Last week we met the goalkeeper of this team, now moving forward we reveal who won the polling for the right-back spot.
There were 4 candidates to choose from – Johnathan Specter, Michael Clegg, Guillermo Varela and Mark Lynch. Beating three of this competitors is Clegg garnering a massive 89% of votes.
You must be wondering why Clegg won by such a huge margin. Well, let me take you through his Old Trafford career.
Michael Clegg was a trainee at the United Academy for two years starting in 1993. He stayed on until 1995 when he signed his first professional contract at the club. Clegg was part of the successful 1995 FA Youth Cup campaign with his performances at the youth level being spotted by one of Sir Alex’s assistants and Clegg was integrated into the first team fold.
LIMITED CHANCES IN THE FIRST TEAM
It was going to be tough ask for anyone to make a mark on the team coming off the back of two league titles in three years let alone Michael Clegg who had to challenge Gary Neville for the first team right back spot.
He made his debut for the club against Middlesbrough In 1996. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. He made just 4 appearances that season, which was not enough to secure a winners’ medal for himself as United claimed their fourth Premiership title in 5 years.
The story repeated itself a lot over the coming years as Clegg was limited to games one could count with a single hand. His appearances of three and two in the coming years. Clegg was sent out on loan to Ipswich Town and Wigan Athletic in 2000 but the moves were as big a disaster as his time at Old Trafford.
United let him leave the club on a free transfer as Clegg joined Oldham Athletic in February 2002.
WHY WERE THE LIMITED CHANCES?
It would have taken some doing to dislodge Gary Neville from the Starting XI for any player, let alone one who was considered third choice. Clegg’s time on the field were synonymous with mistakes and uncomfortable viewing for the supporters.
Clegg often looked out of his comfort zone in his ‘favoured’ right back spot. Even when afforded the chances in Cup ties, Clegg failed to leave a mark even against lesser opposition.
AFTER OLD TRAFFORD
Michael Clegg’s eight-year stay at the club saw him make 8 league appearances and 26 in all competitions. His failed loan moves saw him make a collective of 9 appearances for both Ipswich and Wigan, before the switch to Oldham brought him consistent game-time.
Michael Clegg went on to make 46 appearances for Oldham in around two years before injuries and form forced him to cut short a disappointing career.
To Clegg’s credit, he never gave up until his body failed him. It was a disappointing career for him and he probably sees a number of opportunities he failed to take.