“It’s about how you manage them nerves,” McShane tells the lads. “Feel them. Take them on board. Use them as positive energy. It’s time now to put on the character of ‘I’m a football player and I’m gonna go out now and put on a show’. Because that’s what these fans are here for. They want to see the future of Manchester United. You’re representing the club — your attitude, your mentality is massive. Just go out and express yourselves.”
Later in the 51-minute film, McShane is part of a coaching workshop in which United’s staff discuss their philosophy in front of a crowd of local Hong Kong coaches. The Irishman strides on stage and begins to speak in Cantonese, the local language. It’s a small gesture, but a powerful one.
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head,” so goes the famous Nelson Mandela quote. “If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.”
McShane is a graduate of United’s Academy. Now back coaching the U15s after a season as player-coach with the U21s, he made more than 350 appearances in the Football League and was capped 33 times by the Republic of Ireland. He has had an excellent career, but this gesture revealed so much about him as a character. It showed humility and respect.
And those are the values he and the rest of United’s hard-working, passionate staff on the trip to Hong Kong wanted to pass on to the talented young footballers who they accompanied, a point made clear by the film.