Why former Sunderland defender Paul McShane could play for Manchester United Under-21s in Papa John's Trophy fixture

Former Sunderland defender Paul McShane could line up against the Black Cats for Manchester United Under-21s in the Papa John’s Trophy on Wednesday.

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 6:00 am

The 35-year-old centre-back, who has also played for Hull City, West Brom and Reading, joined United in a player-coach role over the summer and has featured for the under-21 side in both Premier League 2 and the Papa John’s Trophy.

Under-21 sides are allowed to name three over age outfield players in every match, hence the reason McShane has been allowed to play for the Red Devils’ youth team.

Before joining United during pre-season, McShane made 19 appearances in League One for Rochdale last term.

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Paul McShane playing for Manchester United Under-21s against Bradford in the Papa John's Trophy.

When explaining the decision to bring McShane to Old Trafford in July, United’s head of academy Nick Cox told the club’s website: "Paul will join us in the role of player-coach and he obviously brings a wealth of experience. He understands the club, having been a graduate of our academy.

"He was playing league football last season and he's an A-licence coach so that's a unique blend of skills that he brings.

“He will join us predominantly in a coaching capacity so he is going to be a resource that will help improve the players around him and he will do that in a number of ways.

"He will train with the group to make sure the intensity of the sessions is high because he is used to playing in intense environments in senior football.

"He will give us a new different perspective from a coaching point of view from within the session and see different things, which is really important, and he can coach from within the session as well.

“He will give our exciting, young attacking players a daily challenge so they will be able to go up against him knowing he's played in the European Championship and played in some huge games, FA Cup finals."

McShane played 90 minutes as United’s under-21 side beat Bradford 3-0 in their last Papa John’s Trophy match.

Former Sunderland academy prospect Joe Hugill, 17, scored against The Bantams and has made a positive impression since moving to Old Trafford last year.

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