New Queens Park Rangers boss Neil Critchley insists Man United loanee Ethan Laird should stay at Loftus Road for the rest of the season.
The right back has been enjoying a successful spell at the West London club, leading to speculation that he could be recalled to United in January as a backup to Diogo Dalot.
United boss Erik ten Hag has appeared to not fancy Dalot’s natural alternative Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who is reportedly set for a move to either West Ham or Wolves, leaving Ten Hag with no cover for the Portugal international in the right back slot.
This has led to a lot of speculation that Laird could be recalled early from his loan with Critchley, but the Rangers boss is not impressed with that idea.
“In any 12-month loan there is a natural break around mid-season and that applies to all players,” Critchley said via West London Sport.
“But Ethan has having a fantastic season here and playing every single week and I am sure Manchester United will be happy with Ethan and the way he’s been playing and his development.
“My aim is to carry that on. I see myself as someone who can coach players to improve in the team they are playing in.
“Ethan is someone I have been aware for many years coming through at United and I tried to sign him previously at Blackpool, which didn’t happen, so I am pleased that he is here and hopefully that is for the rest of the season.”
The decision, of course, does not rest with Critchley or indeed with his club. United do have the power to recall the player.
Laird himself, on the other hand, should have a say and if offered the choice, it would be an interesting one: guaranteed first team football, with the possible drama of Premiership playoffs, versus potentially sitting on the bench for much of the rest of the season.
On the other hand, any injury or loss of form to Dalot could catapult Laird into United’s first team at the climax of the season.
With any transfer budget likely to be allocated to a striker in January, whether or not Wan-Bissaka leaves could be the deciding factor in what happens to Ethan Laird in the coming weeks.