After a blistering start to the season against Chelsea, Manchester United had to settle for a 1-1 draw against Nuno’s Wolverhampton Wanderers. What has been prominent through both the matches is United’s lack of spark in the creative midfield role. So far, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has opted for Jesse Lingard in the No.10’s role, but the England international has failed to live up to the hype.
Jesse Lingard possesses the pace for a counter-attack, the quality of closing down the opponent, applying pressure on the defenders, but lacks the originality of a creative No.10. He was effective in the game against Chelsea, but failed to leave an impression against the Wolves. Despite major bookmakers and top online casinos offering massive odds on United emerging victorious from the Wolves game after their previous showing against Chelsea, a draw was all they could return home with, much to the dismay of the travelling United faithfuls.
Not every team provides the luxury of counter-attacks as they defend in lower blocks. During those times, Manchester United require a natural creative midfielder to score a goal or bail out the team from danger.
The manager has missed the train to add a creative midfielder to his team in the transfer window. However, the team’s backyard possesses few players who might probably excel for the club in the No.10 role.
Here are three players who can replace Jesse Lingard and solve the No.10 conundrum for Manchester United.
#1) Angel Gomes
The 18-year-old midfielder has impressed the United faithful and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with his performances at U-18, U-23 levels. The teenager also excelled in this season’s pre-season friendlies. Moreover, his performances against Tottenham and Inter made him a vital player in Solskjaer’s setup.
Against the spirited Wolves, Ole missed a midfielder on the bench who could have affected the game for the Red Devils. The English midfielder is creative and is capable of cracking opposition defenses with ease.
However, he has that uncertainty in decision making, but Gomes will learn that with more playing experience. He completes maximum number of passes he supplies and is a good reader of the game. Gomes also has the pace which qualifies him to make an appearance against Crystal Palace.
The £55 million signing of Jose Mourinho has appeared in very few games for Manchester United. Apart from a game against Wolverhampton Wanderers and the Champions League fixture against Paris St.German last season, Fred has not lived up to the hype.
However, the Brazilian is a tireless player on the pitch who can close down the opponent easily. He is capable of providing the defense splitting passes with ease. Fred is well suited for Solskjaer’s style of football possessing the ability to make dangerous runs into the opposition box. Assuming Paul Pogba playing in the deeper role, Fred can actually be a crucial asset for the Red Devils.
Jose Mourinho once said,
“I think [with] Fred, when the team is defensively stronger and doesn’t need in midfield people that is more worried in giving some balance to the team than being involved in creation and attacking dynamics, the day we are stronger defensively, I think the horizons for Fred change completely.”
With United signing Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan Bissaka in the summer transfer window, their defense looks much stronger, atleast on paper. So, trying out the Brazilian in the creative midfielder’s role in place of Jesse Lingard can be a possibility. Can this be a life-changing season for the Brazilian?
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#3) Andreas Periera
The Brazilian international is by far one of the most creative players in the United squad, as seen in the pre-season friendlies. Apart from closing down opponents and intercepting passes, Andreas Pereira can also pick up crucial passes. So far, Ole has used Pereira in the deep-lying midfielder role or on the right-wing and in both cases, the Brazilian has excelled to the core.
Andreas is blessed with speed and quick feet, making him an important option to be considered for the No.10 role. He has an eye for vital through passes which can help the team to break low-block and resolute defenses.
Another major attribute in his case for the No. 10 role is his power to score long-range goals, which makes him even more threatening. Pereira’s qualities are credible enough to be tried out in place of Jesse Lingard.