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What We’ve Learned: Daniel James is a star, Paul Pogba needs to improve, creativity lacking again, defensive weaknesses, and Mason Greenwood needs to start

Manchester United failed to return to winning ways against Southampton with a 1-1 draw at St Mary’s on Saturday afternoon. Welshman Daniel James opened the scoring for United just ten minutes into the match with a sublime effort on goal. Jannik Vestergaard equalised in the second half before Kevin Danso was sent off.

Daniel James was the Man of the Match for me because of his hunger and desire to do everything for United. He has now scored three goals in four appearances, which is great to see after making his Premier League debut earlier this month. His growth since signing for United has been good to see. He will be a key player this season.

United really need to find a way to get things done this season or it will be frustrating for everyone other than the ABUs. As Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praises Mason Greenwood regularly, he needs to be giving him more than ten minutes here and there. He’s clearly not ready to be the super-sub to find the goals that United need in order to win late in the game.

That will come for him in time. The pressure on his shoulders with a late substitution will do more damage than good. United need to develop his killer instinct and eye for goals, not frighten him and stunting his growth. More youth needs to be given the chance in this team this season; Angel Gomes, James Garner and Brandon Williams to name a few right now.

Daniel James is a great signing; he’s grown in confidence and becoming a star.

The 21-year-old scored again on his third start of his United career, his first goal on the road. He was the best player on the pitch and could have easily scored a few more goals, which is something he will learn from. Some of his teammates lacked the desire to find the winner against Southampton and the creativity was lacking in areas of the pitch.

James is a star and has matched Alexis Sanchez’s record at United with three Premier League goals in just three matches. When he scores two more goals, which is achievable this season, he will have matched Sanchez’s record at United in 18 months. The fans in the stadium sang; “James, James will tear you apart again,” after his goal, Cracking stuff.

Paul Pogba needs to buck up his ideas or face being dropped, if the manager has the balls to do it.

Paul Pogba had a bad game for United. To say he is a worldclass player is an embarrassment as it is clear that something is wrong somewhere. Yes, he wanted a new challenge as he stated in the summer. Real Madrid seemed interested in signing him, however, the fee that United wants for him, which is fair enough, is not going to be paid.

If Pogba realised that this is a professional game and all players need to be professional, he should take a leaf out of the books of other players who wanted to leave and were unable to do so. Matteo Darmian for example. After losing his place in the team three years ago, he wanted to leave. It never happened, until now, and he remained professional.

Darmian never once moaned, at least in public, about staying at United when his first-team football was going to suffer massively. He played seven times last season, seventeen the season before that. Pogba deserves to be dropped. United has done many things to accommodate him at the club and it still is not working. Maybe he expects to leave this summer?

The lack of creativity needs to be addressed by promoting youth who could embarrass some of the senior players.

When United played Chelsea, four goals were scored and it seemed to be the false dawn which led many to believe that things were falling into place. However, after a stagnant 1-1 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers, a 2-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace and a 1-1 draw away to Southampton since, it is clear to see the problems United face.

Creativity is a massive issue. Paul Pogba is not running the show like he could be doing. Scott McTominay is largely a defensive-minded player, which means the creativity needs to come from the three playing behind the striker and the fullbacks. Daniel James has done wonders, as has Aaron Wan-Bissaka marauding forward. However, something is wrong.

Jesse Lingard has been trusted to play in the number ten role. On his day, he’s a good player with pace. However, when you look at his creativity and goals scored, he’s out of his depth at United. There have been calls for Angel Gomes to take Lingard’s place since the Wolves match but he’s still not being picked, playing for the U23s on Friday evening, getting injured.

After the international break, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will need to find solutions for a few problems. Blooding in youth could help solve them. The U23s have ben playing some good football this season. Implementing the likes of Greenwood, Gomes, Tahith Chong and James Garner could be a masterstroke for creativity. It will be a gamble but it has a good chance of paying off.

United need to find a solution in defence. Supporters will moan that Chris Smalling has been loaned if a player has a bad game.

Victor Lindelof did not have the best of matches for United against Southampton. It might have been an off day for the Swedish international or a sign on weakness. Chris Smalling was loaned to Roma for the rest of the season this week, something that fans have already moaned about, despite wanting to be rid of the player this summer.

Now, loaning the player, who is now, apparently, the second-best defender at the club, is a mistake, despite it being a blessing. These supporters moan at anything and everything and will use this during the course of the season. They were even moaning about Alexis Sanchez being loaned, despite him scoring five goals in 45 appearances.

If Lindelof is having an off period, bringing in Axel Tuanzebe, who proved to be a capable defender both at Aston Villa last season and during pre-season. It will allow him to grow further as a player and develop into the defender that United will need to play next to Harry Maguire who is the first-choice defender to start this season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to stop praising players if they are not going to be given ample playing time this season.

The United manager has praised Mason Greenwood many times this season already. However, the 17-year-old, despite the manager talking about his killer instinct and natural finishing ability, has allowed him to play just 47 minutes out of a possible 360 minutes after four matches this season. Greenwood has, in my opinion, deserved to start ahead of others.

In order to allow the player to grow, the praise is great but giving him time to earn that praise on the pitch is needed. United need to find ways to win matches this season. The is a lot of negativity amongst the fanbase, who crave victory after victory, having grown up during the Sir Alex Ferguson era, becoming accustomed to the glory.

Greenwood need to come on at a time whereby the pressure to score a goal is not placed on him and that he feels that is not the case. He should start against Leicester City, as should other youth players who have already made their debuts, adding hunger and youth to the starting XI. The manager needs to have the balls to gamble though.

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