Lee Grant takes a goal kick in Nur-Sultan

Grant: Astana a great lesson for youngsters

Lee Grant and his fellow Manchester United team-mates were understandably disappointed to lose out to Astana on Thursday night, but the full debutant says there are plenty of positives to be taken from the experience.

The 36-year-old, who made his first start for the club in Nur-Sultan, echoed his manager’s thoughts regarding the efforts of the young players who performed valiantly in the opening 45 minutes. The hosts ultimately turned the game around after the break, but Grant insists the Reds’ starlets will be stronger for the whole experience.

“They will take a lot from the game,” Lee told us. ”Just being out there in a Man United shirt, it's a really fantastic experience. It's not one that comes around every so often.

“Hopefully it gives those boys something really to aim for as well as the rest of the Academy and the young boys in the set-up because it's important for them to see the pathway at the football club.

“Technically they're all capable and they showed that throughout the 90 minutes. There's absolutely no doubt that they've got talent as individuals, it's just about learning those finer details that will help us to win games, especially when you have difficult circumstances away from home.

”It would have been nice to have kept a clean sheet, of course. And I must say that was my main feeling coming off the pitch, that sort of professional disappointment on that - especially in a game that we know we probably could have won had we limited their chances.

“There were areas where we should have done better but, as I say, the bigger picture is I am really pleased for the young guys and that will certainly stand them in good stead going forward. They will take lots and lots away from this.”

Despite the disappointing result, the game will always be significant for Grant and it’s an experience he's hoping to repeat again soon.

“It was an extremely proud night for myself and the other boys making their debuts,” he added. “It felt normal to be walking out there. That's not to say it wasn't exciting and obviously of course there were a little bit of nerves, but I felt ready to be out there and be a part of it. Now the game is out of the way and done with, of course I’m really, really proud and looking forward to the next one.

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