Scottish FA Performance Director Brian McClair was delighted to see Scotland Under-21 international Donald Love make his competitive debut for Manchester United on Saturday.
Love came on for the injured Matteo Darmian after 37 minutes in United’s Barclays Premier League match against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light at the weekend.

As someone who played over 355 matches for the Old Trafford club between 1987 and 1998, McClair knows better than anyone the pressure that comes with wearing the United jersey. He was impressed with how well Love – who spent the first half of the season on loan at Gary Caldwell’s Wigan Athletic – handled his Premier League debut. 
Speaking to the Scottish FA website, he said: “Making your debut for such a big club like Manchester United is nerve-wracking for any player, let alone a young player in such a high-pressure environment like a Premier League match. He’d have no doubt been apprehensive, but he was positive in his involvement in the match.
“From that first moment onwards he settled in to the flow of the match, and along with United’s other young full-back (Cameron Borthwick-Jackson), he was one of United’s most attacking threats on Saturday.

“It will have been something he has dreamed about for a long time.

“To come back from his loan at Wigan and impress Louis Van Gaal enough to earn his debut is something that he will be thrilled about, as will everyone who knows him.”
Although the young right-back’s inclusion may have come as a surprise, he’s a player that McClair knows plenty about from his time as the Youth Academy Director at Manchester United.
McClair said: “He’s a player who is comfortable all over the pitch, and has played in numerous positions for United’s youth teams. He’s a good striker of the ball, and he has a really good right foot.

“Ricky Sbragia (Scotland Under-21 coach) and I have been aware of him for a while from our time at Manchester United, where he’s been since the age of 8. He was born in England, but his gran comes from Stranraer. He’s made it clear that he wants to play for Scotland.”

Love has represented Scotland Under-21s three times, most recently in the 2-2 draw against Ukraine in Paisley in November. Love’s involvement in that match was cut-short by injury, but McClair was impressed by his performance that evening.

“He’s been impressive when he’s played for Scotland at Under-21 level,” said McClair.
“He’s shown a versatility in his game when he has been away with us. He has a good understanding of the game, which means he can pretty much play wherever he’s asked.” 
With Gordon Strachan expanding his pool of players for next month’s friendlies against Czech Republic and Denmark, McClair reckons a run of games at the Old Trafford club could see the youngster propelled into Gordon’s plan for the March double-header.

“I think it’s a great sign of progress that he was given a chance by the manager to show what he can do”, he said. 

“With the injuries at United at the moment, he has a chance of getting more games under his belt, and I’m sure that is something that Gordon will be keeping an eye on. He’s got a lot going for him, but overall to see a young Scottish player feature in that environment can only be a positive thing.”