Sir Alex Ferguson’s message to Man Utd youngsters amid Donny van de Beek’s frustrations

Sir Alex Ferguson’s words of wisdom inspired one former Manchester United youngster when he was coming through the club’s academy and could be helpful to Donny van de Beek after being left out by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

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  • 07:43, 14 Oct 2021
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Manchester United defender Paul McShane has revealed how Sir Alex Ferguson’s message to youngsters has helped him in his coaching career.


The former Republic of Ireland international, who is now 35, returned to Old Trafford this summer as a player-coach after first leaving in 2006 for West Brom.

McShane never made his professional debut for the Red Devils, but was able to enjoy regular training sessions with Ferguson and the first team while representing the club's Under-23s.

And the defender has recently explained how those experiences at United have helped him throughout his career as a footballer.

"I remember he always said to enjoy the journey as a professional footballer and I try and tell the lads that," McShane told Goal.

Paul McShane has told of his experiences with Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United

ANDREW YATES/AFP via Getty Images)

“Sometimes I need to tell myself that too because when you’re so involved in the game there are tough moments and I know when I was a young lad I wanted to try and succeed yesterday.

"So I try and tell the lads to enjoy it as much as they can and take one day at a time, but it’s easier said than done.

"I think that was the main thing that Sir Alex told me that sticks in my mind, to enjoy the journey."

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Ferguson's words could ring true for a number of Man United players who have been left out of first-team action, including 24-year-old Donny van de Beek, who has made just one five-minute appearance in the Premier League this season.

After leaving West Brom in 2007, McShane went on to play for the likes of Sunderland, Hull City, Barnsley, Crystal Palace, Reading and most recently Rochdale.

McShane spent six seasons playing in the Premier League with former employers Sunderland and Hull, but it was the experience he learned at United as a youngster that helped set him on the right path.

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Paul McShane returned to Manchester United this summer following his release from Rochdale

“Being here from such a young age, I felt as if I took the standards that I learned here throughout my whole career," McShane said.

"When I was going and playing for different clubs, I always tried to keep the standards myself, but I also couldn’t understand why other people weren’t striving for those standards because they were just ingrained in everyone at United.

“I think I’ve brought that back now, because if you lack the intensity in training you’ll get found out on match day.

"One thing I’m about is making sure you give everything you’ve got every day, and if you give away a ball or two it doesn’t really matter, everyone does that.

McShane came through United's academy but left in 2006 without making a first-team appearance

Chris Vaughan – CameraSport via Getty Images)

"But when you’re lacking in intensity and you’re lacking a bit of mentality to be the best you can possibly be, that’s where it hits me in the pit of my stomach.

"So I try and help lads with that and show them the standards that are needed to become a professional footballer.”

McShane was back at United this summer taking training sessions with the club's Under-14 side in the summer following his release from Rochdale, when his latest opportunity arose.

The defender is United’s first playing coach for Neil Wood’s Under-23s and it is hoped that McShane can pass on his valuable experience to help the club's youngsters develop their careers.

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