Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has promoted 18-year-old Ethan Laird to first team training as the Norwegian has both Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones out of action, creating more depth in the defensive positions for the remainder of the season. This was a rumour earlier in the week which has now been confirmed by the manager.
Tuanzebe has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a September return looking likely for the defender. Jones has seemingly been ruled out for a few more weeks after missing the Premier League restart so far – perhaps he will miss the remainder of the season, here’ hoping. United will do well promoting youth into the squad.
Laird is not expected to feature against Bournemouth at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon but he could be drafted in in the weeks to come with United playing six more matches before the end of the month after they face Bournemouth at the Theatre of Dreams. Solskjaer has Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Harry Maguire ready for selection this weekend.
Solskjaer confirmed the news during his pre-match press conference held on Friday morning, confirming that Tuanzebe would be out of action until at least September and Jones being on the sidelines for a few more weeks, which is something that many will be happy with. Laird is a fullback but he can play through the centre of defence too. Solskjaer said:
“Of course there are a couple of knocks. You do start feeling things now after a little bit, so there might be a couple of changes but let’s see today.
“The boys who didn’t play on Tuesday want to play and are ready to step in if they have to.
“Phil [Jones] and Axel [Tuanzebe] will still be out for a little while. It’ll be a few weeks before Phil can start training and Axel, we won’t probably see until September.
“Ethan is going to join the training group now.”
It will be good to see the player involved in training with the first team players, which will help him grow, being involved with experienced players and learning from them ahead of his big break which could see him play as a semi-regular player for the remainder of the season. Next month, United return to UEFA Europa League action, so he could be involved from time to time in that competition.