Neville feels Solskjaer can’t afford to rotate these two players.
Over the last couple of weeks, Manchester United have seen their title credentials tested to the limit.
After a drab draw away to Liverpool, the Red Devils secured a morale-boosting win at Fulham before sending Liverpool crashing out of the FA Cup.
However, there has been little to shout about in United’s two most recent outings. After a dismal home defeat by bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side failed to increase the pressure on leaders Manchester City in Saturday’s scoreless draw at Arsenal.
Neville on Solskjaer’s rotation.
Solskjaer has been willing to chop and change his starting XI this season and Gary Neville feels as though the Norwegian can afford to given the consistent level of ability he has throughout his squad.
“I do think he’s got a couple of players whereby, if you see the Liverpool front three, the drop-off is huge,” he said on The Gary Neville Podcast.
“Whereas actually if you play [Scott] McTominay, he’s probably the number one in midfield alongside Fred, but if you play [Nemanja] Matic, it’s not a massive drop-off. You could flip a coin between them to see who plays.
“I think the same with [Donny] Van de Beek, [Paul] Pogba and [Bruno] Fernandes, Fernandes is number one but the drop-off to Pogba, Pogba is probably equal at times.
“And the same with [Mason] Greenwood, [Anthony] Martial, [Marcus] Rashford and [Edinson] Cavani, there’s not that massive drop between all of the players.”
However, Neville said that Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes must be on the teamsheet in every game if United are to avoid a slip down the table.
Maguire & Fernandes.
Maguire has played every single minute of league action since arriving from Leicester City in 2019 while Fernandes has established himself as United’s most influential attacker following his move from Sporting Lisbon in January 2020.
“There are a couple of them that have to play,” said Neville.
“I think [Harry] Maguire plays, I think he’s one of them, and Fernandes plays. But the rest of them you can rotate without that big a drop-off.”
At that point, Martin Tyler stated Luke Shaw’s case for being a guaranteed starter given the left-back’s impressive this season with Neville agreeing that the full-back has proven himself as a key part of Solskjaer’s set-up.
“Yeah, even though [Alex] Telles did well in the game against Sheffield United, you’re right,” said Neville.
“Luke Shaw’s stepped up to a level, so they miss him when he doesn’t play because he drives forward down that left-hand side.
‘United are an odd bunch’
“But I just think Manchester United are an odd bunch, they’re getting better, but I think the fact that over the last few weeks we’ve gotten excited, it’s been fantastic to see them sort of emerge at the top of the league, it’s really important that they concentrate that group of players because they’re in the midst of a run that could be a little bit difficult.
“They’ve got to get back to winning ways or that three games (Liverpool, Sheffield United and Arsenal) could turn to four or five and before you know it they could be back down where Tottenham have fallen, or Chelsea.
“Manchester United have got to make sure now they demonstrate some consistency. They were always going to drop points at times and it’s been disappointing this last week, that they haven’t had that belief, but I’m not surprised by it.”