Where are they now? Manchester United’s 14 youngest PL debutants

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Manchester United pride themselves on blooding young players into the first team – but how have their youngest debutants gone on to fare at Old Trafford?

Since October 1937, United have included an academy graduate in every matchday squad, a record that continues to today.

We’ve taken a look back at the 14 players to have made their Manchester United debuts under the age of 18 in the Premier League era, starting from the oldest to the youngest.

Mads Timm

A cautionary tale, Timm was a promising youngster when he arrived at Old Trafford from Odense in 2000, making his senior debut two years later as a 17-year-old in a Champions League clash with Maccabi Haifa.

After two loan spells in Norway, Timm and fellow prospect Callum Flanagan were sentenced to 12 months in a young offenders’ institute for dangerous driving, with Flanagan sacked after hitting another car while racing his team-mate.

Timm was released by United the following year in 2006 and retired from professional football in 2009 aged just 24 citing a lack of motivation.

James Garner

One of United’s current hot prospects, Garner made his one and only senior appearance to date as a late substitute in a 3-1 win at Crystal Palace in February 2019.

The midfielder has been compared to Michael Carrick, and Darren Fletcher recently told the BBC: “I’m surprised he’s not featured so far, but by the end of the season I’m sure that people will know who he is without a doubt, if you don’t by now.”

Chris Eagles

After joining from Watford in 2000, Eagles was on the books at United for eight years, making 17 appearances in all competitions while also being sent on loan four times.

The midfielder played Premier League football with Burnley and Bolton but has spent the last five years playing for seven different clubs, most recently joining Oldham after 15 months as a free agent.

Nicky Butt

Back at United and now working as head of first-team development, Butt was apparently quite successful as a player at United, but we’re more interested in his time pretending to be David Beckham in Hong Kong.

READ: The last goodbye: When Nicky Butt tried turning into David Beckham

Danny Welbeck

“Man Utd sold players that I would never sell, bought players that I would never buy. I would never sell Di Maria, Chicharito, Danny Welbeck. Never. No chance,” Jose Mourinho told the BBC in March 2017, underlining Welbeck’s status as an underrated player at Old Trafford.

Unfortunate luck with injuries means Welbeck has endured a frustrating few years, which led to his release by Arsenal and subsequent move to Watford in the summer.

Giuseppe Rossi

Another player whose career has been blighted by injuries, Rossi’s talent is undoubted, but the striker has been without a club since the end of the 2017-18 campaign, although Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did allow his former team-mate to train with United, which was nice.

Gerard Pique

Pique himself pinpoints a 1-0 defeat at Bolton in 2007 as the moment Sir Alex Ferguson lost faith in his abilities, and he was allowed to return to Barcelona at the end of that season.

F*ck knows what he’s been up to since.

Ravel Morrison

“Ravel Morrison might be the saddest case,” Ferguson wrote in his 2015 book, Leading. “He possessed as much natural talent as any youngster we ever signed but kept getting into trouble.

“It was very painful to sell him…he could have been a fantastic player. But, over a period of years, the problems off the pitch continued to escalate and we had little option but to cut the cord.”

After spells in Italy, Mexico and Sweden, Morrison is now back in England, and the Premier League, with Sheffield United, although he has only played 12 minutes of top-flight football in 2019-20 to date.

READ: The eight stages of Ravel Morrison’s career: From Man Utd to Sweden

Regan Poole

Released by Manchester United in the summer, Poole joined MK Dons having played just once for the Red Devils as a last-minute substitute in a Europa League clash with Midtjylland.

Joshua King

Despite featuring just twice for United, King has remained in England to carve out a decent career in the Premier League with Bournemouth, scoring on his return to Old Trafford in March 2017 to secure a 1-1 draw.

Federico Macheda

Few young players have made quite the instant impact at United as Macheda, with his last-gasp winner against Aston Villa playing a major part in the Red Devils winning the title in 2008-09.

The Italian never hit the same heights again and joined Panathinaikos in September 2018.

READ: Revisiting Federico Macheda’s title-deciding Man Utd debut in 2009

Gary Neville

Scored just seven times in 602 appearances for Manchester United. Rubbish.

Mason Greenwood

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has put lots of faith in Greenwood, handing the forward his debut off the bench in the crucial Champions League tie at PSG and allowing Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku to leave Old Trafford with the now-18-year-old in reserve.

Apparently Greenwood is the best finisher at the club, which Solskjaer likes to remind everybody of at least once every four hours.

Angel Gomes

Another of United’s bright young hopefuls, Gomes became the youngest player to represent the Red Devils since Duncan Edwards when he made his debut against Crystal Palace in 2017, and he was also the first player born in the 2000s to appear in the Premier League.


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