Lee O'Connor makes international debut weeks after Manchester United exit

When it emerged Celtic were interested in Lee O’Connor in August a move made a lot of sense. The 19-year-old had begun the season with five starts for United’s under-23s, playing at both right-back and centre-back.

The talented Manchester United prospect needed competitive football and if the chance to grab it on loan emerged, all parties should take it.

So it was a little surprising when it transpired United had agreed to sell O’Connor to Celtic on a permanent basis.

The fee was undisclosed, but whatever it was, Celtic have probably grabbed a bargain.

Last night he made his international debut for Republic of Ireland in a friendly win over New Zealand.


O’Connor made a real impact, delivering an inch perfect cross from right-back for Callum Robinson to score.

Photo By Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Well played

This was a great moment for the teenager and one he will never ever forget.

It was the dream start to his international career and sets him on his way to more opportunities for Ireland.

So, should we have kept him? Well, United are well off at both centre-back and right-back, with Ethan Laird pushing for a first team debut in the latter position.

O’Connor’s path to the first team would have been blocked at Old Trafford, and he is finding it just as slow at Celtic so far.

He is yet to make his debut for the Scottish champions or even make the bench.

This could change his fortunes and get him noticed. Celtic fans will no doubt be clamouring for his call up.

We would probably feel a bit better if O’Connor was out on loan somewhere and playing regularly. It’s never smart to sell an international quality talent before they have even reached 20.

The versatile defender has the ability to reach the top and could one day make United really regret the decision to let him go.

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images
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