Ethan Laird returned to training this week after suffering an injury for the under-21s in the EFL Trophy clash with Salford City
It was particularly notable that instead of going into the under-21 side to take on Rochdale last night, Laird was training with the first team, The MEN reported.
This suggests Laird is being considered for a move up, similar to Teden Mengi. He made his debut last season and spent time training with the first team squad in July and August.
Rumours continue to link Diogo Dalot with an exit, via Di Marzio, and while there is a case for the Portuguese right-back to start in the cup against Brighton tonight, don’t rule Laird out either.
Prior to his injury in the under-21s 6-0 victory over Salford three weeks ago, Laird was one of the best players on the pitch.
Competition at right-back
Aaron Wan-Bissaka is United’s top choice right-back, but the competition behind him is pretty open.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah is in the mix but feels like a placeholder for now, while Dalot’s future remains unclear.
Brandon Williams could also switch over to right-back if Alex Telles is signed, or at least contend for both positions.
Laird is the youngster with the biggest upside of the bunch. He is an attacking minded player who is strong defensively too, and unlike Wan-Bissaka, he is fluid with the ball at his feet.
The biggest problem for Laird has been staying fit. He has had a succession of injuries which have held him back. His most recent hamstring strain against Salford was fortunately only a short-term issue.
Laird is under consideration for a loan, Yahoo Sport reported at the start of the month.
But United’s decision to promote him to first team training signals some intent from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to at least run the rule over him.
Laird’s immediate future may depend on what happens with Dalot.
If United really want to see what the 19-year-old is capable of, he could be in the squad to face Brighton tonight, either on the bench or as a starter.
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