Where are they now? Man Utd’s 11 wonderkids from FM 2012

When Football Manager 2012 was released in October 2011, Sir Alex Ferguson was still in charge of Manchester United and things looked pretty good.

United had taken 20 points from the first 24 offered, unbeaten in their first eight games of the 2011-12 season. Although two days after the match hit the shelves, United were beaten 6-1 at home by Manchester City.

Still, while Ferguson’s men failed to retain their title and became trophies that campaign, they pushed City all the way to the dying seconds of last day. The club looked in decent shape and boasted a range of highly rated new talents.

FM Scout selected 11 talented youngsters on United’s books at the time as legendary Football Manager ‘wonderkids’ – but where are they now, a decade after the game’s release?

David De Gea

De Gea arrived at Old Trafford in June 2011 from Atletico Madrid, and although it took him a while to adjust, he would continue to establish himself as one of the world’s best stoppers.

At times throughout the post-Ferguson era, it would be fair to say that de Gea almost on their own kept United afloat.

Still at Old Trafford a decade later, the Spaniard has returned to some of his best form this year after being under criticism the past few seasons.

Phil Jones

It is fair to say that Jones has had some rocky years at Old Trafford after joining Manchester United as one of the most exciting young defenders in England.

He did not play a single appearance in 2020-21 due to injury problems and has yet to perform for Manchester United this season.

“I’ve been to hell and back,” he told Manchester United’s official website. “I think as a football player, as a person, as a human being, it’s the lowest I’ve probably ever felt in my life.”

Rafael

Now back in his home country of Brazil with Botafogo, the right-back’s passion both on and off the pitch made him a cult hero at United, where he is still highly respected by supporters.

READ: A tribute to Raphael, an embodiment of Man Utd’s Sir Alex Ferguson era

Fabio

The other half of Sunshine Kids, Fabio came to Old Trafford with his twin brother.

While there was probably no shortage of Football Manager saves that had the two as world-beating backs on either side of the defense, Fabio was unable to establish a permanent place in United’s starting XI and was hampered by an injury.

He now plays for Nantes in France after stays with Cardiff and Middlesbrough.

Mats Daehli

Norwegian Daehli switched to Manchester United as a youth player in February 2011.

In the summer of 2012, he was quickly tracked from under 18 to the reserve side. A midfielder he impressed over the course of the season, winning the club’s award for Young Player of the Year.

The then manager of Molde, Ole Gunnar Solskjær liked what he saw, and Daehli moved back to Norway to join Solskjær’s team as a senior player only 18 years old.

He followed Solskjær to Cardiff in 2014, but did not impress after his manager was fired and traveled to Freiburg in January 2015.

Paul pogba

Not sure what happened to this guy, anyone know?

Pogba moved up from United’s youth ranks to the senior squad in 2011 but was frustrated by the lack of playing time during the season, leaving Juventus on a free to only return as the most expensive footballer in the world.

Adnan Januzaj

A few years before he broke onto the stage as the next big thing, Januzaj signed for United from Anderlecht in March 2011 at the age of 16.

He was already held high by them at Old Trafford, but a frenzy surrounding the young Belgian began when he scored twice against Sunderland on his full debut in 2013 to complete a comeback victory.

Considering the No. 11 jersey, he suffered from the unrealistic expectations placed on him but has found a home at Real Sociedad.

Ravel Morrison

We will not give you any spoilers, but it has been a well-traveled career for Morrison – widely regarded as the prominent talent from Carrington ten years ago – with 12 clubs in total.

QUIZ: Can you name the 12 clubs that Ravel Morrison has played for?

Davide Petrucci

When Petrucci left his childhood club Roma for Manchester United in 2008, it caused a stir in the Italian media.

United only had to pay minimal compensation to the Italian club for the highly rated 16-year-old, as Roma were not allowed to sign him on a professional contract until he turned 17 due to Italian labor law.

Part of the reserve, created in 2011, lifted that season’s Premier Reserve League title as captain, but was unable to break through on the first team.

After a series of loans, his contract was mutually terminated at the end of the 2014 summer window, and he moved for free to the Romanian side CFR Cluj and began a journeyman career. He now plays in Israel.

Danny Welbeck

In 2011, Welbeck had just returned to Old Trafford after a successful loan spell at Sunderland.

The English striker was a highly regarded youth prospect and became a regular man in the United setup over the following seasons before Louis van Gaal let him go to Arenal on the deadline day in August 2014.

Federico Macheda

The other Italian on this list is much better known due to to goal against Aston Villa.

But 2011 was two years after his curling efforts, and Macheda fought for playing time. After a rental stay at Sampdoria the previous season, he was unable to regain his place in the United setup and left the rental again in January 2012.

He has since found a home with the Greek side Panathinaikos.


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