Manchester United 4,000-game graphic.

Manchester United celebrate unrivalled Academy milestone

Friday 13 December 2019 22:30

When Manchester United take on Everton on 15 December, it will be the 4000th senior match in succession in which at least one youth graduate is represented in the Reds’ first-team or matchday squad. This extraordinary record stretches back over nine decades to before the Second World War.

The 4000th game comes at a time of renewed vibrancy in United’s youth development pipeline, with 10 first-team debuts for Academy graduates so far this season and home-grown players accounting for over a third of our total minutes played by all first teamers.

Today’s youth graduates – including Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Marcus Rashford, Axel Tuanzebe, Scott McTominay and Mason Greenwood – are adding to a rich heritage which has been at the heart of the club’s identity since the 4000 game-run began in 1937.
Duncan Edwards, Bill Foulkes, Sir Bobby Charlton, Nobby Stiles, George Best, Norman Whiteside, Mark Hughes, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Darren Fletcher are among the graduates who have graced the first team in the 82 years since. 
The club’s dedication to the development of home-grown talent is, and will remain, a core part of the club’s identity and strategy, with the aim of building further generations of successful and exciting United teams in keeping with the spirit of the Busby Babes and the Class of '92.
Ed Woodward, Executive Vice-Chairman, said: “The Academy is a huge part of who we are as a club and what we want to achieve. We ultimately want to develop young players who are talented enough to wear the Manchester United shirt, but we also want to develop good people who are humble, confident, disciplined and creative. This milestone also gives us an opportunity to reflect on some of the teams and individuals who have helped to bring so much success to Manchester United and to remind us of the ongoing importance of developing the next generation of young players.” 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, said: “Giving young players a chance is a tradition that we are very proud of; it’s part of our DNA and you learn that very quickly when you join the club. Nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing a player that has come through our Academy thriving on the football pitch. Young players can only surprise you and impress you when you give them a chance to show their talent. It’s a milestone that we are proud of and long may it continue!”
Nick Cox, Head of Academy, said: “This is an incredible achievement for everyone at the Academy. The record spans over 80 years and throughout that time youth has played a part in every significant landmark in the club’s history. This has taken lot of hard work, dedication and passion from a long succession of youth developers. I pay a huge tribute to each and every member of staff, player and family member involved. This unrivalled record has been built steadily by wonderful people over many years and we’ll ensure that the Academy remains the lifeblood of the club.”  

Nicky Butt, Head of First Team Development, said: “This is an amazing record; it tells you everything about Manchester United. The ultimate aim for the Academy is to get players into the first team and for that to have happened for 4000 consecutive games is an extraordinary achievement. So much goes into the development of an individual player; there are coaches, scouts, kit men, chefs, ground staff, teachers, landladies, drivers and so much more. Everyone at the club plays a vital role and should be extremely proud of this milestone.”

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