Manchester United’s renowned Carrington academy has been the fertile ground for some of the most remarkable talents in English football. A tradition of including at least one academy graduate in the squad has persisted for over eight decades. As we curate an all-time XI of academy graduates, the calibre is truly unparalleled.
Between the Sticks: Tom Heaton
The tale of Heaton, once a budding goalie at Old Trafford who never secured a first-team appearance, is poignant. Following his impactful tenures at clubs like Burnley and Aston Villa, he returned to Manchester United in 2021. And, a decade after his departure, he debuted for the club in a 2021 Champions League fixture against Young Boys. Dean Henderson probably has the potential to one day claim this spot, though.
RB: Gary Neville’s illustrious career, accounting for over 600 matches for United, places him firmly at right-back. His unwavering dedication made him a Red Devils stalwart.
CBs: The late Duncan Edwards is often revered as an all-time great. His prowess is best summarized by Tommy Docherty’s words, “George Best was something special, as was Pele and Maradona, but in my mind Duncan was much better in terms of all-round ability and skill.” Complementing Edwards, we have John O’Shea, whose consistency earned him a dozen years at United.
LB: At left-back, Phil Neville’s service to the club is undeniable. Making a notable 380 appearances, his on-field dedication won him a haul of 14 trophies.