Sideshow Bob

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Man United snap up highly rated Irish underage international - Independent.ie

Manchester United have continued their trend of signing young Irish talent by recruiting U-16 captain Lee O'Connor.

The 15-year-old is the first Waterford-born player brought to the club since John O'Shea in 1998.

O'Connor is considered one of the brightest teen talents in the country, having represented his country this season at both U-16 and U-17 level.

His performances were reflected by him receiving the FAI U-15 Player of the Year recently from Seamus Coleman.

Like Coleman, O'Connor is an attacking full-back and will depart his local club Villa FC in July to join Nicky Butt's United Academy, where he'll begin full-time training.

Lee O'Connor wears the number 2 shirt.

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New Manchester United signing reacts to transfer

Speaking exclusively to Adrian Flanagan, of Waterford Sport in the Waterford News & Star, he said: “I suppose for me in the end it wasn’t a very difficult decision to make.

"From the moment I went over to Manchester United, I just knew that there was no point me thinking about signing for any other club and I always wanted to go there.

“I want to develop as a football player and I want to become the best player that I can be by signing for one of the biggest clubs in world football. It was the best place for me to go.

"It’s the place with the best coaches and the best facilities so in that way, it was easy.

“When I went over to Manchester United I was lucky enough to train with the likes of Marcus Rashford and I’ve met many of the top players but the thing is I’ve signed for Manchester United in the hope of playing for the first-team.

“I’m going there because I want to play football. I want to play for the first-team of Manchester United and I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t be making this move unless I felt that I was good enough.

"I don’t think that Manchester United would want me to sign for them either if that’s what they didn’t want me to do."

O'Connor has been compared to former Waterford and United player John O'Shea but the level-headed lad remains grounded.

He added: "John O’Shea has probably been one of the best Irish footballers in the past decade for both club and country.

"When I hear people compare me to him, it’s unreal to hear that but I’ve achieved nothing yet.

“I haven’t done anything yet and while this move is one that I’m really looking forward too, it’s not something that has really phased me. The next three years of my life will dictate my future in the game of football but I’m willing to work so hard.

“Even though I don’t make the move until June 27, I’m focused now on being the best and trying to be the best.”
 
Is he any good Bob? Who would you say he reminds you of in his play?
 
Scored the second and involved in the build up to the third.

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O'Connor was excellent today. Reads the game very well and is very confident on the ball. Played somewhat out of position at centre back too. He is very reminiscent of Philip Lahm in style.
 
I was surprised to read that it wasn't his natural position, absolutely bossed the backline. What is his best position Al?
 
I was surprised to read that it wasn't his natural position, absolutely bossed the backline. What is his best position Al?

He's played most of his games for the Irish underage sides at right back. That said he has usually played an age level up. Has played centre midfield quite a bit as well but I'd expect right back to be his long term position, at least for club. Could well be an Alaba case that plays CM for country due to his quality and lack of quality outside him.
 
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O'Connor's goal at 1:05.

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Was just about to post just that - terrific goal. Apparently he was Ireland's main attacking outlet from right back in a 2-0 win, also against Turkey, the other night.
 
Felt he was our best player again today. Every time I've watched him he has been really impressive. Early days, but he looks to have the lot to make it here.
 
U18s: Manchester United 4-1 Blackburn Rovers - 5th November 2016

First U18s goal.

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We have several players in the u18s that I believe could make it. Boonen, Hamilton, Whelan, Buffonge, Chong, Gribbin all have good chances. No player is absolutely nailed on but Gomes and O'Connor are as close to being that as we have. I could easily see O'Connor as a future United captain.
 
Manchester United Under-18 player pen pics - Official Manchester United Website

Kieran McKenna:


"I think he has done fantastic and been a real bonus. You never know how a lad is going to settle in after coming from Ireland and it's a huge step up from the level he was playing at. He has been a really important part of the team at centre-half and in both full-back positions. I think he's a really talented boy but also a very solid and dependable character, which is an important quality to have in a defender."
 
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Seen quite a few highlights of the lad and he looks a very good prospect. Think he needs to nail down a position because he gets played at right back, centre back and midfield on occasion.

It’s quite a comparison as of now but he has a very Philip Lahm look about him due to his versatility and style of play. One to watch for sure.
 
Bit of a shock, but I guess he’s fallen down the pecking order.

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Can’t seem to see whether we got any money for him.

It does go to show you never know how things will go with young players. 1-2 seasons ago I was convinced he would be a first teamer here within a few seasons. He still looked a decent prospect though so am disappointed to see him go but it’s a good opportunity for him at Celtic and his versatility will mean he’ll get lots of games.
 

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