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Henrikh Mkhitaryan has everything to be successful

Manchester United attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan has everything he needs to be successful at the Old Trafford club according to former player Dwight Yorke. The Armenian moved to the Theatre of Dreams last summer in a £26.3 million move from Borussia Dortmund, becoming Jose Mourinho’s third signing of the summer, after Eric Bailly and Zlatan Ibrahimovic and before Paul Pogba. Mkhitaryan has made 40 appearances for United this season; 29 starts and 11 substitute appearances. He has scored 10 goals, assisting a further five and has had a total of 65 shots on goal, 26 of those being on target. The start of his career at United was disappointing with Mourinho criticising the player and him then fighting to get a place in the team, being a mainstay, other than being rotated, for the remainder of the season.

Mkhitaryan was a star in Dortmund, taking some time to settle, but being the player with the most assists in his final season in the Bundesliga, which shows his class. There is nothing to stop Mkhitaryan from doing that same at United, which is what Mourinho will be looking to do at United as he seeks improvement from this season, in the league especially, which is where United have fallen short of this season. Dwight Yorke, speaking exclusively to 888sport, said:

“We’ve seen Mkhitaryan come in and really give the team balance and contribute with goals as well. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to really kick on due to injuries and the manager’s rotation policy but he’s a really talented player who causes a lot of trouble for defenders when he’s on song. The problem is that at Manchester United you cannot have too many bad days without it being noticed and then the critics jump on the bandwagon. A first season in the Premier League is always a difficult scenario but he has everything you need to be successful.”

Personally, I don’t see Mkhitaryan as a winger, that is a position United need to strengthen this summer, among others, so the Armenian can occupy a central role, behind the striker, which is a position he has been dangerous in this season, providing United play in a similar formation to this season, of course. In a 4-3-3 formation, there would not be that main option of playing behind a striker, unless a midfielder was taken out of the picture, in favour of the Armenian, which could still see the likes of Paul Pogba playing in his favoured role, to the left of the midfield three, which will show his strengths and help the team move forward, showing just why United broke the transfer record to sign him from Juventus last summer. One thing is for sure, next season will be exciting, after this exciting summer. United just need to beat Ajax in the UEFA Europa League final this evening in Sweden, meaning only Chelsea in England will have had a better season than them.

Read the full 888sport interview with Dwight Yorke, including his thoughts on how a Europa League win would make Mourinho a United great.

Dwight Yorke: Europa League final as important as 1999; Champions League needed for Griezmann

Former Manchester United striker and treble winner Dwight Yorke has spoken about the importance of the Red Devils Europa League final in Stockholm this evening. The former Trinidad and Tobago international believes this match, despite playing for the lesser of the two major European honours is just as important as United’s UEFA Champions League final back in 1999. United won the treble that year – the first English club to achieve that. This season it is all very different. United have fallen short, again, in the Premier League, failed to earn European football from their final place in the league, relying on their Europa League status from winning the EFL Cup back in February – if they fail to beat Ajax in Sweden tonight, that is. Yorke, speaking exclusively to 888sport, said:

“They have fallen short in the Premier League, there is no two ways about that, and this is an enormous game for United. The important of it is just beyond as it will set the club up going forward to bring in the best players and that’s something they need to do. United have gone three seasons now without winning the league and for a club of Manchester United’s standards that is just not acceptable at all and considering the money they have spent this season to not end up in the Champions League will be absolutely disastrous.

“It’s as important as the ’99 final but for different reasons. We were creating history, to do something at the club nobody had been able to do. But in terms of laying down the foundations moving forward for this club that has not done anything meaningful in the Champions League for three seasons and to see the likes of Liverpool and Spurs in the Champions League and not Manchester United would be absolutely disastrous.”

Yorke also suggests that United manager Jose Mourinho will be classed a great if he wins the Europa League tonight. Ajax are no easy team to beat, especially now with their own resurgence of young talented players which has seen them cast aside all opposition in the competition this season, with United possibly their next challenge. United cast aside their opposition too, so this will boil down to who wants the victory the most, with United being inspired by the terrible terrorist attack in Manchester on Monday evening, which should make the team want to bring that trophy home and dedicate it to the city of Manchester. Yorke said:

“We’re talking about two teams who are known for their brand of football and Ajax over the years have produced very good teams but United should be odds on favourites. Ajax are obviously a very good side because you don’t reach a European final if you’re not and United will need to find a good rhythm. Unfortunately that is something we’ve struggled to do at this point.

“Ajax are a young team with not a lot to lose while Manchester United have much more to lose. So the pressure will be on United to produce the goods and play good football but I don’t think this game is about good football – it’s about winning on the day no matter how. If they do then Jose Mourinho will go down as one of the greats because he can say ‘Listen, I’ve won two cups and qualified for the Champions League. What more can I do?’”

Yorke also believes that United will need the Champions League to sign the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Toni Kroos this summer. That might be true with those players, who will want to play at the top level in European competitions, which is something which seems to be the case for Griezmann. As for the German midfielder, Kroos, he’s not linked to United, despite him being many fans wish signing for the summer, to replace Michael Carrick and help United strengthen the midfield so the likes of Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera can unlock their potential at the club. I agree that the Champions League is the biting point for players to come to a club, but with so many signed without United participating in the competition, the lure of the club could be enough, for some at least. Yorke said:

“United have done it before bringing in Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic without the Champions League and that is all well and good but we’ve been playing catch up now for three seasons and there is a need to bring in quality players like Toni Kroos and Antoine Griezmann. There is no question that if we’re not in the Champions League other clubs will be able to attract them quicker than us but we just have to go about our business. If we’re in the Champions League we know that attracting players to Manchester United has never been an issue.”

Read the full 888sport interview with Dwight Yorke, including his thoughts on how a Europa League win would make Mourinho a United great.

Marcus Rashford reminds me of Andy Cole, says Dwight Yorke

Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford has come a long way in 2016 from making his debut on the 25th February against Midtjylland in the UEFA Europa League, scoring a brace on his European debut, then facing Arsenal only days later, scoring a brace on his Premier League debut. The 18-year-old, who turns 19 at the end of the month also scored on his England debut against Australia ahead of the European Championships this summer, also scoring on his England U21 debut against Norway, but that was a hat-trick. Rashford has become a star in a short period of time, looking better as each match ends, which suggests he is the player that Manchester United need now and into the future.

Under Jose Mourinho, Rashford has been used sparingly so far this season, which is something that currently works for the club with the attacking talent now at the club and the formation currently being utilised. United have Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is the first choice to lead the line and Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Memphis Depay and even Henrikh Mkhitaryan, although he has been on the sidelines through injury since the international break in September, used as wide-men to support the Swede. Rashford, predominantly a striker has spoken about wanting to play on the left and right of the main striker, also in the role behind, which is currently occupied by either Juan Mata or Wayne Rooney. Rashford has a lot to learn before he becomes the main mat at Manchester United, but the signs so far are looking good. Former Manchester United striker and treble winner Dwight Yorke, speaking exclusively to 888sport, spoke about Rashford and his similarities with Andy Cole, saying:

“Coley and Rashford are very similar. They like to run in on goal. Coley never liked to get involved in link-up play – although he was very good at it – and like all the world’s best strikers he liked to get in on goal. Rashford also has that knack. That allows Wayne Rooney – or myself – to get midfielders running backwards and pick a pass through. It’s always good to have that combination with one going long and the other short. Then you’re confusing defenders. Me and Rashford would have scored some goals and caused some problems believe me. The combination would have been good enough.

“He is still at the development stage. He has some good attributes but to say he is the finished article is just being naïve. He is already under enough scrutiny and pressure from playing for Manchester United. He still needs to develop some things like where to run and to do simple things sometimes. He is not the finished article but has all the attributes to be extremely good at what he does.

“He is playing wide as part of his development process. I started out left myself as a winger. There you get a feel of things and if you’re nineteen and in the team then you’re not going to complain. Eventually, he will end up as a centre forward and do his job even better than he is presently doing.”

Andy Cole made his £6 million (£7 million is you include the deal which saw Keith Gillespie move to Newcastle United) back in 1995. At the time, he was a stunning striker, scoring goals for fun. Whilst at Newcastle, who at the time were challenging Manchester United for the Premier League title, Cole scored 68 goals in 85 matches, which is a run that continued at United, scoring 121 goals in 275 appearances. Glory was something that was around Manchester United at that time, United dominated domestic football under Sir Alex Ferguson with Cole winning five Premier League titles, two FA Cups, two FA Charity Shields and one UEFA Champions League, part of the treble winning season in 1999. Cole was a striker who was deadly in front of goal, especially with his partner in crime, Dwight Yorke. If Marcus Rashford does turn out to be a striker in the mold of Cole, Manchester United will be set for the future. The lad has scored 12 goals in 27 appearances for the club so far, so the signs are there that he could well be the devastating forward United will need, working with Zlatan Ibrahimovic will hone his skills all the more, which will see many afraid to face Rashford in years to come.

Read the full 888sport interview with Dwight Yorkeincluding his thoughts that Rooney will win back his position at United

copyright: JW