Denis Irwin backs Demetri Mitchell to breach the Manchester United first team this season

by Leo Nieboer

Former Manchester United full-back Denis Irwin has tipped Demetri Mitchell to consolidate his place in the first team next season.

The left-back was included in the match-day squad on several occasions towards the end of last season and was finally handed his first appearance against Crystal Palace.

He was an effervescent force on the day, hassling the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Jason Puncheon all afternoon, and has been handed a place in Jose Mourinho’s pre-season tour squad.

And Irwin, speaking to the club’s official website, has backed Mitchell to develop during his time with the first team squad.

“I have watched him playing for the Under-23s and was impressed,” he said. “He obviously started his career as a left winger and you can see that in him, very much like you can with Antonio Valencia.”

“He played a fantastic game against Crystal Palace in the last game of the season and this is a great experience for him, to come out on tour for the first time and to learn from the more senior players about what is required to make it at this level, to learn about the hard work and dedication that is necessary at a club like Manchester United.

“I think it will do his confidence the world of good and I am interested to see how he progresses. Left-back is a spot where so many players played last season – Darmian, Blind, Rojo, Shaw and even Young – so there could an opening there for him. Let’s see how he gets on.”

The noise in the wake of that final game of the season centred around Josh Harrop, who claimed a wonderful goal on his debut, but the standout performer was unequivocally Mitchell.

He was bullish, persistent, neat when needling the ball out of awkward areas and positionally astute, ensuring that no Palace forward spun in behind.

And with Mourinho yet to clearly pin-point a designated left-back for next season, the future looks unquestionably bright for the 20-year-old.

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