McShane warns of Reading's threat
Manchester United are set to take on Reading this evening (Saturday, 20:00 GMT) in the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup.
One man who knows the feeling of being in both camps is our Professional Development Phase coach, Paul McShane, who captained the Royals between 2015 and 2019.
McShane started out with United at youth level and, after a successful career that included many years in the Premier League with other clubs, the centre-back has now come full circle, helping to nurture the young talent we have coming through our Academy at Carrington.
The former Ireland international spoke to our matchday programme United Review ahead of tonight’s match, and says he is looking forward to seeing his former club and current employers lock horns at the Theatre of Dreams.
“It’s going to be an interesting game,” he said.
“It’s going to be one that I enjoy. I have great memories at Reading. I was club captain there for four years and had a decent run in the FA Cup as well, so it’ll be interesting to see how they get on."
The FA Cup holds a special place in Paul’s heart: he reached the final with Hull City back in 2014. And McShane believes the giant-killing potential within the competition is what makes it so iconic.
“I love it,” he said. “Playing in the games, my experience would be that there’s just an atmosphere in the air.
“Especially around Christmas time [with] the wintry atmosphere. And for the lower league clubs it’s a chance to take a few scalps, especially against the bigger teams, and I always found those games really enjoyable because it was a bit like a gladiator going into a Colosseum.
“The fans are up for it, they want a scalp and it’s very, very competitive. I used to love them games and enjoy that it’s a knockout stage. If you lose, you’re out of the competition. I loved it.”
Going into our fourth-round tie versus the Royals, managed by former Red Paul Ince, McShane believes the visitors have enough quality and experience in their side to cause United problems.
“I know a few of their players and I know they have a good blend of youth and experience,” he explained. “Shane Long I know very well from my time with the Irish team. He’s always a threat, He’s an experienced player and he’s also got raw pace and power. He can get a goal. Andy Carroll, also a handful.
“You’ve got Tom Ince, [and] then you have young lads, [Tom] Holmes and [Tom] McIntyre. I knew them when I was there and Andy Yiadom, he was there when I was at the club. They’ve got some really good players that can do something on the day, so by no means will it be a walk in the park [for United].
“It will be difficult, as every cup game is. So I think United will have to be ready for it, which I have no doubt they will be. It will be a good game.”
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