Manchester United striker Will Keane made his first appearance for the Red Devils U21 side this season after cutting short his loan spell with Preston North End on Monday (4 January). The young striker joined the newly promoted club in the Championship in July and was expected to remain there until the end of the season.
The striker, however, was recalled by his parent club, with Lilywhites manager Simon Grayson confirming the move. Louis van Gaal was keen to add a bit of depth to his striking department following the lack of goals from regular starters Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial, who are the only recognised strikers in the squad following the departures of Javier Hernandez, Robin Van Persie and Radamel Falcao in the summer. James Wilson was also allowed to leave on loan to Brighton and Hove Albion in December with an option of a recall.
"[It happened] in the last 24 hours or so. United felt they needed an extra body around them," Preston boss Grayson confirmed to Sky Sports News.
Keane scored two goals for the Lilywhites in 22 appearances and will be keen to get a run out with the United first-team. The Old Trafford outfit begin their FA Cup campaign when they welcome Sheffield United for a third round clash and the Dutch manager will be keen to utilise the depth of his squad in order to keep his senior players fresh for the Premier League.
The 22-year-old forward, who played for 85 minutes during their 3-1 win over the Tottenham Hotspur U21's, was one of three returning Reds to feature in the clash alongside Joel Pereira and Ben Pearson, who came back from their loan spells with Rochdale and Barnsley respectively.
According to the Manchester Evening News, the United U21 side were missing regulars Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Axel Tuanzebe due to minor knocks, while Callum Gribbin and Tyrell Warren were absent due to their involvement with the U19 team at the Mercedes Benz Junior Cup in Germany.
Andreas Pereira reminded Louis van Gaal about his talents with a brace during the clash after James Weir had handed them the lead in the 13th minute.