Manchester United’s midfield area has been a hot topic of debate since the signing of Mason Mount in the summer for £55m. Such conversations have only intensified since the opening two games of the season. How will Maddison, Mount and Fernandes work?
Particularly Fernandes and Mount in the same midfield? Will Casemiro be given too much work to do defensively? And who will help United take control of games in the midfield?
We caught up with former Manchester United defender Paul Parker to discuss the performances and captaincy of Bruno Fernandes. Parker also delved into his thoughts on the signing of Mason Mount and who he thinks should have been signed instead.
- What has Mason Mount offered to the United team
- Bruno Fernandes is not a captain or a leader of men
- United should have spent the Mount money on Maddison
- Maddison is the ideal Eriksen replacement, not Mount
What has Mason Mount offered to the United team?
Mason Mount is well renowned for his hard working, pressing style which was anticipated to help ten Hag implement his aims. Whilst United are yet to drop points this season, their performances have flattered to deceive. Mason Mount has been the target of some early season criticism with some struggling to see what he’s brought to the United team so far.
Former Red Parker highlights Mount’s hard work off the ball but has so far been unimpressed with Mount’s the creative and goal scoring threat Mount has brought to the team. He also argues that Mount may need to go back to playing as a number ten or on the wing like he did during his Chelsea days.
“We’ve had two games and everyone’s come out and said it’s only been two games, but I haven’t seen anything that’s going to link at all.”
“Mason Mount, over the two games, has done more yards than any other United player but what has he achieved for the team really? He hasn’t made an opportunity, hasn’t had any himself.”
“So, I don’t know if he’s been utilised the way he was at Chelsea. I’m assuming the manager has bought him off the back of the way he played for Chelsea. But sometimes it looks like he’s in a defensive role and I don’t know if that’s his strength.”
Bruno Fernandes is not a captain or a leader of men
Fellow midfielder and club captain Bruno Fernandes has come under some recent scrutiny after the loss to Tottenham at the weekend. The attacking midfielder replaced Harry Maguire as skipper this season, having worn the armband for the majority of last season.
Fernandes was booked for dissent at Spurs and is well known for his confrontational approach to speaking with officials during games. Parker questions whether Fernandes is captain material and has the mindset to be a positive leader in the United dressing room.
“Fernandes is being Fernandes, to be perfectly honest. It sums him up over the last two games when he went to speak to the referee when Antony got booked, and he ended up getting booked himself.”
“So I wasn’t sure about him being captain. He’s not a leader of men at all. He’s someone who needs someone to lead him and has been told a few times how to conduct himself on the field.”
“The manner in which he went around with the referee and then after the game, he wanted to talk about the handball. He should have been talking about where they went wrong and maybe be asked a question about the handball rather than bring it up.”
“At the end of the day, it wasn’t a stellar performance to be talking about what could have been if the penalty was given. It was a shocking performance and talking about one handball that you don’t know would have made a difference given how they were playing and the fact that he couldn’t hit the target from seven yards out with a free header, then that says to me he’s not the right person to be where he is.”
“The manager could have made a bigger rod for his back by not giving him the captaincy after he had it for so much of last season.”
‘Fernandes is very temperamental.”
United should have spent the Mount money on Maddison
Mason Mount is only two years into his Manchester United career but already finds himself under huge scrutiny. It’s been a tough start for the England international. What does Mount actually do on the pitch is the sentiment around his name currently. Many are ignoring he’s being asked to play in the number 8 role which differs from his time at Chelsea where he was deployed as a number 10 or out wide.
One thing for sure is that Mount and the United midfield were outclassed by Tottenham and James Maddison on Saturday. Maddison was signed for £40m on a five-year contract during the summer and has wasted no time in settling into Ange Postegoclu’s Spurs side. He impressed in both Tottenham’s opening two Premier League fixtures and Parker claims United have signed the wrong England international.
“Manchester United should have spent the Mason Mount money on James Maddison. I’ve never been too sure on Maddison because of his temperament and he picks up a lot of injuries.”
“His performances so far suggest that Maddison would have been the right player to buy.”
“I personally was’t behind buying Mount. He isn’t what Manchester United needs. They needed somebody to come in and be like Eriksen. Maddison is like Eriksen when he was at Tottenham.. A wonderful player to watch. One of the best foreign players to come to the Premier League in recent times. One of the top players to come from Europe.”
Maddison is the ideal Eriksen replacement, not Mount
Control has been something missing from the United midfield during the first two games of the season. It’s something you could argue has been non-existent since the retirement of Michael Carrick.
Christian Erisken came in last season and offered it in splurts but the downside of his starting games was his struggles off the ball against physically dominant midfielders. Parker claims that Maddison would have provided the United midfield the control they so desperately need.
“Maddison in that role? Yes. You can leave Eriksen on the bench and Maddison would play that role.”
“Casemiro is missing someone next to him that can pass the ball. The ball isn’t being passed. It’s being given away cheaply.”
‘Casemiro was allowed to be more adventurous last season and that’s because he had someone like Eriksen to keep possession and make sure it’s kept. Someone that can receive the ball in tight areas.”
“You’ve got someone in Mount who runs around a lot and someone in Fernandes who is erratic and displays his frustration and throws his hands in the air rather than chase back.”