Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Where are they now? The Man Utd squad who last missed out on a Premier League top-six finish

Ryan Baldi
Shinji Kagawa, Michael Carrick and Adnan Januzaj played for Man Utd the last time they were this bad

Shinji Kagawa, Michael Carrick and Adnan Januzaj played for Man Utd the last time they were this bad

After a 4-0 hammering at the hands of Crystal Palace in the first Monday night fixture of May, Manchester United sit eighth in the table, on course for their worst-ever Premier League finish.

The last time the Red Devils finished outside the top six was back in the 2013-14 campaign, the first season after Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement. Having overseen the reigning champions’ slide to seventh, David Moyes was sacked in April, with Ryan Giggs stepping in as caretaker manager before Louis van Gaal was appointed in the summer.

Here is every player who played at least 10 league games for United the last time they were as bad as Erik ten Hag’s current crop, looking at what they have done since that season and where they are now.

David de Gea

Spanish shot-stopper De Gea would go on to play for United for another nine seasons – winning the club’s Player of the Year award four times – before leaving at the expiry of his contract in 2023. He is currently still a free agent.

Rafael

Brazilian full-back Rafael joined Lyon in 2015, going on to make over 100 appearances for the Ligue 1 club. After a short spell in Turkey with Istanbul Basaksehir, the 33-year-old is now back in his homeland, playing for Botafogo.

Patrice Evra

Experienced French left-back Evra joined Juventus in 2014, where he won two Serie A titles and reached a Champions League final. He then went back to France, playing for Marseille for two seasons, before retiring in 2019 after a brief stint with West Ham.

Phil Jones

With 26 Premier League appearances, the 2013-14 season was a rare campaign of relative health for the injury-ravaged defender. Jones stayed at United for another nine years but played only six league games in his final four seasons before leaving as a free agent last summer.

The former England player has not officially retired, but he has not signed with another club and has instead focused on completing his coaching badges.

Rio Ferdinand

Legendary centre-back Ferdinand was 35 by the end of the 2013-14 season. He left United that summer to join QPR, where he played for one season before retiring.

He is now one of the most prominent pundits in football, working on TNT Sports’ coverage of the Premier League and Champions League.

Johnny Evans

Homegrown centre-half Evans left United to join West Brom in 2015 and he would later, with Leicester City, add an FA Cup winner’s medal to his haul of three Premier League titles won at Old Trafford.

Now 36, the Northern Irishman is back with United on a short-term deal after impressing in a trial last summer.

Juan Mata

Mata was a club-record signing when he joined from Chelsea in a £37.1 million deal midway through the 2013-14 season. He stayed at Old Trafford for another eight years before joining Galatasaray as a free agent in 2022.

Like compatriot De Gea, the 36-year-old is currently a free agent after a short stay with Japanese side Vissel Kobe ended in January after just one appearance.

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Wayne Rooney

A bona fide club legend, Rooney became United’s all-time leading scorer before returning to boyhood side Everton in 2018. The England icon retired in 2021 after spells with DC United and Derby County – both of whom he’d go on to manage.

Rooney is currently doing sporadic television appearances as an analyst while awaiting his next managerial opportunity after being sacked by Birmingham City.

Ryan Giggs

In his final season before calling time on one of the most illustrious playing careers in the history of British football, Giggs spent the last four games of the 2013-14 campaign as caretaker player-manager of the Red Devils after Moyes was sacked in April.

He is now the director of football at Salford City, the League Two club he co-owns alongside former team-mates Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and David Beckham.

Chris Smalling

Smalling left United to join Roma in 2019, initially on loan before the move was made permanent. The 34-year-old has become a stalwart of the Serie A side’s backline, racking up more than 150 appearances for the Stadio Olimpico side.

Javier Hernandez

After scoring just four league goals for United in 2013-14, Hernandez joined Real Madrid on loan the following season. He left the club permanently a year later to sign for Bayer Leverkusen, enjoying a fruitful two seasons in Germany, scoring 39 goals in 76 games. He then returned to the Premier League with West Ham after a short stay in Spain with Sevilla.

He is now back in his native Mexico with CD Guadalajara after four years in MLS with Los Angeles Galaxy.

Nemanja Vidic

The 2013-14 season was Vidic’s last as a United player, with the imposing centre-back signing for Inter Milan that summer. The five-time Premier League winner lasted just one full season in Italy before retiring in January 2015 at the age of 33.

A move into coaching first looked likely after he earned a UEFA Pro Licence, but Vidic has since enrolled on the UEFA Master for International Players, a course preparing ex-players for administrative roles.

Michael Carrick

Carrick retired at the end of the 2017-18 season, providing an assist for Marcus Rashford to score against Watford in his final game. The former England midfielder was briefly caretaker manager at United after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked in November 2021. He is now in charge of Middlesbrough.

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Nani

Still playing at age 37, Nani has had spells with a host of clubs around the world since leaving United in 2015. His first post-Old Trafford landing spot was with Fenerbahce in Turkey.

He has since played for Valencia, Lazio, Sporting CP, Orlando City, Venezia and Melbourne Victory. He is currently back in Turkey with Adana Demirspor.

Ashley Young

Former England winger Young left United in 2020 to join Inter Milan, winning the Serie A title in his only season in Italy. He then returned to England for a second spell with Aston Villa and is still playing in the Premier League with Everton, although he will be out of contract at Goodison Park at the end of the 2023-24 season.

Danny Welbeck

Another member of the 2013-14 United squad still going strong in England’s top flight, Welbeck has been with Brighton since 2020. The Manchester-born academy graduate left United to sign for Arsenal in a £16 million deal in 2014. He spent five seasons at the Emirates Stadium before a year with Watford.

Robin van Persie

A shock £24 million signing from rivals Arsenal, Van Persie was the star of Ferguson’s final title-winning side, scoring 30 goals in his debut season at Old Trafford. His follow-up campaign under Moyes was less successful, returning 18 goals, albeit in just 28 appearances. He left United for Fenerbahce in 2016 before finishing his career where it all began, with Feyenoord. He is now the co-head coach of the under-18s at De Kuip.

Tom Cleverley

Once an apparent future Old Trafford midfield star, Cleverley made just one more appearance for United after the 2013-14 season before joining Aston Villa on loan and then a permanent switch to Everton. He spent six and a half years with Watford – where he’d enjoyed a successful loan spell as a youngster – before retiring due to injury last summer. He took over the Hornets as caretaker manager in March 2024 and earned the role full-time a month later.

Darren Fletcher

Fletcher left United midway through the 2014-15 season, signing for West Brom. After two and a half years at the Hawthorns he spent two seasons with Stoke City before retiring in May 2020. He returned to United as technical director in March the following year, but was replaced by Jason Wilcox in April 2024, although the club insist Fletcher will “continue to play a key role in the football leadership team”.

Antonio Valencia

Valencia was viewed as an underwhelming heir to Cristiano Ronaldo when he was signed from Wigan for £17 million in the wake of the Portuguese superstar’s 2009 departure for Real Madrid, but the Ecuadorian winger soon became a fan favourite at Old Trafford. He stayed with the club until 2009, when he returned to his homeland with LDU Quinto, before retiring in 2021 after a brief stint with Mexican side Queretano. In 2022, he founded Club Deportivo Tumbaco AV25 in Ecuador, which he runs with his brother Eder.

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Shinji Kagawa

Signed from Borussia Dortmund with high expectations in 2012, Kagawa returned to the German club two years later after playing just 38 Premier League games for United and scoring six goals. After staying with BVB another five years, the Japanese playmaker had spells in Turkey, Spain, Greece and Belgium before returning to Japan with Cerezo Osaka in 2023.

Marouane Fellaini

A maligned figure for much of his five and a half years at Old Trafford, Fellaini was the only major signing of Moyes’ first transfer window in charge of the 20-time champions, bought from Everton for £27 million. He signed for Chinese side Shandong Taishan in 2019, where he stayed for five seasons. The Belgian midfielder announced his retirement in February 2024 at age 36.

Adnan Januzaj

One of few bright sparks of the brief Moyes era, Carrington academy product Januzaj broke into the Old Trafford first team as a fearless and skilled 18-year-old, scoring both goals in a 2-1 victory over Sunderland in his first senior start. A creative winger with an eye for a spectacular goal, the Belgian appeared to have the world at his feet and was handed Giggs’ old No.11 shirt ahead of the 2014-15 season.

But he never replicated the form of his first season at United. After unfruitful loans to Dortmund and Sunderland, he rejuvenated his flagging career in five seasons with Real Sociedad. Still in La Liga, the 29-year-old is now with Sevilla, although he features only sparingly.

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