LETTERKENNY NATIVE RYAN MCCONNELL is preparing for life in the SSE Airtricity League with Finn Harps.
Twenty-year-old McConnell signed for the Ballybofey club in November having spent three years at Old Trafford, where he had signed a professional contract in 2014.
However, a frustrating season last year saw just one reserve appearance for the former Republic of Ireland Under-19 international before he was released in the summer.
“You are told at United that even if you don’t make it there you have the skills to try and make it somewhere else. It was always drilled into us not to be arrogant or big-headed, to think you were better than anyone else, that you’re still a person and if you work hard you’ll be OK. That was the message from the coaches, how to be a good pro and work hard,” McConnell told The Evening Herald.
Photo caption: Ryan McConnell puts pen to paper on a deal with Finn Harps, with Harps manager Ollie Horgan last November
Sir Alex Ferguson was the manager of Manchester United when McConnell first signed for the club in 2012 before the Scot retired in 2013 and was originally replaced by David Moyes, who took over having managed Everton.
However, Moyes failed to last the season and was sacked in 2014 with former Holland and Barcelona manager Louis Van Gaal coming in.
McConnell felt there was a change in atmosphere at the club since the Dutchman’s appointment.
“In my last year there, under Van Gaal, it was all very separate and you didn’t get to see the senior players, it didn’t feel like a family club any more,” McConnell added. “When Fergie was there it was great, everyone was in together, everyone spoke to everyone and no one was bigger than anyone else.
“The senior players would have spoken to you in the gym, ask how you were getting on, but towards the end, I felt they were being propelled to being like gods at the club. To me, you’re the same person if you’re in the Man United first team or not.”