Regan Poole made his Manchester United debut aged 17 in the same match that Marcus Rashford propelled himself to stardom, and has admitted he must be patient for another chance while stating his hopes for a loan move in the 2017/18 season.
The Welsh centre-back is preparing to make his first appearance for Wales’ under-20 side as they face hosts France in the Toulon Tournament.
Poole joined Man United from Newport County in 2015 having made 15 appearances for the Football League club at the age of just 16. Now, he has suggested he’d like more game time in the lower leagues to experience senior football once more.
Poole targeting loan move
“It’s possible I could go out on loan, but I haven’t spoken to the club about what happens next season,” Poole said ahead of the Toulon Tournament.
“It’s a tough one because I’m developing under the best coaches in the world at United, and it’s all about what the club thinks is best for me.
“But I would like to get out on loan. I miss playing in the league, there was nothing better.”
The decision will ultimately taken by Man United’s academy coaches - Head of Academy Nicky Butt in particular - as well as first team boss José Mourinho. It’s a tough decision to make, with the quality of United’s coaching excellent, but the invaluable experience of first team football tempting.
Poole made debut as Rashford stunned world
It’s been 15 months since Poole made his United debut, against FC Midtjylland in the UEFA Europa League, and that experience is pushing him forward.
“I’ve had a little taste of the first team and that’s what I want again,” Poole said.
“But I’m only 18 and sometimes you just have to step back and think: ‘I’ve still got a few years there and I’ve still got time’. So I just have to be a little bit patient and wait.”
“Obviously it was nice to get my debut at 17, which was unexpected. For me, that was an achievement, and I just want more of it.”
Last summer, Mourinho brought in Eric Bailly for £30m from La Liga side Villarreal. The Ivorian has excellent in his first season, but Poole says that watching on as huge sums are spent on other centre-backs can be demotivating.
“You see these centre-backs coming in for millions of pounds and sometimes it does get you down,” he said. “But I’ve still got a long time there and hopefully I get longer after my contract ends.”
“I want to be at the club for as long as possible so I look beyond stuff like that [big money signings] and ahead to when I’m 21 or 22."
Poole played 15 times for Newport County
Poole captained a United under-19 side at the 2017 Dallas Cup, when the Reds were knocked out in the group stages, and will be a key player for the under-23s next season if a loan move does not materialise.
Before he recovers from a long season, though, the 18-year-old is focusing on the Toulon Tournament. Wales face hosts France in their opening fixture on Tuesday.
“It will be a great experience for everyone to go to France. It’s a tough way to start the competition [against France] we all know that, but we’re ready for it.”