Every homegrown player given a Man Utd debut by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

One of the main reasons Manchester United have faithfully stood by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is because he firmly buys into the club’s core philosophies, one of which is the development and progression of home-grown young talent.

United have a remarkable record stretching back more than 83 years of naming a at least one home-grown player in every single matchday squad since October 1937, a run that shows no signs of slowing down as a result of the latest crop of emerging talent.

Solskjaer has stayed very true to that and has given United debuts to 13 players and counting who have risen through the club’s youth ranks.

Tahith Chong was the first academy graduate Solskjaer handed a Man Utd debut to
Tahith Chong was the first academy graduate Solskjaer handed a Man Utd debut to | Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Debut: vs Reading, 5 January 2019

Age on debut: 19

Dutch winger Tahith Chong was the first academy player Solskjaer handed a senior debut to, including the teenager in his some of his earliest squads after taking over an interim coach.

Having previously been an unused substitute under Jose Mourinho, Chong got off the bench in an FA Cup third round tie against Reading at Old Trafford. His career progression has since taken him on loan to Werder Bremen and Club Brugge.

Solskjaer is a big admirer of James Garner
Solskjaer is a big admirer of James Garner | TONY ASHBY/Getty Images

Debut: vs Crystal Palace, 27 February 2019

Age on debut: 17

Likened in style to Michael Carrick, midfielder James Garner was on the fringes of the first-team squad when Mourinho was in charge in the summer of 2018. But it was relatively soon after Solskjaer took over that the player was given his first competitive chance.

Garner is still highly rated at Old Trafford and has impressed at both Watford and Nottingham Forest on loan in the Championship in 2020/21.

Mason Greenwood was 17 when he made his Man Utd debut against PSG
Mason Greenwood was 17 when he made his Man Utd debut against PSG | Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

Debut: vs Paris Saint-Germain, 6 March 2019

Age on debut: 17

Mason Greenwood was only 16 when he travelled with United in Mourinho’s last pre-season squad in the summer of 2018. He went on to make his competitive debut at 17 when Solskjaer turned to him with the team in need of a goal in that famous comeback against PSG.

The young forward got his first senior start in a United shirt on the final day of that season and went on to score 17 goals in a breakout 2019/20 campaign. He is now a fully established first-teamer.

Brandon Williams enjoyed an unexpectedly rapid rise in 2019/20
Brandon Williams enjoyed an unexpectedly rapid rise in 2019/20 | Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Debut: vs Rochdale, 25 September 2019

Age on debut: 19

Brandon Williams had been in the travelling squad for the PSG game when Greenwood made his debut but didn’t make the bench on that occasion. He was then thrust into the first-team himself in September 2019 and played 36 times in all competition over the next few months.

Manchester born and raised, Williams was rewarded for his rapid development with a new long-term contract at Old Trafford in August 2020.

Ethan Laird still has a potentially bright future at Man Utd
Ethan Laird still has a potentially bright future at Man Utd | STRINGER/Getty Images

Debut: vs Astana, 28 November 2019

Age on debut: 18

Impressive full-back Ethan Laird made two senior appearances for United during the 2019/20 season, first as a starter in the mostly young team named in a Europa League game away in Kazakhstan and later off the bench in another European contest against AZ Alkmaar.

Laird has gone on to train with the first-team and joined MK Dons on loan in January 2021, gaining invaluable experience with the League One side as a regular starter.

Manchester United v Newcastle United - Premier League 2
Dylan Levitt is a full Wales international | Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images

Debut: vs Astana, 28 November 2019

Age on debut: 18

Dylan Levitt had actually been called up to senior international duty by Wales manager Ryan Giggs several months before he made his professional bow for United.

The midfielder was one of several academy debutants involved in the 2019 trip to Kazakhstan, playing all 90 minutes. He has since spent time on loan with Charlton in League One and top flight Croatian club Istra 1961.

Di'Shon Bernard scored an own goal on his Man Utd debut
Di’Shon Bernard scored an own goal on his Man Utd debut | Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Debut: vs Astana, 28 November 2019

Age on debut: 19

Di’Shon Bernard started for United at centre-back alongside Axel Tuanzebe against Astana, although his evening was unfortunately blotted with an own goal in the 2-1 defeat.

In search of regular chances to aid his development, Bernard made the short trip to Salford City on loan in the autumn of 2020 and has played regularly in League Two for the club.

D'Mani Mellor came off the bench in Kazakhstan
D’Mani Mellor came off the bench in Kazakhstan | Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images

Debut: vs Astana, 28 November 2019

Age on debut: 19

D’Mani Mellor was on the bench in Kazakhstan and was given the chance to play almost half an hour by Solskjaer when he replaced Chong on the right flank.

Mellor is from Manchester and had already been with United in the youth ranks for a long time when he got the chance to make his debut.

Largie Ramazani has since left Man Utd
Largie Ramazani has since left Man Utd | Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Debut: vs Astana, 28 November 2019

Age on debut: 18

Belgian winger Largie Ramazani was another academy player to make his United debut against Astana in November 2019, replacing Garner for the final minutes of the game.

He was highly rated in the youth ranks and United offered him a new contract in 2020 to remain at Old Trafford, but Ramazani opted to reject the deal in search of senior opportunities elsewhere. He ended up joining Spanish second tier side Almeria.

Ethan Galbraith
Ethan Galbraith has already played for Northern Ireland | Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Debut: vs Astana, 28 November 2019

Age on debut: 18

Midfielder Ethan Galbraith had a senior international cap for Northern Ireland to his name by the time he made his United debut off the bench in the Europa League against Astana.

The youngster has added to his international tally and has so far remained with United to continue developing in the Under-23 squad, although he was also included on the first-team bench in February 2021 for a home game against Real Sociedad.

Teden Mengi is very highly rated by Man Utd staff
Teden Mengi is very highly rated by Man Utd staff | Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

Debut: vs LASK, 5 August 2020

Age on debut: 18

Teden Mengi made the trip to Kazakhstan with United’s other young talents at just 17 but was left on the bench. He got his chance in the delayed Europa League knockout round against LASK in August 2020 and was later selected in a handful of other matchday squads.

The very highly rated centre-back was allowed to join Derby on loan in January 2021 and, still so young, has been able to gain crucial experience at a good level in the Championship.

Dean Henderson made his Man Utd debut as recently as September 2020
Dean Henderson made his Man Utd debut as recently as September 2020 | Pool/Getty Images

Debut: vs Luton, 22 September 2020

Age on debut: 23

Although a well established Premier League star thanks to a very successful loan at Sheffield United, goalkeeper Dean Henderson was the 12th academy graduate given a United debut by Solskjaer.

Henderson initially got his chance at United as a domestic cup goalkeeper and later in the Europa League, but has provided stiff competition for David de Gea and is genuinely vying for the number one shirt ahead of the 2021/22 season.

Shola Shoretire is one of Man Utd's youngest ever players
Shola Shoretire is one of Man Utd’s youngest ever players | Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Debut: vs Newcastle, 21 February 2021

Age on debut: 17

Shola Shoretire was handed a United debut by Solskjaer less than three weeks after celebrating his 17th birthday and signing his first professional contract with the club.

He came off the bench against Newcastle in a Premier League game, before setting a new record as United’s youngest ever player in European competition against Real Sociedad – breaking the previous record held by Norman Whiteside since 1982.

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