Alvaro Fernandez can follow in the footsteps of David Beckham after joining Preston North End
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Alvaro Fernandez can follow in the footsteps of David Beckham after joining Preston North End

Preston North End completed their second loan signing from the Premier League in as many days, as Alvaro Fernandez joined from Manchester United, with Preston seeing off competition from Bundesliga clubs.

The left sided defender will provided competition for Robbie Brady in that wing-back role, and arrives as Manchester United’s current Under 23 player of the year.

Ryan Lowe credited chief scout James Wallace with tracking the Spanish talent and bringing him to the attention of the club.

On paper it sounds like a very exciting signing for the club, and with Fernandez currently having an abundance of competition at his parent club in Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia, Alex Telles and Brandon Williams, he will be eager to show United he is ready for first-team football in the not too distant future.

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The former Real Madrid youth player isn’t the first to tread the road from Manchester United to Preston North End, with many players in the past having learnt some of their trade at Deepdale before going on to have very successful careers.

The most famous would be David Beckham, who enjoyed a loan spell in 1995 when he was just 19, and memorably scored directly from a corner.

Beckham would make his league debut for The Red Devils later that season, and also won his first England cap just over a year later. The rest of his career speaks for itself, but North End helped him find his feet.

Danny Welbeck is another name to have graced the grass at Deepdale in the famous Lilywhite shirt as he scored a sumptuous chipped goal on his home debut in 2009 against Ipswich Town.

It wasn’t a surprise that he would also go on to have a decent career with United and England.

Welbeck’s arrival came on the back of Darren Ferguson becoming Preston manager, and of course he was always going to use his father for a few signings here and there.

Matty James, Josh King, and Ritchie de Laet were others who joined on loan, with only James really having any sort if significant impact at Preston. All three are still playing, at Bristol City, Fenerbahce, and Royal Antwerp respectively.

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One of our own played for the club and was part of the play-off win in 2015 after joining on loan from United. Sam Johnstone was born in Preston at the time his father Glenn – also a goalkeeper – was at the club.

Sam joined to help get the promotion challenge over the line from League One and duly did so. A class goalkeeper who has gone on to gain three England caps so far and could be set for some more after joining Crystal Palace in the top flight after a four years with West Bromwich Albion.

Around the turn of the millennium, Preston plucked a young David Healy from Manchester United. A record transfer at the time, it was a huge statement of intent from the club who were looking for back to back promotions in the 2000/2001 season.

Ultimately the club fell short in a play-off final defeat to Bolton Wanderers, but Healy would forge good partnerships with Jon Macken – another former United talent – and Richard Cresswell. After 45 goals for the club he left on bad terms, joining other former Preston players at the time in a move to Leeds United.

Healy has now carved out a successful career as manager of Linfield. Five Northern Irish Premiership titles in seven years is quite the achievement.

Whether on loan or permanent, a host of players have been on the United books before featuring prominently for Preston – and Fernandez will be hoping to follow suit.

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