Ireland for Harry Gregg’s Testimonial and then I came on as a substitute at the Etihad and scored the second goal.
How did you hear about the first-team call-up for the Testimonial game?
I didn’t expect it. I was just walking out to training and Rene Meulensteen shouted me over and said I’d be involved tomorrow. Once I went, I still didn’t expect to get half a game as left-back.
It must have been some experience..
It makes you feel good. All that waiting and the hard work to get the reward of playing in the first team. I came to United at the age of seven so football has been my life. I’m from Salford so I’m a local lad and everyone in my family is a United fan, as I am.
Have you grown up with some of your team-mates here?
Tyler [Blackett] is a year younger but he’s been here since he was quite young but the main ones who have been here since we were seven or eight years old are me, Tom Thorpe, Jesse Lingard and Larnell Cole.
Did Rene Meulensteen take you for skills sessions in the early days?
We used to have Rene at the age of eight or nine – before and after sessions. We used to do skills and tricks and now he’s first-team coach so he knows what kind of players we are.
Does he hark back to the lessons he instilled at that young age?
He always reminds us that if we didn’t have that skill drilled into us then we wouldn’t be able to get out of certain situations that we can now. It wouldn’t have been possible if we hadn’t done it at a younger age.
Have you trained with the first team as well as playing in the Testimonial?
I’ve been with the first team a few times last season and a couple of times in pre-season. Training from the Reserves to the first team is a huge step-up to how the Reserves play. You’ve got to be right on it and, when you come off the pitch, your head is spinning because the players are that quick.
You had Paul Scholes train with you in the Reserves. How big an influence was he?
We’ve had Scholesy