Danny Higginbotham: Tom Thorpe’s time was up at Manchester United

by Robbie Dunne

Danny Higginbotham believes it is the right time for Tom Thorpe to leave Manchester United.

Thorpe played in just one senior game for Man United as a substitute last season and has been released by the club having fallen behind Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair in Louis van Gaal‘s first-team plans.

Thorpe was sent on loan to Birmingham at the end of the 2013-14 season and played six times but the lcub saw no reason to keep him on their books for the coming season.

Higginbotham himself couldn’t make the breakthrough at United and understands that there comes a time in a player’s career when it is better to move on than stick around and do further damage to your career.

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Higginbotham said: “If you get to 22 and you haven’t made some kind of impression or impact then it is time to move on.

“You have to be very careful at a club like United. Timing is everything. Of course you don’t want to leave. I have seen players stick around until they are 23 or 24 but they have outstayed their welcome and then it is difficult to get a new club. I have watched United Under 21s as a co-commentator for MUTV and seen Tom and he has done well but for whatever reason the manager has preferred to promote Blackett and McNair.

“When players younger than you are getting chances then it is time to go. He might be puzzled just as I was when I left for derby County as a 21-year-old realising I wasn’t good enough for United but then seeing John O’Shea making his debut soon after.

“John hadn’t stood out to me as one who’d make it. I hadn’t seen it in him but look at the career he had at United and Sunderland. It happens. Players come from nowhere almost and some you think are certain to make the progress don’t. I have to say not many young players leave United and come back to haunt them.

“Maybe only Paul Pogba and Gerard Pique have done that. But there is nothing wrong in going with the attitude to prove them wrong but many have left to forge very good careers elsewhere. Tom Thorpe could be another.”


Thorpe could be a valuable asset to a team in the Premier League or further afield and as stated in the article, it is a curious case considering how highly touted the 22-year-old is.

United could still be in the market for a centre half this summer and with the injury crisis that hit last season, it would be wise for Louis van Gaal to have plenty of reserves waiting in the wings.

Plenty of Man United fans will now pay close attention to the career development of Thorpe as he tries to make it as a top centre half in the league.

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