Ethan Laird is ticking the first box required of him on loan at MK Dons. He has shed his injury prone reputation and is playing regularly, with 13 starts to his name since moving in January.

The Manchester United loanee has two assists too, and was one of the club’s better performers in a 1-0 defeat to Blackpool in midweek.

Laird created three chances, more than any player on the pitch.

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His manager Russell Martin is pleased with him – but feels he could still do better.

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Martin told the club website he was frustrated with an early miss from Laird in the fifth minute which could have changed the result. He said: “On another night, Ethan scores from five yards out in the first five minutes and it’s a different game.”

He is very happy with the teenager’s contribution overall. He told the MK Citizen he believes Laird has a lot more to offer.

Martin said: “Ethan did really well. We just need to get him the ball more, he didn’t get enough of it in the second half.

“Ethan is getting better and better, he’s listened and focused on the detail. He’s frustrated he’s not got more assists and goals because he’s certainly capable of it.”

Challenge laid down

The first part of Laird’s loan is going well. He Hhas played 13 games and established himself as a regular in the team.

Now his manager wants him to start adding goals, and adding to his contribution of two assists so far.

Laird has the ability, and as his manager points out, it is the team’s responsibility to get him into possession more, so he can do more damage.

The youngster is impressing in terms of his ability, and seemingly his attitude too, with his manager praising the attention to detail he has, and his willingness to follow instructions.

Laird will continue in League One until the end of the season and then United will assess what to do with him in the summer.

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The 19-year-old could compete with Aaron Wan-Bissaka for the right-back spot, or at least back him up.

The alternative is he goes out on loan to a club higher up the football league ladder, or abroad. For now, Laird has to keep at it.

He’s doing well, and if he steps up to the challenge to improve and adds more goals and assists to his name, then he will stand a better chance of forcing his way into United’s plans next season.

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