For Manchester United, the FA Youth Cup has a special significance. During his time in charge, Sir Alex Ferguson always took an active interest in how the latest crop fared and must have felt like he’d struck gold 10 years ago.
In May 2011, a talented team featuring Sam Johnstone, Michael and Will Keane, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Ravel Morrison beat Sheffield United 6-3 on aggregate, leading to excitable comparisons with the legendary class of ‘92.
Considering the fragile nature of potential, there are inevitable cases of what might have been. But, a decade on, and that side’s reputation has been burnished by the great careers that many of those players have enjoyed, including international recognition, major honours and record-breaking transfers.
“It’s weird, because it feels like a long time ago, but I’ve still got quite clear memories of it,” says Will Keane. “A lot of the older pros always used to say that time goes so quickly. When you’re young, you don’t really think much of it. But I’m 28 now, and you think, ‘God, it’s starting to fly past!’”
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