June 28, 2020
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will promote academy fullback Ethan Laird to first team training, keeping an eye on his progress at the club, presumably looking ahead to the future. The 18-year-old will join fellow academy graduates Mason Greenwood, James Garner, Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong and Teden Mengi in training sessions.
Laird, 18, is comfortable playing in the right-back position or even in the centre of defence, which at this present time could give him an opportunity with the liked of Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones on the sidelines through injury and the fact that Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo are both away from the club on loan.
This season, albeit at U23 level, Laird has impressed after returning from an injury at the very start of the season. He even made his first team debut against FC Astana back in November, appearing against AZ Alkmaar a fortnight later, which gave him a taste of things to come at the club under Solskjaer, which will be good for both the player and club.
Laird will be able to sharpen his skills in the game by training with the first team players, seeing what he will need to reach to become a regular in the squad. He might not get a chance this season, unless United reach their objective at some stage before the end of the season. Speaking about training and his players, also mentioning Laird, Solskjaer said:
“They keep on working every single day. Jimmy [Garner] is training with us, Ethan [Laird] will probably come in with the group, Teden has been there.
“Tahith [Chong] and Angel [Gomes] have been working hard behind the scenes. Hopefully, they keep on developing and get an opportunity and I’m sure they’ll take it.”
Laird signed for United as a nine-year-old and alongside playing for United at various youth levels, he has been capped for England at U17, U18 and U19 level and will be seeking to continue representing his country at every level possible. It will be exciting for Laird as a player to train alongside the likes of Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who could teach him a lot at the club.