Here are 4 players that have improved the most under Ole at Man United
Undeniably, ever since Jose Mourinho waved goodbye to the Carrington, a lot has changed in the air of the club. There’s are signs of old identity coming back—which some would call ‘United DNA.’
Although the game of football doesn’t change with the smell of air, but players benefit a lot from a change of environment—and that’s what has happened at the red side of Manchester.
Their new manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, has sparked that change. Ever since he came into the club, the first 5-1 win was more of a statement of what the fan base would experience in the Norwegian’s reign. Attacking identity, fearless and expressive football and giving youth a chance to express themselves—these are some of the buzzwords that have been thrown around a lot ever since Ole has jumped into the scene.
The ride, however, has been topsy turvy since the beginning, but it seems like the ship has steadied now. If you’ve noticed the football betting trends during this time, you must have noticed have United went from relegation candidates to top 4 contenders—which this season turned into title contenders for a month or two.
So, during this journey, United fans have seen some players growing at an exceptional rate, and Ole deserves a lot of credit for that. Who are those players? Let us take a look.
Remember the Luke Shaw you watched during Jose Mourinho’s time? That’s right, you don’t! Because he barely got anybody’s attention. Even when he got it, Jose twisted the situation in such a way that it turned comical—or did enough to take the spotlight away from the player who desperately needed an arm around the shoulder from the manager.
Fast forward to 2021. From being called the fat, unfit and all the terms that draw your attention to his body instead of the game, Luke Shaw of 2021 comes in the category of one of the best left-backs (not only in the Premier League) in entire Europe.
He was always a great defender, but his attacking game took a dent after the injury that kept him out for a long time. But right now, he’s only one assist behind Everton’s Lucas Digne and has created more chances than Liverpool’s famous fullback duo, Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Fred was signed by Jose Mourinho in the summer of 2018 in order to finally unlock Paul Pogba. But sadly, neither Pogba was unlocked nor Fred himself. He held the reputation of being bullied by physical players in the league.
Most of the football pundits said he isn’t fit for the league and unsurprisingly, he was labelled a ‘flop’ right in the first season.
But OGS’s arrival changed the fortune for Fred. The first sign of redemption surfaced in United’s famous 3-1 comeback over PSG. All of United’s main midfield options (Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera) were unavailable in that game and it was an excellent opportunity for the Brazilian to make a mark.
Right from then, things moved slowly but in the right direction for Fred. One important thing that Ole identified was his position and role. Fred isn’t a player that you can play as a lone defensive midfielder. Hence, Ole changed his formation to 4231 and made Fred a vital part of his midfield.
Fred is one of the most important and consistent players in Ole’s setup—what a turnaround!
In 2018, Manchester United lost 3-1 to West Ham and one of their centre backs in that game was this young Scottish man. McTominay held the reputation to be a one-dimensional player who had a very conservative approach in games. You would rarely see him passing between the lines, attempting long balls or getting in the final third.
But the tables have turned entirely now. Scott McTominay is not only a good midfielder now, but he’s also scoring essential goals for his side every now and then.
So far, he has scored more goals than Mason Greenwood and has as many goals as Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani—let that sink in
Marcus Rashford was bound to be a great talent and there was never any doubt about it. But he never actually gave enough signs until last season to show how ready he is to be a starter for Manchester United.
But his numbers since Ole’s arrival have been world-class. Last year he had 23 goals and 9 assists. These numbers compare to the likes of Sadio Mane, Son Heung-min, Raheem Sterling, etc. And he hasn’t put the foot off the gas pedal this year either.
So far this season, he has bagged 19 goals along with 11, assists and there are still many games to play.
The biggest change brought by Ole has been finding the right position for him. United’s fanbase was never sure if he’s a centre forward or a wide forward.
But the answer is clear now. Rashford is someone who exploits wide areas with his pace and sublime dribbling skills. The fun thing to consider is, he’s still just 23 and isn’t even in his peak years yet.
Safe to say future only has exciting things for Marcus.