16-year-old wonderkid Shea Lacey is one of Manchester United’s brightest stars in the academy but could’ve ended up at Liverpool instead.
Shea’s older brother Paddy was also a footballer and played for the likes of Barrow, Altrincham and Accrington Stanley before he was banned from professional football in 2017 for testing positive for cocaine.
Paddy, who has since turned to professional boxing, has explained the reasoning behind his younger brother’s pathway to Carrington, with his own youth career being an example after he swapped United for Liverpool as a youngster when deciding his next club, which led to the siblings’ father taking things into his own hands later on.
“I was originally at Tranmere, then I went into Liverpool’s and Man United’s academies and kind of had to pick between a few clubs,” Paddy explained when speaking to the Manchester Evening News.
“It was under Rene Meulensteen and Mark Dempsey back in those days. I was 11 or 12 and my dad was impressed with the coaching. In my group, it was the likes of Ravel Morrison, Jesse Lingard, Ryan Tunnicliffe, a special group and the coaching was great.
“I stayed there for about a month and then I went to Liverpool, so it was decision time, and my dad was saying Man United was the best place for me but I’m a Liverpool fan, so as a 12-year-old, the decision was a no brainer.
“Their coaching was a lot more basic, you didn’t get room to develop as a player, so when my two little brothers were good enough, my dad never allowed them to make the decision. They got taken straight down the M62 to Manchester United.”
Shea Lacey has quickly become one to watch in the academy with many believing that he has the level to reach the first-team. He played 12 times for the Under-18s last term and has made four U18 Premier League appearances so far this season as The Reds have made a perfect start to the campaign, winning six out of six, with Lacey getting two goals and two assists.
The teenager also made a big impact during United’s U19s victory against Galatasaray in the UEFA Youth League earlier this month, getting a brilliant assist in the process.
The right-winger has also enjoyed personal success with England U17s in recent months, contributing to six goals in three starts during international friendlies.
Lacey’s support for the club came shortly after he joined as a youngster, feeling that he could not cheer on the team that he was now bitter rivals against on the pitch.
“We’re all a family of Reds, but with Shea, Man United always helped him when he was younger, really looked out for him,” Paddy added.
“He was always the captain and he didn’t really get on with the Liverpool lads he played against. Luis and Shea had season tickets together at Anfield and Luis would always complain he (Shea) wouldn’t even watch the game and that he wasn’t interested.
“So we had it out in the car on the way home. I said ‘Shea, these season tickets aren’t cheap, so if you don’t want to go I’ll give up mine and sit with Luis.’ He said, ‘I can’t go from hating Liverpool in the morning when I’m playing against them, to supporting them.’
“He was just being true to himself, it was quite a mature conversation and I just said ‘go ahead – you’ve saved me £1,000 a year!'”
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