Manchester United have one of the best youth setups in the country, and as a result, some of England’s most exciting young players are discovered and developed at the club.
With a record of having at least one academy player in the first-team matchday squad stretching back to 1937, youth development is taken very seriously in the red side of Manchester, and United have seen the fruits of their labour.
And each season sees one standout talent named the Denzil Haroun Reserve-Team Player of the Year, an award handed to the best U-23 player at the club. And with Alvaro Fernandez the latest recipient of the prestigious accolade, here are the last nine winners and where they are now in their careers.
2012 – Michael Keane
One of many Manchester United players to find success away from Old Trafford, Michael Keane only made a handful of appearances for the Red Devils before moving to Burnley on a permanent deal in 2014.
Since then, the centre-back has won a £30m move to Everton and become a regular for the Toffees, with Keane also winning 12 England caps, though the defender was not part of the Three Lions squad that made it to the Euro 2020 final last summer.
2013 – Adnan Januzaj
Very few youngsters in English football generated as much hype as Adnan Januzaj when the winger broke into a struggling United’s first-team under David Moyes and quickly became one of their best players, and since that season, the winger has had an interesting career.
Recently made a free agent by Real Sociedad, the 27-year-old Belgium international will be without a club for the first this summer, and despite not hitting the heights many expected Januzaj to reach, the attacker has still developed into a top player who can go on to have a strong career.
2014 – Saidy Janko
Another United talent who simply had to leave to play regular football, Saidy Janko was viewed by many as a top right-back in the making, though after winning the Denzil Haroun Reserve-Team Player of the Year award in 2014, things have been frustrating for the defender.
Currently with Segunda Division side Real Valladolid, the Gambian international has had a globetrotting career that has taken Janko to Scotland with Celtic as well as Saint-Etienne in France and even to FC Porto, with loan spells in the Championship and Swiss Super League thrown in there for good measure.
2015 – Andreas Pereira
Andreas Pereira for a long time was seen as a United academy talent who would one day go on to set the world on fire, and whilst the Brazilian has had success to some extent, the midfielder has developed into nothing more than okay player.
Despite scoring arguably the best goal ever in a pre-season friendly last summer, Pereira is currently back in his homeland of Brazil with Flamengo, with a permanent move this transfer window in the pipeline for the 26-year-old.
2016 – Cameron Borthwick-Jackson
2016 was the year that saw Louis van Gaal go a bit mental in playing youth players, and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson was just one of the many names to earn their big breakthrough under the Dutchman, alongside Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Timothy Fosu-Mensah.
With a cross so good that United fans thought they had found the second-coming of David Beckham, Borthwick-Jackson’s career hasn’t exactly gone to plan, with the left-back currently on the books of League One side Burton Albion after leaving Manchester in 2020.
2017 – Axel Tuanzebe
One of the few players on this list to still be a Manchester United player, Axel Tuanzebe looked to have the world at his feet starring for Aston Villa in their Championship play-off winning season that saw Dean Smith’s side return to the Premier League.
Despite impressing with the Red Devils in the limited chances he got, Tuanzebe now looks set to leave his boyhood club for good this summer, with a failed loan spell at Napoli the latest misstep in what has been a frustrating 12 months for the talented centre-back.
2018 – Demetri Mitchell
Despite being a winner of the Denzil Haroun Reserve-Team Player of the Year award in a talented pool of players, it’s quite remarkable how unremarkable Demetri Mitchell’s career has been up until this point. Injuries hampered his progress and he was released in 2020.
The fullback is currently at Scottish Premiership side Hibernian after signing for the Edinburgh-based club this January, where before that, Mitchell was a member of Blackpool’s League One promotion side that saw the Tangerines return to the Championship.
2019 – Tahith Chong
Tahith Chong has been a player to watch ever since the Netherlands youth international joined Manchester United in 2016, yet following his latest season out on loan with Birmingham City, it’s hard to predict just how far the winger will go.
Injuries have plagued the 22-year-old’s career, and whilst Chong is clearly a talented player, it is looking unlikely that the former Feyenoord academy star will ever hit the level that many youth pundits expected the prospect to reach.
2020 – James Garner
Multiple entries on this list have been tales of players with all the talent in the world who let it go to waste, but in the case of James Garner, the Manchester United midfielder could go on to become a genuine top-class talent if his past 18 months are anything to go by.
The midfielder has flourished with Nottingham Forest over the past two seasons, and with a play-off final on the horizon, Garner could soon be about to help the historic Championship side to their biggest accomplishment in the 21st century.
2021 – Hannibal Mejbri
Already an international with Tunisia, Hannibal Mejbri made his debut for United in the final month of the Premier League season, and with the likes of Gary Neville impressed with what the teenager has so far offered, we could expect to see more of the youngster.
With the Red Devils also in the UEFA Europa League next season, Mejbri could be a standout candidate to feature heavily under Erik Ten Hag, with the midfielder already showing that he is ready to transition into senior football for good in the coming months.