man-utd-have-named-an-academy-graduate-in-their-squad-for-the-last-85-years

It’s a record that began on Saturday 30 October 1937, when Manchester United youngsters Tom Manley and Jack Wassall sported the famous red in an away clash against Fulham.

Since that momentous day at Craven Cottage all those years ago, United have continued to feature a youth player in their matchday squad for over 4,000 consecutive games.

In fact, on Sunday afternoon, the club’s Premier League game against West Ham will officially mark the 85th anniversary of having a homegrown player in every squad.

Marcus Rashford, one of United’s most successful graduates of late, is expected to feature in Erik ten Hag’s first XI at Old Trafford, while Alejandro Garnacho and Scott McTominay could also earn minutes.

Image credit: AlamySo what’s the criteria for this incredible stat? Historian Tony Park says the player has to have signed for the club before the age of 18, and they must have played at a junior level below the first team at United.

In addition to the above two rules, the person is not to have played for another team at senior level.

From the likes of Duncan Edwards and Bobby Charlton to Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and David Beckham, who helped United lift their famous treble in 99 during a trophy-filled decade under Sir Alex Ferguson.

It is a special record the club are quite rightly proud of.

The club’s Head of Academy, Nick Cox, opened up about the record during an interview with Manchester United’s official website this week.

“The beauty of the 85-year run is it has been achieved organically,” he says. “It hasn’t been manufactured or, indeed, something we were conscious of (the statistic was only ratified in recent seasons). It’s just the way things are done here.

“No doubt the Academy will make the headlines next week, but the Academy has never and will never develop players on its own. Developing players is the responsibility of everyone. The first-team staff, the board, the ground staff, the media team, the legal team, administrators, and many others. We are lucky to have staff to support us now as they did 85 years ago.

“While we are proud of our history, we are also aware of our duty to continue to uphold our reputation as being innovators and doing things differently in order to bring about success.”

As mentioned earlier, Marcus Rashford is expected to feature for the Reds in Sunday’s game against West Ham, and manager Erik ten Hag has backed the England international to net his 100th goal for the club.

“Yeah, that will come [the 100th goal],” Ten Hag told United’s website. “Most important is, of course, if we get a win, but I think Marcus knows that, so he is always acting really as a team player.

“But he is on the pitch to score goals. When he’s doing well, he will be in positions that he can score a goal and then it is about hitting the target, hitting the goal and getting them in.

“I hope for him, Sunday will be the case, but it will come definitely and that will be a massive performance from a player who will be 25 on Monday.”