What Manchester United retained list reveals about the academy

It’s been a strange year for United’s academy. From the highs of seeing five homegrown youngsters involved in the incredible Champions League win in Paris, to the low of seeing 13 graduates told their Old Trafford careers were over this week.

It’s been a strange year for United’s academy. From the highs of seeing five homegrown youngsters involved in the incredible Champions League win in Paris, to the low of seeing 13 graduates told their Old Trafford careers were over this week.

The announcement of United’s retained list spelt the end for numerous academy stars, some of whom have never threatened a first-team breakthrough, some, such as Callum Gribbin, who have had their chances wrecked by injuries, and others, like James Wilson, who had an early chance but failed to build on that promise.

Mason Greenwood, handed a first senior start on the final day of the season at the age of 17, is the beacon of hope for United’s academy. He could have found himself on the scoresheet against Cardiff City, but has been prolific at age group levels.

James Garner, Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong have also appeared for the first team under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Garner has plenty of time on his side, while Gomes and Chong have shown promise without yet looking like surefire success stories.

But the academy cull announced on Friday, coupled with another season of disappointing age-group results, suggests that the talent pool coming through the ranks at Carrington isn’t as deep as United would want.

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