Manchester United fans have already seen an improvement since Ralf Rangnick’s arrival. But some players still have a lot to do in the coming year.
Here are three United stars who need to up their game considerably if they are to feature regularly under the German boss.
United had been crying out for a solid right-back for years. So, when Aaron Wan-Bissaka arrived at Old Trafford, it seemed that a problem position had finally been solved. Unfortunately, the £50million man has failed to kick on, despite racking up well over 100 appearances.
He may be a great tackler, but that is not enough in the modern game. Rangnick’s narrow play further forward means his full-backs must attack. More specifically, they must attack effectively. Wan-Bissaka has just two goals and 10 assists in his United career to date.
More alarmingly, his delivery is too often poor. Compare that with Diogo Dalot – who has shone since his return to the fold – and Wan-Bissaka has a big challenge on his hands.
For a while, it seemed that Alex Telles’s arrival at United was all the motivation Luke Shaw needed. The England international was suddenly outstanding; rightly talked up as one of the best attacking left-backs in Europe. But that feels like a long time ago now.
Whether it’s a Euro 2020 hangover or something else, Shaw looks a shadow of his former self. Telles has down well under Rangnick and it’s wonderful watching his passion as well as his delivery.
Shaw has shown what he can do in the past. Now he needs to get back to that or risk being left behind.
Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Harry Maguire was one of the first names on the team sheet. And he has started under Rangnick, too. But Eric Bailly, Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof are all better suited to the interim boss’s style.
Maguire may adapt, but too often he looks like an accident waiting to happen. Varane’s return is crucial, as is the fact that Bailly will need to stay fit for a prolonged period. But the United skipper is nowhere near the £80million player he was touted to be.
United are far more stable under Rangnick and Maguire will benefit as a result. However, he needs to up his own game as the club look to challenge for honours.
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