United lead the way for player production
Manchester United produce more current Premier League footballers than any other English top-flight club.
That’s according to research from CIES Football Observatory, which highlights that there are 18 players in the league who meet UEFA’s definition of being ‘club trained’ by the Reds, with eight in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's squad at the moment.
European football’s governing body says that footballers who have been on the books for three years between the ages of 15 and 21 fulfil this criteria, including Cristiano Ronaldo, whom United signed from Sporting Lisbon as an 18-year-old in 2003.
Top training clubs per league as per @CIES_Football 1⃣8⃣ @ManUtd academy graduates currently in the 🏴 @premierleague 👏 #RealMadrid 🥇 in 🇪🇸 #HerthaBSC 🇩🇪 #ASRoma 🇮🇹 #StadeRennais 🇫🇷 #Benfica 🇵🇹 #Lokomotiv 🇷🇺 #Ajax 🇳🇱 #Standard 🇧🇪 #Fenerbahce 🇹🇷 More 👉 https://t.co/P0Ohpx4eDz pic.twitter.com/PoKHbicp6n— CIES Football Obs (@CIES_Football) October 29, 2021
Ronaldo is joined by another summer returnee who meets the definition in Tom Heaton, while Paul Pogba is also classed as a United product, having been registered between 2009 and 2012, prior to his four-year stint at Juventus.
Mason Greenwood, Dean Henderson, Jesse Lingard, Scott McTominay and Marcus Rashford are also club-trained, with the likes of Teden Mengi and Anthony Elanga not quite qualifying yet as CIES count only those who have played this season or in each of the last two campaigns at senior level.
Axel Tuanzebe and Brandon Williams, who are currently with Aston Villa and Norwich respectively on season-long loans, have been with the club from a young age too.
There are plenty of success stories across the league of players who have left United and made a good career for themselves elsewhere.
Tom Cleverley (Watford), Jonny Evans (Leicester) and Danny Welbeck (Brighton) all played key roles in our 2012/13 Premier League title win and have racked up over 350 Premier League appearances between them since departing.
Cleverley is joined by three other Academy graduates at Vicarage Road in Craig Cathcart, Ashley Fletcher and Joshua King.
Only King ever made a first-team appearance for the Reds, but Cathcart is enjoying his seventh term of top-flight football, while Fletcher earned a summer move to the Hornets after a solid Championship spell with Middlesbrough.
Michael Keane continues to be a first-choice centre-back for Everton, while Burnley’s Phil Bardsley rounds out the list with the 36-year-old having ticked past 300 Premier League games in recent years.
Arsenal and Chelsea are the next highest clubs in the list, with 16 players trained at each currently plying their trade in the Premier League. The Blues have seven homegrown players in their squad, while Mikel Arteta’s side has six.
Ajax are the continent’s leaders, with the Amsterdam club boasting an incredible 50 club-trained players in the Eredivisie.
Ten of them are still at the Johan Cruyff Arena, meaning they are the only leading club to beat United’s tally of eight.