Will Fish was the late addition to Manchester United’s Europa League squad this week.
Fish comes in from the under-23s with United light on centre-back options.
Harry Maguire is suspended and Eric Bailly is unavailable.
Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay, two players capable of switching positions to fill in, are also unavailable due to suspension.
With Teden Mengi out on loan, United needed to bring Will Fish into the squad as cover.
United’s other options are Victor Lindelof and Axel Tuanzebe (who has not started since January), and perhaps Nemanja Matic out of position as emergency cover.
Solskjaer talks Fish up
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer talked positively about the 18-year-old defender.
He told his press conference: “He’s a very good talent, a composed centre-back with physical stature. He’s one we believe in.
“Of course, we’ve lost a few defenders so to have Will on the bench is a good experience for him and he’s there if he’s needed and he’s ready.”
A real catch
Fish turned 18 in February and already has a total of 24 appearances for United’s under-23 side.
He made his debut for the under-23s at just 16-years-old back in 2019.
Fish has also captained the side eight times this season, including in both matches against Liverpool.
He has also represented England at under-18s and under-17s level.
Fish signed his first professional contract at United just over a year ago in March 2020, so this brief promotion to the first team is a rapid rise.
Last season he struck up a partnership with Teden Mengi and while he was overshadowed at times, Fish has made good progress in his own right.
This year it has been tougher, with United winning promotion to the top flight of the under-23s and Mengi playing irregularly before his loan, Fish has had to learn to swim at the deep end.
It has not been easy at times for him, with his own inexperience and a rotating cast of centre-back partners. There have been mistakes, including a red card after just seven minutes in a recent draw with Brighton.
But he has amassed great experience already and in a couple of years time, he might start challenging for first team chances in his own right, if he improves and develops his game.
Being involved tonight will give him a big confidence boost and motivation to kick on. He may even make it off the bench for a late debut – hopefully when United are cruising to win, not because we need him in an emergency.
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