Former Ireland captain John O’Shea has praised “top quality” Lee O’Connor as the Manchester United youngster looks to follow in the Waterford man’s footsteps at Old Trafford.
The 18-year old was called up to the Ireland squad for their games against Northern Ireland and Denmark in November and has impressed for United’s U19s and U23s this season.
O’Connor had been compared to O’Shea in the sense that they both began their career at Manchester United and both are incredibly versatile, being able to play in a number of different positions in the back four.
“Yeah, I’ve seen a bit of him recently,” said O’Shea, speaking as he was unveiled as an ambassador for the 2019 U17’s European Championships.
“I did a thing for MUTV, United were playing Reading U23s and I saw Lee up close and other people had been talking to me about him and I’d been trying to keep an eye on his career.
“Look he was quality, top quality on the pitch. He looked very comfortable, he went right-back to left-back in a breeze, it was no problem to him.”
O’Connor has captained the Red Devils’ at U19s level and has already made 21 appearances for the U23s, as he continues to progress quickly up the ranks.
O’Shea feels that the versatile defender must now be looking to the next stage of his career, with an opportunity to gain first team experience via a loan move away from Old Trafford, the most logical next step.
“I’m sure he’ll be thinking about the next stage. It could be a loan spell, but he is getting plenty of games at United in the sense that they have that European Elite level too which I think going to be kicking back in soon so, he’ll have that to look forward to.
“He’s at the age now where he’s maybe thinking if he’s not going to be involved in and around the first team squad to have that loan spell to maybe get increased competition and increased experience at a higher level than the 23s and the 19s.
“There’s plenty of time for him yet. He has a fantastic future ahead of him.”