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Study: Has the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo impacted the growth of Man Utd's youth?

Since signing for the club in the summer Cristiano Ronaldo has already had a huge impact on the club
Since signing for the club in the summer Cristiano Ronaldo has already had a huge impact on the club

Youth academies have been the key to success for a number of Premier League teams for years now. Take Manchester United’s Class of ‘92 for example; a team which was competing for the FA Youth Cup in 1992 and went on to become a key part of the first (and, so far, only) English team in history to win the continental treble in 1999.

Manchester United is a club that prides itself on promoting youth. In December 2019 the club celebrated 4000 consecutive games where a youth academy product featured - a streak that has since not been broken. The likes of Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay and Mason Greenwood have been key players in the last few seasons and have cemented themselves as regular starters. But has that changed this season?

The return of Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United took over the world in the summer and it’s a signing that is proving to be worth every penny they’re paying the Portuguese international. Cristiano has netted 10 goals in 16 games for the Red Devils, but many are still labeling him as a problem for the club, with concerns about how his persistent presence impacts the growth and development of young players on the verge of breaking through. 

This is of course not an issue exclusive to the 13-time Premier League champions and as a result BettingOdds.com has now put together some stats to see how each club is doing when it comes to playing their youth academy graduates.

Our results show that across the 2020/21 season Manchester United averaged 282 minutes per game in the Premier League for academy graduates. However, this campaign they’re only averaging only 194 minutes. The summer signings of Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho have of course meant that the similarly positioned Greenwood is now struggling for that guaranteed starter spot he had last season. If a talent such as Greenwood isn’t looking like getting many minutes with Ronaldo in the side, then the likes of Anthony Elanga and Shola Shoretire are even further back in the list.

Below you will find a list of each team's academy graduates that have represented them in the Premier League this season.


Premier League Odds
Player Team/Academy      Minutes played     Games played      MPG    
Emile Smith Rowe Arsenal 982 13 75.5
Bukayo Saka Arsenal 900 13 69.2
Ainsley Maitland-Niles Arsenal 264 8 33.0
Folarin Balogun Arsenal 70 2 35.0
Reiss Nelson Arsenal 19 1 19.0
Jacob Ramsey Aston Villa 667 12 55.6
Carney Chukwuemeka Aston Villa 86 2 43.0
Cameron Archer Aston Villa 24 3 8.0
Keinan Davis Aston Villa 11 1 11.0
Jaden Philogene-Bidace        Aston Villa 4 1 4.0
Lewis Dunk Brighton 1260 14 90.0
Robert Sanchez Brighton 1169 13 89.9
Dwight McNeil Burnley 1156 13 88.9
Jay Rodriguez Burnley 252 10 25.2
Reece James Chelsea 638 10 63.8
Trevoh Chalobah Chelsea 693 9 77.0
Mason Mount Chelsea 616 11 56.0
Callum Hudson-Odoi Chelsea 558 7 79.7
Ruben Loftus-Cheek Chelsea 449 9 49.9
Andreas Christensen Chelsea 810 9 90.0
Wilfried Zaha Crystal Palace 1085 13 83.5
Tyrick Mitchell Crystal Palace 1260 14 90.0
Jesurun Rak-Sakyi Crystala Palace 14 1 14.0
Lewis Dobbin Everton 2 2 1.0
Tyler Onyango Everton 1 1 1.0
Tom Davies Everton 154 5 30.8
Anthony Gordon Everton 489 11 44.5
Jonjoe Kenny Everton 10 1 10.0
Kalvin Phillips Leeds 946 11 86.0
Jamie Shackleton Leeds 533 9 59.2
Charlie Cresswell Leeds 92 2 46.0
Stuart McKinstry Leeds 3 1 3.0
Harvey Barnes Leicester 872 12 72.7
Hamza Choudhury Leicester 60 1 60.0
Luke Thomas Leicester 540 6 90.0
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall Leicester 79 5 15.8
Trent Alexander-Arnold Liverpool 1054 12 87.8
Curtis Jones Liverpool 322 5 64.4
Harvey Elliott Liverpool 250 4 62.5
Caoimhin Kelleher Liverpool 90 1 90.0
Neco Williams Liverpool 7 1 7.0
Tyler Morton Liverpool 6 1 6.0
Phil Foden Man City 613 8 76.6
Cole Palmer Man City 109 3 36.3
Paul Pogba Man Utd 634 9 70.4
Marcus Rashford Man Utd 252 6 42.0
Jesse Lingard Man Utd 77 7 11.0
Mason Greenwood Man Utd 801 10 80.1
Scott McTominay Man Utd 761 11 69.2
Sean Longstaff Newcastle 727 11 66.1
Freddie Woodman Newcastle 360 4 90.0
Max Aarons Norwich 1260 14 90.0
Todd Cantwell Norwich 360 6 60.0
Adam Idah Norwich 75 9 8.3
Andrew Omobamidele Norwich 291 4 72.8
Nathan Tella Southampton 194 5 38.8
Theo Walcott Southampton 283 6 47.2
Harry Kane Spurs 918 11 83.5
Japhet Tanganga Spurs 435 6 72.5
Harry Winks Spurs 151 3 50.3
Mark Noble West Ham 3 1 3.0
Declan Rice West Ham 1170 13 90.0
Ben Johnson West Ham 541 7 77.3
Football Tips

Teams using their academy players the most in the Premier League this season

  • Chelsea: 2714 minutes (208 minutes per game)
  • Manchester United: 2525 minutes (194 minutes per game)
  • Crystal Palace: 2359 minutes (168 minutes per game)
  • Arsenal: 2235 minutes (171 minutes per game)
  • Brighton: 2069 minutes (159 minutes per game)


The big six academy minutes last season compared to this season



20/21: 184 minutes per game

21/22: 171 minutes per game



20/21: 209 minutes per game

21/22: 208 minutes per game



20/21: 177 minutes per game

21/22: 126 minutes per game


Man City

20/21: 11 minutes per game

21/22: 55 minutes per game


Man Utd

20/21: 282 minutes per game

21/22: 194 minutes per game



20/21: 116 minutes per game

21/22: 115 minutes per game


Each Premier League team’s most used youth product this season


Arsenal: Emile Smith Rowe 982 minutes

Aston Villa: Jacob Ramsey 667 minutes

Brighton: Lewis Dunk 1260 minutes

Burnley: Dwight McNeil 1156 minutes

Chelsea: Andreas Christensen 810 minutes

Crystal Palace: Tyrick Mitchell 1260 minutes

Everton: Anthony Gordon 489 minutes

Leeds: Kalvin Phillips 946 minutes

Leicester: Harvey Barnes 872 minutes

Liverpool: Trent Alexander-Arnold 1054 minutes

Manchester City: Phil Foden 613 minutes

Manchester United: Mason Greenwood 801 minutes

Newcastle: Sean Longstaff 727 minutes

Norwich: Max Aarons 1260 minutes

Southampton: Theo Walcott 283 minutes

Tottenham: Harry Kane 919 minutes

West Ham: Declan Rice 1260 minutes



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