Who is Ethan Galbraith, the Man Utd wonderkid compared to Xavi and Iniesta?
Manchester United could have a future superstar on their hands if the words of Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough are anything to go by.
At youth level, Ethan Galbraith played for a variety of teams before eventually moving to Linfield, where his performances caught the eye of scouts for the Red Devils. In 2017, he moved to Manchester to join the youth set-up at Old Trafford, and has come on leaps and bounds since then.
Although yet to feature in the Premier League, he made his first-team debut for the club against Astana in the Europa League in November of 2019, and recently signed a new, extended contract with United until 2023.
His club career is yet to catch fire, but he has been recruited by the Northern Ireland first-team and made his debut in a 1-0 win against Luxembourg. He has also been included in the squad for the upcoming Euros qualifier against Slovakia.
Without putting too much pressure on the 19-year-old, Northern Ireland boss Baraclough has compared him to two Barcelona and Spain legends, Xavi and Andres Iniesta, due to his style of play.
“Ethan, over the last six months, we’ve seen a maturity in his play and the way he goes about his work day to day,” Baraclough explained.
“He’s excelled with the Under-21s and he’s a different type of player to anyone we’ve got in the senior squad.
“Hopefully it’s the start of a long career for him. Hopefully, he relishes his time from the start in this squad, rather than coming in from the Under-21 squad. He has earned his right with the way he has gone about his play for the last six months.
“Not to put too much pressure on his shoulders, but he’s our little Iniesta or Xavi, someone who can get on the ball and manipulate the ball and find positive passes. Over the coming years, he will give us a different flavour to the squad.
Baraclough reckons Galbraith could prove to be a role model for other younger players who want to break into the senior squad at club and international level.
”He’s gone and signed a new deal with Man United and you can see there’s a real self-confidence about him,” he added.
“It’s great someone like that can be a shining light for the young players, knowing there are chances for them if they perform at their clubs.“
Galbraith is believed to be on the cusp of a call-up to a Premier League squad to make his first team debut in the league, but so far this campaign has only featured for the u21s.