20 years after Fergie’s fledglings here's United's next great generation

Old Trafford

Four Manchester United youngsters have what it takes to be the best young players at the club since the famous class of '92.

It was a team selection that would go down in history, with Alex Ferguson picking a Manchester United team to face Port Vale that included some very unfamiliar faces.

Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Nicky Butt and David Beckham may now be household names but back in 1994 their inclusion in a League Cup match caused uproar among those Vale fans expecting to see superstars and instead greeted by unknown quantities.

But one of those unknown quantities – Scholes – scored a brace and all of them would go on to form the bedrock of arguably United’s greatest ever side.

Now 20 years on, another batch of youngsters are taking their first steps towards becoming potential United greats – with Paddy McNair, Tyler Blackett and James Wilson all joining Adnan Januzaj in Louis van Gaal’s first-team.

United’s defensive crisis has unearthed two players, in McNair and Blackett, who look well equipped to be vital components of United’s back-line for the next decade and beyond. While Wilson is beginning to suggest he could replace the faltering Robin van Persie and Januzaj is a superstar in the making.

Many young players have been given a chance since that famous match against Port Vale when Fergie’s fledglings were announced to the world, but this batch could actually make it.

McNair in particular has impressed despite being just 19; the Northern Irishman yet to suffer a defeat despite already facing some of the Premier League’s top strikers. While Wilson has the talent to be the best goal-scorer the club has produced since Scholes himself.

Only time will tell if they can forge a legacy as great as their predecessors, but their manager at United is famed for giving youth a chance and coaxing greatness out of it; and the early signs suggest he is about to do the same again.

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