Manchester United could yet hand debuts to two more young centre-backs that have come through the ranks at Old Trafford. Louis van Gaal has confirmed that Tom Thorpe and Paddy McNair will both be in the match day squad tomorrow, and at least one looks set to make their full debut – partnering Marcos Rojo at the heart of the defence.
United’s injury-hit back line is without Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans, with Tyler Blackett also missing through suspension. It is now up to these youngsters to take their chance similar to how Blackett has done, and put their stamp on Manchester United first-team football.
When quizzed about McNair and Thorpe, Van Gaal replied:
“They are in the squad. That is always why we have a youth education. It was also our policy [to utilise the youth squads] and always the policy of the club too.”
The gaffer also confirmed that Daley Blind will not be playing at centre-back, meaning one of the aforementioned duo look all set for their Premier League debut – unless Van Gaal opts to play Darren Fletcher in there.
Tom Thorpe is the more experienced of the duo, having represented England at every youth level including U21. He’s also seen the most first-team football, having had a loan spell at Birmingham City last season, which was unfortunately cut short due to injury. McNair has had a superb start to his season with the youth team, and the 19-year old Northern Irishman is more than worthy of his spot in the squad.
Who’s the better player – Tom Thorpe or Paddy McNair? Leave your thoughts in the comment box below.