By 90Min
October 30, 2017

Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Scott McTominay ensured that Manchester United's long record of including a home-grown player in every single matchday squad remained intact this weekend as Jose Mourinho's team faced Tottenham in the Premier League.


That record of selecting at least one or more individuals developed by the club's own youth setup has now remained unbroken for exactly 80 years, with the very first game of the unprecedented run recorded on 30th October 1937.

In an era where the path from youth football to first-team action in England has become increasingly broken and difficult, especially where bigger teams are concerned, the fact that United have always had at least someone who represents the club in a much deeper kind of way than simply wearing the shirt is a truly stunning achievement.

The last time United played a game without naming any home-grown players was 23rd October 1937 - a 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday in the old Second Division, today's Championship.


Club legend Jack Rowley was in the team that day, aged 17. But the prolific striker, although at Old Trafford for 17 years in total, had been signed from Bournemouth where he started his career. Ron Ferrier, signed from Grimsby in 1935, scored the only goal.

The first game of the home-grown run was a 1-0 loss against Fulham at Craven Cottage a week later, but the key individual was Northwich-born half-back Tom Manley - a player widely regarded as the club's first youth product.

Manley had joined United as an amateur in September 1930, a few weeks before his 18th birthday, and signed professional terms with the club the following year in May 1931. His debut then came against Millwall seven months later and he went on to play 195 times for the club before joining Brentford just two month before the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939.

It was long serving club secretary Walter Crickmer, who was never actually formally hired as manager in either of his stints as temporary boss, who was in charge at the time. He is seen as being instrumental alongside former owner James Gibson in creating United's first youth setup.

That was eventually taken on by legendary manager Matt Busby and assistant Jimmy Murphy from 1945 after peace-time football resumed and the continues to characterise the club to this day. Tragically, Crickmer was later a victim of the Munich Air Disaster alongside several players his foresight work had helped produce.

Countless home-grown players have become legends since - from Roger Byrne, Duncan Edwards and Eddie Colman, all lost to Munich, to Ballon d'Or winners Sir Bobby Charlton and George Best, and Class of '92 graduates Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers.

As far as the future is concerned, the record looks set to continue for some time yet to come. Paul Pogba is classed as a home-grown player after joining United at 16, while Rashford and Lingard are flying the local flag with pride.

McTominay and fellow youngster Axel Tuanzebe have been blooded by Mourinho, while Angel Gomes, a World Cup winner with England's Under-17 team over the weekend and Premier League debutant in May, leads the next talented generation coming through the youth ranks.

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