After what was being labelled a disastrous loan, Manchester United’s young defender Will Fish has turned his fortunes around in the last month forcing his way into the starting XI of European football chasers Hibernian.
Starting in Hibernian’s last four matches, the 19-year-old has been rock solid at the back, helping the Edinburgh club go undefeated and move two places closer to European qualifiers.
A surprise turnaround, rumours were circulating a month ago of a possible cancellation of the loan.
The lack of game time was beginning to worry Fish himself, but the young man held firm and told Edinburgh News, “Obviously, it is frustrating, but you have to earn your place in the team, Rocky [Bushiri], Paul [Hanlon], Porto [Ryan Porteous] have played well since I have come in, so you just have to take that chance when you get it.
“Time will tell, but I’m happy here. Whatever I can do to help the team I’m happy to do that.”
Captaining United through the youth ranks and often playing above his age group, sitting on the sidelines has been a new experience for Fish but he has only seen the positives.
“Training with the lads every day is great because they are all great players. For me, it is about keeping my head down, working hard, improving my game and we’ll see what happens.”
This hard-working mindset has proved fruitful for the England u19 international, being awarded with his first string of starts in senior football, which he has grabbed with both hands.
The most recent of which was an important 1-0 win over St. Mirren where Fish was vital in mopping up attacks.
Fish vs St Mirren:
0 x dribb past
78.4% pass acc
9/14 long balls
1/2 ground duels
4/7 aerial duels
12 poss lost
— RedReveal (@RedReveal) February 4, 2023
The youngster has also recently opened his scoresheet in senior football with a soaring header in a thumping win over Aberdeen.
Will Fish makes it 𝗦𝗜𝗫 😍
— Hibernian Football Club (@HibernianFC) January 29, 2023
Following his goal, Hibernian manager Lee Johnson sung high praises of Fish saying, “If you wanted to build a centre-half, I’m telling you, Will Fish is what you’d build – he’s quick, he’s strong and he’s good on the ball.
“I felt he’d been a bit timid in his first couple of games and not played forward anywhere near enough.”
But most impressed with Fish’s resurgence is his centre-back partner and Hibernian captain, Paul Hanlon. The Scottish international said, “The last two games he has been different class, really good. He has all the attributes at this age to really kick on.”
“He obviously comes from a big club but his attitude to learn is different class, he is always asking questions – ‘where should I be’, ‘what should I have done then?’ Physically for his age at 19, he’s a big boy, attacks the ball well, but can play with some pace too, so basically exactly what you want in a modern-day footballer.
“What more do you need? His attitude to learn is probably the best thing. You would never know he’d come from United and that’s probably the best thing about him.”
The praise of Fish’s attitude has come shortly after Troy Deeney singled out the mentality of United academy graduates being above other clubs.
It is this mental side of the game that earned Fish the captain’s armband for United’s u21s despite being only 17 at that time.
It is why the club see a big future for the prospect who has been tied down until at least 2025 with an option to extend by a further year.
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