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Shea Lacey signs first professional contract at Manchester United

[Credit: Manchester United]

Shea Lacey has signed his first professional contract with Manchester United after thoroughly impressing coaches at all levels of the club.

The Liverpool-born winger is widely regarded as one of the best talents at Carrington and has committed his future to United by signing a long-term deal.

The Red Devils wasted no time in securing his signature. The deal was signed a day after his 17th birthday, the earliest point academy players are allowed to sign professional contracts, which shows how highly rated Lacey is at the club.

The England U17 international took to X to celebrate the news saying “Proud moment for me and my family signing my first professional contract at this club.”

Lacey first caught the eye during the 2022 MLS Generation U15 Cup where starred for United resulting in clips doing the rounds on social media that drew excitement from fans.

The winger first broke into the United U18 setup early last season when he was just 15 years old. He slotted in straight away and even provided two assists on his full U18 Premier League debut against Blackburn Rovers.

He made 14 appearances at U18 level in his debut campaign scoring three goals and providing three assists. He also made his debut for United U21s in January 2023.

It was his silkiness on the ball and ability to dance through players that earned plenty of attention from fans with clips of him in action drawing in thousands of views on social media. United fans have kept a close eye on him since and some have even dubbed him the “Liverpool Lionel Messi.”

Many felt this season would be the breakthrough for Lacey and that certainly looked the case when he began the campaign with two goals and three assists in five U18 Premier League games and featured in the UEFA Youth League with the U19s.

However, he was struck down by a serious injury in October that kept him out for six months, limiting him to just 11 appearances and forcing him to miss England’s U17 World Cup campaign.

He has returned in the last couple weeks and made a second consecutive appearance from the bench as Adam Lawrence’s side were crowned champions of the U18 Premier League North on Tuesday night by beating Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The injury certainly hasn’t hampered his reputation at United as he is expected to play a part in the U18 Premier League Cup Final and the U18 Premier League Grand Final. Lacey was also recently spotted training with the first team. The rest of the season offers a chance for more success for the 17-year-old and it is anticipated he will spend the bulk of next season with the U21s.

[Credit: Matthew Peters]

Erik Ten Hag is not afraid to give academy players a chance if he feels they are ready as we have seen with Kobbie Mainoo and Willy Kambwala amongst others this season. There is certainly a feeling at Manchester United that Shea Lacey could soon be making that jump.

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