Paul McShane.

Cox: Why McShane has returned to United

Sunday 01 August 2021 15:00

Paul McShane played his second Under-23s game for Manchester United on Saturday after making a return to his former club.

The experienced centre-back has joined in an innovative player-coach capacity and followed up his outing in the win at Stalybridge Celtic in midweek by taking on his ex-employers Hull City in another pre-season friendly on Saturday.

He was close to scoring in the first half of the 2-0 defeat to the Tigers and looks certain to provide a huge influence on those around him in his new role.

Nick Cox speaks to us about Paul McShane's arrival at the club.

"Paul will join us in the role of player-coach and he obviously brings a wealth of experience," said Cox. "He understands the club, having been a graduate of our Academy.

“He was playing league football last season and he's an A-licence coach so that's a unique blend of skills that he brings. He will join us predominantly in a coaching capacity so he is going to be a resource that will help improve the players around him and he will do that in a number of ways.

“He will train with the group to make sure the intensity of the sessions is high because he is used to playing in intense environments in senior football. He will give us a new different perspective from a coaching point of view from within the session and see different things, which is really important, and he can coach from within the session as well.

“He will give our exciting, young attacking players a daily challenge so they will be able to go up against him knowing he's played in the European Championship and played in some huge games, FA Cup finals. He's a daily presence for them to try to test themselves against and he can be the big brother to the other defenders and teach them, a little bit like the old-school world of Reserves football.

"Young players were [then] playing with and against senior players and you would learn from your peers and learn on the job, rather than just all the information always coming from the coach. He may, indeed, at the right time, play in some fixtures as well. He is not predominantly joining us as a player but he may play as a learning tool for other players.

Youth, courage, success – what it’s all about


A commitment to youth is not a tradition kept for tradition’s sake but the heartbeat of the club, writes Harry Robinson.

“So you can imagine Paul playing in the centre of defence and he's got some young players around him that he can coach, teach, help and lead by example throughout the fixtures. At times, that will happen.

“We're excited. We think it's an amazing appointment and we can't wait to have him as part of the team. It's what we think is a little bit innovative and that's what our club is about, right? Trying to do things differently and trying to do things other clubs haven't done. Yeah, we're excited.”