Not every player to come through Manchester United’s academy can make it to the first team, and some do not even get close.

Occasionally, letting them leave early can be more beneficial to their development, so they can take a crack at another club’s first team even sooner.

One such case became evident at the weekend when Burnley brought Owen Dodgson off the bench in their FA Cup defeat to Huddersfield. The 18-year-old played the final eight minutes.

Dodgson left United in 2020

Dodgson left Manchester United in the Autumn of 2020 after a successful trial with Burnley, with the Red Devils allowing him to depart.


The teenager signed as part of a double deal with fellow United youngster Calen Gallagher-Allison, another defender who remains on Burnley’s books.

Manchester United U18 Training Session
(Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Dodgson is the first of the duo to get a taste of the first team, after coming on at left-back in the FA Cup clash.

He has previously been on the bench for Burnley in the Premier League, an unused substitute in the game with Liverpool earlier this season.

Dodgson had previously featured for Manchester United’s under-18s side in the 2019/20 season, and has since been playing under-23 football with Burnley.

Sean Dyche’s call for him at the weekend was sign of positive progress and he will hope to build on it.

Helm misses out

While the weekend saw progress for Dodgson, another former Manchester United trainee missed out.

Mark Helm was released by United last summer after a promising stint with the under-23s and quickly snapped up by Burnley.

Manchester United v West Ham United - Premier League 2
(Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Helm was an unused substitute in Burnley’s FA Cup loss, and the 20-year-old will have to wait for his debut.

If Dodgson’s call teaches him one thing, it’s to be patient. Helm has been at the club less than half the time of his ex-United academy colleague, and if he keeps going, eventually he may get his chance too and get am opportunity to try and prove the Red Devils wrong.

Have something to tell us about this article?