James Chester – playing today

Chester, born in Warrington, joined United’s academy when he was just 8-years-old and signed on as a trainee when he was 16. He went straight into the club’s under-18 team, making 17 appearances that season.

He continued in the under-18 side the following season, and scored his first goal on December 9th 2006 against Manchester City.

He made his debut for the Reserve team on February 15th 2007 and played in both the FA Youth Cup and Manchester Senior Cup finals at the end of that season.

The following season he became a regular in the reserve team, making 24 appearances in all competitions as the team won both the Manchester Senior Cup and the Lancashire Senior Cup, and finished in third place in the Premier Reserve League North.

The following year he was named captain of the Reserves and was given a first team squad number – 39. After being named as a substitute for the first team’s 1–0 win over Bolton Wanderers on 17 January 2009, he was again selected as a substitute for the League Cup semi-final second leg against Derby County. With United 3–0 up at the time, Chester came on as a 67th-minute substitute for Gary Neville. Although Derby pulled two goals back, United ended up winning the match 4–2, meaning that they won the tie 4–3 on aggregate and qualified for the 2009 League Cup Final.

Chester spent time out on loan at Peterborough, Plymouth and Carlisle, before signing for Hull in January 2011.

Robbie Brady

Brady, born in Dublin, was spotted by United when playing for the under-16 all-Ireland champion team. He signed for United just after his 16th birthday.

He played his first game for United’s U-18s against Liverpool and a couple of months later appeared for the Reserves for the first time.

After a few seasons with the youth side, Brady joined the Reserves on a permanent basis when he was 18-years-old and was an unused substitute for the first-team’s League Cup Fourth Round win at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers on October 26th 2010.

Brady’s only appearance for the first team came on September 26th 2012, when he was used as an 86th-minute substitute for Alexander Büttner in a 2–1 victory over Newcastle United in the Football League Cup Third Round.

He was loaned out to Hull on two separate occasions before signing for them on a permanent basis in January 2013.

Paul McShane – on the bench today

McShane, from Ireland, joined United’s academy and signed as a 16-year-old. He played in the 2003 Youth Cup final as a 17-year-old and was given the first team squad number of 34.

He spent time out on loan at Brighton and Hove Albion as well as Walsall, before being signed by West Brom in a deal that saw Tomasz Kuszczak come to United.

Joe Dudgeon

Born in Leeds, Dudgeon joined United as a kid and played his first game for the U-18s when he was just 15-years-old. He became a regular for the U-18s a few years later and helped them finish 3rd in the Premier Academy League and reach the Fourth Round of the FA Youth Cup.

The following season, 08-09, he kept his place in the U-18s but was regularly used for the Reserves as a sub. At the end of the season, Dudgeon was named in the reserve squads for the finals of both the Manchester Senior Cup and the Lancashire Senior Cup; as an unused substitute in the former and playing the full 90 minutes in the latter.

The following season he was given a first team squad number, 44, and helped the club win the Premier Reserve League North title. He then appeared in the Premier Reserve League play-off against Aston Villa, which United won 3–2 on penalties after coming from behind three times to draw 3–3 in normal time.

Dudgeon joined Carlisle on loan before signing for Hull in May 2011.

Alex Bruce – playing today

Son of our former captain, Steve Bruce, he was born in Norwich but moved to Manchester when he was three-years-old when his dad moved clubs.

Bruce started his football career at United’s academy but was released when he was 16-years-old, where he went on to join Blackburn Rovers as a trainee.

Cameron Stewart

Stewart, born in Manchester, joined the club as a child and signed as a trainee when he turned 16-years-old.