Ethan Laird is one of the brightest young defenders on the books at Manchester United.

Talk persists over Aaron Wan-Bissaka needing competition from a right-back who is more capable than he is going forward.

Diogo Dalot could be that man next season, or United might make a signing. But Laird’s quality and confidence mean he’d hope to be in the conversation.

He moved on loan to MK Dons in January and it has largely gone well so far.

Russell Martin’s side play a flowing possession game and he has had to deal with the harsher, more physical realities of League 1 when compared with development football.

And last night was a harsh lesson.

Laird was part of Martin’s starting XI for the trip to Lincoln, but it didn’t go to plan.

 

He was booked on 39 minutes but it was after the break that things really started to come unstuck.

Two goals within eight minutes of the restart by Brennan Johnson put Laird’s side on the back foot.

And he was substituted not long after, on 55 minutes.

There’s just as much chance it was an attacking tactical substitution as opposed to a reflection on Laird’s display.

But it’s still a tough night to endure for Laird, who then watched as his teammates conceded twice more to slip to a 4-0 defeat.

Laird seems a bubbly and confident character who will react well to the setback. Overcoming defeats is part of the learning curve out on loan. This was the 21st appearance of his loan spell.

MK host Portsmouth on Saturday afternoon and will be looking to bounce back from last night’s humbling defeat.

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