Part Two: Manchester United’s problems more deep rooted than just lack of goals

After a troublesome Christmas in which Louis Van Gaal struggled to shrug off rumours about his future Manchester United have enjoyed a rather blissful start to the New Year.

They even managed to score more than one goal in their recent Premier League fixture away at Newcastle, which ended 3-3 with Paul Dummett grabbing a last minute equaliser for Steve McClaren’s men.

In the first article we looked at the notion of whether United really are a boring side under LVG, but in this second part we dig a little deeper and look at whether Wayne Rooney deserves a starting place considering his sub-standard performances thus far this season.

Another cause for concern has been the recruitment under the Dutchman. Was spending £300m on some sub-standard players the right thing to do? All this with the help of Andy Hyslop.

The enigma of Wayne Rooney

United and England captain Rooney has had a terrible time of things this year; he hasn’t looked himself under LVG’s regime, and he has only scored five goals this season. That just tells you what a stinker he is having.

In-fact his recent goals against Newcastle and Swansea was his first in successive Premier League games since November 2014.

Maybe his recent scoring form, might spur him on to more goals in the second-half of the season; but for England’s chances in the Euro’s this summer, it is not good to see our main striker struggle to find the back of the net.

Rooney scored two against Newcastle in the week, but his performances this season have been poor
Rooney scored two against Newcastle in the week, but his performances this season have been poor

It is hard to pin-point the reasons why Rooney has struggled under the guidance of the Dutchman, earlier in the season LVG left him out when he was out of sorts. And then there have been calls for Rooney to be dropped by fans, and a minority of pundits and respectable journalists.

Under LVG’s boring and monotonous build-up I feel Rooney gets bogged down; if there is no tempo in United’s play, Rooney struggles.

You even saw it under David Moyes ill-fated spell, Rooney hasn’t been the player since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, simple as that.

When posing the question to Andy on whether Rooney should be dropped he simply said: “Yes.”

Andy continued by saying: “I could write a whole article on the reasons why as well.”

Whether we will see an upturn in form from Rooney now that he has got some goals under his belt will be interesting, but if he doesn’t pick up his form United just may well have to try plan B.

Man Utd’s recruitment has been a cause for concern

Much has been made of LVG’s recruitment since being in charge of the Red Devils, he has spent close to £300m on new players, some being worth it, others being a complete waste of £60m – does that ring any bells United fans?

Angel Di Maria came to Old Trafford with the reputation of being a world-beater, a truly world class player when he was playing at Real Madrid.

The £60m flop Di Maria never settled into life at Manchester United
The £60m flop Di Maria never settled into life at Manchester United

And don’t get me wrong he is still a world-class player capable of gracing any league in the world – but I think United was the wrong club at the wrong time.

“If we look at the signings in Van Gaal’s first season I think we can say without a doubt that Di Maria was a waste of money but I believe that’s because he never wanted to join us and always wanted to go to Paris if leaving Madrid,” said Andy.

And if we look at some more of LVG’s signing: Memphis Depay (£25m), Luke Shaw (£30), Morgan Schneiderlin (£20m), Marcos Rojo (£19m), Anthony Martial (£36m possibly rising to £50m), Bastian Schweinsteiger (£6.5m); out of all those players you would probably say one of them is ‘world-class’ and that would Schweinsteiger, he has won the Bundesliga, the Champions League, and the World Cup with Germany – but even then he hasn’t set the Premier League alight this season.

When they signed Martial in the summer, the fee for a 19-year-old was astronomical. A relatively unknown striker from Monaco being thrust into the top-flight; he is certainly one for the future, the lad has a likeness of Thierry Henry, so he could be a top signing for United in the years to come.

But one player who was signed after having a superb World Cup with Holland was Memphis; but the Dutchman has really struggled this season both on and off the pitch.

“My one real concern is over Memphis, who I knew would probably struggle in the Premier League in the first few months but if anything his performances have got worse,” says Andy.

Andy continued by saying:

“He doesn’t help himself by turning up to training in a Rolls Royce or what car he decides to drive that day. For me I feel as he thinks he is the big man because he’s playing Manchester United.”

It will be interesting to see if some of the players LVG signed will come good further down the line; Memphis certainly has a lot to prove to United fans; he burst onto the scene at PSV Eindhoven and then at the World Cup in the Brazil, but since then he has been particularly poor in the red of United.

Well if you enjoyed part two stick around for the final part, where we discuss whether LVG will keep his job in the summer, with the likes of Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola waiting in the wings.


You can check out Andy’s work here:

Sir Alex Ferguson Way

Andy Hyslop Journalism


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