Manchester United's latest first-team addition Regan Poole has been likened to Red Devils legend Rio Ferdinand by his former coach, who believes the young defender will be a success due to his desire to learn and be better. The versatile defensive player can play in a number of roles and made his first appearance for the Old Trafford club during their recent win over FC Midtjylland in the last 32 of the Europa League.
The 17-year-old joined United on the final day of last summer's transfer window and began playing regularly for the Red Devils U21 side at the start in 2016. He has played both as a defensive midfielder and a central defender in his four appearances for the second string. Apart from his single appearance for the senior team, he has been an unused substitute on two occasions in the FA Cup and Europa League.
Poole was expected to play for the Wales U19 side this week but was withdrawn from the team by the 20-times English champions after he was drafted into the first team for their Europa League last-16 first leg clash against Liverpool, the club he could have joined last summer, at Anfield on Thursday (10 March).
He could play a role during the game owing to United's injury crisis, which has left Louis van Gaal with a lack of cover in defensive positions in recent weeks. Timothy Fosu-Mensah had recently made his debut as cover at left-back and centre-back during games against Arsenal and Watford respectively but his ineligibility to play in the Europa League has handed the Cardiff-born defender a chance to impress yet again.
Poole's former Cardiff and Vale County Schoolboys coach Matty Davies has showered high praise on the youngster and is confident that he will make it to the top level. The coach believes he has the skill to play a number of roles in defence, including at full-back and in the deep lying midfielder's position.
"He is a smashing young man. He is as technically able as Rio Ferdinand. He has an eye for defence-splitting passes and is very comfortable on the ball, he has a little bit of everything. He can do a number of roles and he has got the hunger and desire to be better," Davies said, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News.
"He started out in centre midfield and worked his way back," Davies added. "He can play in a number of positions. In terms of where he will end up, I haven't got a crystal ball but he played at right-back for us as well.
"We used Gareth Bale as an example because he played a lot at left-back. Regan's attitude is a bit similar to Ben Davies, who's now at Tottenham. His attitude is spot on. He was the first in to training and the last to leave. He was like a sponge, always wanting to learn," the versatile star's former coach added.