Ethan Laird was one of Manchester United’s standout players in the victory over Astana.
It did not come as any surprise to anybody who has been watching him at under-23 level this season.
Laird’s debut has been a long time coming and he is a very promising right-back option.
It was clear from the start in Astana that Laird was full of confidence, calm in possession and eager to get on the ball.
The 18-year-old has surely earned himself a few more opportunities. Despite the eventual 2-1 loss, he came out of the game with real credit, being picked out by BT Sport pundit Owen Hargreaves as United’s best player.
End to end
Laird was a contributor at both ends of the pitch. He had one key pass, among six United players to create a chance.
Defensively he won two tackles and made two clearances, while completing 83 per cent of his passes.
He had three successful dribbling attempts to go past opponents. This was more than any player on the pitch.
There is more to come from Laird too. Tahith Chong looked a little lost in front of him and didn’t have a great game. Put Dan James in front of him, and Laird will be even more dangerous.
It won’t be easy for Laird to become a regular at United, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot ahead of him in the pecking order. But both have missed time with injury this season and like Brandon Williams, he will get chances.
There could be a couple more for Laird too. He did enough to suggest he is worth another start against AZ Alkmaar in a fortnight.
Here is a look at how fans reacted to Ethan Laird’s performance…
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