What Happened To Manchester United’s Last Title-winning Team?

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The upcoming year will mark a painful sporting anniversary for Manchester United – as 2023 will mark a decade since they last won the Premier League title.

Since Sir Alex Ferguson called time on his legendary managerial career with his 13 league title, United have been on a rollercoaster ride with more drops than rises.

Of the team that was part of their last league triumph, only two players – David de Gea and Phil Jones – are still standing at Old Trafford. 


Manchester United have not won the title since Sir Alex Ferguson’s last season in 2012-13

While the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes are still seen frequently doing punditry work, there are others who are rarely seen or talked about.

Sportsmail takes a look at the players that made starting appearances in Manchester United’s title-winning season and where they are now – starting with the player who made the least amount of appearances. 

Darren Fletcher 

(3 appearances, 2 starts, 1 goal)

The experienced midfielder had limited game-time due to his struggles with ulcerative colitis which kept him out of the second-half of the season as he underwent surgery to resolve his condition.

He spent two more seasons at Old Trafford before having spells at West Brom and Stoke City.

Fletcher, now 38, retired from football in 2019 and is currently the technical director at Manchester United. 

Darren Fletcher didn't make enough appearances to get a title-winning medal in 2012-13


Darren Fletcher didn’t make enough appearances to get a title-winning medal in 2012-13

Alexander Buttner 

(5 appearances, 4 starts, 2 goals, 1 start) 

The Dutchman was signed with the view of replacing Patrice Evra but found himself out of his depth at Old Trafford and left the club one year after their title win.

Since then he has been somewhat of a journeyman playing at seven clubs across Russia, Belgium, Netherlands and the United States.

Last year, he was replaced by Cypriot club Apollen Limassol after just 17 days with reports in the country, as per Goal, suggesting he was overweight and failed to pass a medical. Buttner’s representatives denied those allegations saying that contractual promises were not kept.

The 33-year-old now plays for De Graafschap in the second tier of Dutch football.

Alexander Buttner proved to be out of his depth during his time at Manchester United


Alexander Buttner proved to be out of his depth during his time at Manchester United

Anders Lindegaard 

(10 starts) 

The Danish keeper failed to usurp David de Gea as United’s first-choice goalkeeper but still made 10 Premier League appearances in 2012-13, earning himself a winner’s medal in the process.

‘I’m super proud of it, but it was not me who won that title,’ he told the Guardian in November 2021. ‘I’m aware that in the great history of Manchester United I’m a whisper in the wind.’

He made just one appearance after the title-winning season before going on to have spells at West Brom, Preston and Burnley in England.

The Danish keeper announced his retirement just last month at the age of 38 after his last club Helsingborg were relegated from Sweden’s top flight. In his Instagram post he said was undecided whether he would stay in football or go on to new challenges.

Nani 

(11 appearances, 7 starts, 1 goal, 3 assists) 

Nani’s 2012-13 season was perhaps most famous for his red card for a high boot on Alvaro Arbeloa as Manchester United crashed out of the Champions League to Real Madrid.

The Portuguese winger missed a good chunk of the season with an injury and would only go on to make 12 more league appearances for United before he returned to Sporting Lisbon on loan in August 2014.

He left on a permanent deal to Fenerbahce a year later and has since had spells at Valencia, Lazio, Sporting Lisbon (again), Orlando City and Venezia.

The 36-year-old now plays in Australia for A-League side Melbourne Victory. 

Since then he has gone on to play for six clubs  

Nani now plays for A-League side Melbourne Victory after joining the club in July this year


Nani now plays for A-League side Melbourne Victory after joining the club in July this year

Chris Smalling 

(15 appearances, 10 starts)

The 33-year-old defender spent nine seasons at Old Trafford before leaving to Roma on loan in 2019- with the deal becoming permanent a year later.

Smalling, faced heavy criticism for his displays during his time at Manchester United. 

However, at Roma, he has been one of their star players making 117 appearances in four seasons. He was awarded the Man of the Match as the Italian side won the won the inaugural Europa Conference League last season.  

Paul Scholes

(16 appearances, 8 goals, 1 goal, 1 assist) 

The legendary midfielder retired (for the second time) at the end of the 2012-13 season after seeing his game-time drop during their last title-winning season.

Since then he has been mainly doing punditry work though he had failed turn at management.

He resigned as manager of Oldham after less than a month after just one win in seven games, while he also held an interim role at Salford City – who he part-owns along with other members of the Class of 92.

Paul Scholes, though quiet with the media during his career, turned to punditry after retiring


Paul Scholes, though quiet with the media during his career, turned to punditry after retiring

Phil Jones

(17 appearances, 13 starts, 2 assists) 

The 30-year-old is still at Manchester United despite barely playing over the past four seasons.

Sir Alex Ferguson said Jones could go on to become United’s best player, however he has been plagued with injuries during his time at Old Trafford. His performances have also been criticised and to many it’s a surprise that he’s still at the club.  

There was an emotional moment back in January against Wolves, when he made his first United team-sheet in 707 days.

Despite a 1-0 loss, those that remained in the vocal Stretford End serenaded Jones with chants, leaving him close to tears, slapping the badge on his chest before going down the tunnel. 

Phil Jones was emotional after playing his first Man United game in 707 days earlier this year


Phil Jones was emotional after playing his first Man United game in 707 days earlier this year

Anderson 

(17 appearances, 9 starts, 1 goal, 1 assist) 

Anderson, though enjoying success at Old Trafford, failed to live up to his potential and would go on to make only five more league appearances after United’s last title-winning season.

A number of former team-mates including Rafael Da Silva and Ben Foster have said Anderson could have been the ‘best player in the world’ but ‘didn’t care about anything,’ loved McDonalds and couldn’t resist a takeaway burger.

Anderson left United in 2015 and would retire from football just five years later at the age of 31.

Since his retirement he held a role as assistant manager of Turkish side Adana Demirspor.

Former team-mates of Anderson (left) said he could have been the 'best player in the world'


Former team-mates of Anderson (left) said he could have been the ‘best player in the world’

Ashley Young

(19 appearances, 17 starts, 5 assists) 

The winger-turned-defender spent an additional seven seasons at Old Trafford, but the 2012-13 season was the only time that he won the Premier League title.

After a season-and-a-half where he won the Serie A title at Inter Milan, he returned to Aston Villa – who he left for United in 2011 – at the start of last season. 

At the age of 37 he still gets regular game-time in the Premier League and has scored one goal in his 11 appearances so far this season.

Ashley Young left United in January 2020 and is now in his second stint at Aston Villa


Ashley Young left United in January 2020 and is now in his second stint at Aston Villa

Nemanja Vidic

(19 appearances, 18 starts, 1 goal) 

The once imperious Serbian’s powers had already begun to diminish in 2012-13, only featuring 22 times in the Premier League.

Vidic, now 41, would last one more year at United – before an ill-fated 28-game spell at Inter Milan brought the curtain down on his illustrious career in 2016, later becoming a Red Devils ambassador.

Last November he enrolled in UEFA’s Executive Master for International Players course and is embarking on a new career path after signing up to the 20-month programme.

Nemanja Vidic was already on the wane by the time of the 2012-13 Premier League season


Nemanja Vidic was already on the wane by the time of the 2012-13 Premier League season

Shinji Kagawa

(20 appearances, 17 starts, 6 goals, 4 assists) 

The Japanese star, now 33, arrived as a marquee signing in 2012 from Borussia Dortmund and provided United fans with the occasional moments of brilliance in his first season – becoming the first Asian player to score a Premier League hat-trick against Norwich.

However, he struggled to replicate the same level of consistent form that he did under Klopp at Borussia Dortmund, and returned to the Bundesliga side one year after United’s title triumph.

After spells at Besiktas, Real Zaragoza and PAOK, he now plays for Belgian side Sint Truiden. 

Shinji Kagawa (left) struggled to live up to initial expectation during his time at Old Trafford


Shinji Kagawa (left) struggled to live up to initial expectation during his time at Old Trafford 

Ryan Giggs

(22 appearances, 12 starts, 2 goals, 3 assists) 

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Giggs played just one more season before retiring on 963 appearances and 168 goals during his legendary two-decade stint at Old Trafford.

He worked as assistant to Louis van Gaal at Manchester United, before having a stint as Wales manager. 

Giggs stepped down as Wales manager after being charged with assaulting his ex-girlfriend.

new balance

The Welshman, who denies the accusations will have to stand trial next year = facing charges of assault and coercive and controlling behaviour.

Ryan Giggs stepped down as Wales manager after being charged with assaulting his ex-girlfriend - allegations that he has denied


Ryan Giggs stepped down as Wales manager after being charged with assaulting his ex-girlfriend – allegations that he has denied

Javier Hernandez 

(22 appearances, 9 starts, 10 goals, 5 assists)

Chicharito made it to double figures in 2012-13 for goals despite making less than ten starts. 

However, he continued to struggle for regular game-time and after a loan spell at Real Madrid, he left the club in 2015 for Bayer Leverkusen. 

After spells at West Ham and Sevilla, he now plays for MLS side LA Galaxy.

On the side, the Mexican is also regularly seen playing Call of Duty: Warzone on streaming platform Twitch.

Streaming under the channel name ‘CH14’ competes professionally for the reputed eSports franchise Complexity Gaming and is regularly seen trash-talking fellow players with some rather x-rated language.

Hernandez, 34, now plays his football for MLS side LA Galaxy after joining the club in 2020


Hernandez, 34, now plays his football for MLS side LA Galaxy after joining the club in 2020

Tom Cleverley 

(22 appearances, 18 starts, 2 goals, 3 assists) 

An England regular at this point, homegrown midfielder Tom Cleverley appeared to be set for a long, storied career in the Man United midfield.

He was quickly pushed aside by Louis van Gaal, however, first being loaned out to Aston Villa in 2014, before joining Everton permanently a year later.

The 33-year-old is now in his seventh season at Watford. He was appointed captain in the summer but has been out with an Achilles tendon injury for the majority of the current campaign. 

Former United player Tom Cleverley is in his seventh season at Championship side Watford


Former United player Tom Cleverley is in his seventh season at Championship side Watford 

Jonny Evans

(23 appearances, 21 starts, 3 goals, 2 assists) 

The Northern Ireland international joined West Brom in 2015, a move that was criticised by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

After three years at West Brom, he joined Leicester where he is currently in his fifth season for the Foxes.

The 34-year-old’s biggest accomplishment since leaving United is winning the FA Cup with Brendan Rodgers’ side in 2021.  

Jonny Evans has since enjoyed success at Leicester since his departure from Man United


Jonny Evans has since enjoyed success at Leicester since his departure from Man United

Danny Welbeck

(27 appearances, 13 starts, 1 goal, 4 assists) 

There were high hopes for Welbeck at Manchester United but his problems with injuries prevented him from becoming a regular at the club.

He scored nine goals the season after before he was surprisingly allowed to join rivals Arsenal on deadline day in September 2014. 

Welbeck scored 32 goals in 126 appearances for the Gunners before joining Watford and is now in third season at Brighton. 

Danny Welbeck has scored 13 goals in 65 appearances since joining Brighton in 2020


Danny Welbeck has scored 13 goals in 65 appearances since joining Brighton in 2020

Wayne Rooney

(27 appearances, 22 starts, 12 goals, 10 assists) 

Legendary forward Wayne Rooney would leave United four years on from the 2013 triumph to return to Everton, but not before becoming the club’s captain and all-time leading goalscorer.

After his year back at Goodison Park, he turned out for DC United and Derby County before hanging up his boots to become manager of the Rams. recently hanging up his boots to become manager of the Rams aged 35.

England’s joint leading scorer left Derby after their relegation to League One and is now back at DC United as manager of the MLS side. 

Manchester United's leading scorer Wayne Rooney is now manager of MLS side DC United


Manchester United’s leading scorer Wayne Rooney is now manager of MLS side DC United 

Rio Ferdinand 

(28 appearances, 26 starts, 1 goal, 2 assists) 

The former England defender would last just one more season at Old Trafford, before signing a one-year deal at Queens Park Rangers. 

He was not able to return to his form from the 2012-13 season and would would retire after his one year at the London-based side.

The 44-year-old now works as a television pundit for BT Sport and over the World Cup for BBC Sport.

Rio Ferdinand made 455 appearances for Manchester United before his exit in 2014


Rio Ferdinand made 455 appearances for Manchester United before his exit in 2014

Rafael 

(28 appearances, 27 starts, 3 goals, 4 assists) 

The Brazilian was a key man in 2012-13 but lasted only two more seasons before being shipped off to Lyon.

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Rafael, now 32, played 139 times in five years with the French club before departing for Istanbul Basaksehir, and later Brazilian side Botafogo – who he supported growing up.  

In an interview with Sportsmail in 2021, he and his twin brother Fabio revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson would get the pair confused, and that the wrong twin would find themselves on the end of a rollicking. 

Rafael speaks to Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of a Carling Cup match back in 2008


Rafael speaks to Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of a Carling Cup match back in 2008

David De Gea

(28 starts) 

One of two players still at the Red Devils ten years later.  The Spaniard was just two seasons into his spell at Old Trafford at the time and has now made over 500 appearances for the club.

However, he could have left for Real Madrid if it wasn’t for an issue with a fax machine back in 2015. 

The 32-year-old has had his ups and downs during his time at the club but so often over their slump in recent seasons he has come to their rescue.

His contract expires at the end of the season, so the Spaniard will have a big decision to make over whether he commits his future at the club or calls it quits and opts for a fresh challenge after 12 seasons.

David De Gea is in his 12th season at Old Trafford with disappointingly just one title to his name


David De Gea is in his 12th season at Old Trafford with disappointingly just one title to his name

Antonio Valencia 

(30 appearances, 24 starts, 1 goal, 7 assists)

Valencia was coming off a season where he was named the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year at Manchester United, and he had eight goal contributions during United’s title-winning campaign. 

The winger extended his stay at the club by evolving into a right-back and even became captain in 2017.

He left in 2019 to return to Ecuador for LDU Quito, before signing for Mexican outfit Queretaro. In May 2021, he announced his retirement from football and now works with young aspiring players in his home nation.

Antonio Valencia retired in 2021 after spells in Ecuador and Mexico after leaving United


Antonio Valencia retired in 2021 after spells in Ecuador and Mexico after leaving United

Patrice Evra

(34 starts, 4 goals, 6 assists) 

Evra, now 41, left United in 2014 and went on to play for clubs including Juventus, Marseille and West Ham before his retirement.

The Frenchman now appears as an occasional pundit, though is perhaps most known for his energetic videos on social media which normally end with him blurting out ‘I love this game’. 

He occasionally produces some outrageous soundbites and filmed himself doing some bizarre things.

Among his more random moments since his retirement includes licking a raw chicken and having to apologise to after hinting on Sky Sports that unfounded rumours about  Wilfried Zaha’s relationship with David Moyes’ daughter ruined the winger’s career at Manchester United.

Patrice Evra is now known for his energetic social media videos and some outrageous soundbites


Patrice Evra is now known for his energetic social media videos and some outrageous soundbites

Michael Carrick

(36 appearances, 34 starts, 1 goal, 4 assists)

Possibly the most underrated England player of the golden generation, won everything on offer to him under Sir Alex Ferguson and accumulated up 481 Premier League appearances in doing so.

Continued to work for United beyond his playing career but left the club after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s departure – though he did win his only game in charge as interim manager.

Carrick took his first senior management role in October at Championship side Middlesbrough.

Michael Carrick took his first manager role in October at Championship side Middlesbrough


Michael Carrick took his first manager role in October at Championship side Middlesbrough

Robin van Persie

(38 appearances, 35 starts, 26 goals, 15 assists)

The 2012-13 title win is perhaps most remembered by Robin van Persie’s sensational season following his switch from Arsenal – in which he scored 26 goals.

Van Persie proved to be the difference after joining the Red Devils, as United won the title back from local rivals Man City.

He would never match those heights again and left for Fenerbahce in 2015 before winning the Dutch Cup with boyhood club Feyenoord in 2019. 

Since then he has done some punditry work and is currently assistant manager at Feyenoord. 

Earlier this month, he returned to the club’s Carrington base at the invite of United boss Erik ten Hag. 

Robin van Persie returned to Carrington earlier this month after an invite from Erik ten Hag


Robin van Persie returned to Carrington earlier this month after an invite from Erik ten Hag



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