Ethan Hamilton was plucked from the famous breeding ground of Edinburgh’s Hutchison Vale to Manchester United at just 12 years of age. And the exciting midfielder is hoping he’s on a pathway to become the next Scot to make an impact at Old Trafford.
Hamilton was part of a Scotland Under-19s team who exited their Euro Elite Round this week after three disappointing defeats in Czech Republic.
But the 18-year-old was a real positive after playing every minute of the three games and impressing with his drive, vision and energy. Hamilton signed a three-and-a-half year pro deal with United when he turned 16 after visiting them for four years while at Hutchie Vale – the same path Darren Fletcher took to access United and the two bonded while the Scotland star was at the Premier League giants.
Hamilton has captained the United Under-18s and has already been fast-tracked into their reserve squad. Unsurprisingly, he is pleased with his progress so far.
He said: “Life is great at Manchester United. I’m really settled down there now. My mum has now moved down so it’s all good. She’s now down doing all my cooking and cleaning. I have another year on my contract so she’ll be there until then – and hopefully even longer.
“I’m enjoying it but it takes time to get used to the size and stature of that club. I moved straight from Hutchie Vale to Man United so it’s just crazy. Thankfully, the process of moving was quite gradual – that helped me. I first went down there when I was about 12 and it carried on from there. If you think too much about the scale of the club, you can get carried away.
“I’m at Carrington every day and it’s hard for me to put into words what it’s like being around the big name first-team players. It’s amazing to see these guys, look at what they do, how the act around the place – and try to emulate them. I try to take bits of information from all of them.
“And Darren Fletcher was brilliant with me from day one. He used to chat to me a lot when I was younger. In the canteen, he’d see me about and come over. He’s a friendly guy so he made me feel really welcome at the club. He knew I’d taken the same route as him so I suppose he wanted to take me under his wing a bit.”
And Hamilton is well aware it will be far from easy to break into Jose Mourinho’s side. He stated: “I’m playing every week for the Under-18s and the next step up will be the 23s next season. I need to fight to get into that team.
“Manchester United sign young players from all around the world, all the best young talent. I’m just a boy from Edinburgh so you have to try and get your head around how you’re actually going to make it there. It’s so tough. But it’s all there for you at a club like that. All the coaching staff put everything into you to make you the best you can be. No matter how difficult it is to make it at Manchester United, you need to have the belief that you can do it.
“I had other options when I was younger but Manchester United were always my first choice, I had my heart set on going there. A few clubs in Scotland wanted me but, as soon as I knew Man United were interested, there was only one place I was going.”