Manchester United have always had a proud tradition of bringing through youth team players into the first team. In the past, players like Bobby Charlton and George Best rose up through the ranks to become some of the best players in the world.
More recently, the so-called 'Class of 92' (Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt) were a group of academy products who eventually led United to a treble and to become the best side in the world. Youngsters such as Johnny Evans and Rafael have also made significant contributions.
However, inevitably not every youth player is successful at Manchester United. Whilst some youngsters who have left the club in search of first team action have forged notable careers elsewhere- i.e. Ryan Shawcross (Stoke) and Danny Drinkwater (Leicester, Chelsea), there have been many others who have really struggled since being shown the Old Trafford exit door.
This article describes 5 of the most notable Manchester United youth products who failed to fulfil their potential.
#1 Darren Gibson
The Northern Irish midfielder was once a very highly rated prospect at Utd. He had a knack for scoring spectacular goals, but a lack of pace and creativity let him down.
Nevertheless, had he stayed at United a little longer, he might have had a chance of breaking through since Scholes was coming to the end of his career.
Gibson has had a mixed career since leaving United for Everton in 2012. Injuries disrupted his progress there and he never really got going at the Toffees, despite some sporadically impressive performances.
Gibson eventually transferred to Sunderland but even then he couldn't command a regular first team-berth and his story is certainly one of unfulfilled potential.