Kovar and Laird discuss merits of loan deals

Sunday 17 July 2022 14:00

Manchester United’s pre-season tours provide an opportunity for the players to get fit ahead of the new season and also to meet their adoring fans in all corners of the globe.

Traditionally, though, this is a time of year when some of the club’s top young talents – and don’t we have a penchant for producing them – come to the fore.

In our first game of Tour 2022, for example, Charlie Savage and Zidane Iqbal held their own against Liverpool’s highly experienced midfield, while the slightly more experienced but still green Amad and Facundo Pellistri combined for the fourth goal having been sent on at half-time by Erik ten Hag.

Those performances will encourage the other youngsters in the squad, including Matej Kovar and Ethan Laird, who sat down with us earlier in the tour for the first episode of our brand-new Emerging Reds series.

Emerging Reds: Laird x Kovar Video

Emerging Reds: Laird x Kovar

Our brand-new series, focused on United's premier young talents, begins with Matej Kovar and Ethan Laird...

In order to get to know these exciting young players better, we asked them a range of questions about their journey to the first-team squad, looking at how they were discovered and their experiences of playing for United at various levels.

The loan system was also touched upon, with both players having spent the last two campaigns plying their trade in the Football League.

One learned everything he could from a Champions League winner, while the other recovered from a disappointing spell to take his chance in League One, as you can read below...


“At Swansea I knew some of the players already, some of the ‘legends’ you can say were literally just retired. We had Wayne Routledge – literally just retired. Nathan Dyer – literally just retired. So obviously, Nath, I spoke to Nath and he helped me.

“Some of the players there are exceptional. The captain, Matt Grimes, technical, but there’s so many players but you just take it in from what they do on the ball, so that was a bit different for me, just watching them and then you realise ‘oh, I need to do the same to do that.’

Laird enjoyed learning from club legends while on loan at Swansea.

“While I was at Bournemouth, there was a lot more, you could say like experienced pros there. Players who had been in the Premier League, came down, Premier League, been back.

“Gary Cahill, for example, he was there. And I remember just soaking up everything he said. Champions League winner, England international, like, crazy. So I remember whenever he talked it was like *whoosh* and I just took in everything.

“Any little tips he gave me on the pitch, any little encouragement, any criticism. I took it all in. But I feel like, in that sense I feel that Bournemouth I learnt quite a lot.”

The Tour View: Games room! Video

The Tour View: Games room!

David and Bruno go head-to-head at table tennis, as the GoPro is passed around the players’ Melbourne hotel…


“For me, probably the biggest experience I had was in Swindon, because obviously things really didn’t go well, also for my way but also for the club’s way, because at that time there was Covid as well…

“So I remember we had Covid in the team, obviously the manager afterwards left, and then we keep losing.

“We lost I think six games on the bounce, we had a bad goal difference as well. I think we had negative about 15 goals and that kind of doesn’t help. And also as a group, as a team, obviously in football it’s about winning games and yeah like I said that time was kind of hard, but obviously when I came back I kind of realised it was a learning curve.

Matej's spell at Swindon was affected by Covid, but he bounced back with Burton.

“The next year I went on loan to Burton. I was kind of more ready, I knew what is going to be like, how they’re going to behave to you as well so, like I say, I felt more ready. I’ve obviously been, when I got my chance I took it, and I really enjoyed it as well.”

Watch the full episode now above and stay tune for further coverage of our youngsters as we continue with the Emerging Reds series.