Letterkenny native Ryan McConnell is this week representing Manchester United in Brazil at the the U-17 Future Championship tournament.
McConnell, from Old Town, played the full hour in United’s 1-0 loss against Corinthians in the opening fixtures on Monday in Belo Horizonte to a Washington header from a free-kick. On Tuesday, United lost 2-0 Chile’s Colo Colo with McConnell at right-back and were due to meet a third Brazilian team, Flamengo, yesterday to see how they will play in the knock-out stages of the competition.
Atletico Mineiro and Cruziero from Brazil, South African side Orlando Pirates, Italy’s Juventus, Boca Juniors of Argentina, Japan’s Vissel Kobe, Mexican representatives Tijuana and Club Nacional from Uruguay are also involved in the competition.
The former Letterkenny Rovers player signed for the Premier League champions in October when he turned 16 after being offered a deal expected to last three years having impressed at the four trials he has attended the club over the last 12 months.
McConnell was delighted to get the chance to sign for the club he supported, having turned down trials at Newcastle United, Celtic, Norwich City, Leicester City, Reading and Watford with his heart set on Old Trafford.
The former Glencar Schoolboys central defender initially impressed the United scouts whilst playing for the Donegal U-16 side at the Galway Cup the summer before last and the same team went on to win the Foyle Cup in Derry this year.
The Future Champions Project began in South Africa during the build up to the 2010 Fifa World Cup. The project is aimed at youth focusing on high performance, skills development, skills transfer and seeks to contribute to the elevation of the standard of football within the countries that it operates, nurturing the talent of future champions. The competition runs until Friday.