Former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel has stated that he thinks the confusion at his old club has finally surpassed as his former teammate, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has stated to assemble a group of ‘fearsome leaders’ to finally make the club challenge the greatest honours once more. For seven years post-Sir Alex Ferguson, United have stuttered.
United return to Premier League action on Friday evening, facing Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur in North London in a match the January signing Bruno Fernandes and newly recovered Paul Pogba could play together competitively for the first time, if the rumours of Pogba not starting the match are not true.
Schmeichel feels that the due are amongst the vocal stars in the current squad with the pair both strong minded and ready to get things done, depending on which Pogba actually turns up – I am hoping that it is the Pogba that sees playing for United as a dream and getting them firing once again, challenging the teams above them.
Schmeichel, now 56, won the Premier League five times with United before leaving the club for pastures new, which included Sporting Clube de Portugal, Manchester City and Aston Villa before having his gloves up permanently. He saw many leaders at United, including himself so could have a point here. Speaking about this, the United legend said:
“It is so nice to see all these leaders. There are four or five of them now — but it has not always been like that.
“It was just due to lack of consistency from the top guy at United in previous years. The managers have had different philosophies, signing different players.
“So there has been confusion over who United were — but that is now all behind us. Some players signed in that period were probably not right for the club but I think Ole saw this and understood it.
“Fernandes has done well. What a great player. What a great personality. He comes across as a proper leader. I was at Old Trafford when he made his debut against Wolves.
“He was giving directions, started talking to players around him, asked them to go in certain positions. Stuff you unfortunately do not see too much in modern-day football.
“And I believe the more leaders you have, the better your team will be. Every successful team I played in had four, five, six or seven leaders and United now have a few.
“Harry Maguire has come into the club and done well. He is club captain and has grown immensely since he has had that responsibility. He is a true leader.
“Fernandes has shown himself as a leader straight away, Paul Pogba has always been a leader. It is great to have him back.
“It has been a long, long season without him. You could argue the team has done really well without him — but United is a club that wants to have the best players. He is one of the best in the world.
“Marcus Rashford leads as well. You see him getting more confident and what he has been doing off the pitch during the coronavirus crisis is amazing.”
It will be good to see what Solskjaer’s plans are at United. He has assembled a team capable of starting something, just needing a few more players in different positions to make it all work well. United are a work in progress but you can see the progression. Schmeichel also spoke about Marcus Rashford and what he has done whilst out of the game.
The 22-year-old has helped raise £20 million to help feed underprivileged children and has recently put pressure on the Government to continue helping to feed children on the poverty line whilst the schools are out this summer, which was initially rejected with the Government conducting a U-Turn, funding the plan instead, which is great. Schmeichel said:
“How many guys in his position have you seen do that? He has not lost touch with where he is from.
“That carries more value than the other guys we see pretend to be someone else. So, he is a leader. Fred has massively improved for United. But Victor Lindelof has also done well.”
Concluding the interview, Schmeichel also spoke about Spurs, who are currently up against it in the Premier League, sitting eighth in the Premier League, four points adrift of United and looking likely, if they continue in the same for, to miss out on Europe altogether. Speaking about Spurs. Schmeichel said:
“They need to reach the Champions League. It will be easier to get top players in. This is a developing period, rather than one having to win trophies”