Name: Ethan Laird
Club: Manchester United
Date of Birth: 5 August 2001
Position: Full-back (Right, left)
Ethan Laird – his career so far
Ethan Benjamin Laird has been a part of Manchester United’s family ever since a young age and has progressed through the academy ranks and into the development squads, impressing the right people and turning some heads along the way.
The academy graduate became a regular presence as he broke into the squad in the season 2017/18 as a first-year scholar. That marked the beginning of a great journey full of success and impressive feats in the process as well.
Interestingly enough, despite being the youngest player in Man United’s academy intake for the year 2017, he ended up with 19 appearances under his belt and also featured for their U23 squad and in the UEFA Youth League as well.
Still, he continued his stay with the U18s throughout 2018/19, which was unfortunately marked with an unlucky injury that prevented him from registering meaningful minutes across some parts of the campaign, and would then explode in the following season, staking his claim once again.
Apart from scoring his first EFL Cup goal in a win at Rotherham United, he would also bounce back from another injury setback to finally make his full senior debut in the Europa League match against Astana in Kazakhstan at the end of November. That one would be followed up by his second first-team appearance in a 4-0 victory over AZ Alkmaar not even a month later.
As a whole, Laird registered 28 appearances for the U18s, scoring three goals and assisting further seven as well. Across 14 games he played for the U23 squad, however, he mustered one goal and three assists.
Of course, he would also feature in the UEFA Youth Cup, tallying 11 appearances and three assists once again. Unfortunately, he is yet to register another senior team game after the initial two in November and December of 2019.
But given his talent and ceiling, that could still very well be on the agenda in the not so distant future for the youngster.
Laird’s current contract is still viable until 2023 and the youngster seems to be in the Red Devils’ plans for the future at the very moment. At least that’s what some of the recent transfer rumours surrounding his teammate Diogo Dalot could suggest if we try to read between the lines.
Reportedly, Dalot is linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain and just the fact that the transfer is a possibility could be a big sign for the young 19-year-old full-back. If Man United were to be deprived of another wide defender, that could possibly suggest they do have faith in their academy graduate as well, otherwise there’d be no chance of that going through.
Of course, no Manchester United news can actually confirm Laird is in Solskjaer’s plans for the future but there’s also nothing out there among the transfer news that would suggest otherwise.
One way or the other, the following season could be a huge one for the young full-back.
Laird is a pacey full-back who has always excelled defensively but has managed to add more attacking flair to his profile over the years of his development at Man United’s academy. When he does enter the final third, either with or without the ball, he has the ability to link up with his teammates well and even threaten the goal himself.
But it’s his ability to keep the defence organised and ticking that makes him a huge asset in the backline. Apart from being quite solid in duels as well as a commanding presence on the pitch, his work rate and determination could be what makes the difference further down the line of his career.
And Laird can also boast with good technical abilities which make him cool in possession and secure on the ball. Overall, he has the makings of a great modern defender who can excel in both the attacking and the defensive phases of play.
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