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Monday 20 May 2013

Barclays U21s: Pedigree in promoting youth

Before Barclays U21 Premier League final, we look at players who graduated from Man Utd and Spurs

  • Danny Welbeck has become an important part of Manchester United's first team

  • Tom Cleverley boasts an 84% win percentage as a Man Utd player

  • Jonny Evans has provided competition for places for Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic

  • John O'Shea won five Premier League titles in a hugely successful Man Utd career

The inaugural final of the Barclays Under-21 Premier League between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur will showcase some of the top talent in the country and both clubs have a record in bringing players through their academies to star in their first teams.

Premierleague.com looks at four youth players on each side who later featured for the first teams

Manchester United - Danny Welbeck

Position: Forward; Date of birth: 26/11/1990.

Premier League appearances: 91; Premier League goals: 17

Player profile

Danny Welbeck has established himself as an integral member of Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United team over the past two seasons.

The Manchester-born player, who joined the club's academy system in 2007, has also broken in to the England team and been called upon in key UEFA Champions League and domestic matches throughout the last two campaigns.

He burst on to the scene with a spectacular first Premier League goal against Stoke City in the 2008/09 season and, having played a handful of games in the next two seasons, he established himself as a Premier League player with a successful loan spell at Sunderland, with the highlight being a goalscoring performance in the 3-0 defeat of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in November, 2010.

Tom Cleverley

Position: Midfielder; Date of birth: 12/08/1989.

Barclays Premier League appearances: 56; Goals: 5

Player profile

Tom Cleverley boasts the best win percentage of any player who has made more than 20 Barclays Premier League appearances for United and has established himself as an important member of the first team at Old Trafford.

The midfielder has won 26 out of his 31 league matches for United, an 84% win ratio, since breaking into the first team in the 2011/12 campaign. He has played 22 times in the League this season, scoring twice, earning his first title winners' medal.

Cleverley developed his game with loan spells before breaking into the United team. He had a brief loan at Leicester City in 2009 but he shone for Championship side Watford in the 2009/10 campaign, winning the player of the year award.

The next season he got his first taste of Barclays Premier League action on loan with Wigan Athletic, making 25 league appearances and scoring three goals. That allowed him to earn a place in the United first team for the 2011/12 season and has established himself as a regular.

Jonny Evans

Position: Defender; Date of birth: 02/01/1988.

Barclays Premier League appearances: 114; goals: 4

Player profile

As with Welbeck, Evans shot to prominence with a loan spell at Sunderland after impressing at youth level and has gone on to be a consistent performer in United's first team.

The Northern Ireland international has made at least 13 League appearances for the Red Devils in each of the last five seasons at Old Trafford and has won three title winners' medals.

The centre back has been the first port of call whenever the partnership of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic has been broken up through injury. Evans made 35 appearances in his first two Barclays Premier League campaigns at United and became a vital part of Sir Alex Ferguson's side in the 2011/12 season, appearing 29 times. He has played 155 times for United in all competitions.

John O'Shea

Position: Defender; Date of birth: 30/04/1981

Barclays Premier League appearances: 318; goals: 12

Player profile

O'Shea joined Sunderland in the 2011/12 season after a 12-year career at Manchester United. The Republic of Ireland international became a key member of the Manchester United side in the 2002/03 season, after being on the fringes of the first team for his first few years as a professional at Old Trafford. His versatility and ability to play anywhere across the backline, and even in midfield, meant he made at least 20 Premier League appearances in every season except for the one before his move to the Stadium of Light.

O'Shea won five Barclays Premier League titles and also lifted the UEFA Champions League trophy in 2008 as United beat Chelsea in the final. He has been an important part of the Sunderland team since his departure, making 63 league appearances in two seasons.

  • Steven Caulker has graduated to the Spurs first team and England this season

  • Jake Livermore has made 36 Barclays Premier League appearances for Spurs

  • Andros Townsend has been a standout player for QPR since joining on loan

  • Danny Rose announced himself to the world with a splendid goal against Arsenal

Tottenham Hotspur - Steven Caulker

Position: Defender; Date of birth: 29/12/1991

Barclays Premier League appearances: 44; goals: 2

Player profile

A commanding centre-back, Caulker joined Tottenham Hotspur as a scholar in the summer of 2008 and is enjoying his first season as a regular at White Hart Lane after developing his skills with a range of successful loan spells.

Caulker played a full season for Tottenham's Under-18 side before getting his first taste of professional football with League One side Yeovil Town in the 2009/10 season. He played 44 out of 46 games for the Glovers and won the club's Player of the Year award.

A loan at Bristol City in the Championship followed but his breakthrough came with newly promoted Barclays Premier League club Swansea City in the 2011/12 campaign. Caulker joined on loan and played 26 times in the league as they finished 11th.

He represented Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics and forced his way into Andre Villas-Boas' first-team plans, making 17 starts and one substitute appearance in the League for Spurs this season.

Jake Livermore

Position: Midfielder; Date of birth: 14/11/1989

Barclays Premier League appearances: 36; goals: 0

Player profile

The midfield displays of Jake Livermore in his breakthrough 2011/12 campaign with Tottenham Hotspur earned the Spurs academy graduate his first senior cap for Roy Hodgson's England team, and he has since gone on to feature frequently for Spurs in the 2012/13 season.

Livermore joined Tottenham's academy in 2006 and gained first-team experience with several loan spells in the lower leagues, most notably with Championship sides Derby County, Ipswich Town and Leeds United.

Under former manager Harry Redknapp, Livermore forced his way into the first team set-up last season, making 24 appearances as Spurs finished fourth in the Barclays Premier League. He has made 36 League appearances for Spurs overall.

Andros Townsend

Position: Midfielder; Date of birth: 16/07/1991.

Barclays Premier League appearances: 16; goals: 2.

Player profile

After several loan spells in the Football League, Andros Townsend made his major breakthrough in the Barclays Premier League this season.

After five matches he moved on loan in January to Queens Park Rangers, where he has been one of the standout performers in a struggling side.

At Loftus Road, Townsend made an instant impact from the right wing with two goals in as many matches in March as QPR earned back-to-back wins to boost their survival hopes. He made 12 appearances for QPR for Redknapp's team.

Before that, Townsend gained first team experience with several loan spells in the lower leagues, including successful stints with Leeds United and Birmingham City. He has also represented England at Under-21 level and featured in Tottenham's development squad since joining Spurs in 2007.

Danny Rose

Position: Defender; Date of birth: 02/06/1990.

Barclays Premier League appearances: 43; goals: 2.

Player profile

Danny Rose marked his full Barclays Premier League debut for parent club Tottenham Hotspur with a sensational 35-yard volley against Arsenal, in a 2-1 victory that helped Spurs to seal UEFA Champions League qualification for the first time three seasons ago.

That debut helped the left-back who was signed from Leeds United in July 2007 to break in to the senior set-up under manager Harry Redknapp. Four Barclays Premier League appearances followed in the 2010/11 campaign and he established himself in Redknapp’s plans by playing 20 times in all competitions in the 2011/12 season.

Rose moved to Sunderland on a season's loan in August 2012 and has impressed at the Stadium of Light, making 27 Premier League appearances and scoring one goal, against Aston Villa.

Key Points

  • Manchester United will play Spurs in the final of Barclays U21 Premier League
  • Both clubs have a history of promoting youth through to the first team
  • PL.com looks at four players form each side to have made the grade

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