It’s not often a 19-year-old former Hutchison Vale kid replaces the world’s most expensive midfielder in the Manchester United match-day squad.
But that’s exactly what happened on Saturday when Paul Pogba dropped out of the Red Devils’ group for their FA Cup fifth-round tie at Huddersfield, opening the door for young Ethan Hamilton to take his place on the subs bench.
Hamilton, from Edinburgh, is a regular in the club’s under-23 side and is highly rated by the coaching staff at Old Trafford. However, it still came as some surprise when he was named on the bench by first-team boss Jose Mourinho for the trip to the Terriers.
Pogba – signed by United from Juventus for an eye-popping £89million – was ruled out on the day of the game by illness and that allowed Hamilton to be promoted to the first team. Unfortunately for him, he did not make it on to the pitch as United won 2-0, but the fact he was in the squad shows Mourinho is well aware of the Scot’s credentials.
Hamilton is attempting to follow in the footsteps of another Capital footballer in Darren Fletcher. The Dalkeith-born midfielder joined United from Hutchison Vale in 1995 as a schoolboy and went on to make more than 200 appearances for the club, winning the English Premier League, FA Cup and the Champions League along the way.
Left-footed Hamilton, who was handed the No.48 shirt at the weekend, is predominantly a central midfielder, but can also play in defence. His coach at youth level, Kieran McKenna, said of him recently: “He is a fantastic character around the group and another one with a great training mentality every day. He’s a hard worker who wants to get better and develop himself. He’s a really solid player for the group as well as being a good talent. With his attitude, it could certainly carry him very far in his career.”