Home » Three 2022 Youth Cup winners given opportunity to shine in Manchester United’s squad versus Everton

Three 2022 Youth Cup winners given opportunity to shine in Manchester United’s squad versus Everton

by Alex Browne

As the dust has settled on Manchester United’s 3-0 victory versus Everton on Sunday afternoon, it is pertinent to highlight that three of United’s successful 2022 Youth Cup team were in the matchday squad.

Two of said players made massive contributions to the result and look to be two of the most promising stories of the season to follow from a Man United fan’s perspective.

Alejandro Garnacho scored “the best overhead kick ever” according to some, which crucially broke the deadlock in the third minute.

Another player from the starting line-up of the victorious Youth Cup side, Kobbie Mainoo, had pundits waxing lyrical over the 18 year olds afternoon’s work. Ian Wright claimed he just thought “wow” and the notoriously hard to impress, Roy Keane, even effused that it was challenging not to get excited about the midfielder’s full debut.

The third was striker Joe Hugill, who made the bench due to an injury to Rasmus Hojlund. The youngster didn’t get the chance to make an impression on the pitch, but after scoring in United’s pre-season tour, the attacker will hope to be get more opportunities in the first team.

Manchester United’s youth team won the coveted Youth Cup final in May 2022 at Old Trafford versus Nottingham Forest. Rhys Bennett and a double from Alejandro Garnacho saw the Red Devils win 3-1 on the night and claim the silverware. It would be a record extending 11th time the club has won the trophy and the first time since a Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard inspired triumph in 2011.

The Old Trafford outfit has a proud history of blooding youngsters and the academy has educated some of the finest players to play the game. United’s commitment to youth can be seen in their unmatched record of naming an academy graduate in every squad since the 30th of October 1937.

In fact, four academy-grown players started the game, including Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay. Another, Hannibal Mejbri was on the bench, hence six in total to add to the names of Garnacho, Mainoo and Hugill, were in the squad.

Additionally, four more players in the matchday 18 may not have been part of the Man United youth system but were signed for the first team as teenagers. They are Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw, Diogo Dalot and Facundo Pellistri.

In fact, to highlight the production power of the youth system at the club, two of Everton’s starters and one bench option also came through the ranks at United. James Garner, Dwight McNeil and former Youth Cup winner, Michael Keane.

There has been criticism of late of the team and their movement away from using the academy. Erik ten Hag has splashed the cash since his arrival in May 2022. The Dutch coach has spent £407m on new signings and has been critiqued here for abandoning players like James Garner far too early to fund moves for lesser players from other team’s academies.

Nonetheless, Sunday’s game provided a road map forward. The roles of Mainoo and Garnacho demonstrate that the youth system at United is still working and if used, can still be a vital characteristic of the side. Whilst, splurging on talent is necessary to reach the top, opportunities should still be given to the very best of the academy. It is in the club’s DNA.

Finally, with the under 18 team in scintillating form and huge talents like 16 year old Shea Lacey at the club, there is much to be excited about. If not left to rot, the youth system will continue to flourish and produce talents for the first team, like it always has since 1937.

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