Bern was not a complete write-off for Manchester United's full-backs. Four hours before the first-team kicked off and just over a kilometre away from the Wankdorf Stadion, the United Under-19s strolled out onto the same plastic pitch Mason Greenwood and Angel Gomes scored on three years earlier against Young Boys. Shola Shoretire was the matchwinner in this year's Uefa Youth League opener.

United provided Marc Jurado and Alvaro Fernandez with documentaries on the club and Manchester to ease their integration last year and their approach at the immaculate Sportpark Wyler was aligned with the mythical United Way on a balmy Tuesday afternoon.

On the right, Jurado's purposeful surge created the opening that eventually led to Shoretire tapping in for the only goal. On the left, Fernandez recovered from a thudding aerial collision to clear a goalbound effort off the line completed the 90 minutes, as did Jurado.

"How's your head?" the United youth striker Joe Hugill asked Fernandez. "Nada te para brother!" Jurado commented - 'nothing stops you brother!'

Fernandez has scored twice for the Under-23s this season (his 87th-minute equaliser at Chelsea was a belter) and it was his spirited assist for Charlie McNeil that secured a point against Leicester.

Jurado, 17, and Fernandez, 18, were on the same flight that touched down on the Manchester tarmac last August. There was such fanfare about Jurado, from Barcelona, and Fernandez, formerly of Real Madrid, that photographers captured their arrival.

One fan clocked a United official's jacket and discourteously took a selfie with them, rather than Jurado or Fernandez. Alejandro Garnacho was the third Spanish addition to the United academy from Atletico Madrid.

The club's recruitment drive at junior level was particularly intense before the post-Brexit rules were implemented in January. Jurado, Fernandez and the attacker Garnacho all started in Bern.

Fernandez has trained with the first-team this month and played in the Old Trafford friendly with Stoke City while the internationals were scattered across Europe and Africa at the start of September. Fernandez joined the Real Madrid academy when Cristiano Ronaldo was at the club and got to rub shoulders with the Portuguese at Carrington last week.

Jurado and Fernandez started intensive English lessons during their quarantine on arrival and England and were introduced to their new coaches via Zoom calls. Arnau Puigmal and Mateo Mejia, two Spaniards already in the United academy, FaceTimed their compatriots to help them settle. Jurado and Fernandez communicated in fluent English with their teammates against Young Boys.

Club sources say both players coped well with being away from home for long period over the lockdown in England. Fernandez and Jurado went the entire season without seeing their families yet their performances and are now able to travel to and from Spain more freely.

Jurado on the ball in Bern
Jurado on the ball in Bern

Sources in Spain say Jurado rejected a three-year contract offer from Barcelona and United only had to pay the Catalans a small compensation fee. United signed Puigmal, who was released last year, and Mejia from Espanyol and Real Zaragoza in recent years but Jurado has predictably generated comparisons with Gerard Pique, who switched from Barcelona to United aged 17 in 2004. Jurado captained the Under-18s in their galling humblings by Liverpool and City this season.

United have four enviable tiers of full-backs: first-choice (Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw), second-choice (Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles), youngsters (Ethan Laird and Brandon Williams), and the Spanish teenagers.

Williams, 21, and Laird, 20, have secured impressive loans with Norwich and Swansea and openings could emerge further up the pecking order next year. Telles's shelf-life may not extend beyond two years now he is out of the Brazil squad and the winter World Cup is an incentive to seek a transfer. Dalot would have moved on if Kieran Trippier was a goer.

Jurado should make the step up to the U23s this term and Fernandez is already a fixture in the side. There is little to no chance of all Wan-Bissaka, Shaw, Dalot, Telles, Laird, and Williams being contracted United players in two years' time, when Jurado will be 19 and Fernandez 20, primed for loans.