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Manchester United may not have replaced Michael Carrick but there is a gem from within who could fill the void

Manchester United have a problem in midfield this summer which requires strengthening, according to Danny Murphy on talkSPORT. The former Liverpool and England midfielder has suggested that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has work to do in replacing Michael Carrick, who retired at the end of the 2017/18 season, becoming a coach at the club.

Carrick signed for United from Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 2006 for a fee of £14 million, which could have risen to £18.6 million. The combative midfielder played for the club for 12 seasons before hanging up his boots and becoming a coach under Jose Mourinho and continuing under Solskjaer. Carrick was the reason United’s midfield has depth.

During his career at the club, as a player, Carrick won five Premier League titles, one FA Cup, two League Cups, six FA Community Shields, one UEFA Champions League, one UEFA Europa League and one FIFA Club World Cup – only the UEFA Super Cup is missing from his list of honours. A great career for a great midfielder.

During the summer, United were linked with many midfielders, failing to sign a single one. Having sold Marouane Fellaini in January and with Ander Herrera leaving as a free agent in the summer, it was expected that at least two central midfielders would be signed. However, that did not happen. Solskjaer’s side may have wanted to make signing though.

For the duration of the summer, Solskjaer was linked to Newcastle United midfielder Sean Longstaff, a connection that was mocked by supposed supporters of the club on Twitter. It would seem that supporters think United should be signing experienced world class players, ignoring the fact that Longstaff has the skills to be a great player.

Former Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez one stated that Longstaff was like Carrick but with more mobility and more in the tank. If only some supposed United supporters looked forwards instead of always looking back, they might understand the game a bit more. There is little point buying ready-made players, helping to develop younger players works.

Carrick was a deep-lying midfielder, one that did not rely on pace, stamina, physical attributes, box-to-box play or tackling like a typical midfielder. Instead, Carrick relied on his reading of the game, helping him to anticipate attacking threats from the opposition. This helped him and all the teams he played for. Carrick has been praised by legends of the game, including Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Xavi and Xabi Alonso.

Longstaff is a born leader, he has perfect his passing to the best of his abilities, he gets stuck into the game and has his entire career ahead of him. You should be able to see why Longstaff was linked to United and why Newcastle seemed to put a huge price tag on the player this summer, seemingly wanting to keep him. Speaking about United’s midfield, Murphy told talkSPORT:

“And then of course in the middle of the park I’m still not sure that it’s the right balance.

“I think they need another, I keep saying it, Michael Carrick, but where do you find a Michael Carrick?

“But that type, someone who can sit in there, [Paul] Pogba likes to go forward and do his bit, someone who can sit in there.

“[Scott] McTominay’s a good player but he’s not someone that can dictate tempo like Carrick did. They’ve never replaced him as far as I’m concerned.”

United though, have a player of their own who could help strengthen the midfield and add something Carrick-esque in the centre of the pitch. His name is James Garner. The 18-year-old has made his first team debut for United but has yet to play a considerable amount of minutes at a competitive level. He was involved in the clubs summer pre-season tour.

Garner has started to establish himself in the U23 squad this season, under Neil Wood and Quinton Fortune, playing all 360 minutes of action with United beating Rotherham United 2-0, West Bromwich Albion 5-0, Reading 2-0, and Newcastle United 4-0, showing his ability and more importantly his development at a higher level than U18 football.

Garner has four goals and one assist at this level this season, scoring a brace against West Brom, once against Reading and Newcastle, getting his assist against Rotherham in the EFL Trophy. Garner may not be ready to be considered for the first team right now but during the course of the season, if he continues on this trajectory, the world could be his oyster.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has problems with David De Gea, says Danny Murphy and he has a point

David De Gea is causing problems for Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, according to Danny Murphy on talkSPORT. The 28-year-old made another mistake in the final minutes against Crystal Palace on Saturday, resulting in a 2-1 defeat for the Old Trafford club. This summer, De Gea was both linked with a move away and a new contract.

The Spanish goalkeeper, once considered the Spanish number one, has yet to sign a new contract at United, something that was tipped to happen earlier in the summer, however, speculation has suggested that the player will make United sweat until January, considering his options as a free agent where he will be able to sign a pre-contract with foreign clubs.

De Gea has been one of if not the best performer at the club since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson at the end of the 2012/13 season, winning the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award four times in the past six years with Ander Herrera and most recently Luke Shaw winning the other two. De Gea needs to find his form or face being dropped.

If you look back at last season, which many so-called supporters of the club are doing, especially when the poor results are concerned, De Gea was hardly a confident goalkeeper the majority of the time. That could suggest that something is not quite right with De Gea and United, something which could derail this season too, if not corrected.

United conceded 54 goals in the Premier League alone last season and the arrival of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire this summer will go a long way to avert that, however, De Gea will need to be at his best also, otherwise costly mistakes will happen again, like Saturday. So far, United has conceded three Premier League goals.

Murphy is convinced that something is not right at the Old Trafford club, especially where De Gea is concerned. Speaking to talkSPORT, the former Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Fulham and England midfielder spoke about De Gea and his concerns of the Spaniard, who has made costly errors for the club, saying:

“The worrying thing for United, a couple of worrying things, De Gea again. He should have saved the winner comfortably, another mistake. It’s happening too often. We know how good he can be but there’s something not right and that is a problem for United.”

Murphy is right about De Gea. There needs to be a solution to the problem. If De Gea wants to leave the club, he should be allowed to leave. However, if he wants to remain at the club, which may be the case, he needs to make it known and get his future secured. In the summer, it was suggested that there is an agreement in place to renew his contract.

The goalkeeper in an important player in the team and everything needs to be working well for everything else to work well. De Gea will be challenged by Sergio Romero, who played in cup competitions last season and Lee Grant, who made just one competitive appearance for United last season after Romero was sent off in the Carabao Cup.

Only De Gea, Solskjaer and executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward can solve any issues that are not related to pitch performances. If De Gea wants to stay at United for the best years of his contract then he must get his contract renewal signed and continue playing for this great club. If there are issues, the board must rectify them.

copyright: JW