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Man United Under-21 boss: Marcus Rashford & co. can be 'Class of '16'

Manchester United fans could be talking about a Class of '16 in the future in the same way as they do about the Class of '92 today, according to the club's under-21 manager Warren Joyce.

Marcus Rashford, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Timothy Fosu-Mensah have all shown their potential by stepping up to the first team this season and impressing, while others including Donald Love, Joe Riley, Regan Poole and James Weir have also made appearances for the senior side.

There are others waiting in the wings, including Axel Tuanzebe and RoShaun Williams, who have both been in first-team squads. United academy manager Nicky Butt also said the club are excited by American teenager Matthew Olosunde's prospects.

United's Premier League dominance in the 1990s was in large part down to the contributions of David Beckham, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Butt, who won the 1992 FA Youth Cup together before going on the become key first-team players at Old Trafford.

And Joyce believes United could soon see another generation of youth products lead the club back to the top of the English game.

"I do not think it is impossible that we will be talking about a Class of '16 in the future," Joyce told Reuters. "If you look at the players that we have developed at the club over the last few years, you'll see that we have maintained our standards."

Marcus Rashford, 18, has turned in match-winning performances against Arsenal and Manchester City this season.

Joyce, 51, gave a list of names of players who have left the club recently and gone on to play at a high level elsewhere -- including Danny Simpson, Rafael and Fabio Da Silva, Ritchie De Laet, Phil Bardsley, Ryan Shawcross, Craig Cathcart, Jonny Evans, Michael Keane, James Chester, Danny Drinkwater, Tom Cleverley, Darron Gibson, Danny Welbeck, Robbie Brady and Josh King.

"A few years ago, with the first-team winning the Premier League and the Champions League and with a world class player in every position, it was hard for any youngster to break into the team past Giggs, Scholes, Cristiano Ronaldo and the rest," he said.

Discussing how players are developed, Joyce added: "We have to make sure they are equipped to deal with Premier League football. Nothing can shock them. They have to be able to handle it tactically, technically, physically and also the mental side of it without being fazed."


Arindam is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @ARejSport.

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