Manchester United’s match against Everton on Sunday will be the 4,000th first team match in a row that features at least one home-grown player in a record that stretches back to before World War Two.
This incredible statistic, revealed in an article in The Athletic, is a fantastic testament to the club’s youth policy over the years.
In total, 279 home-grown talents have been named in the last 4,000 matchday squads, whether on the pitch or on the bench. Of these, 237 have played for the Red Devils while the other 44, including the likes of Danny Drinkwater and Tom Heaton, never quite made it onto the hallowed turf in a red shirt.
Assuming at least one home-grown player starts the Everton game, there will have been only 13 of the 4,000 matches where a youth team product did not have minutes on the pitch.
‘The coaches are very good and they’re almost doing, maybe, 12 years of developing an individual. And in those 12 years they can mould you into what they know a Man United player is.’ Marcus Rashford told the club’s Inside United magazine in a special edition to mark the occasion called ‘Made in Manchester’.
Other academy graduates who never made it to the first team include former Leicester City and Blackburn Rovers player Robbie Savage, Hannover and Germany keeper Ron-Robert Zieler, former England captain David Platt, Leicester’s Matty James and Burnley’s Dwight McNeil.