Man Utd boss Marc Skinner makes Grace Clinton vow after Tottenham loan success

Marc Skinner, Manager of Manchester United, reacts
Man United boss Marc Skinner -Credit:Photo by Eddie Keogh - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Manchester United manager Marc Skinner has made a firm commitment to keep hold of Grace Clinton following her successful loan spell at Tottenham Hotspur.

Skinner feels that United haven't been given enough credit for spotting the young England talent and is adamant about retaining her amidst interest from other clubs.

Clinton, aged 21, has spent this season on loan with Women's Super League rivals Tottenham Hotspur and has thrived in North London. Her stellar performances in midfield have not only propelled Spurs to a historic FA Cup final and a sixth-place league position but also earned her a spot in Sarina Wiegman's England squad.

Despite being unable to play in the FA Cup final against United due to loan regulations, the attacking midfielder's consistently dazzling displays have caught many an eye, particularly those at her current loan club Tottenham Hotspur, who are keen to prise her away from United, where she moved in 2022 after coming through Everton's academy.

United's rather disappointing season has led to much criticism aimed at manager Skinner for his decision to loan Clinton out to a rival club this season, following a previous loan stint at Bristol City in the Championship last season.

However, Skinner has staunchly defended his decision to send Clinton out on another loan spell, stating that he sees the young star as playing a crucial role in the club's future development, reports the Mirror.

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Skinner has been vocal about his intentions to retain star player Grace, stating emphatically on Thursday: "All I hear is Tottenham want to keep Grace, of course they want to keep Grace. She's a fantastic player. I got to catch a moment with Grace after the final and explained it's a rubbish situation that she had to miss it. But I've challenged her to get us back there in the future.

"We don't get the credit that we identified her qualities at Everton, brought her to Manchester United, gave her six months, sent her on loan at Bristol she got experience. She then went on loan to Tottenham to get more experience. I don't think people recognise that there is a plan for each individual we bring into the club."

He further expressed his desire to reintegrate Grace into the squad, adding: "With Grace, it's absolutely worked. I want to bring her back to the club and be part of what we're doing because I think she has a huge say in how we'll play."

The Red Devils are set to face Chelsea this Saturday, riding high from their recent FA Cup triumph - the women's team's first significant silverware since being re-established six years ago.

Although United's chances for European football next season have faded, Chelsea, under Emma Hayes in what could be her last season, must secure a win against United to keep their league title aspirations alive, especially after their defeat in the FA Cup semi-finals.

Skinner didn't hold back in his admiration for his counterpart. "With Emma, I've always admired the way she has managed a successful group, to keep them hungry over a period it's very difficult to do," he said as he looked forward to the upcoming match.

"She deserves a lot of credit for that because she's got to keep people right on the edge of performance to win this league specifically. She's been unrivalled in that for many years. We'll miss that quality in the league and I'll wish her the very best I'll obviously see her on Saturday and say the same to her."

"But from our perspective, we have to continue to grow the squad and the experiences. Games like the FA Cup final will help, it has to. But we're not there yet. For anyone, in order to emulate what Chelsea have done over a period of time, you have to almost perfect and we've got to chase that. The experiences [at Wembley] will help build that passion and the commitment the players have always had, but [also] belief in the big games that you can win them. Those will be deciding factors."