MANCHESTER UNITED’S academy still ranks with those of Real Madrid and Barcelona – according to a new study.
The Carrington talent factory currently has 34 pros in Europe’s top five leagues.
Only Real, with 41 pros and Barca with 37 sit above the Red Devils, despite the fact that the United academy is in the process of a major restructure.
Fears are that United are slipping behind rivals Manchester City and Chelsea – who have an exciting group of talented youngsters.
Arsenal are eighth on the list, with nine players from the academy in their first-team squad and 13 elsewhere.
Tottenham are 23rd and Chelsea a disappointing 37th.
With so few English clubs on the list it echoes concerns that British-born players are not getting a look-in for first-team football in Europe’s top five leagues.
CIES – who compile studies around the game – unearthed the fascinating numbers behind English clubs’ struggle on producing young talent and playing it at first-team level.
The likes of Tom Heaton, Danny Welbeck, Danny Simpson, Danny Drinkwater, John O’Shea, Gerard Pique, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford all play in Europe’s top leagues having come through the United academy.
Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy has produced a crop of world-beaters though, with Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets all starring for the club.
Meanwhile with European champs Alvaro Morata, Dani Carvajal, Nacho and Marco Asensio are all in the Real Madrid first-team squad.