Sports

Where the 15 Man Utd youngsters Louis van Gaal gave debuts to are now

Louis van Gaal’s time at Old Trafford is not hailed as a hugely successful one by most. After all, they did finish fourth and fifth in the Premier League during his two seasons in charge.

But many would also agree that being sacked a day after ending the club’s three-year wait for a trophy by lifting the FA Cup was also a little harsh on the Dutchman.

One thing which could not be debated though was just how good van Gaal was for United’s academy following his arrival in 2014.

In his two years at the club, van Gaal handed senior debuts to 15 academy graduates and introduced the wider footballing world to the talents of Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard.

But what happened to the rest of the players? Mirror Football takes a look.

Tyler Blackett during his time at Reading

Tyler Blackett

Age at the time of debut: 20
Total Man Utd appearances: 12

Injuries to team-mates and an impressive pre-season meant Tyler Blackett was given a surprise senior debut in the heart of United’s defence for the opening game of the 2014/15 season.

Blackett started van Gaal’s first five games in charge of the club but would only go on to make 12 appearances for the club, all coming in that first season.

Blackett joined Celtic on loan in the summer of 2015 but was part of a side which struggled under Ronny Deila and he would only make eight outings for the Scottish club before he was recalled, having been left out of the squad for the previous two months.

Despite van Gaal bringing Blackett back to United, the centre back-cum-left-back did not feature again for the Red Devils and following the arrival of Jose Mourinho, was told he could leave.

Blackett joined Reading and made 122 outings during four years at the club before switching to Nottingham Forest last summer, where has featured on 14 occasions.

Jesse Lingard is one of Manchester United''s academy's biggest success stories in recent years
Jesse Lingard is one of the Manchester United academy’s biggest success stories in recent years

Jesse Lingard

Age at the time of debut: 21
Total Man Utd appearances: 210

Jesse Lingard had already spent time on loan at Leicester City and Birmingham City before the arrival of van Gaal but it was under the Dutchman where he really showed his talent.

After realising the dream of making his senior United debut in van Gaal’s first game in charge, Lingard suffered a knee injury and would not make another Red Devils outing that season, spending the second half of the campaign on loan at Derby County.

But come the 2015/16 season, Lingard was a fully-fledged member of the first team, making 40 appearances in all competitions and scoring six goals – including the memorable extra-time winner which would hand van Gaal the FA Cup in his final game in charge.

An England debut followed shortly after Mourinho’s arrival and Lingard would go on to become a star for club and country.

Andreas Pereira's stay at Lazio is his third loan spell away from Manchester United
Andreas Pereira’s stay at Lazio is his third loan spell away from Manchester United

Andreas Pereira

Age at the time of debut: 18
Total Man Utd appearances: 75

Andreas Pereira was a half-time substitute during United’s 4-0 thrashing at the hands of MK Dons in the EFL Cup and would then have to wait until March for another outing, this time featuring for 13 minutes in the 3-0 victory over Spurs in the Premier League.

The teenager was given 11 run-outs in the following season though, including a first goal in the EFL Cup win over Ipswich.

Jose Mourinho would send Pereira out on loan for the next two seasons, where he was a regular for Granada and then Valencia in La Liga, and although ‘the Special One’ would give him game time at the start of the 2018/19 campaign, it was the arrival of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer which was the catalyst for an improvement in fortunes for the midfielder.

Pereira has made 75 appearances for Man United so far in his career but has spent this season on loan at Lazio, where he has made 32 appearances in all competitions.

Reece James only made one appearance for Manchester United
Reece James only made one appearance for Manchester United

Reece James

Age at the time of debut: 20
Total Man Utd appearances: 1

Reece James made his United debut starting at left back in that torrid EFL Cup thrashing at the hands of MK Dons and it would be his only appearance for the club.

James, who is the brother of fellow United academy graduate Matty, was on the bench for the first three Premier League games of that season but that was to be it when it came to the senior side.

Loan spells at Carlisle United, Rotherham United and Huddersfield Town were to follow during van Gaal’s time at the club before he was signed by Wigan Athletic in 2015 for a fee believed to be in the region of £200,000.

The defender spent three years at Wigan and a season at Sunderland before signing for his current club Doncaster Rovers in 2019.

Saidy Janko during his loan spell at Celtic
Saidy Janko during his loan spell at Celtic

Saidy Janko

Age at the time of debut: 18
Total Man Utd appearances: 1

Saidy Janko was another to debut against MK Dons and it was a debut to forget, as he was hauled off at half-time with the team 1-0 down.

The midfielder, who had signed from FC Zurich, would spend the rest of the season on loan at Bolton before joining Celtic the following summer.

A loan spell at Barnsley was to come in his second season north of the border but since then, he has enjoyed spells at the likes of Saint-Etienne, Porto and is now at Real Valladolid, making 18 appearances for the La Liga side as they battle relegation.

Paddy McNair has impressed for Middlesbrough this season
Paddy McNair has impressed for Middlesbrough this season

Paddy McNair

Age at the time of debut: 19
Total Man Utd appearances: 27

Paddy McNair made 18 starts and two substitute appearances in van Gaal’s first season at the club and would go on to make another 9 in the Dutchman’s second campaign.

When Jose Mourinho arrived in 2016, he wanted McNair to go out on loan but the Northern Ireland international opted to sign for Sunderland in a joint deal with Donald Love worth a reported £5.5m.

Despite van Gaal using McNair as a centre back, the player himself insists he is better as a midfielder and was playing well there for Sunderland before he suffered a cruciate ligament injury just months after his arrival.

McNair would make just 28 appearances for Sunderland during his two years at the club but impressed enough to persuade Middlesbrough to part with £5million in 2018.

McNair has been a mainstay for Boro for most of his time at the club, starting every league game this season.

Tom Thorpe was captain of Man United's Under-21 side but no longer plays
Tom Thorpe was captain of Man United’s Under-21 side but no longer plays

Tom Thorpe

Age at the time of debut: 21
Total Man Utd appearances: 1

Tom Thorpe was captain of United’s second string during van Gaal’s first season at Old Trafford but he was only brought on for a solitary minute during the game with West Ham in September 2014.

Out of contract in 2015, Thorpe signed for Rotherham on a free transfer and would go on to have loan spells at Bradford City and Bolton Wanderers before signing for Indian side ATK in 2017.

Thorpe made 11 appearances for the Kolkata-based side under Teddy Sheringham but then he stopped playing at the age of 25.

The centre back captained United’s age group sides, was capped by England at every level from Under-16 to Under-21 and was part of the same youth team as Paul Pogba, Lingard and Ravel Morrison.

But he now leads a very private life and has rejected the Manchester Evening News’ multiple attempts to contact him .

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson has several loan spells during his time at Manchester United
Cameron Borthwick-Jackson has several loan spells during his time at Manchester United

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson

Age at the time of debut: 18
Total Man Utd appearances: 14

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson was part of the second wave of debutants in van Gaal’s second second at the club and the left back would go on to make 14 appearances that season, winning the Red Devils’ Under-21 Player of the Year award.

Loan spells at Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leeds United, Scunthorpe United, Tranmere Rovers and Oldham Athletic were to follow after van Gaal left the club.

And in 2020 following the expiration of his United contract, he signed with Oldham permanently and has made 35 appearances this season.

Guillermo Varela has got his career back on track since leaving Man United and even played in the 2018 World Cup for Uruguay
Guillermo Varela has got his career back on track since leaving Man United and even played in the 2018 World Cup for Uruguay

Guillermo Varela

Age at the time of debut: 22
Total Man Utd appearances: 11

Guillermo Varela has one of the more interesting stories on this list.

The right back was spotted in his native Uruguay at the end of Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign and joined United at the age of 20 in 2013.

However, he would have to wait another two years to make his United debut, coming on at half-time against West Ham in van Gaal’s second season at the club.

Varela would make 11 appearances for the club that campaign but then came an ill-fated loan at Eintracht Frankfurt.

The defender had missed much of the 2016/17 season through an ankle injury and then after gaining a place in the Frankfurt side at the back end of the season, he was on the verge of appearing in the DFB-Pokal final when he defied team orders to get a tattoo on his arm.
It subsequently became infected and inflamed and manager Niko Kovac suspended him and the club decided against a second loan spell.

A move back to Penarol followed three months later but he got his career back on track and even started Uruguay’s first two games of the 2018 World Cup.

Varela was back in Europe in 2019 with Copenhagen and this season he has been a regular on loan at Dynamo Moscow.

Donald Love joined Sunderland as part of a double signing with Paddy McNair
Donald Love joined Sunderland as part of a double signing with Paddy McNair

Donald Love

Age at the time of debut: 21
Total Man Utd appearances: 2

The versatile Donald Love made his United debut against Sunderland in February 2016, when he started at right back.

And after one more outing for the Red Devils, against FC Midtjylland in the Europa League, he would not make another appearance for the club.

He was signed by Sunderland in a joint £5.5million deal with McNair in the summer of 2016 but would only make 34 appearances for the Black Cats during his three years at the club.

Love was released from his contract a year early in 2019 so he could sign for Shrewsbury Town and is set to leave them this summer after making 56 appearances in his two years there.

Joe Riley spent time on loan at Shrewsbury during his Manchester United career
Joe Riley spent time on loan at Shrewsbury during his Manchester United career

Joe Riley

Age at the time of debut: 19
Total Man Utd appearances: 2

Like Love, Joe Riley also made two appearances for United, with both coming in the 2015/16 season and also featured against FC Midtjylland in the Europa League, having made his debut in the EFL Cup against Shrewsbury.

Another who can play multiple positions, Riley joined Sheffield United on loan in League One in 2017 but it was ended prematurely after just two games due to a dislocated shoulder.

In 2018 he signed a two-year deal with Bradford City but would only make eight appearances before signing for Carlisle United last summer.

Riley has been ever-present for Carlisle this season though, making 47 appearances in all competitions.

Marcus Rashford announced his arrival in style with two goals on his Man Utd debut against Midtjylland
Marcus Rashford announced his arrival in style with two goals on his Man Utd debut against Midtjylland

Marcus Rashford

Age at the time of debut: 18
Total Man Utd appearances: 269

Well you certainly know what happened to this guy.

Rashford burst onto the scene in February 2016 when he was given an unexpected start against FC Midtjylland after Anthony Martial was injured in the warm-up.

The 18-year-old would score twice on his debut and as they say, the rest is history.

With 88 goals in 269 appearances for his club and 11 in 40 for England, at just 23 years of age, Rashford is on course to become a legend for club and country.

Regan Poole moved to MK Dons in 2019
Regan Poole moved to MK Dons in 2019

Regan Poole

Age at the time of debut: 18
Total Man Utd appearances: 1

Another to make his debut against FC Midtjylland, Regan Poole was a late substitute and would not feature again for United.

Signed from Newport County the summer before whilst only 17, the defender would return there on loan in 2019 following another temporary switch to Northampton Town.

Poole left United permanently after four years in 2019 when he signed for MK Dons and the former Wales Under-21 captain is now at Lincoln City.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah has suffered another serious injury at Bayer Leverkusen
Timothy Fosu-Mensah has suffered another serious injury at Bayer Leverkusen

Timothy Fosu-Mensah

Age at the time of debut: 18
Total Man Utd appearances: 30

He may have had to wait until February of the 2015/16 season for his debut but Fosu-Mensah was certainly trusted in some big games by van Gaal.

Fosu-Mensah was given his debut against Arsenal and would go on to make ten appearances in total that season, including starts in the FA Cup quarter-final and semi-final.

Another 11 appearances in Jose Mourinho’s first season were to follow before the next two campaigns were spent out on loan at Crystal Palace and Fulham.

A cruciate ligament injury ruled him out for most of the 2019/20 season and after joining Bayer Leverkusen in January for a fee of around £1.5million, he suffered the same injury again after just seven outings.

James Weir struggled for regular game time during his spell at Hull
James Weir struggled for regular game time during his spell at Hull

James Weir

Age at the time of debut: 20
Total Man Utd appearances: 1

James Weir was to make just one appearance for United, when he came on in the dying moments of the 3-2 win over Arsenal.

He signed for Hull City for an undisclosed fee that summer and would only make seven appearances during three years at the club, which included a loan spell at Wigan.

A switch to Bolton in 2019 would result in only 12 more outings before a move to Slovakia in March 2020 saw the midfielder secure more regular game time, playing 38 times for Pohronie.




Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button