Ireland under-21 star Lee O'Connor added to Manchester United's Champions League squad for Barcelona test

Wed, Apr 10 2019

O'Connor was called up to the Ireland senior squad ahead of November's Nations League meeting with Denmark. Credit: Manchester United

Republic of Ireland under-21 star Lee O’Connor has been added to Manchester United’s Champions League squad for the quarter-final tie against Barcelona.

The full-back, who can play on either side, is yet to make his senior debut but may be needed in the matchday squad for the second leg in Camp Nou after Luke Shaw picked up a suspension.

The Waterford native was suspended for the 1-0 first leg defeat at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening due to a red card received late in the UEFA Youth League defeat to Midtjylland last month.

18-year-old O’Connor has been a regular feature for the Red Devils’ under-23 side in Premier League 2 and is highly rated by coach Nicky Butt.

It was on Butt’s recommendation to former team mate Roy Keane that O’Connor was called up to train with the Ireland senior team ahead of November’s UEFA Nations League game in Denmark.

"He is a very impressive young lad as Nicky Butt said to Roy Keane about him," said Martin O'Neill at the time.

"He is a quiet guy who has done very well indeed. I've been impressed with him as a person and as a player. I think he has a very bright future. It is a great experience for him."

O’Connor, who made his Ireland under-21 debut in the 3-0 win over Luxembourg in March, is unlikely to feature at Camp Nou but his promotion says much about the esteem in which he’s held.

He joined the Old Trafford club in 2016 from Villa FC on turning 16 and has shown his leadership skills in captaining Irish sides up through the age groups.