Manchester United youngster Ethan Galbraith has been described as ‘our little Iniesta or Xavi’ by Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough.
The 19-year-old is one of the most highly-rated players in the youth set-up at Old Trafford and made his debut for the first team in last season’s Europa League.
The central midfielder is yet to appear for the senior side since that outing, but he has seriously caught the eye of his international boss, who has called him up for the European Championship play-off against Slovakia this month.
Galbraith has played just once for his country so far, but Baraclough has hugely high hopes for him, comparing him to the two Spanish legends, Andres Iniesta and Xavi.
‘Ethan, over the last six months, we’ve seen a maturity in his play and the way he goes about his work day to day,’ Baraclough told the Manchester United website.
‘He’s excelled with the Under-21s and he’s a different type of player to anyone we’ve got in the senior squad. Hopefully it’s the start of a long career for him.
‘Hopefully, he relishes his time from the start in this squad, rather than coming in from the Under-21 squad.
‘He has earned his right with the way he has gone about his play for the last six months.
‘Not to put too much pressure on his shoulders, but he’s our little Iniesta or Xavi.
‘Over the coming years, he will give us a different flavour to the squad.’
Just last month the teenager signed a new three-year contract, with the option of a further year and Baraclough is pleased to see United showing faith in the youngster.
‘He’s gone and signed a new deal with Man Utd and you can see there’s a real self-confidence about him,’ said the former Scunthorpe player.
‘It’s great someone like that can be a shining light for the young players, knowing there are chances for them if they perform at their clubs.’
Northern Ireland take on Slovakia on Thursday in Belfast.