11 players who went on to big things after winning the FA Youth Cup - Owen, Pogba, Beckham

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The FA Youth Cup final can be the pinnacle of a player's career or the launchpad for greater glory. Those representing Manchester United and Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford on Wednesday night will be hoping it's the latter. Planet Sport looks back on 11 players for whom that was the case. And where better to start than the pin-up boys of the competition, quite literally in some cases, the Class of 92?

David Beckham

The most famous of the Class of 92 Man United team, Beckham moved from London to Manchester as a teenager.

Having scored in the first leg against Crystal Palace to grab a 3-1 victory, Becks then played the full 90 of the second game at Old Trafford. He has since said that winning the Youth Cup was his best moment at the Theatre of Dreams, eclipsing even his goal against Greece to send England to the World Cup.

Ryan Giggs

Beckham was joined in the team by Nicky Butt, Robbie Savage and Gary Neville (Paul Scholes missed out on the final) who all went on to forge fabulous top-flight careers. However, for career longevity, Giggs was the standout player from that squad.

Giggs, already a first team regular under Sir Alex Ferguson, didn't play in the first leg but came in to captain the side in the second leg. Giggs went on to become the most decorated player in Premier League history, winning 13 titles at the club, along with four FA Cups, three League Cups, two Champions League titles and nine Community Shields.

Jonathan Woodgate

Woodgate began his career at his hometown side Middlesbrough but signed for Leeds aged just 16 following disagreements between the club and his family over his future. The defender wasted no time in showing his former club what they had missed out on, helping the West Yorkshire side win the FA Youth Cup in 1997 at the age of 17. The side also included future England keeper Paul Robinson and Harry Kewell who would go on to make 58 appearances for Australia. Woodgate stayed at Leeds until 2003 before moving to Newcastle United and then went on to play nine La Liga matches for Real Madrid. He returned to Middlesbrough permanently following a loan spell and earned a big move to Tottenham but injuries continued to hamper him and it was very much a case of potential unfulfilled.

Michael Owen

The 1996 edition of the final saw Liverpool take on West Ham United, whose side boasted the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard.

Michael Owen was still only 16, but instrumental in getting the Reds to the final, scoring two hat-tricks in earlier rounds. He added a goal in the final, too, with Liverpool winning both legs to run out 4-1 aggregate winners. Owen continued his rapid rise to stardom, scoring for England against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup aged just 18. After eight years with Liverpool he went on to play for Real Madrid, Newcastle United and Manchester United before hanging up his boots after a spell at Stoke City.

Jamie Carragher

Another member of the 1996 FA Youth Cup-winning Liverpool outfit, Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher was predominantly a central midfielder in his younger days before dropping back to become a centre-back. His first taste of defensive duties was in the run to the final and it proved the making of him as the one-club man went on to play 508 Premier League matches for Liverpool, while picking up 38 caps for England.

Joe Cole

Joe Cole West Ham Youth Cup final
Joe Cole West Ham Youth Cup final

Arguably one of the most talented and skillful players to hail from England since the Premier League began, Cole won the FA Youth Cup in his days as a West Ham player. He and Michael Carrick were the two big names in the 1999 team from a youth academy that was producing some of the best talents at the time. That was illustrated by the way the Irons dismantled their opponents, Coventry City. Cole and co won the final by the biggest margin in FA Youth Cup history - 9-0 across the two legs. Cole had recently broken into the London club's first team and would play over a 100 games for the Hammers before having the most memorable moments of his career at Chelsea, where he won three Premier League titles.

Kieran Trippier

A Man City youth player, England right-back Kieran Trippier won the final in 2008 with another team dripping in talent. Ben Mee, Daniel Sturridge and Dedryck Boyata joined Tripper in a City side that defeated Chelsea 4-2 on aggregate. However, Trippier has arguably been the most successful of the quartet. Four years at Burnley were followed by moves to Tottenham and then Atletico Madrid, where he won a La Liga title in 2021. Now at Newcastle, he also has 35 England caps to his name.

Paul Pogba

Pogba was joined in the winning 2011 United team by Jesse Lingard and Ravel Morrison, with a familiar in opponents Sheffield United's line-up, Harry Maguire. United's 6-3 aggregate success secured their tenth FA Youth Cup but they have had to wait 11 long years since to reach the final. For Pogba it proved something of a false dawn. The French midfielder made just three United first team appearances before joining Italian giants Juventus. Sir Alex Ferguson blamed the move on agent Mino Raiola, who he said had convinced the Frenchman that Old Trafford was not the best place for his development. Fast forward over a decade and little has changed, with Pogba again intent on leaving United.

Jack Wilshere

Wilshere scored for Arsenal in the semi-final against Man City and then produced a man-of-the-match performance in the first leg of the final against Liverpool, scoring again and providing two assists. Wilshere was expected to be Arsenal and England's playmaker for many years to come but injuries hampered his progress. He spent ten years with Arsenal, earning 34 caps for England and won the BBC Goal of the Season award two years in succession. He was also named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Season for 2010/11 and awarded the PFA Young Player of the Year. Currently in the Danish Superliga with AGF.

Nathan Ake

Chelsea won the FA Youth Cup on seven occasions between 2010 and 2018, with Ake a part of the 2012 and 2013 team. Netherlands international Ake joined Chelsea at 15 from Feyenoord and was always highly regarded at the club. He made his first team debut aged 17 but would only appear seven times for the club, before like so many others, going out on a series of loans. He joined Bournemouth permanently in 2017 after a loan spell and went on to sign for his current employers Man City in 2020 for a reported £41million. A Premier League winner in 2020/21, he is looking well placed for a repeat in 2022.

Reece James

The most recent winner of the FA Youth Cup in this list, Reece James was part of a star-studded Chelsea line-up which overcame Arsenal to win the 2017/18 competition. For the first leg at Stamford Bridge, the Blues team read: Jamie Cumming, Tariq Lamptey, Reece James, Marc Guehi, Jonathan Panzo, Conor Gallagher, Tariq Uwakwe, Billy Gilmour, Charlie Brown, George McEachran, Callum Hudson-Odoi. Six of those have gone on to feature in the Premier League, including James who was named that season's Chelsea Academy Player of the Season. A lona move to Wigan followed, with the defender cleaning up at the end of season awards before returning to Stamford Bridge to establish himself in the Chelsea first team.

The article 11 players who went on to big things after winning the FA Youth Cup - Owen, Pogba, Beckham… appeared first on Planetsport.com.

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