The players do come up against each other on the pitch from time to time and try to stay in touch wherever possible, even to reflect on that magical time for them.
“We’re still friends and obviously we’ve got that bond which will last forever,” added Tunnicliffe. “If I see them, I speak to them but everyone grows up, gets married, have kids and you lose the time for your childhood friends. But I speak to them now and again. I don’t pester them or cling to some of the boys who are really famous now, I just leave them to their life.”
“It’s hard in football,” accepted Will Keane. “You cross paths and then go your separate ways and don’t speak for a while. I still to speak to Sam and it was great to see him get his England call-up, which was well deserved for him. I was with Rav at QPR and enjoyed playing there with him for a couple of months. He branched out but we still speak now and again.
“I’ve spoken with Jesse a couple of times but not heard from Thorpey for ages. Some of the Italian lads got in touch on social media a couple of months ago. It’s just nice to reminisce and talk about the good old days and we all look back with fond memories. At the time, you probably just take it in your stride but it was a big thing for us to win the FA Youth Cup.
“You expect you’re going to win more trophies in your career and move on and forget about it. But it’s still a massive achievement and I’m sure the lads look back on it as one of our top moments. I’m not sure how many have won trophies since then, probably not loads. Rav and I did get winners’ medals in the Championship play-offs with QPR but this has still got to be up there for me.”
It remains an enjoyable memory for everyone associated with United’s Academy and it has been fascinating to follow the players’ progress ever since.