Charlie McNeill and Zidane Iqbal.

McNeill enters the record books

Saturday 10 September 2022 10:00

Although Thursday night's game against Real Sociedad ended in defeat for Manchester United, there was a proud moment for Charlie McNeill when he came on to make his senior debut.

The striker marked his final day as an 18-year-old (it was his birthday on Friday), by coming off the bench for Tyrell Malacia, with seven minutes left on the clock at Old Trafford.

Despite being unable to help his side force an equaliser in the 1-0 loss to our Spanish visitors, it must have been a special feeling for everybody associated with the local lad who fulfilled a dream he'd held since being a boyhood fan.

Charlie McNeill soaks up the Old Trafford atmosphere.

Particularly given the circumstances of the occasion, with the game kicking off so soon after the announcement that Her Majesty The Queen had sadly passed away, it may not be a fixture that is remembered for years to come.

However, McNeill now has the record of being the first Academy player to be handed his debut by new manager Erik ten Hag. The previous five debutants were all summer signings - Malacia, Lisandro Martinez, Christian Eriksen, Casemiro and Antony.

McNeill had been given a glimpse of the senior action by being named as a substitute for our pre-season friendly against Rayo Vallecano and this latest experience follows some good form in the Under-21s, including goals in recent games against Carlisle United (Papa Johns Trophy) and Liverpool (Premier League 2).

Another young sub on Thursday, Alejandro Garnacho, made his first-team bow last term, while Charlie Savage and Zidane Iqbal came off the bench against Young Boys in the Champions League earlier in the campaign.

Iqbal was among the substitutes against La Real, alongside young defender Tyler Fredricson.

McNeill honoured to make debut


Young striker Charlie reacts to his senior bow, in the game against Real Sociedad.

The last player to make his United debut in the Europa League was Amad, ironically against Real Sociedad, during a 4-0 victory in 2021. The Ivory Coast international is currently on loan at Championship side Sunderland.

Teden Mengi was the last Red to make a home bow in the competition, when appearing against LASK Linz in 2020.