Former Manchester United midfielder and BT Sport analyst Paul Scholes has questioned Manchester United midfielders-cum-defenders Daley Blind and Antonio Valencia following United’s 2-1 loss in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Blind was caught out quite badly on Kevin de Bruyne’s opening goal during the defeat and Scholes thinks it’s only going to be a matter of time before the Dutchman is found out at centre-back.
“Blind is a better defensive midfielder for United than he is a centre-back but he’s been an excellent partner for Eric Bailly so far this season, hence why Chris Smalling is not in the team at the moment yet he’s not won everybody over yet,” Scholes told the Manchester Evening News.
“Why? Because he’s physically limited in the Premier League and people are expecting him to be found at some point, I suppose I still am, and against City he was found wanting against a dynamic Kevin de Bruyne.
“I would rather see Smalling partner Bailly in the long-term.”
Scholes also doubted Antonio Valencia’s credentials as a right-back and has questioned why Matteo Darmian hasn’t been given a chance under Jose Mourinho this season.
Darmian and Smalling were both integral parts of Louis Van Gaal’s starting XI last season but neither player has appeared so far in the league under new manager Mourinho.
“As for Valencia, he’s not a right-back. He never will be, regardless of how good his form is at any one time,” added Scholes.
“But Matteo Darmian hasn’t got a sniff yet and there are different questions to ask about whether Timothy Fosu-Mensah is ready to start right there, so it’s a more difficult situation.”
Smalling and Darmian may come under consideration for a starting berth when United head to Rotterdam to take on Feyenoord in their Europa League opener on Thursday evening.