Manchester United have re-signed Paul McShane in a player-coach capacity for their Under-23s next season.
McShane, 35, arrived at United in 2002 from Ireland and played for the club’s youth team. He even featured in a number pre-season friendlies and obtained a squad number. But he never played a senior game for the club.
After a number of loan deals, he finally left for West Brom in 2006, but the big defender is now back at Old Trafford.
McShane left Rochdale at the end of last season and has joined Neil Wood’s coaching set-up as one of three registered over-age players.
The former Republic of Ireland international has obtained his A-licence badge and has been coaching the Under-16s recently. United intend for him to provide seasoned competition for their teenage strikers in training.
McShane told the club website: “I am extremely pleased to be rejoining a club that means so much to me. I have been working on my coaching badges for several years and the opportunity to work with young players, whilst also playing in certain games, is the perfect role.
“I have developed a great deal of knowledge over my career. And I look forward to mentoring and supporting the next generation of academy graduates by passing on all of my experience.
“It feels very special to be back to where I began my professional career. I can’t wait to get started in supporting these talented players to reach their immense potential.”
McShane will be part of United’s professional development phase (U17-U23) coaching initiative.
He will hope to offer a “different perspective by coaching from within sessions and from an on-pitch perspective in fixtures”.
Nick Cox, Manchester United Head of Academy, told the club’s website: “Across the Academy, we have always taken an innovative approach to ensure that we continue our proud tradition of producing world-class players capable of excelling in Manchester United’s first-team.
“This new role was carefully considered and adds yet another level of support for our players in helping them to play at the highest level possible.
“We believe that Paul is the perfect candidate. He arrives as an extremely highly recommended coach but also clearly still has a lot left to give on the pitch. This unique combination is invaluable for our Under-23s team and will further drive the professional standards of the group.
“As an Academy graduate, who has had an outstanding career. Paul knows the club inside out and can pass on this wealth of knowledge every day to our young players.
“Paul will now form part of a team of dedicated experts once again bringing the best external coaching talent to complement our existing group.”