Man United’s XI that received guard of honour from Chelsea: Where are they now?

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When Manchester United travelled to Stamford Bridge in May 2007 they received a guard of honour from Chelsea’s players.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s side had just been crowned Premier League champions, so the likes of John Terry, Claude Makelele and Michael Essien applauded their opponents onto the pitch.

However, Fergie had deployed a weakened starting XI with the forthcoming FA Cup final against Chelsea at the forefront of his mind.

He benched the likes of Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes, while Cristiano Ronaldo was given the night off.

This allowed various fringe players to enjoy a rare start, and the image of these players receiving a guard of honour from Chelsea’s stars regularly pops up on social media.

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But what happened to the 11 players who started the game?

Let’s find out…

Tomasz Kuszczak

Polish goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak made a total of 61 appearances for the Red Devils before joining Brighton on a permeant deal in 2012.

The 38-year-old then went on to play for Wolves and Birmingham but has been without a club since 2019. An announcement over his retirement is surely imminent.

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Kieran Lee

One of three appearances the left-back made for Man Utd, Kieran Lee joined Oldham in 2008 before signing for Sheffield Wednesday four years later.

Now 32, Lee currently plies his trade with Bolton in League Two.

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Wes Brown

Wes Brown was part of United’s 2008 Champions League-winning team and remained at Old Trafford until 2011, when he moved to Sunderland.

The defender, now 41, ended his career in 2018 following a brief stint with Kerala Blasters in India.

Brown had dabbled in coaching and punditry since hanging up his boots.

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John O'Shea

A model professional like Brown, John O’Shea also moved to Sunderland from United in 2011.

He ended his playing career in 2019 following a season with Reading and is currently the first-team coach for the Championship outfit.

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Gabriel Heinze

Fell out with Ferguson after attempting to force a move to Liverpool, Gabriel Heinze went on to play for Real Madrid, Marseille, AS Roma and Newell’s Old Boys before retiring in 2014.

The 42-year-old then became a manager and has since coached Godoy Cruz, Argentinos Juniors and Velez Sarsfield. The Argentine is currently the boss of MLS side Atlanta United.

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Chris Eagles

Rio Ferdinand revealed this week that Roy Keane punched Chris Eagles during a training session, which may explain why he didn’t last very long at Old Trafford.

“I remember when Roy Keane punched up Chris Eagles one time,” Ferdinand told the VIBE with FIVE podcast, per the Daily Mail. “He (Eagles) was only [a] young kid, (taking) liberties. It was good for him Eagles.

“Roy must have been coming back from an injury, or he didn't play, and he was playing with the reserves and the youngsters that were in there like Eagles and Lee Martin were like rats, getting in close and trying to tackle.

“He went in late on Roy once or twice and Roy said to him, ‘Listen, slow down’. The ball comes in again, Eagles was trying to impress, trying to leave his mark and left a little bit on Roy again and pulled his jersey.

“Roy just turned round and went bang in the jaw. A quick short jab and I just stood there and went, ‘Roy, what's wrong with you?’.

“And I went inside and said, ‘Roy, why are you doing that for? He's a young kid man’. And I warned him.”

The winger played 17 times for the Red Devils before moving to Burnley in 2008. He has since played for Bolton, Blackpool, Charlton, Bury, Accrington Stanley, Port Vale, Ross County and Oldham.

The 35-year-old has been without club since January 2020.

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Alan Smith

Transformed from centre-forward to midfielder enforcer under Ferguson, Alan Smith went on to play for Newcastle, MK Dons and Notts County.

He reportedly now lives in Orlando, Florida, and works with youngsters as a coach at the XL Soccer World Academy.

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Darren Fletcher

Darren Fletcher stayed with United until 2015, when he moved to West Brom. He then had two seasons with Stoke before retiring in 2019.

The Scot, 37, recently returned to Old Trafford after accepting the opportunity to become a first-team coach.

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Kieran Richardson

A talented youngster, Kieran Richardson blew hot and cold for United before joining Sunderland in 2007.

He became a born again Christian around the same time, telling reporters: "I just want to praise Jesus Christ and go to heaven. That's all I care about”.

Richardson went on to play for Fulham, Aston Villa and Cardiff City but the 36-year-old has been without a club since leaving the Welsh club in 2016.

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Whatever happened to this guy?

In case you’ve been living under a rock on the moon for the past years, you’ll be aware that Solskjaer is currently the manager of Man Utd after replacing Jose Mourinho in 2018.

Who would have saw that coming in 2007?

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Dong Fangzhuo

Ah, Dong. Nicknamed ‘The Chinese Rooney’ after signing for United in 2004, the Chelsea game was his only league appearance for the Red Devils.

Sad reports emerged several years ago - per the Daily Star and others - claiming Dong had undergone facial surgery on Chinese TV in an effort to stop the daily abuse he faced following his underwhelming football career.

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It’s also been reported that United managed to get a full refund on the £500,000 they paid Dalian Shide for the centre-forward, who retired aged 2009 following spells in Poland, Portugal and Armenia.

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