5 Young Players Who Left Manchester United Too Early

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5 Young Players Who Left Manchester United Too Early
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
FA Youth Cup Winners 2011

Nobody needs telling about Manchester United's successful tradition with developing young players, like Bobby Charlton, Duncan Edwards, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers.

Starting with the "Busby Babes," they also have a tradition of winning the FA Youth Cup, as "Fergie's Fledglings did in 1992.

The prospects of the "Class of 2011" are now a hot topic, however, after three high-profile departures in the last year alone: Ravel Morrison, Paul Pogba and Zeki Fryers.

Sir Alex Ferguson insists that home-produced young players will always feed United's First Team, and indeed they are not far behind the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid in producing young talent in the past.

As Sir Alex said in the Mirror, reported in the Mail in 2011:

We're always going to put an emphasis on young players coming through from the youth team. That will always be the case.

But with those recent high-profile departures, the question is increasingly being asked in the media whether he is giving young players their chance early enough.

After all, if you are Ryan Tunnicliffe, Davide Petrucci or Jesse Lingard, what message does it give if United consistently play 39-year-old Ryan Giggs and 36-year-old Paul Scholes? Indeed, what must Nick Powell, Angelo Henriquez and especially Alex Buttner think when they may have to go on loan to get games?

And earlier in the season, Michael Carrick was drafted in as an emergency centre-back yet again, despite the obvious promise of Scott Wootton and Michael Keane.

Both players are now on loan. Robbie Brady and Josh King went on loan to Hull City and Blackburn Rovers respectively. They have now signed permanent contracts.

Did they see the writing on the wall, like some of their more illustrious counterparts in the past?

Obviously the tenor of this article is about players who left before Manchester United could derive full benefit from their investment. In at least a couple of the five cases we discuss, they may have limited their own prospects in doing so. 

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