Manchester United made history earlier this season with the inclusion of an academy graduate in their matchday squad for the 4000th consecutive fixture, reaching the landmark against Everton in December following a run that stretches back to before the Second World War.
Few clubs in England possess such heritage or as successful an academy system, and we’ve decided to look back at some of the best home-grown heroes seen at Old Trafford in the Premier League era.
Here are the five academy graduates with the most Premier League goals for Manchester United:
Paul Pogba – 24 goals
Pogba arrived at Manchester United as a teenager and began to demonstrate his vast potential with some starring displays in the club’s youth set up, winning the FA Youth Cup in 2011 in a team featuring the likes of Ravel Morrison and Jesse Lingard.
Frustrated at a lack of first-team opportunities, however, the midfielder chose to leave for Juventus in 2012, where his performances in four seasons with the Italian giants prompted United to re-sign the Frenchman four years later in a world-record deal.
His first season saw United claim a League Cup and Europa League double, though the success proved to be a false dawn for a Red Devils’ side who remain in transition.
Pogba has shown flashes of his huge talent during his four seasons in the Premier League, though a lack of consistency and constant speculation surrounding his long term future have seen him fail to make the desired impact.
He has scored 24 league goals in 99 league appearances for the Red Devils.
Marcus Rashford – 41 goals
Rashford’s arrival as a Manchester United player was one of the most exciting impacts from an academy graduate in recent memory, scoring four times in two appearances after being thrust into the first-team amid an injury crisis four years ago.
From there, the Wythenshawe-born forward has failed to look back, establishing himself as a key figure for both club and country and a regular source of goals.
The Old Trafford faithful enjoy a special bond with local-born talent and Rashford has made no secret of his delight at representing his boyhood side, the forward having scored 41 goals in 133 Premier League appearances since making his senior bow.
Rashford’s goalscoring record has improved season upon and season and he remarkably remains just 22-years-old, the England international seemingly set to spearhead the United attack for much of the next decade.
David Beckham – 62 goals
The former England captain emerged alongside the rest of the club’s fabled Class of ’92 academy graduates, forming the nucleus of a side that would dominate English football under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson throughout the nineties and early 2000’s.
Beckham shot to national prominence with an audacious opening day goal from inside his own half against Wimbledon in 1996, a display of the near faultless technique that saw the midfielder become one of the world’s finest footballers.
Regarded by many as the greatest set-piece taker in Premier League history, Beckham scored 62 Premier League goals in 265 appearances for United before his departure to join Real Madrid’s Galacticos in 2003.
During that time he helped the club to six league titles and the Champions League, finishing as the division’s leading assist provider on three occasions.
He would also finish as the runner-up in both the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards after helping the club to a historic treble in 1999.
Paul Scholes – 107
Described as the best midfielder of the past 20 years by Barcelona great Xavi, Scholes is a player not short of admiration from his footballing peers.
Scholes – alongside the aforementioned Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and Gary and Phil Neville – formed the basis of a United side that would dominate the English game, spending his entire career with the club and establishing himself as one of the finest players in Premier League history.
Few midfield talents have possessed the technique, intelligence or passing range of the Oldham-born star, Scholes evolving from goalscoring midfielder into deep-lying playmaker as he reached the twilight of his career.
Scholes made 499 league appearances and scored 107 goals for the club, his list of accolades including 11 league titles, three FA Cups and two Champions League titles.
Ryan Giggs – 109
One of the greatest players in the history of Manchester United, no player has ever represented the club on more occasions than the serial winner that is Ryan Giggs.
The most decorated footballer in the history of the English game, Giggs would emerge as an exciting teenage talent, possessing electric pace and a seemingly effortless ability to ghost past opposition full-backs at will.
As his career progressed, he would evolve from a flying winger into a more central role, his list of honours including a barely believable 13 league titles, in addition to four FA Cups, three League Cups and two Champions League titles.
He is one of just three players in Premier League history to register over a century of both goals and assists, Giggs scoring 109 times for United in 632 appearances in the division, the most of any academy graduate.