ALEX FERGUSON had Robbie Brady in exactly the place he wanted him over the weekend -- at home in Dublin resting up.
Back at United's training ground the following day and Ferguson did what he does best. While praising the new apple in the eye of Ireland fans, the United boss reminded his tyro of the challenges which await at the club with unmatched expectation levels.
Not that Brady presumed any different. The hype which surrounded his bow wasn't indulged by him or those within his circle. Oman were sub-standard opposition and Brady only inflicted the type of damage he'd wreaked against quality nations such as Italy at U-21 level.
Ferguson intends to blood the Dubliner on Wednesday week when Newcastle United pony up to Old Trafford for a League Cup tie, yet the loan route is most likely for Brady.
While fellow Premier League clubs are sniffing around, the Championship is his probable destination, where a reunion with Nigel Pearson is on the cards. The Leicester City boss was taken by Brady's talents while having him on loan at Hull City last term.
Coupled with his impact last Tuesday, a loan move will result in Brady keeping his place in the Ireland squad for next month's World Cup qualifier against Germany. After that, he's at the mercy of the most obstinate manager in Ireland's history.
Brady has never shied away from such tasks, especially after commitment to the international cause came under fire last year.
Having captained the Irish U-19s through the first phase of UEFA qualifiers, scoring three times en route, Manchester United then withdrew him for the elite phase in May 2011.
Ferguson wanted the tyro to stick around Old Trafford for the Premier League run-in and possible involvement in Gary Neville's testimonial game. A club decision -- not his. Still, that decision infuriated his Ireland boss Paul Doolin and FAI high performance director Wim Koevermans, neither of whom could contact Brady.
His absence in Poland for the qualifiers which his team-mates successfully negotiated cost Brady a place at the U-19 UEFA finals that July.