Manchester United veteran Darren Fletcher has praised the role played by young defender Paddy McNair in his side’s 2-0 win against Yeovil Town in the FA Cup on Sunday, as reported by ManUtd.com.
Fletcher returned from a long lay off due to illness at the end of last season, and he has played infrequently this campaign under Louis van Gaal.
McNair was thrown in by the Dutch manager earlier this season after a series of injuries limited his options in defence, and has impressed at times.
He could have left the field of play during the game against the League One side, after clashing heads with Kieffer Moore.
The players were treated on the pitch, and McNair finished the game, despite having to be bandaged up.
When compared to Luke Shaw and Rafael, both of whom left the field after impact injuries, McNair showed a level of bravery that Fletcher found it necessary to praise.
“Credit to the players, but look at Paddy McNair,” he said.
“He had blood gushing out of his head, a Terry Butcher headband on, and he dug in deep right until the end and showed real character today. I’m very proud of him.
“There were a lot of players who had never played in the FA Cup before, but they really stood up strong today, were counted and helped get a great result.”
Manchester United are fearful over the futures of six of their brightest young talents, echoing the situation that saw Paul Pogba join Juventus on a free transfer two summers ago.
A series of six of their hottest young prospects could depart the club for nothing next summer, putting them on red alert.
Pogba departed, having not been given enough opportunities by Alex Ferguson, but by contrast, three of those who could leave have played key roles for Man Utd under Louis van Gaal this season.
James Wilson, 19, has played a significant amount of football for Van Gaal, and has been keeping Radamel Falcao out of the first team, showing his quality.
Both Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair, 20 and 19 respectively, have covered in defence as injuries have caused problems to Man Utd’s preferred players.
Jesse Lingard, a talented winger, was involved with Man Utd’s first team during pre season.
Reece James and Andreas Perreira are also considered to be hot projects for the future.
However, Man Utd now face a difficult task convincing all six to commit their futures, with the players able to discuss deals with other clubs from January 1 2015.
Manchester United are set to turn to 19 year old defender Paddy McNair for the game against West Ham United on Saturday, so significant are their defensive problems ahead of the Premier League clash, as reported by The Guardian.
A crisis in central defence has caused Louis van Gaal to look into using the Northern Irish youngster, who has never made a first team appearance for any side at any level in the professional game.
McNair joined Man Utd three years ago as a midfielder, but time in the youth setup has seen him develop into a central defender.
With Chris Smalling lacking fitness, Man Utd’s options are slowly drying up in defence. Phil Jones and Jonny Evans are both injured, with Tyler Blackett suspended for the red card he picked up in the 5-3 loss against Leicester City.
While Michael Carrick can play in defence, he has only just returned from a long term injury.
Luke Shaw will almost certainly be given his debut after his big money summer move, with Marcos Rojo likely to partner one of McNair or Daley Blind in the centre of defence.