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Football News: Review of the Current Manchester United Team

Review of the Current Manchester United Team
Image from: freelargeimages.com

With pre-season over I thought I'd review the Manchester United squad as it stands along with the changes I've observed in the team and how the club appears to being run from an outside perspective.

Keepers: DDG looks set to be EtH's first choice this season, hopefully he adapts to the demands of the new manager and displays better distribution and comes off his line to sweep move often.

Henderson has left on loan; it'll be interesting to see how he does and whether EtH considers the loan as a chance to see how he does in the EPL with a run of games or whether it's a loan to put him in the shop window.

Heaton is a capable back up, but certainly not a long-term option.

Bishop and Kovar are okay as a third choice but probably need regular minutes to improve. Ideally a better back up keeper would be signed to push DDG and maybe offer a different skillset to the Spaniard.

The real issue in the keeper department might come next summer when Heaton will be out of contract, and a decision will need to be made whether DDG has shown enough to be first choice for the next few years or whether EtH wants a keeper with a specific skillset. While what happens with Henderson will need resolving one way or another.

Defence is a tricky one, currently on the books we have: Dalot, AWB, Laird, Varane, Martinez, Maguire, Lindelof, Jones, Bailly, Tuanzebe, Mengi, Bernard, Telles, Shaw, Malacia, and Williams. With Alvaro Fernandez already heading out to PNE on loan.

Laird looks like he will join Watford on loan, which I think is best for him. His performances in pre-season have been solid without really forcing the question of whether he should start. If he stays, he'd be back up and what he really needs is game time.

AWB really doesn't look like a player EtH fancies, if he can be moved on (ideally a sale but it might have to be a loan) then a replacement will need to be brought in. Dalot in the meantime looks like he'll be first choice and given a chance to lock down that position in the team.

Telles on the other side looks like the casualty to the Malacia signing, who himself looks like he will relegate Shaw to the bench sooner or later. He's been a key player to how the team has set up in pre-season. Shaw is a conundrum, too good (and paid too handsomely) to be a bench player. If he does lose his place to Malacia this season, I'd expect a move elsewhere next summer (although his contract situation does muddy the water) . Williams I'd expect to leave this summer.

Centre back will be interesting, Tuanzebe, Jones and Bailly will all likely leave. While Mengi and Bernard will almost certainly head out on loan. Leaving the core four of Varane, Martinez, Maguire and Lindelof. Of which Martinez seem the only obvious guaranteed starter.

Varane would be most people's choice to partner him, but his injuries will count against him. Meaning Maguire will most likely get a chance at a reprieve this season. I hope he does well, but I don't expect it.

Midfield is probably the hardest area to judge as it seems like we are missing THE key component at the moment. But there seems little point discussing a player who isn't here.

McTominay I think could be the biggest loser in midfield under the new manager, his tendency to stand behind an opposition player and his weakness in possession doesn't bode well under a manager who prefers technical players who are comfortable on the ball and always make themselves available. It's a shame, I like McSauce's attitude and fight, and he seems a great professional, but he looks more suited to playing a box-to-box role for a team that plays on the counter.

Fred, I think will surprise a few. Ultimately probably not good enough, but his weaknesses oddly could be better mitigated in EtH's system. A solid squad player who will probably play a bigger role than many expect.

Donny, Donny, Donny, what about Donny? I so want him to be a success, and he certainly has many of the attributes that EtH values. However, his best position is as a No.10 second striker, and he just won't get ahead of Bruno or Eriksen in that role. I think he'll be a decent squad player who'll come in and give 6 out of 10 performances every week without ever standing out, then leave next summer.

James Garner should be on the cusp, but whether he gets a chance or not I think depends on two things. Firstly, do we sign another midfielder? If we do, then I think he goes on loan. Secondly, has Zidane Iqbal overtaken him in EtH's mind? I think he might have done.

Eriksen is a player who I think might play as the No.8 more often than not, it's a role he can play, and he'd add a lot of creativity and technical ability to the side, vital in a possession-based team. Plus, great dead ball delivery should add 5-10 goals to the side this season.

Bruno is currently the only midfielder I think is nailed on to start when fit and available. He'll play maybe slightly deeper under EtH which could see him grab a few more assists and a few less goals. But I think we could see him back to his best.

Charlie Savage will head out on loan I suspect; he needs minutes at a higher level and has shown he is ready for that. Picking the right loan club will be vital. If he can have a great loan, then he could come back next summer with an eye of replacing someone like McTominay in the squad.

Hannibal, I think is another who needs a loan. Ultimately, he plays his best football in the area of midfield where we are most stocked up. With Bruno, Eriksen and Donny all ahead of him he would be best served by gaining experience against better players at a higher level on loan. Then maybe like Savage he could have one eye on possibly replacing someone next summer if say Donny leaves.

Finally, Zidane Iqbal could be the surprise name to rise up under EtH. Rumours are the Dutchman really likes him and feels he could be moulded into his ideal midfielder. Maybe it was Iqbal who EtH was thinking of when he said if we can't get FDJ then we would have to mould someone already at the club into the player he requires. One to keep an eye on.

The forward areas are also very much up for grabs with a real lack of depth. The will he won't he mess with Ronaldo needs sorting out one way or another. Ideally, I think with him leaving, the new manager doesn't need the shadow of Ronaldo hanging over his first season at the club. That leaves Martial, Rashford and Sancho as our first-choice options. Decent enough if they can all find and maintain their best form. Behind them we have:

Amad, a player with fantastic skills, but he doesn't seem to know what to do with them. Personally, I think he needs a loan and to play every week to develop as a player as part of a team. Too individualistic currently.

Elanga doesn't seem suited to EtH's style. Or at least he's the one struggling to get to grips with it the most. Ideally, he needs a loan and to play every week, yet with such short numbers in the wide areas I don't think the club can afford to let him go.
Chong needs to go, just not good enough for this level.

Pellistri has actually looked decent on tour, far better at linking with his teammates and playing as a team than Amad but lacking the same level of individual skills. Blend the two together and we'd have a great young player on our hands. Would probably be best to head out on loan, but another who might stay if we cannot get our targets across the line (Antony).

Shoretire hasn't grabbed any of the chances he has been given, looked fairly average this pre-season. He needs a loan the most of all of our young forwards.

Finally, the jewel, the player who looks like he has star potential in his boots. Alejandro Garnacho. No wonder Argentina jumped the gun to get this lad to play for them ahead of the country of his birth, Spain. He looks like he could be special, yet that needs to be tempered with expectations of what he could do this year. If he can have 20 appearances with maybe 8 starts, I think he should be very happy with that. He could however get more and could be the main beneficiary if the club cannot sign Antony.

From this it's clear that while there remains weaknesses in most areas of the pitch there are a few seeds and players with potential for EtH to work with. Getting that key midfield signing seems vital, while I'd be over the moon if one of Garner or Zidane Iqbal got a chance and took it, it's a massive gamble. It's the key position in EtH's system and the quicker we can get someone who can play it to the level we need to quicker we'll see an upturn in results. If he has to "mould" someone into that role and it take 3 months, then that's three months of inconsistent results.

Beyond that the depth in attacking areas is shocking, we need both a striker and a wide player, or we will be relying on a couple of youngsters to play 30-35 games between them.

The club appears to be moving in the right direction, the football is improving, the atmosphere is positive, the signings have a clear place in the managers squad and are clearly his signings, we have a good backroom team, and the manager says the right things in the press.

A couple more signings would help maintain that good feeling. While a good start to the season will be important, momentum is vital, keeping the team riding the crest of the wave of positivity will go a long way in helping the club achieve its aims this season.

Written by Shappy August 02 2022 20:34:42


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