Scott Wootton ready to fill Manchester United void should Jonny Evans miss Newcastle match

 

Scott Wootton would have no problem stepping into the breach if Jonny Evans is ruled out of Manchester United's Premier League trip to Newcastle on Sunday.

Wootton has been catapulted into United's first-team squad thanks to the injury crisis that has already robbed Sir Alex Ferguson of three central defenders, and leaves him at risk of being without a fourth if Evans cannot shake off the effects of a dead leg.

The 21-year-old made his first senior start against Newcastle in the Capital One Cup and came off the substitutes' bench in Tuesday's Champions League win over Cluj in Romania.

And while Ferguson cannot wait for his fitness worries to ease, Wootton could be forgiven for wanting it to carry on a little bit longer.

"The last week or so has been amazing," said the 21-year-old.

"To make my competitive debut in the League Cup and then to come on and play in the Champions League is a great feeling. It's something I'm made up with.

"It is always the way. As a young player, obviously you don't wish injuries on someone, but that's how you might get your chance.

"I got my chance against Newcastle through injuries. It's just the way it is."

Wootton had a rather unconventional route to the United first team in that he hails from Birkenhead and was initially on Tranmere's books.

However, it was not long before Liverpool were showing an interest and he moved to their academy.

United always kept in touch though, and when Wootton hesitated over signing scholarship forms with the Anfield outfit, the Red Devils made their move.

"I wasn't too sure whether I was going to sign (for Liverpool)," said Wootton.

"United invited me down for a week's trial and said they wanted to sign straight after that. It was really good."

Wootton is showing welcome signs of being completed unaffected by the transformation in his status.

He still changed with the reserve players last week at the Carrington training ground, and when United took on Liverpool at Anfield last month he was able to sneak into the visitors' end without anyone taking too much notice.

"I was never a Liverpool fan or anything like that, so I just went mad like everyone else when Robin van Persie scored," he said.

How quickly Wootton has gone from cheering Manchester United's latest glamour boy to sharing a dressing room with him.

Yet Wootton insists he is trying to do everything just the same.

"You want to progress as a footballer and these are the next steps," he said.

"For young players at a lot of top clubs the League Cup is where the managers embed them into the team, so obviously I was delighted with that.

"But in all these situations, it would be wrong to do anything different than you would normally.

"Obviously there are some extra special things like the team talks, coming away with the first team and the fans, which are different from what you're are used to.

"But you just try and concentrate on your football just the same."

It is not quite the same though, not when you are having to mark Papiss Cisse, as he did in the League Cup and may have to do again on Sunday.

"Everything is that extra step quicker," said Wootton.

"You've always got to concentrate; you can't switch off for one minute."

PA

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