Republic of Ireland underage talent, Lee O’Connor, has been added to Manchester United’s Champions League squad for the second leg of their quarter-final against Barcelona.
The 18-year-old United Academy player was included in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad prior to last night’s 1-0 defeat to Barcelona in Old Trafford but could yet be named in the matchday squad for the return fixture given that Luke Shaw is suspended.
O’Connor has made 83 appearances for the club across three different age groups since joining the club in from Villa FC of Waterford in 2016.
First-team coach, Kieran McKenna, has previously described the defender as a “solid and dependable character”.
“I think he has done fantastic and has been a real bonus,” said McKenna.
“You never know how a lad is going to settle in after coming from Ireland and it’s a huge step up from the level he was playing at. He has been a really important part of the team at centre-half and in both full-back positions.
“I think he’s a really talented boy but also a very solid and dependable character, which is an important quality to have in a defender.”
O’Connor was called up to the Ireland squad by Martin O’Neill for their games against Northern Ireland and Denmark in November but didn’t feature in either game.
The Waterford native was captain of the Ireland U19 side last year, who have since qualified for the European Championships and was subsequently recruited to Stephen Kenny’s U21 squad for their Euro Under 21 Championship Qualifier against Luxembourg.
He was previously shortlisted for the Manchester United Young Player of the Year prize after a stellar year in which he was part of the Man United side that lifted the Under-18 Premier League North trophy.
O’Connor is currently part of the club’s Reserve side and has featured at full-back for them this season. The youngster is listed on UEFA’s website with a squad number of 59.