LITTLE DEVILS What next for every Man Utd young player of the year winner from 2000, including Macheda, Rashford and Greenwood
MANCHESTER United have always had a rich history of promoting from within.
From the Busby Babes to the Class of ’92, the Red Devils regularly feature a homegrown talent gracing their first team line-up.
Some of those, like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes in the past, have won the coveted Jimmy Murphy award – otherwise known as Manchester United’s young player of the year – and gone on to become club legends.
But others, not so much. Here’s the definitive list of those since the year 2000 who were tipped for the top.
1999-2000: BOJAN DJORDJIC
The first winner for the turn of the century, the Swedish youth international only played once for the club.
After struggling for first team opportunities, he enjoyed several loans to clubs including Sheffield Wednesday and Red Star Belgrade.
Djordjic enjoyed his best form at Plymouth Argyle between 2005-07, before retiring in 2015.
2000-2001: ALAN TATE
Manchester United’s loss was Swansea’s gain.
The towering centre back never made the grade under Sir Alex Ferguson, but when he moved to Wales he became a club legend for the Swans.
Tate played across all four divisions in 11 years, before retiring in 2016 after a season at Port Talbot Town.
Now, aged 37, he’s an assistant first team and academy coach back at Swansea.
2001-2002: PAUL TIERNEY
In the early noughties there was a real buzz about Tierney being the successor to the legendary Denis Irwin.
Capped at U21 level by Republic of Ireland, the left back played for United just once in a league cup tie against West Brom in 2003.
He left United to play for Livingston in 2005, and also played at Blackpool and Stockport County.
His last club was Altrincham in 2009.
2002-2003: BEN COLLETT
The midfielder was an “A-Class footballer”, according to Fergie which makes this story even more tragic.
A week after starring for United’s Youth Cup-winning team, Collett was handed a start in a reserve game against Middlesbrough.
Following a tackle with Gary Smith, he broke his leg in two places and was eventually forced to retire after trying to kick-start his career in New Zealand and Holland. He received over £4million in compensation later for that career-ending tackle.
2003-2004: JONATHAN SPECTOR
The former USA international impressed United scouts in 2003 and was signed from Chicago Fire as a 17-year-old.
Spector, now 34, played seven times for the Red Devils before moves to West Ham and then Birmingham City helped solidify his name as a seasoned pro in England’s top two divisions.
He retired after a season at Hibs in 2019, and currently works in a recruitment role with Atlanta United in the MLS.