Connect with us


Man Utd’s 2017 squad vs Crystal Palace included 11 U21 players: Where are they now?



| Last Updated:


Credit: Man Utd

Manchester United’s matchday squad on the last day of the 2016/17 Premier League season against Crystal Palace included eleven under-21 players.

Jose Mourinho’s focus was on the upcoming Europa League final against Ajax, which United went onto win, so he decided to heavily rotate against The Eagles.

It was a game that would not have any impact on United’s position in the Premier League table and so several youth team players were given opportunities alongside some other familiar names. The game saw United put out their twelfth youngest ever starting XI, according to transfermarkt.

But where are they now? We’ll be looking at every player in the matchday squad that day and seeing where they are playing their football in seven years on in 2023.

Starting XI

Joel Pereira (20) was the starting goalkeeper on the day, making his full debut for the club after appearing twice from the bench earlier in the season. The Portuguese shot stopper was highly rated by Mourinho but this game was his one and only start for Manchester United and he was able to keep a clean sheet.

Pereira left United officially on a free transfer in the summer of 2021 and moved to Eredivisie club RKC Waalwijk as a backup goalkeeper. The now 26-year-old made three appearances during the 2022/23 campaign and is set to become a free agent over the summer months.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah (19) operated as a right-back against Palace in what was a regular position for the player during his 30-game stint in the first-team at Old Trafford. An important tackle inside the box on the day contributed to United’s clean sheet.

Fosu-Mensah, too, left the club in 2021. He exited at the beginning of that year in the January transfer window, joining Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen for a fee of around £1.8 million.

The now 25-year-old made 15 appearances for the German side last season, including three late cameos in the Champions League, and has one remaining year left on his contract there.

Phil Jones (25) was one of United’s more experienced players in the team that day despite being in his mid-twenties. The Premier League winner had been excellent when fit that season, but again was unfortunately plagued by injuries that kept him out of half the season.

The central defender will officially leave the club at the end of his contract, which expires in a matter of weeks. The 31-year-old’s next destination remains unknown.

Eric Bailly (23) played alongside the English defender in what was his 39th and final game of his debut campaign at Old Trafford. He was signed by Mourinho in the prior summer and looked to be a very promising defender across the season. The Ivorian has made a total of 113 appearances for United.

Bailly spent the 2022/23 on loan at Marseille and played 23 games for the French side. It looks unlikely that he will return to play at Old Trafford now with a summer move looming.

Demetri Mitchell (20) made his debut against Palace as an exciting prospect who had been moved to play left-back earlier that season in the youth side. One memorable moment would be the left-footed ping over the top of the Palace defence that saw Wayne Rooney attempt a lob which landed on the roof of the net.

Mitchell left United in the summer of 2020, moving to Blackpool. The 26-year-old now resides in League One playing for Exeter City. He made 16 appearances for the Grecians last term playing as a wingback in a three-at-the-back system.

Axel Tuanzebe (19) was used at the base of the midfield in this fixture, a position he played in the two games prior as well. He made his debut for the club earlier that season and has gone onto make 37 appearances for the first-team since.

The talented youth prospect looks like he’s played his last game at Old Trafford, however. Injuries have troubled the 25-year-old so far in his career and he was an outcast on loan for a Stoke City side that joined in January, making just five appearances in the back-end of the season for the Championship side. His contract at United expires at the end of June.

Paul Pogba (24) made his return to the side following the death of his father. The Frenchman ran the show – getting a goal and an assist – ahead of another big performance in the Europa League final, where he would score again.

The midfielder left United at the expiration of his deal at the end of 2021/22 and returned to Juventus. The 30-year-old has had major injury issues across the course of the season that has limited him to only 10 appearances and just one start for The Old Lady last season.

Scott McTominay (20) was making his full Man United debut on the day after appearing as a substitute against Arsenal two weeks prior. He would go onto win Jose Mourinho’s impromptu personal Player of the Year award in the following season.

The midfielder – now 26 years of age – remains at United but has taken more of a squad role following the signings of Casemiro and Christian Eriksen. He still made 39 appearances last season but is rumoured with a move away from Old Trafford this summer.

Jesse Lingard (24) set up Pogba’s goal on the day in a season where he made 42 appearances for the club. The England international played a total of 232 games for United and perhaps played his best football under Mourinho in the following campaign.

Lingard left United on a free transfer in the summer of 2022 and joined Nottingham Forest on a one-year deal. Despite remaining in the Premier League, the 30-year-old played little part in Forest’s survival, playing just three times in the last 22 games of the season. He will likely become a free agent in the coming weeks.

Wayne Rooney (31) was the most experienced player in the lineup that day and was one of only two players in the entire squad over the age of thirty. It was the United legend’s last ever start for the club and his second-to-last game. He would come off the bench in the closing minutes to help United win the Europa League final three days later.

Rooney, 37, is currently managing in the MLS at D.C. United, a club he had played for after leaving United. They sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference at the time of writing.

Josh Harrop (21) stole the show on what would be his one and only appearance for United. His excellent finish into the far corner, cutting inside on his right foot, is remembered by many.

He left the club in the following months to join Championship side Preston North End. After several loans he exited at the end of his contract in September 2022 and joined Northampton three months later. The 27-year-old’s contract at The Cobblers runs out next month and the club will not be extending his deal.

Substitution bench

Kieran O’Hara (21) was the substitute goalkeeper on the day but did not play a competitive match for United. Now, the 27-year-old is a regular for League Two side Colchester United.

Daley Blind (27) was an unused substitute on the day but started the Europa League final several days later. He played 141 times for United and now, at 33 years of age, he plays for Bayern Munich but is likely to leave at the end of his contract next month.

Michael Carrick (35) was the oldest player in the squad and appeared from the bench to give the side an experienced edge. It was his last full season of playing after suffering heart problems throughout the following campaign which turned out to be his last as a player. Carrick went onto be an assistant coach at United and now, at 41 years of age, he manages Middlesborough in the Championship.

Matty Willock (20) was an unused substitute and did not end up appearing for the first team despite two appearances on the bench that season. He left at the end of the following campaign to join Gillingham and now the 26-year-old is a free agent after a stint at Salford City.

Angel Gomes (16) replaced Rooney in the last minutes of the game to become the youngest player to make his United debut since Duncan Edwards in 1953. He left the club in the summer of 2020 and now, at 22 years of age, is an important player for French club LOSC Lille.

Anthony Martial (21) also appeared from the bench that day. He has played 298 times for United but could leave the club this summer at 27 years of age after struggles with injuries in Erik ten Hag’s first season.

Zak Dearnley (18) was the final player on the bench for United but he did not make an appearance for the club. He now plays for National League North side Stocksbridge