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Man Utd FA Youth Cup 2011 final winners: Who was in the team & where are they now?

14:59 BST 10/05/2022
Manchester United Youth Cup 2011
The Red Devils boast one of the most successful academy systems in world football, but their last triumph at U18 level came over a decade ago

Manchester United are famed for their production of home-grown talent, with the Class of ‘92 earning a place in football folklore that will stand the test of time, but it has been 11 years since the club last savoured FA Youth Cup glory.

That barren run on the silverware front for an U18 set-up that has continued to deliver first-team stars to the senior fold may be brought to a close in the current campaign as the Red Devils’ class of 2021-22 prepare to face Nottingham Forest in a notable final on May 11.

Who, though, figured in the last United side to claim that particular trophy back in 2011 and where are they now, with some household names having followed in the footsteps of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes when it comes to gracing a fabled academy system? GOAL takes a look…

Man Utd FA Youth Cup 2011 final winners: Who was in the team & where are they now?

Goalkeeper: Sam Johnstone

Was always going to find it difficult to break through at Old Trafford with David de Gea blocking his path. Johnstone took in 10 loan spells at seven different clubs before joining West Brom on a permanent basis in 2018. He has seen Premier League football with the Baggies and has three senior caps for England.

Right-back: Michael Keane

Only took in five appearances for United, but is another to have gone on to earn England recognition elsewhere. Keane has 12 caps and one goal for his country and is currently looking to help Everton avoid relegation out of the Premier League. Severed ties with the Red Devils in January 2015 when a loan deal at Burnley was turned into a permanent transfer.

Centre-half: Sean McGinty

Joined United from Charlton in 2009 and took in a number of loan spells on the back of a Youth Cup triumph, with time spent at Morecambe, Oxford United, Carlisle United and Tranmere Rovers. Left Old Trafford to join Sheffield United in League One and has led a rather nomadic existence since then, with a four-year stint in Scotland currently seeing him at Ayr United.

Centre-half: Tom Thorpe

Captained United to Youth Cup glory in 2011 and was expected to become a first-team star of the future. He was, however, to make one solitary first-team appearance – when replacing Angel Di Maria in a meeting with West Ham in 2015 – and was released in 2015. Has spent time with Rotherham and in India since then, but has been without a club since 2018.

Left-back: Michele Fornasier

Fiorentina filed a complaint to FIFA when United swooped to steal Fornasier away from them in 2009, but no action was taken and the Italian eventually headed back to his homeland with little impact made in England. Has taken in Serie A outings for Sampdoria and Pescara, but is currently turning out in Serie C for Monopoli.

Right wing: Jesse Lingard

Had to be patient in pursuit of first-team opportunities at United, with loan spells taken in at Leicester City, Birmingham City, Brighton & Hove Albion and Derby County before getting his big break under Louis van Gaal at 22 years of age. Has gone on to make over 230 appearances for the Red Devils, scoring 35 goals and earning 32 England caps, but will be leaving as a free agent in the summer.

Centre midfield: Ryan Tunnicliffe

Made two League Cup appearances for United in 2012-13, but it quickly became clear that he was going to have to find regular game time elsewhere. Former Red Devils coach Rene Meulensteen took him to Fulham, but that move did not really work out and he is now at League One side Portsmouth after previously gracing the books at Wigan Athletic, Blackburn Rovers and Millwall.

Centre midfield: Paul Pogba

The most successful product of United’s last FA Youth Cup-winning side, with the enigmatic French midfielder savouring World Cup glory with his country in 2018. He returned to Old Trafford two years prior to that, in a record-breaking £89 million ($110m) transfer from Juventus, having previously walked away from Manchester in 2012. Pogba will, after more than 220 generally inconsistent appearances, be heading to pastures new once again in 2022 as he prepares to hit free agency.

Left wing: Ravel Morrison

One of the most naturally-gifted players that United have ever produced, but one that proved tricky to unlock full potential in. While Morrison’s ability was never in doubt, his attitude has been questioned on a regular basis down the years and he remains a tale of what could have been. Has spent the 2021-22 campaign with Wayne Rooney at Derby County after trekking the globe to spend time at West Ham United, Lazio, Atlas, Ostersund and ADO Den Haag.

Striker: Will Keane

The twin brother of Everton star Michael and another senior international performer, this time with the Republic of Ireland. Keane made three appearances for United, with two of those coming in the Premier League, but was allowed to join Hull City following the arrival of Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford. Has been catching the eye in League One of late at Ipswich Town and Wigan Athletic, with 25 goals recorded for the Latics in a promotion-winning 2021-22 campaign.

Striker: Gyliano van Velzen

Won the Youth Cup at the end of his first season with the Red Devils, having completed a move from the famed academy system at Ajax. Joined Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink at Royal Antwerp when making a loan move in 2012, but failed to make an impact and headed back to the Netherlands at Utrecht in 2013. Briefly returned to England in 2019-20 to spend time with Crawley Town and Aldershot Town, but is now back home again at Telstar.

Substitutes

Larnell Cole

Like Tunnicliffe, a move to Fulham was made in January 2014 but Cole failed to make the grade in west London. Is without a club at present having spent time with Tranmere Rovers, FC United of Manchester and Radcliffe Borough since leaving Craven Cottage.

Tyler Blackett

Took in 11 Premier League appearances for United in the 2014-15 season, but was unable to establish himself at Old Trafford and eventually linked up with Reading in 2016. Left the Royals for Nottingham Forest in 2020 but is now in MLS with FC Cincinnati.

John Cofie

United splashed out £1 million to sign him as a 14-year-old from Burnley and had high hopes for the promising forward. Quickly dropped into the non-league and spent time in Ireland, Australia and the Philippines before retiring at the age of 27 in 2020 to focus on coaching.