Manchester United midfielder Ruben Curley returned to the pitch for Manchester United u18s on the weekend for the first time in over a year.
After suffering a torn ACL in pre-season last year, Curley was sidelined for the entirety of the 2022-23 season.
The 17 year old featured off the bench on Saturday, getting 19 minutes of action under his belt in an enthralling 1-4 victory over Stoke City.
After his return, the youngster took to Instagram to celebrate saying “374 days. What a feeling to finally be back out there!”
Curley’s return was almost capped off with an exceptional assist when he curled one to the back post for Bendito Mantato to tap into an open net. But Mantato stumbled at the last moment and missed the chance.
A highly rated central midfielder, Curley was handed his u18s debut while still an u16 with four appearances in the latter stages of the 2021-22 season.
Unfortunately, the hardships of a long injury lay off aren’t a new experience for Curley as he spent almost a year out in 2021 as well.
With a stacked group of central midfielders in United’s u18s setup, it is expected that Curley’s return will be taken slowly as they seek to avoid any further injury setbacks.
The same match also saw the return of defender Jack Kingdon who last appeared in March and captained the young Reds in their victory.
Injuries have plagued the United academy in recent years with many big talents coming through suffering setbacks that have stalled their careers.
Two more academy stars currently out long term are England u18s international Tyler Fredricson, who has been out since December 2022 and exciting winger Ethan Ennis who like Curley has been recovering from an ACL tear in the summer of 2022.
United will be hoping this new batch of prospects will be able to recover and steer clear of any further injuries on their path to the first team, avoiding the outcome of fellow academy graduates such as Axel Tuanzebe, who was released from the club earlier this summer after years of injury troubles.