Ethan Laird has arguably been Manchester United’s best loanee during the first part of the season.
With 14 players sent out on loan deals over the summer, that’s a feat to be proud of.
Laird has four assists from right-back on loan at Swansea City this season and he has impressed in his end to end displays for the club.
Swansea sit in 12th place, just three points back from the play-off positions.
In an interview with The Athletic, Laird, 20, has been discussing his experience to date, and his hopes for the future.
Most striking is his self-confidence that he believes he can make a difference when he returns to United, if he continues on his current path.
Laird said: “Their success affects me, so I want them to do well. I keep tabs on them. That’s a step that I can’t wait for because I believe in myself that I can do it. But I need to show it.”
The young talent has the right attitude. He is confident, but not arrogant. He knows he is only part of the way towards putting together a successful Championship season.
Swansea have played just 17 of 46 league games, and so Laird has to keep up his consistency ahead of decision time next summer.
He also needs a little luck. Injury prevented him from featuring for United in pre-season, and he will need to avoid a repeat next summer.
Crowded battle for right-back
Laird will join a crowded but winnable battle for the right-back spot next season.
Getting past Aaron Wan-Bissaka is the top objective, but there could also be competition from Diogo Dalot and Brandon Williams.
It’s possible Dalot moves on of course, and Williams’ loan at Norwich isn’t going too great right now.
The biggest threat for Laird is the prospect of a new signing being made at right-back in January.
If a new manager comes in, they could identify the position as one where a more experienced player is needed.
Laird just needs to get to next summer with the situation still the same. He would be right to fancy his chances of becoming an attacking upgrade over Wan-Bissaka.
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