Manchester United started two young players for their first Champions League appearances for the club against Young Boys. Two more came on for their first games in the competition, and then another two players came on at the end to make their full Manchester United debuts.
But in addition to Anthony Elanga, Amad, Shola Shoretire, Teden Mengi, Charlie Savage and Zidane Iqbal, there was not quite enough space for everyone.
United’s decision to give veteran goalkeeper Tom Heaton a long awaited debut meant defender Bjorn Hardley ended the night as an unused substitute.
Hardley was grateful despite the near-miss, and is going to use the call-up as inspiration.
Hardley signed for United from Dutch side NAC Breda in 2020 and has been working his way through the academy system.
The young centre-back captained the under-18s last season and has since stepped up to the under-23 side.
The call-up to the first team was reward for his impressive progress over the past two and a half years since joining the club.
This season Hardley has made 20 appearances already across the under-23s, UEFA Youth League and EFL Trophy, also managing to score two goals.
With Teden Mengi likely to head out on loan in the second half of the season, Hardley could benefit if there are any rotational opportunities in the second half of the season.
Just being in the United squad will have been a huge learning experience, and while he was unlucky to be the odd man out, this close call will make him even more determined to earn another opportunity.
- Is Manchester United vs West Ham on TV? Kick off time, team news and prediction
- 4-3-3: Predicted Manchester United XI v West Ham, Greenwood at 9
- Rangnick says he is happy with Manchester United star but calls on him to improve defensively
- Manchester United talent scores twice on under-23 return after loan recall
- Rangnick says Cristiano Ronaldo has a new injury and issues fitness latest on Scott McTominay