Connect with us

Manchester United

Three players to look out for at Manchester United this season

Published

on

Manchester United

Triumphs in the EFL Cup and the Europa League signalled a nice start to life at Manchester United for manager Jose Mourinho, but you feel now is the season where he wants to truly hit the big-time.

Big additions in Romelu Lukaku, Victor Lindelof and Nemanja Matic – poaching the latter from United’s direct rivals Chelsea – show the signs of intent heading into the new campaign this Sunday.

Mourinho will know that anything less than a sustained title challenge, and a vast improvement on last season’s sixth-place finish, will be catastrophic considering the world-class squad at his disposal.

With the Champions League returning to Old Trafford after a short absence there is certainly reason for nervous excitement in Manchester once again, with United well-equipped to challenge for trophies.

The Boot Room takes a look at three players who have potentially have big seasons ahead of them…

Romelu Lukaku

After scoring 30 plus goals across all competitions in his last two seasons at Everton it was always going to be a matter of time before one of Europe’s big boys swooped in and signed Romelu Lukaku.

Despite heavy interest from Chelsea it was Jose Mourinho’s side that secured the services of the Belgian in a £75 million move, and it will be all eyes on the 24-year-old this year to see if he delivers.

Stepping into Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s shoes in the number nine role, Lukaku’s ability to score with either foot or his head makes him so dangerous in the area and will almost guarantee goals this year.

During pre-season he’s already shown all of the attributes that he needs to become a hugely successful player at Old Trafford for years to come, displaying all of his power and strength to fashion chances for himself in the box, and he has already scored three goals before the season begins.

Naturally for a player still so young there’s areas to work on – not least after missing a sitter in the UEFA Super Cup on Tuesday – but given time, and given the support from midfield, he will be massive.

Anthony Martial

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has shown a lot of faith in Anthony Martial since his arrival last summer, and despite speculation of a loan move away to Inter Milan for the upcoming season – as per the Telegraph – the fact he has featured heavily in pre-season suggests he will stay.

The 21-year-old may not have hit the dizzy heights expected of him when he joined from Monaco two years ago in a £36 million move, but there’s a feeling that this year could be the making of him.

Despite not fully firing last season he still managed four Premier League goals – the same tally as Henrikh Mkhitaryan and three more than Jesse Lingard – and he managed more assists (six) as well.

He has arguably been one of United’s stand-out players throughout pre-season preparations, dazzling against Real Madrid with a superb run and just generally playing with a lot more confidence.

If he can transform this into the Premier League, and if he is given a decent run of regular first-team football by Mourinho, then this could be the season where Martial’s career at the top level takes off.

Paul Pogba

The signing of defensive midfield powerhouse Nemanja Matic from Chelsea is one of the best and most astute signings of the summer window to date, and it will benefit United in a number of ways.

One of these is that it will bring out the best in Paul Pogba, United’s £89 million record signing last summer, as it will allow him a renewed sense of freedom to roam around the opposition territory.

The 24-year-old French international has been widely criticised for his performances last year, despite playing the most minutes as United secured the Europa League trophy for the first time in the club’s history, but he couldn’t express himself fully due to the defensive duties that he had.

Yet, with the monumental figure of Matic sitting deep in the midfield, it now allows Pogba, along with Ander Herrera, to have an average position further up the pitch and the benefit will be clear.

It will allow Pogba to influence attacking play more, finding the pockets in between the opposition defence and midfield with more regularity, and it will allow him to build a strong rapport with Lukaku.

Everybody has seen just what Pogba can do during his time at Juventus – and even in glimpses at United last season – and expect him to be at the centre of a big push for the Premier League title.

Will is a Multimedia Journalism graduate from the University of Salford, specialising in the art of sports. Long-time suffering Northampton Town fan who once saw us win a league title. Find him on Twitter - @96PearsonW.

Manchester United

“Imagine thinking Phil Jones is better”: Newcastle fans react to Jamaal Lascelles omission

Newcastle fans can’t believe Jamaal Lascelles is not going to the World Cup this summer.

Max Cohen

Published

on

Jamaal Lascelles
Photo: Getty Images

Chelsea narrowly defeated Manchester United in Saturday’s FA Cup Final, thanks to Eden Hazard’s first-half penalty.

United centre-half Phil Jones conceded the spot-kick, felling the Belgian in the box and drawing the ire of Twitter in the process.

Newcastle United supporters were baffled at Jones’ poor cup final performance and criticised England manager Gareth Southgate for selecting the 26-year-old defender ahead of Jamaal Lascelles in the World Cup squad.

Against Chelsea, Jones made headlines for his high-profile mistake 20 minutes into the match.

The defender was caught flat-footed just inside his own half when Cesc Fabregas played a lofted ball in the direction of Eden Hazard.

The Belgian’s first touch was excellent and left Jones for dead, putting the Englishman on the wrong side of the ball.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Hazard then cut back across Jones, before the defender lunged into an ill-timed challenge that got nowhere near the ball.

In a cup final of such importance, mistakes such as Jones’ can prove immensely costly. And as United lost the match by the solitary goal, the centre-back’s error was devastating.

And the Manchester United defender’s poor showing incensed English supporters, who were furious at his inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man team.

In particular, Newcastle United fans felt aggrieved that Jones was selected in front of their captain Jamaal Lascelles.

Lascelles has been superb all season for the Magpies, marshaling the Newcastle defence while leading the club to an impressive tenth-placed finish.

Unlike Jones, who has been an inconsistent feature in United’s side, Lascelles featured in 33 Premier League matches this season – ten more than the United defender.

The Newcastle United faithful expressed their discontent at the England manager’s defensive team selections, arguing Lascelles would have proved a far more effective option in Russia.

And as one intrepid Twitter user noted, when Newcastle United played host to Chelsea just one week ago, Lascelles kept Hazard in check and held the Blues scoreless. Jones, on the other hand, capitulated in the face of the Belgian’s skills.

England face Belgium on 28 June in their final group stage match; Newcastle and Three Lions fans alike will be praying Phil Jones does not feature.

Continue Reading

Manchester United

Luke Shaw must seek Mauricio Pochettino reunion to revive floundering career

Max Cohen

Published

on

Luke Shaw
Photo: Getty Images

The latest disappointment in a dreadful season for Luke Shaw came on Wednesday, when the Manchester United defender was left out of England’s World Cup squad.

Limited to just 11 league appearances this season, amid a falling-out with Jose Mourinho, the full-back must seek a move to Tottenham Hotspur this summer and reunite with ex-Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino.

It is easy to forget that Shaw is just 22 years of age, as the left back burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old back in 2012.

Once considered one of the world’s finest young defenders, Shaw played in the 2014 World Cup for England and was signed by Manchester United for £30 million – the world record fee for a teenager at the time.

However, the Englishman’s time at Old Trafford has been a troubled one. Filled with injuries and managerial bust-ups, Shaw appears a shadow of his former self and is desperately short of confidence and playing time.

(Photo by Lindsey Parnaby/Getty Images)

A transfer to White Hart Lane to link up with old boss Mauricio Pochettino would be the ideal switch for the left back.

Shaw still has time on his side to revive his career, as at only 22 years old, he has many playing years in front of him.

The Argentinian would be the perfect manager to coax the best out of the fullback, due to Pochettino’s impressive knack for getting the best out of promising youngsters.

The two spent a year-and-a-half together at St. Mary’s and Shaw has since spoken glowingly about his respect and adoration for Pochettino in Guillem Balague’s book Brave New World: Inside Pochettino’s Spurs:

“I do hope that I can play for him again one day. And I think he really wants me to play under him again.”

In order to save his floundering career, Shaw must leave Old Trafford and make the switch to Spurs to rekindle his relationship with Mauricio Pochettino.

Continue Reading

English Premier League

Four Premier League ‘flops’ that have gone on to excel in Europe

There are some exceptional former Premier League disappointments now excelling abroad.

Martyn Cooke

Published

on

Flops
Photo: Getty Images

Mohammed Salah has emerged as one of the leading performers in world football this season after having an incredible debut season with Liverpool.

The 25-year-old has scored a combined total of 44 goals for club and country this campaign and was subsequently voted as both the PFA Player of the Year and the Football Writers’ Footballer of the Year.

However, it was only two years ago that Salah was being branded as a flop following a short, unsuccessful stint with Chelsea.

The Egyptian made only a handful of appearances at Stamford Bridge and had to rebuild his reputation in Italy with Fiorentina and Roma prior to emerging as one of the best players in the world this campaign.

Here, The Boot Room looks at four other Premier League flops that have rebuilt their careers in European football.

Memphis Depay

(Photo by Jeff Pachoud/Getty Images)

There was considerable excitement when Manchester United signed Dutch prodigy Memphis Depay for £31 million in the summer of 2015.

The 21-year-old had been the Eredivisie’s leading goal scorer in the previous campaign with his pace, technical ability and unpredictability helping PSV Eindhoven to a first Dutch title in almost a decade.

However, Depay failed to find his feet in England and was unable to secure regular first-team football.

His inconsistent form on the pitch was further emphasized by his reputation for being something of a flashy, egotistical playboy off it.

He was subsequently sold to Lyon for an initial fee of £16 million in January 2017 having failed to impress Louis van Gaal or Jose Mourinho that he was worthy of a starting role.

The Dutchman has subsequently excelled in France and has exploits have helped Lyon to qualify for the Champions League next season.

He has scored 19 times in all competitions this campaign and is one of only a handful of players who have reached double figures for both goals scored and assists this campaign.

Furthermore, now 24 years of age, Depay has also begun to mature and lose his former bad-boy image.

Andrej Kramaric

(Photo by Daniel Roland/Getty Images)

When Leicester City broke their transfer record in January 2014 to purchase Andrej Kramaric for £9 million, it was widely considered to be an excellent piece of business.

The forward had been prolific in Croatian football where he was averaging over a goal a game with Rijeka and had already secured a regular place in the international team.

All of the signs indicated that The Foxes had bought a young, prolific goal scorer.

Ultimately, Kramaric failed to replicate his previous form and had a diminutive impact at the King Power Stadium.

He started just six games for Leicester before being loaned out to Bundesliga side Hoffenheim in January 2016, mid-way through Claudio Ranieri’s title-winning season, and he made the move permanent when the campaign concluded.

Now, 26 years of age, the Croatian has rediscovered his goal scoring touch in Germany netting 30 goals across all competitions over the previous two years.

He hit a hat-trick against Hannover at the end of April to fire Hoffenheim towards Champions League qualification and was hailed as a ‘top striker’ by his team-mate Havard Nordtveit.

Paulinho

(Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

In the summer of 2013, Tottenham Hotspur broke their record transfer by purchasing midfielder Paulinho for a fee believed to be around £17 million.

Spurs had just sold Gareth Bale to Real Madrid and the Brazilian was one of a number of high profile and expensive signings that the club made as they reinvested the money.

Paulinho made a solid, if not spectacular, start to life at White Hart Lane and was a regular feature in his first season, making 30 appearances in the Premier League.

However, in the summer of 2013, Mauricio Pochettino replaced Tim Sherwood as manager and the midfielder simply never featured in the Argentinian’s plans.

He made just three starts and was subsequently sold to Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande for £10 million.

It was initially thought that the Brazilian’s top flight career in Europe was over until Barcelona made the surprise move to sign him in the summer of 2017.

Paulinho has emerged as a key feature at the Nou Camp this season, making almost 50 appearances across all competitions, to help the club secure a domestic league and cup double, leaving Tottenham supporters wondering if they sold the midfielder too soon.

Iago Aspas

(Photo credit should read PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images)

Liverpool signed diminutive Spanish forward Iago Aspas in the summer of 2013 for a £7 million as Brendan Rodgers continued to remould the playing squad at Anfield.

The striker’s arrival was something of a surprise considering he was uncapped at international level and was not widely perceived as being a prolific goal scorer.

The Spaniard struggled to find his feet in the Premier League and made only a handful of appearances before returning to La Liga with Sevilla at the end of the campaign.

He scored only once, a solitary strike in the FA Cup against Oldham Athletic, and his most noticeable contribution was producing one of the worst corner kicks of all time against Chelsea.

However, Aspas is now flourishing with hometown club Celta Vigo and is regarding as one of the most prolific strikers in La Liga.

He has scored 21 goals across all competitions this season in 35 appearances and is the leading Spanish goalscorer across all of Europe’s top flight leagues.

He has a genuine chance of leading Spain’s forward line this summer at the World Cup.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2018 The Boot Room.