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Demetri Mitchell impresses Denis Irwin; can he impress Jose Mourinho?

Manchester United legend Denis Irwin thinks that Demetri Mitchell can become a first team player at the Old Trafford club after his debut at the end of last season followed by his inclusion on the club’s pre-season tour of the United States of America. Mitchell can learn the vital lessons about the hard work and dedication from his teammates whilst on pre-season which could give him a kick-start to take on Luke Shaw ahead of the new season with the left-back role one which needs some work this coming season.

Mitchell started against Crystal Palace in the final Premier League match of last season, the match which former United player Josh Harrop announced himself on the professional stage with a sublime 15th-minute goal, which was set up by Paul Pogba with the Frenchman doubling United’s lead four minutes later. Mitchell was one of the full debutants in that match which also saw the arrival of 16-year-old Angel Gomes, albeit a few minutes from the end of the match. Mitchell impressed in the match in the left-back role suggesting that he could take on Shaw this coming season.

United manager Jose Mourinho included Mitchell in his pre-season tour squad, presumably wanting to check him out during all or some of the five matches to be played stateside. Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo, two of the players who have played in the left-back role over the last season or so are both injured but have travelled to the USA, so with the club short of left-backs, Mitchell may feature a lot of the time. Matteo Darmian also played at left-back last season, which could be something we see before the club embarks on their return to Europe for two more matches ahead of the UEFA Super Cup.

Irwin, United’s left-back during the start of the Premier League era made more than 500 appearances for United and was impressed with how Mitchell has adapted after being converted from a left-winger to a left-back. The Irishman has been a keen follower of the player, keeping an eye on his during training sessions at UCLA in Los Angeles earlier this week. Irwin, speaking to the official Manchester United website, said:

“I have watched him playing for the Under-23s and was impressed. He obviously started his career as a left winger and you can see that in him, very much like you can with Antonio Valencia.

“He played a fantastic game against Crystal Palace in the last game of the season and this is a great experience for him, to come out on tour for the first time and to learn from the more senior players about what is required to make it at this level, to learn about the hard work and dedication that is necessary at a club like Manchester United.

“I think it will do his confidence the world of good and I am interested to see how he progresses. Left-back is a spot where so many players played last season – Darmian, Blind, Rojo, Shaw and even Young – so there could an opening there for him. Let’s see how he gets on.”

Mitchell seems to have everything to make him a star; pace, ability on and off the ball, the ability to defend and score some stunning goals. As a left-back who can attack, the 20-year-old may find himself given the nod by Mourinho this pre-season and if he impresses, he could be the challenger to Luke Shaw next season, which should bring the best out of both players and give United some rotational options throughout the season also giving a talented youth player a chance to make an even bigger name for himself.

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