Paul McShane finally makes Man Utd first-team debut aged 35 against Sunderland… 15 years after being axed by club

PAUL McSHANE made his first Manchester United start last night – 15 years after leaving their academy.

The 35-year-old defender partnered Bjorn Bryan Hardley, 18, in the heart of the defence in the 2-1 Papa John’s Trophy defeat by Sunderland.

McShane (right) jogging back after Iqbal's equaliser


McShane (right) jogging back after Iqbal’s equaliserCredit: GETTY IMAGES
McShane was unable to shut out his former side


McShane was unable to shut out his former sideCredit: GETTY IMAGES
Tom Heaton and McShane from their youth days at United... both are now back at the club


Tom Heaton and McShane from their youth days at United… both are now back at the clubCredit: GETTY IMAGES

But the FA Cup runner-up couldn’t stop former club Sunderland from taking the lead in the 50th minute.

Black Cats youngster Tyrese Dyce opened the scoring, emphatically finding the top corner.

United got back on level terms shortly after with Zidane Aamar Iqbal firing in from range.

The hosts restored their lead just under ten minutes later with a lovely move.

Stephen Wearne headed home 18-year-old Ellis Taylor’s expert cross.

United fans were quick to point out their youth team lost with McShane starring.


One said on Twitter: “Manchester United’s u23s played with a 35 year old Paul McShane in defence tonight.

“Still lost to Sunderland. Best academy in the world. Hope this helps.”

Others didn’t realise McShane played for United until last night, and some had harsher words for the defender calling for him to hang up the boots.

A Sunderland fan – who watched McShane play for the club over a decade ago – recalled one of the defender’s appearances in a friendly against Juventus.

They said: “Seeing Paul McShane playing football on the same day Pavel Nedved is trending, can’t help but think of that friendly against Juventus when McShane genuinely looked impressive against Nedved, Del Piero etc.

“Thought we signed a world beater.”

It is important to note why he is back at United in the first place.

McShane was brought in to test the club’s potentially world-class academy talent, whilst also playing in the odd game or two.

The defender told Goal: “I’m not here to play, I’m not here to get in the first team, so it’s not an issue that I don’t play certain games.

“I’m here for the coaching side.

“The beauty of it is that I can still play, so I can get a different perspective on things in training sessions and in games, and I can help lads when we’re in the thick of the action.” 

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