by Teo Teng Kiat
Following the retirement of veterans Van der Sar, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes (until he made his U-turn mid-season), this current campaign has seen the emergence of many United youngsters. David De Gea, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley have all played their part at one point or another, while the Da Silva twins have started to feature more frequently as well. In fact, since 1937, at least one youth player has featured in every United matchday squad (via Mr. Mujac), which reflects the good work of the youth system in place at the club.
Undoubtedly though, the name on the lips of most United supporters this season is that of Paul Pogba. Touted as a future midfield star, the 18 year-old French midfielder made his first-team debut in the Carling Cup against Leeds, and hopes are high for the former Le Harve youth player at Old Trafford.
A certain Ravel Morrison had also been hailed as one of the most naturally gifted teenagers to come through the United ranks in recent years, but unfortunately, personal problems led to him being sold to West Ham, as his talent looks set to go to waste.
Apart from Pogba and Morrison, leftback Ezekiel Fryers has also made a handful of appearances for the first team, and suggested that he has what it takes to continue being a part of the United set-up in future.
There are still quite a few other talented young players in the Reserves and Academy, who have shown promise at their respective levels. Not all of them will ultimately get to don the famous red jersey, and certainly only a select few will go on to have successful United careers, but nevertheless, they are almost assured of a decent footballing career elsewhere. A look at ex-Reds currently playing elsewhere in the Premier League, and the lower leagues, will prove that even if you are not good enough for United, you will be good enough at other clubs.
In a series of articles to follow, I will attempt to single out some of the players worth keeping an eye on, and provide some background information on who they are, so as to let you all get more acquainted with these possible United stars of the future.