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Manchester United’s dream team with academy players

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Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs

Manchester United’s famed youth academy at Carrington has cultivated exceptional talent over the years. The club takes pride in developing some of the most accomplished footballers in English football history.

Selecting an all-star starting eleven exclusively featuring United academy graduates would be a challenging task, such is the embarrassment of riches. 

While competition is fierce, constructing a fantasy first team is an enjoyable undertaking for United supporters. Our dream team looks like this. If it was possible to bet on such a United, we would definitely choose .

Tom Heaton – GK 

Despite lacking goalkeeping graduates, Manchester United have often sought shot-stopping stars from abroad. One heartwarming exception is lifelong fan Tom Heaton. After success at Burnley and Villa, Heaton re-joined United in 2021, 11 years after departing uncapped. In December 2021, he finally fulfilled his boyhood dream, making his United debut against Young Boys.

Gary Neville – RB 

Over 600 matches for Manchester United. Harry ranks fifth on the list of the best players in the club’s history. Neville has always remained a professional on the football pitch.

Duncan Edwards – CB 

Few remaining witnesses saw the famously towering Duncan Edwards play, but all attest he was special. United manager Tommy Docherty later recalled: «No doubt Edwards would have become the greatest player ever – not just for United and England, but the world. Best was special, as were Pele and Maradona, but in my mind Duncan was better in terms of all-round ability and skill».

John O`Shea – CB

Unflashy John O’Shea spent 12 years at United, winning 14 trophies. His solid role shouldn’t go unnoticed. Since retiring in 2019, he’s been building his coaching resume as assistant manager of the Irish national team U21 and Reding. On 22 February 2023, O’Shea was named assistant manager of the Republic of Ireland senior team. 

Phil Neville – LB 

Phil Neville was a dependable full-back, making over 380 appearances and winning 14 trophies before leaving United in 2005. He worked with David Beckham at Inter Miami for over two years. He is currently the assistant head coach of the Canadian national team.

Nobby Stiles – DM

Tough-tackling Nobby Stiles remains an icon for United and England. The midfielder spent 11 years at United, making just under 400 appearances. Stiles was also a hero of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning team, nullifying Eusebio with Portugal in the semis.

Sir Bobby Charlton – CM

Bobby Charlton’s legacy still impacts United today. He enjoyed a 17-year United career, holding their records for top scorer and appearances until the modern era.

Paul Scholes – CM

Bobby Charlton called Paul Scholes the embodiment of the best in football. The diminutive English midfielder had rare technical ability and passing range. After retiring in 2011, he came back a year later to win another Premier League title. Scholes sits among the best midfielders of his generation.

George Best – RW

Arguably United’s greatest player, George Best was a genius. Those fortunate to see him live hold him in high esteem. Harry Redknapp called Best the best footballer he’d seen – a special talent with unmatched dribbling ability. Best knew players tried to hurt him but couldn’t get near. He was simply the greatest.

Marcus Rashford – ST

In 2016, an 18-year old Marcus Rashford announced himself to Old Trafford, scoring twice on his debut vs FC Midtjylland in the Europa League. Marcus’ game can be enjoyed these days.

Ryan Giggs – LW

Ryan Giggs holds the record for most United appearances at 963 games over 22 years. Sir Alex Ferguson called him a rarity – a world-class, one-club player who achieved so much and set an impossible standard. Giggs epitomized consistency for United.