get him some much-needed first-team experience.
RB: Marc Jurado
The Spanish full-back made it onto the United bench last season but sensed his first-team opportunities were going to be limited.
After arriving from Barcelona in 2020, Jurado made 86 appearances for various age groups but never made a senior appearance.
In the summer, Jurado opted for a new challenge and returned to Spain to sign for Espanyol on a permanent basis. The 20-year-old has been assigned to Espanyol B as he continues his development.
“It is not easy to say goodbye to what has been my house for the last 3 years but the time is perfect to start a new chapter in my career,” Jurado said on social media upon his departure.
“I have had the opportunity to play with some unbelievable teammates, that I will now call friends and worked with fantastic coaches that helped me along the process.”
CB: Louis Jackson
Jackson received a last-minute call-up to feature in the FA Youth Cup final after Tyler Fredricson became sick.
The young defender put in an admirable performance and continues to develop in the United youth ranks today.
Louis Jackson vs Nottingham Forest (FA Youth Cup Final)
From doing double history at school in the morning to playing in front of 67,492.
— academyarena Utd (@academyarenaUTD) May 16, 2022
CB: Rhys Bennett
The captain of United’s FA Youth Cup winning side, Bennett penned a new deal with the Red Devils in the summer. Bennett has racked up 65 appearances for United at youth level and will be hoping that a senior call-up is only around the corner.
“Coming up through the ranks at United, it’s obviously a dream to play at Old Trafford. It’s just an amazing feeling to step out on the pitch and give it our all,” Bennett told reporters.
“It’s an unbelievable experience. I can’t take it for granted. You don’t know how many times you’re going to step out at Old Trafford.
“Every single time you do you’ve got to just embrace it, go and give your all and hopefully keep working hard to play as many games at Old Trafford as possible. I love it every time I step out.”
LB: Sam Murray
United picked Murray up from Huddersfield in 2017 and he’s still in their youth ranks today. The 19-year-old full-back has featured in the Premier League 2 and EFL Trophy this season and is continuing to develop nicely.
CM: Kobbie Mainoo
Erik ten Hag handed the 18-year-old his full Premier League debut against Everton last month and the teenage sensation made quite the impression.
Don’t just take out word for it.
CM: Dan Gore
United fans also have high hopes about Gore and understandably so. The 19-year-old midfielder looks tidy on the ball and he’s already managed to make an impression under Ten Hag.
Gore was handed his senior debut earlier in the season as he was introduced as a second-half substitute against Crystal Palace in the EFL Cup which happened to be on his 19th birthday.
“I think it’s a great birthday for him, but I’m not a manager – and we don’t have coaches here – who give players opportunities [for nothing], they have to deserve it,” Ten Hag told MUTV. “Once they deserve it, they get the chance.”
CAM: Isak Hansen-Aaroen (Maximillian Oyedele, ’64)
Hansen-Aaroen has continued to impress on the international stage for Norway’s U21s and the 19-year-old looks like a top talent for the future.
The teenager is yet to make a senior appearance for the Red Devils and a close friend of the Hansen-Aaroen family, Jonas Johansen has suggested that the youngster could be on the move in January.
“It might happen that something happens to him this winter, either a loan or a permanent transfer, probably one of the two,” Johansen explained.
Elsewhere, Oyedele has got his first taste of senior football this year as the 19-year-old has been loaned out to Altrincham in the National League. He’s made a good impression too, scoring four goals in 12 matches.
RW: Sam Mather (Sonny Aljofree, ’86)
The Salford-born winger has trained with the first team on multiple occasions and he’s the sort of tricky winger that can get you out of your seat. Now 19 years old, he’ll be hopeful his first senior appearance is around the corner.
Likewise, Aljofree is also highly regarded in the United youth ranks. The teenager signed his first professional contract with the club in the summer and looks like a bright prospect for the future.
ST: Charlie McNeill (Joe Hugill, ’64)
After scoring buckets of goals for United at youth level, the club decided to send McNeill out on loan to continue his development. He spent last season with League Two outfit Newport County and scored two goals in 20 appearances.
The 20-year-old was then sent to Stevenage on loan in the summer, although he has struggled to nail down a consistent spot for the League One outfit. Having made just three appearances so far, United could exercise their right to recall him in January.
Hugill has also spent some time out on loan as he spent the season half of last season with National League side Altrincham. Hugill impressed during pre-season for United and he penned a new deal with the club in September.
LW: Alejandro Garnacho
The crown jewel of United’s 2022 FA Youth Cup winning side. Garnacho scored a brace in the final against Nottingham Forest and has since established himself as a regular under Ten Hag.
The sky is the limit.
WHAT A GOAL ALEJANDRO GARNACHO!!!! 🤯🤯🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/L9h1inY5rT
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) November 26, 2023