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Victor Lindelof: Manchester United’s ball playing defender?

On June 10, 2017, Manchester United announced that they had agreed on a deal with Benfica to sign Victor Lindelöf. The reaction to this was decent as many United fans thought he was a good addition to the squad. Lindelöf is a defender who is known for his great passing ability and composure on the ball.

He had what the United defence lacked, that is the ability to pass out from defence with accuracy and calmness. While at Benfica Lindelöf rose from the B team and made a name for himself in the first team thus earning a place in the Sweden squad. Hence this article will be reviewing his first season at United and why he is important to the team.

Lindelöf made his debut for United against Real Madrid where he had a tough game with many United fans left shocked with the player’s poor performance. Is he good enough? The ever-burning question lingered in the mind of many Manchester United fans.

Those thoughts would stay a bit longer as on October 21, 2017, Lindelöf had probably the worst game of his career when he came on for Phil Jones in the match between United and Huddersfield Town. Poor tackling and a missed header that led to a goal summed up a bad day for the Swedish man.

Why did United sign him? The questions came flooding in as United fans now thought he was not ready for the physical demands of the Premier League. I thought to myself this was just a learning curve for the young footballer who has time to become a better version of himself. As a former footballer, I sympathize with the professionals as no one is perfect and to grow one must make mistakes.

In football, time is a beautiful thing as it not only fosters change but it also reveals ones’ true qualities and abilities. Thus, came November and so did the fortunes for Lindelöf as he produced a Man of the Match display against Brighton and Hove Albion where he was smooth on the ball as he was silk itself.

A confident performance that demonstrated his passing, composure and forward thinking that made United fans start to wonder if this player could develop into one of the greats at the club. I mean that tackle on Anthony Knockaert, got me out of my seat and I am sure that all United fans loved it.

He had a mixed first season at United with a bit of bad and a bit of good, however, one must remember both Nemanja Vidic and Jaap Stam had a rough six months before they started to show their greatness. Things take time, and time reveals all is the thought that all Manchester United supporters must keep in mind.

If that is not enough then United fans can look back at Jose Mourinho’s history with defenders and how he made them great players. Namely, Ricardo Carvalho, Lucio, and Raphael Varane. Mourinho is an expert when it comes on to defensive players, as reference you can look at United’s defensive record and the statistics recorded by the statisticians.

His tactics and David De Gea heroics made the latter win the golden glove for the first time. What I would like to see more is Lindelöf and Bailly been paired together as I think Eric Bailly would be the no-nonsense defender and Lindelöf would be the calm forward-thinking ball playing defender, this would make United more dynamic.

Overall Lindelöf made 29 appearances for United which he will look to improve on the coming season. The upcoming FIFA World Cup will, therefore, be a crucial point in Lindelöf’s career as he will seek to prove his talent on the global stage. Do you believe he deserves to be at United?

Written by Ricardo Edwards

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