Nemanja Matic needs to prove everybody wrong, again

Nemanja Matic is fit again and a slot could be opening up in Manchester United’s first team with Scott McTominay injured.

The timing is perfect, because Matic has just been written off as ‘finished’. He has even become a punchline in recent days.

Matic’s contract is winding down and the Manchester Evening News reported he is open to leaving the club in January.

That is a move in the long term best interests of United. But Matic might not be done yet.

With Jose Mourinho appointed by Tottenham, it has been a running gag on social media that Matic could head there with him, after he signed him at Chelsea and United.

We wouldn’t be opposed to that, United need to get younger and move Matic on, but between now and January he has a job to do.

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

Bounce back

Matic has been written off at United once before. And he made everybody eat their words, at least for a short stretch.

He struggled this time last season and his poor form was one of the many contributing factors in Jose Mourinho’s side falling apart.

When Mourinho was sacked, the same line of thought speculated that Matic might not get a kick under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Instead Solskjaer surprised us all by picking Matic in his first game, and the Serbian was excellent over United’s first 10 games under the Norwegian.

His progress was then interrupted by an injury which kept him out of key games against Liverpool and PSG and then Scott McTominay began to emerge.

But for those 10 matches, Matic was excellent, playing a more adventurous style than we were used to under Mourinho with an impressive range of passing.

Photo by Gary Prior/Getty Images

We just need one of those runs from him now over the next month, until McTominay and Paul Pogba are fit again.

It shouldn’t be forgotten that Matic played in what with hindsight is one of our best results of the season, a 1-0 win at home to an impressive Leicester side.

The disrespect towards Matic has gone a little too far, and he should be fired up with a major point to prove.

There is a tough run of fixtures upcoming in the Premier League. Sheffield United (a), Aston Villa (h), Tottenham (h), Manchester City (a).

Matic needs to show the world he is still close to the player United spent £40 million on. He has proved everybody wrong once, and can do it again.

Beyond December, it might be time to move him on and look elsehwhere. But it is important for United that Matic steps up.

He can also help himself and attract interesting transfer offers if he plays well between now and 2020.

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