With midfielder Ethan Galbraith filling in for Laird at right-back against Derby for 45 minutes, an opportunity for Laird to stake a claim was missed.
Laird’s United career has been blighted by injuries since he made his first-team debut at the age of 18 in the Europa League in 2019.
He has only made two first-team appearances in total, none since 2019, but he has gained crucial experience on loan.
Laird has had three loan spells in the last 18 months, with MK Dons, Swansea City, and Bournemouth.
Laird did not get as much game time for the Cherries as he would have liked, but he still has a promotion to his name, and it was ultimately better for United to push and test him rather than leave him in his safe zone at Swansea.
This season’s injury woes appear to be easing. Laird handled the rigors of competitive football admirably and appears to have a bright future in the sport.
Due to his attacking prowess at the position, Laird is a complete wildcard with a high potential ceiling for breaking into the first squad. Ten Hag, on the other hand, could take one look at him and decide he’s not ready, sending him back out on loan.
Due to his international commitments, Diogo Dalot will be a week or so late to pre-season, which may provide more opportunities for the United youth to flourish.
Last season, he played 26 games on loan and is a better player as a result of the experience, even in the most difficult situations.
If Erik ten Hag likes Laird, he may save United millions in the right-back position. He’s an intriguing prospect for the incoming manager to consider at this early stage, and he’s probably United’s biggest wildcard for pre-season.