Manchester United's 15 academy graduates: Who are they and where are they now?
By Patrick Surlis
Last Updated: 21/03/16 10:40am
Following the appointment of Nicky Butt as Manchester United’s head of academy in February, Ed Woodward pointed out the club’s track record of success in player development.
He identified 15 academy graduates promoted to the first-team over the last four years, a figure that has only increased in the weeks since.
Marcus Rashford, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and James Weir have each stepped up, leading Martin Tyler to label them "Louis' Lads" after United's win over Man City on Sunday.
With the help of Sky Sports News HQ's James Cooper, we take a look at United's recent academy graduates…
Rashford capped a remarkable rise with the winner in the Manchester derby on Sunday, his fifth goal in his eighth appearance for the senior team. The teenage forward was thrust into the spotlight against FC Midtjylland in the Europa League and responded with two goals. He followed that up with another double against Arsenal before leaving Martin Demichelis for dead to notch the decisive goal at the Etihad. prompting Louis van Gaal to play down hopes of an England place at Euro 2016..
The Dutch-born defender came on for his Premier League debut as a substitute against Arsenal, replacing Marcos Rojo before keeping the lively Gunners winger Alex Iwobi under control. He's since made another three appearances, and won praise from Louis van Gaal for "saving" United in their 1-0 win over Watford.
Like Fosu-Mensah, Weir came on as a substitute in the win over Arsenal, but he's made little impact on the first-team other than that stoppage time cameo.
The teenage midfielder filled in at left-back in the FA Cup win over Shrewsbury before featuring again against FC Midtjylland. But he's more of an forward-thinking player, with opportunities difficult to come by in Van Gaal's attack.
Undoubtedly the most successful in terms of appearances, Januzaj burst onto the scene under David Moyes, announcing his arrival with two goals in a victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. He's not quite kicked on as hoped since then, and is now back at United after a loan spell at Borussia Dortmund was cut short.
James Wilson (on loan at Brighton)
The future looked bright when Wilson marked his senior debut with two goals against Hull City under interim boss Ryan Giggs, but he has found opportunities difficult to come by with Louis van Gaal in charge. Now on loan at Brighton until the end of the season, Wilson has four goals in 18 league appearances as Chris Hughton's side aim for promotion to the Premier League.
With Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones all missing and fellow graduate Tyler Blackett suspended, Van Gaal handed Paddy McNair his debut against West Ham in September 2014. After winning international recognition last year, he hopes to go to Euro 2016 with Northern Ireland but has played just 133 minutes of football in 2016.
The Warrington-born winger stayed patient at United, completing loan spells at Leicester, Birmingham City, Brighton and Derby County, and he has been rewarded this season with an extended run in the team. He has made the most of it too, keeping out big-money signing Memphis Depay.
It's been a meteoric rise for Borthwick-Jackson, who started the season by stepping up to the U21s. But with Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo sidelined, the teenager emerged as United's first-choice left-back, earning praise from a "proud" Van Gaal after his assist for Lingard against Chelsea.
Tyler Blackett (on loan at Celtic)
After impressing on the club's 2014 pre-season tour, Blackett started five of the opening six games of the 2014/15 season, but the defender, who has been with United since he was eight, lost his place after a red card against Leicester and is currently on loan at Celtic.
Butt's predecessor Brian McClair praised Love's "positive" debut in the defeat by Sunderland earlier this year, but the right-back has since been edged out by Guillermo Varela.
Signed from PSV Eindhoven in 2012, the Brazilian attacker is already on his second professional contract at United, and has been a fixture on the first-team bench this campaign. The 20-year-old capped a breakthrough 2015 with the club's U21 player of the year award, and scored a free-kick on his first competitive start for the senior team against Ipswich Town in September. One to watch.
The talented young striker has trekked around the lower leagues, spending time on loan at Wigan, QPR, Sheffield Wednesday and most recently Preston North End. He's back with United now and came off the bench for four minutes against Sunderland after catching the eye with a five-goal haul in a reserve match against Norwich.
No longer at United...
Reece James - now at Wigan
James seemingly came out of nowhere with two goals against LA Galaxy on the club's 2014 pre-season tour, and after Luke Shaw's fitness was criticised upon his arrival, there was a chance for the academy prospect to step up. But he ultimately failed to secure a regular place in the squad and was sent on loan to Rotherham and Huddersfield before leaving permanently for Wigan last year.
Tom Lawrence - now at Cardiff City on loan from Leicester
The highly-rated Wales international made his debut alongside Wilson in May 2014, but was sold to Leicester four months later. After a successful spell at Blackburn ended last month, he joined Cardiff on loan until the end of the season and is battling for a Euro 2016 spot.
Michael Keane - now at Burnley
The centre-back made just one Premier League appearance for United before Burnley made his loan move permanent last year, and he's been a key player under Sean Dyche as they push for promotion.
Tom Thorpe - now at Rotherham
Thorpe played a single minute of league football for United, replacing Angel Di Maria in stoppage time against West Ham in September 2014. That was as good as it got, though, and he's now at Rotherham under Neil Warnock, but has not played in the Championship since November.
Scott Wootton - now at Leeds
The versatile defender made three senior appearances for United, conceding an injury-time penalty against Chelsea in his final outing as they lost 5-4 after extra time in the Capital One Cup. Now at Leeds United under Steve Evans, he's a regular at right-back.
Ryan Tunnicliffe - now at Fulham
You may remember Tunnicliffe's father made £10,000 on a 100-1 bet after his son made his United debut as a substitute against Newcastle, but three loan spells later he was allowed to leave for Fulham along with fellow academy talent Larnell Cole. He's still at Craven Cottage but has struggled with injury and has been limited to just 13 league appearances.