As a board club, Manchester United certainly has a youth education system that is one of the best in England.
Their academy has also been noted to have spawned a number of star players who have achieved success both at domestic and international levels.
Call it David Beckham, the Neville Brothers, Ryan Giggs, George Best, Sir Bobby Charlton, Marcus Rashford, Nicky Butt, Paul Pogba, and many more.
James Chester is just one of those names, who unfortunately failed to perform and succeed with the senior team.
In fact, he has played at Manchester United Academy since the age of eight, starting in 1997.
Joining Manchester United was like a dream come true for a boy of James Chester’s age in England.
He also did not waste this opportunity and studied football hard in order to be successful.
Slowly but surely, he also crawled up in the Manchester United youth team to participate in the 2007 UEFA Youth Cup.
At that time, he had signed a professional contract as a trainee and was aiming for a place in Sir Alex Ferguson’s senior team.
Career Journey at Manchester United
Finally, the opportunity to debut with the senior team came in 2009. Sir Alex Ferguson installed James Chester as a substitute in the English League Cup match.
He came on for Gary Neville in the semi-final against Derby County, when the Red Devils had gone three goals clear and finally emerged victorious.
Unfortunately, James Chester’s actions with Manchester United did not always bear fruit. After playing for a dozen years at this venue, he was finally released to Hull City in 2011.
Even so, the Warrington-born player does not seem to regret his career journey with Manchester United.
“When you become a student, you realize how important competition is for a football club,” he said, according to the Manchester Evening News website.
At first it was thrilling and worrisome when I had to be involved in it,” he said again.
Yes, James Chester does realize that the demands of playing at Manchester United are quite heavy, with the history they have as a big club.
In fact, the FA Youth Cup event which he participated in with his colleagues was also as important as other tournaments at the senior level.
Furthermore, he also reminisced about the 2007 FA Youth Cup final when Manchester United had to face their arch-nemesis, Liverpool.
“When I joined United at the age of eight, I was told what the rivalry was like between United and Liverpool,” he said.
Manchester United remains a special place
At that time, James Chester was also convinced that the FA Youth Cup was an important event that he and his team-mates had to win.
Unfortunately, Manchester United at that time had to admit Liverpool’s superiority through a two-legged match which ended in a penalty shootout.
In addition to the memorable FA Youth League final, James Chester’s days at Manchester United were filled with joy, including when he got the chance to make his first-team debut in 2009.
According to him, the experience is very special, especially for him who has been at the club for a very long time.
“Growing up as a United fan was something you couldn’t take away from me, even today.”
During his time at Manchester United, James Chester was also loaned to a number of clubs, including Peterborough, which was managed by Sir Alex Ferguson’s son, Darren.
In addition, he also studied at Plymouth and Carisle United before officially leaving for Hull City.
Now, the 33-year-old player has been registered as a Stoke City player since 2020, after moving from West Bromwich and also Aston Villa.
Despite being released by Sir Alex Ferguson, James Chester will certainly remember Manchester United as one of the best places he has visited at least once in his life.