Paul Pogba left the France team after testing positive for coronavirus


MANCHESTER RANKING FOR THE UNITED SEASON. David de Gea – 5. Recently clicked on United 400 games in his nine-year United career, but how many more? Retains the support of his manager and a contract so large that no one would want to match his salary. But 2019-20 has been his poorest season since arriving from Madrid as a callous teenager. Played every minute of all 38 league games, but while it was once possible to determine where he had saved United points when he was player of the year four times in five seasons, the focus is now on costly mistakes. He needs to get back to his best and has built up enough credit to get the support while he does it. AFP

Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 7. His first season for United and he managed more tackles than any other player as he started 45 games and remained injury free. It is almost impossible to overtake him and the Londoner has settled in well which is not easy. But he must improve his positioning, his crossing and his distribution if he wants to become a superior lateral rear. A deal with a quality winger in front would help, but until that happens we’ll still see the former palace defender come in with limited effect when United attack. Reuters

Harry Maguire – 7. The world’s most expensive defender has played far more than any other of his teammates – 55 times in total – and has become the club’s captain. Improved after the arrival of Bruno Fernandes and started to connect with his free kicks on set pieces. United’s defense stopped conceding goals as the team’s form improved towards the end of the season – although it was poor against Sevilla on Sunday. Not the fastest and his partner Lindelof has him covered, but you better have a stable defense for the first time in years. Getty

Victor Lindelof – 7. The image of him arguing with Fernandes on Sunday in Cologne grabbed the headlines and United’s defense had a day off, but only Maguire has played more games than the Swede this season. Sacred Swedish player of the year, he makes few mistakes (although against Olivier Giroud at Wembley he didn’t look great) and was excellent against Manchester City in both derbies in the league. Doubts remain as to whether he is one of the best in the world, as this is what United fans have seen with Vidic, Ferdinand et al. But he’s technically solid with the ball, reliable and should improve – especially his positioning – as he continues to play alongside Maguire. It’s not a prospect that all United fans appreciate, it has to be said. Reuters

Brandon Williams – 7. Nowhere near the first team a year ago, but the Mancunian teenager has played 36 games. It was probably too much and it showed towards the end when he replaced injured Luke Shaw. He has a lot to learn and enthusiasm to master. He’s gone after a tackle against Sevilla like he’s playing in Spain, not just against a Spanish side, but it’s a deserved new contract for the full-back that has gone through the youth system. EPA

Luke Shaw – 7. Player of the Year last season, but not this. Decent for 33 games after missing September and October and the last few weeks. Injury worries won’t go away and he’s been less fortunate than any player at the club in that regard, but he was missed in a terrible fall and United were better off with him after November. He was particularly impressive in an away defensive three at Chelsea. Need to do more assists and more than one goal per year wouldn’t be a problem, but talented enough to be trusted. Reuters

Bruno Fernandes – 9. Signature of the season. Coming out of Sporting Lisbon’s transfer budget this summer and five minutes after his home debut against Wolves (ironically a 0-0), he was showing offensive intent his side sorely lacked. Energetic and motivated, he knows how to tackle, shoot and score. He satisfies the physical demands of the Premier League, but it’s his eye for a quick pass that sets him apart. They don’t all come off, they don’t need to. The 25-year-old from Porto makes it more exciting to watch Manchester United and he was the best player in the second half of the season. If he can click properly with Pogba and the first signs are promising, then United are on to something. Bruno also takes penalties. And he marks them. Lots of them even with a jump, jump and jump. Reuters

Nemanja Matic – 7. Another who played in Portugal with Lindelof, Fernandes and lesser-seen defenders Marcos Rojo and Diogo Dalot. Matic had a draw in the first half of the season when he was struck off as passed. He showed he wasn’t like he was coming back for a super second half when he scored the winner in a Manchester derby, signed a new contract and refused to give the ball away. He’s not a Bruno-style match winner, but brings balance and experience to the youngest team in the league. Form dipped a bit after his contract was won, but remains an important United player. Getty

Fred – 7. Just as the more optimistic United fans began to doubt the dear Brazilian and his non-performances, he behaved well. Very well. Man of the Match in United’s best performance of the season – against Manchester City in December – when he overcame racist abuse to make the hearts of the team beat faster, Fred has played more games in midfield than anyone until when Pogba returns. Scored twice against Brugge, he probably won’t get 46 games next season like he did. But then who expected the groomed midfielder to be a regular after a miserable first year? AFP

Scott McTominay – 6. Academy graduate who says the right things, has a great attitude, great physical condition and can be trusted to play against anyone. Five goals this season including the second against City in the last game at Old Trafford to have an audience. Injured over Christmas and less featured as Matic became the main man in his place behind Pogba and Fernandes. 23 years old and improving. Reuters

Anthony Martial – 8. The best of his five seasons at the club, more silk and speed than sulking. It helps when you have players like Bruno around and the Parisian finished top scorer with 23 – the most goals scored in a season since the Ferguson era. Immensely talented and happier when he plays now, he has scored six and made four assists in nine games after the restart. Usually picked as a center forward in Solskjaer’s favorite 4-2-3-1, but not a natural No.9. Would Bayern Munich’s forwards have missed the chances he made against Sevilla on Sunday? Reuters

Marcus Rashford – 7. Candidate for man of the year, if not always for what he does on the football field. Scored a career-high 22 goals, the best a free kick for Chelsea in the League Cup. It would have been more if he hadn’t broken his back in January. A small bright spot from the break from competitive football was that he came back to complete a season he didn’t expect, but form was patchy – as it should be after a serious injury. Much happier with Solskjaer as boss than Mourinho, he is entering his sixth season in the first team. Still just 22 years old, he is learning to improve his all-around game by occupying more goal-scoring positions. Beautiful to watch when running at players with pace, he knows he has to add 10% more to his game to be considered a world class player. AFP

Daniel James – 5. Started superbly with a debut goal against Chelsea in a productive first month where his speed hurt opponents but abated significantly. Looked no better than a squad player towards the end and his manager told him to pull himself together during the break and come back focused. But, James has played 46 games this season. He is 22 years old. He lost his father before the start of the season. Let go, he deserves it because his game is hopefully improving. Getty

Paul Pogba – 6. Injury meant the Frenchman was barely around all season, but that didn’t stop him from making headlines as speculation over his future dragged on. Last season’s top scorer, he only managed one this quarter, but his impact was clear since he went underwater in the opener against Spurs and played a forward ball that went through four opponents. He started every league game after that. Bruno, the form and lack of suitors mean he will almost certainly stay. And a fit and fit Pogba is a plus for any team in the world, with the ability to receive the ball in the tightest positions and come away with it. EPA

Mason Greenwood – 9. Eighteen years old and he scored 17 times for Manchester United in his first season. Let it sink in. Only started their first Premier League game in December, a key home game against Spurs. Did well, but you can’t expect a Bradford callow kid to perform week after week. Greenwood’s limited effect in the Cup derby victory at City, combined with Rashford’s injury, saw Solskjaer come off as a striker on loan, but Greenwood always started ahead of Odion Ighalo and justified it precisely in his shooting performance, goals and wins. He has gained volume to get louder but needs to stay focused and listen to his more experienced coaches and teammates. EPA

Jesse Lingard – 4. Started 20 games and came to 20 more. His stock remains very low among the supporters, his number of goals (one, in the last minute of the final match) and his assists (none) too. Some lively performances from the bench towards the very end of the season (he had been left out of the squad for six games after the restart) where he showed his fitness could be of value. But his purple spots and winning goals at United are far behind him. Probably better for both parties if he started over elsewhere. Reuters

Andreas Pereira – 5. Team player frustrated by the evidence this season. Featured in 40 games this season which is more than his current capabilities. Man of the Match when he won at Burnley when he was given a specific job by a coach who loves him, but if you’re an attacking midfielder for Manchester United you need more than two goals anyway. the season. Reuters

Juan Mata – 5. A lovely person – and he would hate to be known just for that. His cameo role against Copenhagen in the Europa League quarter-final showed that he can still change a game and that his experience and personality are needed in the dressing room. The fact that he started eight games in both the Premier League and the Europa League showed his peripheral position in the squad – and it wasn’t much of a surprise. He is 32 years old and talented enough to play top level football every week somewhere, but he remains satisfied at a club where he is highly regarded by everyone. Reuters


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