Ethan Galbraith was the surprise name in Manchester United’s travelling Europa League squad in Germany.
The 19-year-old was selected ahead of Dylan Levitt as an extra man, and while there was not much likelihood he would play, it was an invaluable experience for him.
The picture below shows Galbraith going toe to toe with Bruno Fernandes in a training session in Cologne.
Moments like this will help the young central midfielder as he attempts to make the next step in his career.
So what is the next step for Galbraith?
This is what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his staff must figure out over the next couple of months.
There is an extended deadline for young players to leave on loan to Football League clubs running up until October 16, beyond the October 5 deadline for incoming transfers.
United will not be short on offers for the club’s young stars, with Tahith Chong (Werder Bremen) and Aliou Traore (Caen) have already departed on loan.
Offers will likely come for Galbraith too, who made his Northern Ireland senior international debut in November.
United need to choose between two paths for the youngster. The first will be a loan move, and the second will be keeping him for under-23 games, and occasional cup matches.
James Garner and Dylan Levitt could both head out on loan, and this may tempt United to keep Galbraith, as a back-up option who can anchor the under-23 side which has just been promoted.
He impressed against senior teams in the EFL Trophy last season, scoring one goal and providing one assist in three matches.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has just had a very close look at him and may choose to give him a chance to stay and try and break through in the way Brandon Williams has this season, even though competition for places in midfield is incredibly tough.
Make it count
Whatever lies ahead over the next year for Galbraith, he has to make it count.
His involvement with the first team squad in Germany has given Galbraith a platform, and he could be asked to train regularly with Solskjaer’s side next season if he stays.
We may look back on Galbraith’s presence on this trip and realise this was the start of something special for him, the call-up which prompted him to kick on and take the next step forward in his career.
Let’s hope so. What happens over the next 12 months will be crucial for him, whether he stays put or tries his luck on loan.
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