Former Manchester United Academy player, Lee O’Connor, has singled out the player who impressed him the most at Carrington, following his move to Partick Thistle.
Ireland international, O’Connor, left United last year and signed for Scottish Premiership champions Celtic on a four-year contract.
However, he’s been kept out of the side by the likes of ex-Man City youth, Jeremie Frimpong, and after failing to make a senior appearance over the first half of the season, he’s headed out on loan.
Second-tier club Thistle announced the 19-year-old’s signing on Tuesday, with the right-back joining until the end of the season.
✍LOAN SIGNING: We can today confirm the signing of defender, Lee O'Connor on loan until the end of the season from Celtic, subject to SFA approval.
— Partick Thistle FC (@PartickThistle) January 21, 2020
Speaking at Firhill on Thursday afternoon, he expressed his delight at the prospect of finally getting some senior playing time.
“It’s something that I was really looking forward to doing [heading on loan] and I’m happy that it’s over the line, and now I’m looking forward to Saturday”, he said.
“I think everyone at the club knows it’s important that I play football. I’ve played a lot of reserve football so it’s time for me to show what I can do in men’s football.”
He was then pressed on his experiences at United, and in particular, on who was the stand out player he came up against.
“Obviously, they trust their academy a lot so you’ll be training with them sometimes and you’re around the first team every day, so you see what good pros they are. You see everything they’re doing and you learn a lot.”
“They’re all world-class players, but for me, the person that stood out in training was Juan Mata.
“He was fantastic. He was a model pro every day and he has really stuck in my mind. I couldn’t get near him.”
O’Connor could make his Thistle debut on Saturday afternoon in a Scottish Championship clash away to Arbroath.