Years and years of achievement and history is buried inside Old Trafford, the Theatre Of Dreams, countless trophies, sensational records all created by the world’s best footballers. Manchester United are renown around the world as been one of, if not the best football team in footballing history, however the last few years suggest a much different story, ever since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson.
The number seven shirt in the Manchester United squad list has already played host to an iconic figure, set to be a club legend. The likes of Eric Cantona, David Beckham and arguably the best player in the world today, Cristiano Ronaldo have all represented the famous shirt for United and gone on to achieve success. The shirt number has failed to raise a legend in United’s dressing room ever since Ronaldo left the club in 2009.
The most recent, disappointing era for Manchester United has emerged as David Moyes took over the club before his successor Louis Van Gaal, United has lacked a clinical number seven figure who can lead the club back to their glory days. The most recent occupants of the shirt have included Ecuadorian international Antionio Valencia and Angel Di Maria who holds the record for the most expensive player ever bought by a British club, £59.7 million and yet he produced just three goals in his debut season before Van Gaal transferred him on for a cut-fee.
Now in the 2015/16 United seem a much more formidable team, they’ve sifted on their weak links and aging players, replacing them with much more class and potential in the ranks. United are yet to concede a goal this season in the League yet and are also unbeaten in all their outings and also look set for a solid Champions League run after a superb solo performance from £24.6 million signing Memphis Depay scoring two girls in a qualifying first leg tie against Club Brugge.
That man Depay, who was highlighted by many as a potential star after solid performances for Holland at the 2014 World Cup, also his young age and attacking presence made him a key target for clubs worldwide after earning the Golden boot in the Eredivisie, he scored 22 goals in 30 appearances in his final season, also helping PSV secure the title.
The simple question is; Can Depay be the man to bring back the glory days to United?
Alone, I doubt it. However, with the formidable squad Van Gaal is forming, Depay could prove a key asset should United earn trophies in the next couple of seasons. Depay seems disciplined, committed and hungry for goals, he seem’s a more established and settled Raheem Sterling which is why he is going to be the man to take United to the top.
Sterling lit up the Premier League a couple of seasons ago with his incredible partnership with Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, United have however, struggled for a centre forward in recent seasons and seem to be sticking with Wayne Rooney to be the hitman upfront. Behind him they have Depay and Mata, but they miss another world class forward to help create a formidable front four.
Van Gaal seems to be at least rumouring to be building his ultimate team with endless interests and bids for top European players to partner the likes of Depay and Bastian Schweinsteiger, but Depay will need to bring in a constant flow of goals until United sign at least one other world class forward.
At just 21 years old Depay has the potential to become one of the greatest players in world football, he can continue the legacy of the classic number seven shirt at Man United, the Premier League is host to many wingers who mimic his style of play, pacey down the wings but also has no problem then getting into the area being the scorer not just provider.
Depay has been highlighted as United’s biggest signing and received Depay for a bargain price in comparison to the likes of Raheem Sterling who is almost the same player in terms of style, but cost Manchester City a staggering £49 million pounds, and if anything Depay is more committed and driven to the task at hand.
The Dutchman has already been labelled within the world class category and for the right reasons, he has achieved so much at such a young age and got amongst the best in the world, under Van Gaal, Depay will thrive, he’s not quite the final piece of the jigsaw, but alone he can win games and proven so in his short spell already, that’s something United have seriously lacked the last few campaigns.
It’s still very early days in the season but United have four competitions they will be aiming for this season, and should their famous number seven icon continue, then Memphis Depay could be set this season to establish himself as a Manchester United legend after just one season.
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Why Jose Mourinho’s treatment of Luke Shaw has crossed the line
The Portuguese manager has been highly critical of Luke Shaw this season.
The fractious relationship between Jose Mourinho and Luke Shaw plumbed new depths when the left-back was substituted at half-time in Manchester United’s FA Cup victory over Brighton & Hove Albion. The 22-year-old had been handed a rare opportunity to impress at Old Trafford but lasted only 45 minutes.
Speaking about Shaw in his post-match interview, Mourinho said: “Luke, in the first half, every time they came in his corridor, the cross came in and a dangerous situation was coming. I was not happy with his performance.”
The differences between the pair now appear to be irreconcilable. Shaw, who was signed by Louis van Gaal in the summer of 2014, has been used sparingly by Mourinho. The former Southampton starlet has made just 18 Premier League appearances under the Portuguese in a career that has been blighted by injuries.
Being substituted at half-time is almost as embarrassing as it gets for a player and Shaw’s mood will not have improved after being publicly criticised by his manager. It’s certainly not the first time Mourinho has chosen to talk candidly to the media about his concerns with the 22-year-old.
Some players require an arm around the shoulder to perform at their peak, while for others it takes a kick up the backside. Mourinho, opting for the latter, does nothing without reason and has clearly tried to spark a reaction from Shaw, without success.
From being one of English football’s brightest prospects after making his World Cup debut aged just 18, Shaw, who has seven England caps to his name, is in danger of not fulfilling the potential that convinced United to spend what was then a world-record fee for a teenager.
Mourinho’s tactic of singling out individuals who have not met his standards is in stark contrast to Sir Alex Ferguson, who never blamed his players in public. It has divided opinion among pundits, with Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier claiming the United manager is ‘destroying’ Shaw.
Mourinho is an expert at using smokescreens to distract from his side’s unconvincing performances. And this latest controversy has moved the narrative on from United’s shock Champions League exit at the hands of Sevilla.
Tough love is one thing, but the sustained, public attack on Shaw is unacceptable. If Mourinho genuinely believes he is not good enough to represent United, then fair enough. But to continually vilify the youngster’s performances is a step too far and one that could irreparably damage Shaw’s confidence.
This is not to say that Shaw is a completely innocent bystander. Mourinho’s predecessor, Louis van Gaal, also questioned his desire and general conditioning when he joined United four years ago. Indeed, the Dutchman signed Shaw up to a tailored exercise regime in an effort to improve his fitness.
But while van Gaal’s treatment had the desired effect, Mourinho’s has done the opposite. Being publicly humiliated on a routine basis does neither party any favours.
In all likelihood, Shaw’s disappointing United career will come to an end this summer. A fresh start away from the toxicity under Mourinho is exactly what he needs.
Keanan Bennetts has perfect opportunity to impress Mauricio Pochettino this week
The left-sided star has a chance to impress in first-team training during the international break.
With the international week in full flow, plenty of teams in the Premier League have seen their squads diminished by call-ups to national teams.
Tottenham Hotspur are one such side. Nonetheless, with most of the first-team squad away with their respective nations, work continues at Hotspur Way.
In order for Spurs to have a full complement in training, plenty of young talent needs to be pulled in to the ranks.
Mauricio Pochettino will, therefore,e get a chance to see some of his young players training with regular first-team players such as Fernando Llorente, Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura.
One player who will be training with the first-team this week is talented wide-man Keanan Bennetts, according to London Live.
The 19-year-old left-winger has been catching the eye for the club’s youth team in recent weeks, making the news after scoring a fantastic goal for the under-19s against Monaco in the UEFA Youth League last month.
Bennetts has also been attracting interest for his positional dexterity. The wide-man has played at left-back in recent times and it could be that is his future best position.
This week he will be up against some excellent players such as Lamela and Moura, who did not receive selection to the Argentina and Brazil national teams, respectively.
If he can prove himself with this calibre of player, Pochettino will have to take notice.
It is coming to a point in his Tottenham career when Bennetts has to make such an impact. The teenager is out of contract at Spurs in the summer and needs to ensure he is kept on for at least one more season.
Tottenham fans who follow the youth teams are certain he is deserving of such a chance. If he can show Pochettino what he is capable of this week, then a new deal will surely be in the pipeline for the talented wide-man.
Despite improvement, Everton should not rekindle Thomas Vermaelen interest
The Belgian defender has been in better form for Barcelona this season.
Rumours have emerged today suggesting Everton could be back in for Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen.
Catalan newspaper Sport has reported that the 32-year-old could be offered a new deal by Barcelona, with a team from the Premier League interested in signing him.
Sport Witness has openly hypothesised that Everton could be that team. Whilst there is no confirmation or substantiated report that is the case, the boot certainly fits.
Last summer Everton tried to sign Vermaelen.
As reported by the Liverpool Echo, at the time Barcelona vetoed a loan move to Everton as they felt the defender could be a useful asset.
The Belgian certainly has. After struggling with injuries and form throughout most of his Barcelona tenure the former Arsenal man has enjoyed a good season.
The 32-year-old has been a genuine asset to the Catalans, despite still being used sparingly, and such form has even seen him win back a place in Roberto Martinez’s national selection for Belgium.
If it is Everton interested in Vermaelen it is easy to see why. Centre-back has been a major problem for the club this season.
However, Vermaelen, or a player of his ilk, is not the answer to the Toffees’ woes.
The Belgian is obviously a talented player with plenty of experience, but Everton need to freshen up their back-line.
Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka’s age has shown in recent months.
The pair have been, at the best, inconsistent for the past 18 months and Everton need fresh young talent in the heart of defence if they are to succeed.
Vermaelen is not only 32 but also immensely injury prone. Everton need reliable figures to plug their leaky defences and the Belgian can simply not be relied upon.
Whilst on paper it seems a good deal, and one Everton could certainly turn to their benefit.
The truth is supporters of the Goodison Park outfit will hope they are not the club reportedly keen on bringing Vermaelen back to the Premier League.
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