Sir Alex Ferguson is, for our money, the greatest manager of all time - certainly the best manager Manchester United and the Premier league have ever seen.
What made the Scot so unique was his ability to build and rebuild teams. He was a fantastic man manager who got the best out of his players, whilst remaining ruthless when it came to overhauling a squad and occasionally frightening when it came to his infamous ‘hairdryer’ treatment.
The result was a whopping 38 trophies, including a record 13 Premier League titles, at a club which hadn’t won a league title for 19 years or a European Cup for 18 years prior to his arrival.
A huge part of Ferguson’s success was the large number of extremely talented players he brought from the United youth teams and into the first team, most famously in the case of the Class of ‘92.
Just as a note, as with our previous videos like this, these are Fergies last 7 youth debutants, so only players who came through the United youth ranks count, not the likes of David De Gea or Nick Powell. The competitions included are the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and the League Cup.
Here are Sir Alex Ferguson’s Last 7 Debutants: Where Are They Now?
7. Scott Wootton - Plymouth Argyle
We start with both the least well-known name and the man currently playing at the lowest level in this seven. Scott Wootton was Sir Alex Ferguson’s final debutant as Manchester United manager, starting in a 2-1 win in the League Cup against Newcastle United in September 2012. He made three further appearances for the Red Devils, before being sold to Leeds United for £1 million in August 2013. A hard working centre-back, Wootton often found himself playing at right-back during his three seasons at Leeds, before moving to MK Dons. Now aged 27, the former England U-17 international signed for Plymouth Argyle over the summer.
6. Robbie Brady - Burnley
Robbie Brady of Burnley during the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Newcastle United at Turf Moor on November 26, 2018 in Burnley, United Kingdom.
A talented and versatile left-sided player who is a good crosser of the ball, Robbie Brady signed for Manchester United on his 16th birthday. His debut, and only appearance in a Manchester United shirt, arrived two-and-a-half years later also in that League Cup game against Newcastle. Brady then joined Hull City on-loan for a second time, before becoming Sir Alex’s last sale, when he joined the Tigers in January 2013. Brady impressed despite being relegated from the Premier League with both Hull and Norwich, remaining in the top flight despite his teams relegations on both occasions. Now at Burnley, the Republic of Ireland international only recently returned from a fairly lengthy lay-off.
5. Marnick Vermijl - MVV Maastricht
Belgian youth international Marnick Vermijl played alongside the likes of Thorgan Hazard and Michy Batshuayi in international youth football, but he has never won a full cap for Belgium’s senior team. He made just two appearances in a Manchester United shirt before signing for Sheffield Wednesday in 2015. Vermijl was a bit-part player at Hillsborough, playing a handful of games either side of a loan move away, and it’s been a similar story since he signed for Preston North End in 2016.
4. Paul Pogba - Manchester United
Paul Pogba of Manchester United warms up prior to the UEFA Champions League Group H match between Manchester United and BSC Young Boys at Old Trafford on November 27, 2018 in Manchester,...
Despite being the only player in this seven who is still at Manchester United, Paul Pogba has had a rather significant spell in Italy between his debut under Sir Alex Ferguson and his status as a first team regular now. The incredibly gifted Frenchman left United shortly after he appointed Mino Raiola as his agent, with game time at a premium at Old Trafford. He established himself as a top class creative and goal scoring midfielder in Turin, before becoming the world’s most expensive footballer at the time of his return to England. It’s been a pretty bumpy ride since then, with Pogba impressing in spells but failing to consistently rank among the best players in the Premier League.
3. Will Keane - Hull City
Will Keane was held in very high regard during his time in the youth ranks at Manchester United. He made his first appearance for the under-18’s when he was just 14, and he followed in the footsteps of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes by winning the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award in 2010. Capped by England at every youth level from under-16’s to the under-21’s, there was little surprise when he made his debut in December 2011. Six months later though, the youngster sustained a horrific injury, the first of three in his career to date which has left his career looking rather precarious. Currently contracted to Hull City, he’s failed to impress during his rare outings in the Tigers starting XI.
2. Zeki Fryers - Barnsley
Zeki Fryers of Barnsley during the pre season friendly at Oakwell Stadium between Barnsley and Huddersfield Town on July 22, 2017 in Barnsley, England.
Highly thought of during his time at Manchester United, Zeki Fryers was capped by England at three different youth levels, and he made 6 appearances in all competitions for United in the 2011-12 season. The Red Devils failed to tie the youngster down though, and he departed for Standard Liege, before joining Tottenham six months later. Reports suggested the move angered Ferguson, since Fryers’ route to White Hart Lane left them with little in the way of compensation. Fryers couldn’t nail down a starting place with either Spurs or his next club Crystal Palace though, and is now playing regularly for Barnsley in League One.
1. Tom Cleverley - Watford
A more familiar face to many football fans, it’s easy to forget that Tom Cleverley actually looked very impressive when he first broke through at Manchester United. I can remember being at the 2011 Community Shield final at Wembley where Cleverley came on with United 2-0 down, and he was arguably one of the best players on the pitch as Fergie’s men came back to win 3-2. His form really tailed off following Sir Alex’s retirement though, up until the point where his continued selection for the England squad seemed purely based on the fact that he was a Manchester United player.
Incredibly now aged 29, Cleverley left Old Trafford for Everton in 2015, but he has been back at Watford for the last couple of seasons, where he previously impressed on-loan in the 2009-10 campaign.
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