Belfast boy Ethan Galbraith has impressed Kieran Mckenna enough during his time with the Manchester United U-18s to sign the first professional contract of his fledgling career with the Red Devils.
Galbraith, who hails from Northern Ireland, was first spotted by United scout Tony Coulter during his time with Linfield. He was offered a trial with United, and the youngster impressed the club bosses mightily enough to warrant a one-year scholarship at the Manchester United Academy.
Through 15 appearances under fellow countryman and youth team coach McKenna, the midfielder continued his growth as a player and flashed enormous potential.
The high-water mark of Galbraith’s season was a home game for the youth team against derby rivals Manchester City in the Under-18 Premier League (North). This was the penultimate game of the season, when United had the chance to seal the trophy with a draw at home.
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The youngster, who was still aged 16 at the time of the game, played all 90 minutes and produced a virtuoso display, capping it off with a goal.
In total, Galbraith has 13 appearances in U-18 Premier League play, and followed it up with a starting berth in the Final game against Chelsea – the champions of the South.
While United lost the game 3-0 eventually, Ethan emerged from the fixture with enhanced laurels, particularly for the manner in which United set about wiping out the deficit after conceding an early goal.
Galbraith is just the latest United youngster to take a step up from the academy, which has been a conveyor belt of excellent Premier League talents for a long time now, barring a barren spell earlier this decade.
Of late, the likes of Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, and Scott McTominay have made the playing XI on a consistent basis after coming through the academy.