Anthony Elanga was delighted to see his Manchester United academy teammate Ethan Laird make his first start for Bournemouth.
Cherries manager Scott Parker said he was “impressed” with Laird’s performance in the draw against Middlesbrough on Good Friday.
The 20-year-old was a surprise starter at right-back and played the full 90 minutes of the 0-0 stalemate at Vitality Stadium.
Laird was a regular starter in the first half of the campaign during his season-long loan at Swansea City.
But since changing south Wales for the south coast side in January, the pacey and attack-minded full-back has struggled to make an impression at the Premier League promotion chasers.
Laird’s last start prior to facing Chris Wilder’s Boro came on December 11, more than four months ago, when he was forced off injured in Swansea’s 4-1 defeat against Nottingham Forest.
But after suffering setbacks in his recovery and taking time to adapt to Parker’s physical and tactical demands, Laird looked to have made a breakthrough with successive substitute appearances.
However, after featuring at Preston on March 5, Laird was not even named as part of the matchday squad for six of the subsequent seven fixtures with Parker citing the Manchester United academy graduate’s omission due to him not being at the level required.
But with Jordan Zemura ruled out injured, Parker opted to switch Adam Smith over to left-back, with Laird earning an out of the blue recall and slotting in at right-back to face Boro.
Discussing Laird’s performance on his first start for the club, Parker told the Daily Echo: “I thought he did very well. I was impressed with him to be fair.
“Over the last three or four weeks I feel like he’s probably coming out the other side of where he was and then the injury and probably not been up to speed and not done enough work with us.
“Decided to go with Ethan today and I thought he defended very well.
“Also attacking wise he gives us a real threat as well, so I was pleased for him.”
Parker added: “It was very pleasing that he got through 90 as well, so that was good.”
After making his return to action, Laird posted a motivational message on Instagram which was met with support from his Manchester United teammates including Elanga.