Paul McShane, an ex-Sunderland defender, might play for Man Utd U21s in a Papa John’s Trophy match at the age of 35.

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Paul McShane, an ex-Sunderland defender, might play for Man Utd U21s in a Papa John’s Trophy match at the age of 35.

FORMER Paul McShane, a former Sunderland player, might play for Manchester United’s Under-23s team against his former club on Wednesday.

Last summer, the 35-year-old defender returned to Old Trafford as a player-coach with the club’s U23s.

He came through the Red Devils’ junior system before joining West Bromwich Albion in 2006 and later playing for Hull City, Reading, and Crystal Palace.

McShane joined Neil Wood’s coaching set-up at Carrington as one of a trio of over-age players after leaving Rochdale at the end of last season.

He wasn’t just brought in to help the U23 strikers better in the gym; he’s also been coaching the team on the field, using his experience to help his younger teammates.

McShane has played in the Premier League 2 and the Papa John’s Trophy with Manchester United’s second team.

Because each match allows U21 teams to name three over-age players, this is the case.

That means McShane might be back in action when United’s young guns visit the Stadium of Light for the Papa John’s Trophy tomorrow.

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In United’s final match of the campaign, the veteran played the entire game as they defeated Bradford 3-0.

“He was playing league football last season and he’s an A-licence coach, so it’s a unique blend of skills that he offers,” United’s head of academy Nick Cox said after McShane’s appointment.

“He will mostly join us as a coach, therefore he will be a resource to assist better the players around him in a variety of ways.”

“Because he is used to playing in high-intensity conditions in senior football, he will practice with the group to ensure that the intensity of the sessions is high.”

“He will give us a new viewpoint from a coaching standpoint from within the session and observe different things, which is quite essential, and he can also coach from within the session.”

“He’ll provide a daily challenge for our exciting, young attacking players, who will be able to go up against him knowing he’s played in the European Championship and in some big games, including FA Cup finals.”

During his two seasons with United’s first squad in the mid-2000s, McShane never appeared in a competitive match.

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