Former Manchester United starlet Ryan Tunnicliffe is now set for a fresh start Down Under in Australia after joining A-League outfit Adelaide United from Portsmouth.

When the Heywood-born enforcer was speeding through the youth ranks at Old Trafford – winning the prestigious Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award back in 2011 – the expectation was that, when turning 30, Ryan Tunnicliffe would be patrolling the centre of the park for Manchester United, rather than near-namesakes Adelaide United.

Red Devils legend Gary Neville, when picking out three highly-talented youngsters to keep an eye on around a decade ago, mentioned Tunnicliffe alongside Paul Pogba and Ravel Morrison (MUTV).

He even made two first-team appearances under Sir Alex Ferguson; earning his father a cool £10,000 along the way.

And, while Tunnicliffe’s career might not have panned out quite like his idol Roy Keane, the former U18 Youth Cup winner will always have those League Cup outings against Chelsea and Newcastle to look back on as he begins his new life in Oz.

Manchester United v Newcastle United - Capital One Cup Third Round
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Former Manchester United starlet has a new home

“I’m absolutely over the moon to have signed for United. It poses a great challenge and change for me after playing in England all of my life,” Tunnicliffe says after completing his move to Adelaide, via Keep Up.

“I can’t wait to play at Coopers Stadium which is one of the best grounds in the league and comparable to England I hear.”

Alongside Tunnicliffe, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Kobbie Mainoo, Marcus Rashford, Wes Brown, Mason Greenwood and Alejandro Garnacho also claimed the Jimmy Murphy Trophy, awarded to the most impressive Manchester United academy player across a season. Some company.

Now at the other end of his career after turning 30, it’s Tunnicliffe’s experience rather than his youthful exuberance which could help an Adelaide United side who finished third in the A-League last term make the next step.

‘The perfect player’

“Ryan has a wealth of experience in the game with a never-say-die mentality. We’re really looking forward to his leadership and grit on the park this season,” smiles coach Carl Veart.

“He is the perfect player for United as we feel he will fit the mould and physicality of the A-League perfectly.

“As someone who has been in Championship and Premier League changerooms for most of his career, his football technical ability and the professionalism he will bring can only boost the entire squad.”