Ethan Laird makes United under-23 injury return, provides assist

Promising Manchester United full-back Ethan Laird made his comeback from injury last night in the 4-1 win at Swansea.

Laird, 18, is one of the club’s most exciting defensive prospects, but has had poor luck with injuries.

He was taken off in August in an under-23 win over Reading and had been sidelined since.

Laird had begun the season in fine form, scoring in the EFL Trophy win over Rotherham.

His comeback was ideal, starting in his favoured right-back position, he provided an assist for United’s third goal.

Laird’s cross was headed in by striker D’Mani Mellor, to follow goals from Largie Ramazani, Dylan Levitt (penalty), while Aliou Traore scored a fourth.

Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

What has he returned to?

Laird’s favoured position is right-back, and his injury has been unlucky for him as Aaron Wan-Bissaka has missed time for the first team.

He had also been playing at left-back before his time in the treatment room, a position where United need more first team competition.

Brandon Williams has seized his chance, and is now making a case for first team involvement, recently making his debut.

17-year-old Reece Devine has recently been featuring at left-back for the under-23s, and he kept his place last night.

Laird slotted back in at right-back, enabling Arnau Puigmal to move into midfield after he had filled in there.

United’s win keeps them second in the league, and their form made it easier for Laird to come back in and get back to where he left off.

The path to first team minutes is complicated for the 18-year-old, but he is good enough that he will break through if he can stay injury free.

That has to be the target for him now. If Laird can avoid injury and get a run of games, the rest will look after itself, and opportunity will come his way.

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