Manchester United’s loan army are enjoying a positive start to 2021.

James Garner has been impressing Nottingham Forest fans, while Tahith Chong now has assists in successive games.

Ethan Laird is another young player who is making a strong impression, on his first loan spell away from United.

Laird has been at MK Dons and he was picked out for praise by manager Russell Martin after his weekend performance.

Martin told MK Don’s website of Laird: “Brilliant. The difference between him in his first game and today is miles apart.”

AFC Wimbledon v Milton Keynes Dons - Sky Bet League One
(Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Crucial to Laird’s development

Laird has been playing at wing-back and this has allowed him to explore the attacking side of his game.

In MK Dons draw with Sunderland at the weekend, Laird created three chances, while also stepping up defensively by making four interceptions.

This taste of senior football is crucial for Laird, who is just 19-years-old.

 

So far for MK Dons he has played five times, and already has an assist to his name. His side sit 16th out of 24 teams in the division.

A chance to influence United’s future

Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s status as United’s right-back is not under threat. However it is a widely shared view that he needs competition.

Diogo Dalot is out on loan at AC Milan, and Laird at MK Dons. Between them, and current back-up Brandon Williams, the trio are competing to show they can be viable alternatives.

Laird perhaps has the highest ceiling of the three, and so it is important to see him playing regularly and earning praise.

There is a long way to go, but Laird has the potential to save United money in the transfer market if he returns in the summer ready to compete for a first team spot.

Manchester United loan exits 20/21

  1. Aliou Traore

    SM Caen (season)

  2. Joel Pereira

    Huddersfield Town (season)

  3. Andreas Pereira

    Lazio (season)

  4. Diogo Dalot

    AC Milan (season)

  5. Di’Shon Bernard

    Salford City (until end of season)

  6. Jake Carney

    Portadown (season)

  7. Ethan Laird

    MK Dons (Jan to end of season)

  8. Jesse Lingard

    West Ham (Jan to end of season)

  9. James Garner

    Nottingham Forest (Jan to end of season)

  10. Tahith Chong

    Club Brugge (Jan to end of season)

  11. Facundo Pellistri

    Alaves (Jan to end of season)

  12. Teden Mengi

    Derby (Jan to end of season)

  13. Dylan Levitt

    NK Istra (Feb to end of season)

Salford v Manchester United U21 - EFL Trophy
(Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)
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