Man United FA Youth Cup winners 2011: Who was in the team and where are they now?

Man United FA Youth Cup winners 2011: Who was in the team and where are they now?

Manchester United’s Under-18s play Nottingham Forest in the FA Youth Cup final at Old Trafford on Wednesday in front of what is set to be a packed house.

United have confirmed that approximately 70,000 tickets have been sold for the final, including 6,000 for away fans, as the Red Devils bid to win the Youth Cup for the first time since 2011.

United boast the record for the most Youth Cup wins (10) and the likes of Alejandro Garnacho, Dan Gore and Charlie McNeill will be hoping to extend that to 11 in front of a potentially record crowd for the competition.

They have a rich history of producing exciting talent through the academy and ahead of tonight’s match, The Sporting News takes a look at what happened to the previous team of youngsters who started and won the 2011 final.

MORE: Man United’s FA Youth Cup team: Who are Red Devils’ stars of the future?

Sam Johnstone (GK)

Johnstone’s rise into the first-team setup came at the same time as David de Gea’s arrival from Atletico Madrid in 2011, meaning he hardly got a look in.

The shot-stopper went on loan to seven different clubs before sealing a permanent switch to West Brom in 2018 without making a senior league appearance for United.

Johnstone remains the Baggies’ No.1 and helped them to a 10th-placed finish in the Championship this season.

Michael Keane (RB)

Keane was tipped for a bright future after being named the club’s Reserve Player of the Year in 2012 but with competition fierce for a starting spot in the first team he had to gain experience on loan.

Spells at Leicester City, Derby County, Blackburn Rovers and Burnley led to a permanent move to the Clarets in 2015.

Keane impressed during his two years at Turf Moor that led to Everton forking out an initial £25 million for his signature.

Michele Fornasier (CB)

The defender joined the club’s youth setup from Fiorentina in 2009 but failed to make the grade and departed four years later without a senior appearance to his name.

After playing at a host of Italian clubs in the top divisions, he now plies his trade with Monopoli in the third tier of Italian football.

Tom Thorpe (CB)

Thorpe captained United over both legs against Sheffield United in the FA Cup final and after impressing at youth level, he went on to make his senior debut under Louis van Gaal in 2014.

The defender signed for Rotherham United in 2015 but struggled to make an impact and went on loan to Bradford City and Bolton Wanderers.

A move abroad to Indian Super League side ATK followed in 2017 but he’s been without a club since 2018.

He also played in every England age group team between the Under-16s and Under-21s.

MORE: What is the FA Youth Cup and who is playing in the final?

Sean McGinty (LB)

McGinty played a key role in their Youth Cup success but also struggled to make the step up into the senior team.

Several loan spells and permanent moves around the football league followed before he settled in a successful two-year stint at Torquay United where he scored six goals in 92 league appearances. 

He now plays north of the border with Ayr United in the Scottish Championship.

Jesse Lingard (RW)

Lingard is just one of two players from the 2011 team who remain at United — but not for long.

The 29-year-old, who has won an FA Cup, EFL Cup and Europa League with the Red Devils, looks set to call time on his long-term spell with his boyhood club at the end of the season.

Lingard became a key player under Van Gaal and remained useful to Jose Mourinho, but he fell out of favour under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He went on to revive his career with a successful loan spell at West Ham last season to force his way back into Gareth Southgate’s England plans.

With his contract expiring in the summer a fresh challenge elsewhere now looks likely.

Ryan Tunnicliffe (CM)

Tunnicliffe plays his football for Portsmouth in League One having signed from Luton Town last year.

The 29-year-old failed to make a league appearance for United and his only Premier League showings came with Fulham during the 2013/14 campaign when they were relegated.

Paul Pogba (CM)

Pogba is another player who looks set to be on the move in the summer when his contract runs out, which would mark the second time he has left on a free transfer.

Pogba initially left United in 2012 for Juventus where he made a name for himself in Serie A, winning four league titles before sealing a club-record £89m return to Old Trafford.

The midfielder has endured mixed fortunes in his second spell but has failed to reach the same level he’s shown on international duty with France that has seen him win the World Cup and the Nations League.

Gyliano van Velzen (LW)

Another young talent who had to leave United in order to get regular minutes of football, Van Velzen departed in 2013 for Utrecht.

Short spells at Volendam and Roda JC followed before he sealed a surprise return to the UK as he signed with Crawley Town and underwent a loan stint with Aldershot Town.

He’s now back in the Netherlands where he plays for second-division side Telstar.

MORE: Will Pogba join Man City? Possible transfers and next steps for the Man United star in 2022/23

Ravel Morrison (CAM)

Morrison was highly regarded as one of the brightest talents to emerge from United’s academy but failed to reach the heights many thought he would.

He joined West Ham in 2012 but soon found himself on loan spells with Birmingham City, QPR and Cardiff City.

Morrison has since moved around Europe with time in Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands before returning to English football with Derby County in 2021, now managed by former United captain Wayne Rooney.

Having represented England at youth level, he now has 12 international caps with Jamaica.

Will Keane (F)

Like his brother, Keane also left United to pursue fresh opportunities with Hull City his first permanent move in 2016 after making just three league appearances for the Red Devils.

The forward had a brief spell with Ipswich Town before finding his best form after joining Wigan Athletic in 2020.

He’s just helped the club win the League One title, scoring 26 goals in the process.