Manchester United's teenager Max Taylor has spoken of his battle to beat cancer after being named in the squad to face Astana in Kazakhstan tonight. Photo: Alexei Filippov/AP Photo

Manchester United's teenager Max Taylor has spoken of his battle to beat cancer after being named in the squad to face Astana in Kazakhstan tonight.

With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side through to the Europa League knockout stage, Taylor is one of a number of players who could make their senior debuts in what may be the youngest United team ever.

It would cap an inspiring story that began in October last year when Taylor was diagnosed with testicular cancer that had spread to his abdomen and lungs. The 19-year-old defender needed surgery to remove his left testicle and a nine-week course of chemotherapy. Taylor then had a five-hour operation to remove swollen lymph nodes before he was given the all-clear. After returning to action in October and making two appearances off the bench for United’s Under 23s before getting his first senior call-up, Taylor is determined to get his career back on track.

‘I’m not going to neglect the fact I had cancer, but I don’t want it to be what people remember me for,’ he said. ‘It’s part of me, it doesn’t define me. If anything, it has increased my ambition. I take things head on. Just go for it. Don’t be scared.’

Recalling the diagnosis, he added: ‘You get to the point when you’re thinking, “This could end my life”. I knew I would have to go along with whatever they said and I had no idea how my body would react.

‘Everything had been taken away. I was struggling quite badly mentally. I would look in the mirror and think, “I do not look good”. But I think the message that I want to get out to everyone is it’s possible to do more than I’ve done after such trauma.’

Meanwhile, Luke Shaw faces a battle to win back a first-team place at United after being told he has fallen behind Brandon Williams. The teenager has staked his claim to be United left back in the absence of Shaw, who has not played since August due to a hamstring injury. While the

19-year-old has stayed at home to prepare for Sunday’s Premier League clash with Aston Villa, Shaw has made the 6,000-mile round trip to Kazakhstan to play Astana in the Europa League. Manager Solskjaer is so pleased with Williams that he is no longer planning to sign cover at left back in the transfer window.

Daily Mail