Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville has revealed how he thinks the current side should line up.
Current manager José Mourinho has faced some criticism for his team selections, particularly his treatment of summer signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan who, despite currently being at full fitness, hasn’t played a Premier League game for two months.
Neville was speaking on Monday at the Oxford Union, where he gave his opinion on a broad range of football topics from the best England manager he played under (Terry Venables, before you ask) to his enlightening yet humiliating few months as Valencia manager last season.
When asked to name his preferred Manchester United starting eleven, Neville willfully answered – and the result was slightly surprising.
The former right-back, for example, has no room in the side for Juan Mata despite the Spanish performer being one of the team’s better performers this season.
Understandably, he would have Mkhitaryan in the team, as is the case with fellow new signings Eric Bailly and Paul Pogba, but he would not start striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Instead, he would move Marcus Rashford back up to a more natural central role, leaving the Swedish forward and Wayne Rooney out of the side.
— Oxford Union (@OxfordUnion) November 14, 2016
Luke Shaw also finds himself omitted. The England international has had problems with form and fitness since returning from a broken leg at the beginning of the season, leading to a number of scathing remarks from Mourinho. Neville would instead opt to start Daley Blind at left-back, where the Dutch international has been playing well recently.
Otherwise there are no real surprises or talking points – much of the rest of that side picks itself although Neville, like Paul Scholes before him, definitely sees as place for Michael Carrick in the side.