View: Ethan Laird form at QPR proves he could solve Manchester United’s right-back problem
Ethan Laird has enjoyed a superb start to his loan at QPR and could be exactly what Erik ten Hag is missing at Manchester United.
Laird spent nine years at United’s academy, first joining the Red Devils aged 10. The talented right-back climbed his way through the youth setup, but fell just short of making his way into the first team.
Instead, Laird was loaned out to MK Dons in 2021, and he’s since endured further loans at Swansea and Bournemouth.
He returned to Old Trafford this summer after helping the Cherries to promotion last season, but Ten Hag was left unmoved by his efforts in pre-season, and Laird has since completed a season-long loan to QPR.
So far, the 21-year-old is showing United exactly what they’re missing – one goal and one assist in five appearances this season shows his threat going forward, and he has quickly become a mainstay in Michael Beale’s side.
If he hasn’t already, Laird will soon catch the eye of Ten Hag with his performances in the Championship, and he’s a perfect candidate to give Diogo Dalot competition at Old Trafford.
Since arriving in Manchester, Ten Hag has made Aaron Wan-Bissaka an outcast in his squad, with the 24-year-old simply not suiting the Dutchman’s style.
Dalot has fared far better, and looks to be United’s first choice right-back this season. But it hasn’t stopped the Red Devils searching around the transfer market for reinforcements, with Barcelona’s Sergino Dest and AS Monaco’s Vanderson linked with the club.
But Laird offers a headache-free dilemma to United’s full-back issues, and he’s more than familiar with the club after coming up through their academy.
Impressive spells at both Bournemouth and QPR show he’s more than capable of making the step up to the Premier League – it’s just a matter of when.
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