Ethan Laird with Mason Greenwood.

Laird in line for Europa League call-up

Wednesday 23 October 2019 11:08

When we spoke to Ethan Laird last season, it was in the wake of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's appointment as manager and the boss had namechecked the young full-back when discussing the potential within the ranks.

"It was very nice of him and a privilege, to be honest, that he knows my name," said the defender. "I've just got to prove to him I'm good enough to be in his team. I've seen it with Mason [Greenwood], James [Garner], Angel [Gomes] and Tahith [Chong], some of the starlets of the group, getting their chance and it's promising. Very promising."

The 18-year-old started the 2019/20 campaign in spectacular fashion, as he and fellow full-back Brandon Williams provided real attacking thrust for Neil Wood's vibrant team. None more so than in the excellent 2-0 victory at Rotherham United in the Trophy, when his fierce drive opened the scoring.

Watch a clip of Ethan Laird's interview after he signed his first professional contract.

Unfortunately, the youngster was injured during the Under-23s' win over Reading in mid-August and only made his comeback in Monday's 4-1 victory at Swansea City.

In the meantime, team-mate Williams has become the latest homegrown debutant blooded by Solskjaer, with the local lad also making his first Premier League appearance against Liverpool at the weekend.

However, Laird has trained with the first-team squad in front of the assembled media on Wednesday morning and could be in line for a place in the travelling squad, with the group scheduled to fly to Serbia in mid-afternoon.

It would be his first senior involvement if he can make the squad for the Europa League Group L clash with Partizan Belgrade and this will be another feather in the cap of the club's Academy.

Laird played 80 minutes against Swansea's second string on Monday, before being replaced by Dillon Hoogewerf, and did well, providing the cross for what turned out to be an own goal when D'Mani Mellor's header hit the woodwork before bouncing in off keeper Josh Gould's shoulder.

We await an update on the squad later this afternoon - Jesse Lingard joined in training but there was no David De Gea, Tim Fosu-Mensah, Axel Tuanzebe, Diogo Dalot, Eric Bailly, Luke Shaw, Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba spotted during the session.

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