Manchester United have added 15-year-old Republic of Ireland defender Lee O’Connor to their Academy ranks. The full-back, O’Connor, formerly of Waterford is the captain of the Ireland Under-16s and was last month named Ireland’s Under-15 player of the year.
The award was presented to O’Connor by Everton right-back Seamus Coleman, who himself attracted interest from United while David Moyes was in charge and also caught the eye of Louis Van Gaal during his first season at the helm.
O’Connor will be one of the youngest players in the Under-18s. O’Connor joins as the first Irish player to join United from Waterford since John O’Shea joined in 1998. O’Shea spent 10 trophy laden years with the United first-team, winning two League Cups, six Premier League titles, the FA Cup, the Champions League and the Club World Cup.
Head of the Red devil’s academy, Nicky Butt said last month United would be looking to add a good number of academy signings. “We’re short on a few numbers in the different age groups and it’s something we need to address,” he said. “Something we are addressing and something we will hopefully get over the line in the next few weeks, in time for next season.”
“It’s the same as any other club. We all want to attract the best young players in Europe, at whatever age, and we’re exactly the same. We want to attract the best players we can from all over Europe and bring them into what we feel is already a great set-up.”
O’Connor joins his Irish compatriot, James Dunne as one of the two Irish players in the club’s academy setup.