Three Manchester United players who need to improve in 2021/22

It has been a season of progress for Manchester United but some players still have more to do.

This season, played almost exclusively without fans and at a frantic pace, has been unlike any other.

Perhaps that provides mitigating circumstances for the players in this list, but the onus is on them to show more next term when supporters are back and things get closer to normal.

We’ve taken a look at three players Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will want more from in 2021/22…

Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

Anthony Martial

In 2019/20, it looked like the penny had dropped for Martial but he has returned to his old ways.

He’s too inconsistent and there are too many games when he doesn’t do enough to hold the ball up.

That stops United building attacks and he is liable to go missing in games.

Edinson Cavani has shown what United can look like when they have a proper centre forward playing, one who sniffs out goals and runs his socks off.

That’s the level for Martial to get to, but it’s not a good look for him that a player in the twilight of his career has shown him up quite so comprehensively this season.

Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Axel Tuanzebe

Tuanzebe’s first appearance of the season was a stunning performance in the 2-1 away win over Paris Saint-Germain.

But that was as good as it got as the academy graduate has failed to build on that.

He’s been brought in for games against Istanbul Basaksehir and Sheffield United, and both were lost.

That wasn’t entirely his fault of course, but his partnership with Harry Maguire looked shaky to say the very least.

That’s a shame because United need a quick, front-foot central defender whose fitness can be relied on.

Tuanzebe has the quality to be that player if he pushes on, but he hasn’t done that this season.

There’s more to come and Solskjaer will want to see more of it in 2021/22.

Michael Regan/Getty Images


Fred plays almost every big game for United, but there remains a feeling that his limitations hold the side back.

He can’t shoot from distance and he struggles to keep the ball under pressure against elite opponents.

Fred lost his head in the home game with PSG, getting sent off at a crucial stage and remains a player many supporters would like to upgrade.

At the age of 28, Fred should be enjoying or approaching the best years of his career, but he remains short of the level United require to close the gap to the very best sides at home and abroad.

He hasn’t had a bad season, but is he the standard of midfielder a title-winning side has? The jury remains out and he has to improve.

Thoughts? Comment Below
Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.