Category Archives: Blog

Pogba can lead United to Premier League title!

Tweets, Instagram posts, countless paper articles and a mere sum of $100M have gotten Manchester United Paul Pogba back through the doors at Old Trafford.

In the past three seasons, United have spent excess amounts of funds on players such as Falcao, Angel Di Maria and Anthony Martial; the latter being the only successful purchase. The big spending promised so much but achieved so little.

But this season is different.

Which position should Pogba play?

Whatever country you live in; whatever team you support; every pub you walk into, Paul Pogba and Manchester United are the words after every pint. Now, the challenge for the Manchester United manager is where to utilise his Marquee signing.

There is no doubt Paul Pogba is a central midfielder. History in the Premier league will show a dominant midfielder can play a large role to success. Paul Scholes was a great for Manchester United, but every Red Devils fan will tell you we have been missing ‘something’ since the departure of Roy Keane.

A midfielder to run through a defence; to pick out a pass to break a compressed defence; the ability to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and lead your team to triumph; this is the challenge that is presented to Paul Pogba.

The success of Manchester City’s recent accolades can be attributed to Yaya Toure being hailed as the lynchpin that allowed Aguero, Silva and co. to have a confidence to be ready whenever a ball was there to be taken, because Yaya Toure is a winner.

It is now Paul Pogba’s time to return the favour to our ‘noisy neighbours’.

Pogba is the complete midfielder

Paul Pogba can provide United with the unpredictability that was seriously lacking under Louis Van Gaal as he has the ability to not only pick out a pass but is capable of scoring a goal out of nothing.

Of any midfielder in Serie A last season, the 23 year-old led the way with 12 goals and 10 assists respectively. For a player who did not require a high level of work rate, these are phenomenal numbers.

The speed of the Premier league will entice Pogba’s athletic ability to be exposed to the United faithful. His pace and strength will provide a constant threat and figure for the Reds; a figure missing for over 10 years.

There have been suggestions that Pogba can be operated in a no.10 position; however, why would you want to nullify a player so physically imposing, simply to score goals?

The Frenchman is the complete midfielder. As majestic as he is in the final third, he will be the presence in midfield when teams try to run through the Red Devil’s wall.

We finally got our man, and he might just win us the league.

Introducing the Premier League 2

The Premier League have announced an exciting new Under-23 competition that will replace the Under-21 Premier League from 2016/17.

With a greater focus on a level of play in terms of technicality, physicality and intensity the aim is to bring players as close to first-team experience as is possible.

The age limit for players has risen from Under-21 to Under-23.

The new age limit is for players born after 1 January 1993, although each team can still field an older goalkeeper and three over-age outfield players in every match.

The league will take on the same format of its predecessor of two tiers, Division 1 and Division 2, with 12 teams in each.

United, guided by Warren Joyce will be in Division 1 alongside Arsenal, Chelsea, Derby, Everton, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester City, Reading, Southampton, Sunderland and Tottenham Hotspur.

Teams will play each other home and away over the course of a 22-game season with the bottom two clubs being relegated to Division 2. The second-tier winners gain automatic promotion with the sides ranked second, third, fourth and fifth competing in a play-off for the second available slot.

The 24 clubs who compete each applied for ‘Category One’ status in the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP).

There are 15 clubs from the Premier League and 9 clubs from the Championship.

All players born after 1 January 1993 for the 2016/17 season are eligible to play, and the format stays as follows:

  • There are 12 teams in Division 1 and 12 in Division 2, with every club playing each other once at home and once away.
  • In Division 1, the team who finish first are champions.
  • The bottom two teams in Division 1 get relegated to Division 2.
  • In Division 2, the league winners get automatic promotion to Division 1.
  • Teams ranked second, third, fourth and fifth go into a promotion play-off.
  • Second plays fifth place at home and third hosts fourth in the semi-finals, both at the club’s main stadium, while the final takes place at the home ground of the team who finished highest in the league.
  • All play-off matches are one-off ties, decided by extra-time and then penalties if the match is level after 120 minutes.
  • There is no relegation from Division 2

Other rules include:

  • Each team can field a goalkeeper over the age limit and up to three ‘over-age’ outfield players in every match.
  • Each club must host at least three league matches at their main stadium during the course of the season, which helps to enhance the matchday experience for the players and fans.
  • Member clubs’ training grounds or Academy venues will be permitted for the staging of up to three home matches over the course of the league season.

Manchester United go into the 2016/17 campaign as champions in three of the U21 Premier League’s four seasons.

The increase in age limit will allow United to blood some of its most promising youngsters in what should be an entertaining competition. With the first team competing in the Europa League, players like Weir, Harrop and Sean Goss will be looking to put in performances that catch Jose Mourinho’s eye in the hope they can earn a call up to the first team squad.

The alteration in the age limit restrictions will also mean that first team squad players such as Shaw, Bailly, Depay, Rashford and Martial can appear in the Premier League 2 if a competitive match is required to boost fitness levels.

With some of our fringe players set to seek more playing time out on loan, we might also see some of our promising academy players like the mercurial Angel Gomez and Tahith Chong given a call up to our second string squad. (Surely a better option than seeing a half fit Phil Jones plodding about the pitch!)

Manchester United Reserves fixtures 2016/17:

2 Aug Oldham (H) Lancs Cup Semi-Final
15 Aug Leicester (H)
22 Aug Southampton (A)
28 Aug Chelsea (H)
9 Sep Manchester City (A)
19 Sep Derby (H)
26 Sep Everton (A)
17 Oct Liverpool (H)
24 Oct Arsenal (H)
28 Oct Tottenham (A)
21 Nov Sunderland (H)
28 Nov Reading (A)
9 Dec Chelsea (A)
9 Jan Manchester City (H)
15 Jan Liverpool (A)
30 Jan Everton (H)
6 Feb Derby (A)
20 Feb Reading (H)
5 Mar Sunderland (A)
13 Mar Southampton (H)
10 Apr Leicester (A)
24 Apr Tottenham (H)
8 May Arsenal (A)

All fixtures are subject to change. Unless otherwise stated, home games are at Leigh Sports Village and all matches will kick off at 19:00.

Please like, share and comment and make sure you look out for all the reserve match reports, news and future articles.

Jose Prepares to Wield Axe on United Fringe Players

Many of Manchester United’s first-team fringe players will learn their fate regarding their futures at Old Trafford as Jose Mourinho prepares to cut his squad down ahead of the new season.

Among those under threat include Will Keane, linked with a move to David Moyes’ Sunderland and James Wilson, who was not included in the squad for United’s preseason tour of China.

Mourinho is keen to cut his squad down to 24 names he feels will be suitable for a title-charge, but is looking to loan out players as well as let players who are surpluss to requirements go on a permanent basis.

It is understood that Mourinho is willing to let Brazilian midfielder Andreas Pereira leave on a season-long loan deal in order to play more first team football, before coming back and proving himself for a spot in the first team lineup at Old Trafford.

Mourinho may choose a Championship club for Pereira to develop, as his son Jose Jnr is on the books of Fulham under manager Slavisa Jokanovic, who has a reputation of bringing through talent.

Adnan Januzaj also could be heading for the exit door,  his future at Old Trafford in doubt after a troubled loan spell at Borussia Dortmund last year was abruptly ended by Louis Van Gaal, and he has failed to continue his form delivered under David Moyes. It remains unclear if Januzaj did indeed leave, whether it would be on a loan or permanent basis.

Mata’s United future remains a mystery

Juan Mata’s future at Old Trafford is also still unknown, despite Mourinho denying in a recent interview that the sale of Mata at Chelsea was not personal, and he can still fight for his place in his first team.

However, with the signings of the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, an attacking midfielder, and Mourinho confirming that captain Wayne Rooney is likely to be utilised in a number 10 role this season, it is hard to see a place in United’s first team for the Spaniard.

“No one is bigger than the club” they said

Before I go on writing this blog post I want to make it clear that it is a reaction to what I have been reading on Twitter and other media outlets. This means what I am writing is my own opinion formed from rumours I have read and not from facts.

This morning I woke to find Twitter in meltdown over Anthony Martial and his change of shirt number from 9, to 11.

I have read on various websites and blogs that he is “annoyed” with Manchester United – mainly because he just launched his “AM9” brand – and that he has unfollowed the club on both Twitter and Instagram.

Fans have reacted on Twitter by both attacking and defending the player.

Before I give my opinion on the matter, not that it is in any way important, I would also like to mention something else I read this morning. I read that United had apparently told Zlatan Ibrahimovic he could have any number he wanted and so he chose Martial’s number, 9.

Okay, I get that Martial may be a little upset with the number change due to his “AM9” brand being launched. But he only has himself to blame for that. Sure, Cristiano Ronaldo uses his number 7 in his branding. But Ronaldo had that number for years. Martial has had the number 9 for ONE year and doesn’t even wear it when he plays for France.

How did Martial know he wasn’t going to have a tough season next year and perhaps lose the number 9 shirt the year after if another proven, world class striker was brought in? I say that with the assumption that plans to create the “AM9” brand started some time ago, before the Zlatan rumours surfaced.

Since when did players assume that they immediately own a shirt number once they have it? Shirt numbers change all the time.

And yeah, okay, you could argue that the club maybe should have said something to him in advance to show him a little respect. However, I don’t necessarily agree with that. At the end of the day, it wouldn’t have changed anything. Martial was losing the number 9 shirt and he would have still had his back up.

Now the bigger problem here is how Manchester United apparently gave so much freedom to Ibrahimovic, telling him he could have any number he wanted. This would be United pulling out a lovely, rouge lipstick, applying it, puckering up and planting one right on Zlatan’s derriere while gently whispering, “No Zlatan, you are bigger than us. You can have anything you want.”

What happened to “no one is bigger than the club”?

I hope it’s not true that Zlatan had the pick of any number. I would have hoped United would have told Zlatan he could have any of the AVAILABLE numbers. Zlatan is a grown man. I’m sure he would have been okay with picking any available number. Right?

At the end of the day, the club should make the choice on who has what number and not have to worry about hurting someone’s feelings. United should not have to sit down with Martial (or any other player for that matter) and tell him his number would be changing.

If Martial decided to use the number 9 in his branding then that’s on him. Did he discuss using the number in his branding with the club? I bet he didn’t.

As far as I am concerned you get given a number and you play.

GUEST BLOG: Jose’s Chinese takeaway!

The excitement of seeing Jose’s first win has now dissipated and amidst on-going transfer speculation linking us with a world record transfer bid for Paul Pogba, we turn our eyes forward to the upcoming tour of China.

With some noticeable absentees from the official 25 man squad it is obvious that the wind of change will soon be blowing through Old Trafford. Mourinho has indicated his preference for a squad consisting of just 20 outfield players and if this is true, it’s clear to see that we have a bloated squad and players will soon be looking for another club.

Let’s take a quick fire look at the Eleven players I think will leave United as Jose attempts to return us to the pinnacle of both domestic and European football.

Johnstone

Decent young keeper who will require some game time to improve on his handling of crosses. A season out on loan would benefit him, however retaining the player until Pereira returns from Olympic duties with Portugal is imperative.

A Championship team will snap him up and he could go on to do a “Tom Heaton” and establish himself as a No.1 elsewhere.

Varela

Varela (Picture: independent.co.uk)
Varela could be on his way out this summer (Picture: independent.co.uk)

The writing is on the wall for the Uruguay full back. At 23 he cannot be regarded as a youth player anymore and apart from one decent game he has not shown enough ability to nail down a first team place.

Valencia

Can’t defend and we have better alternatives in Timbo. Still laughing at rumours of a 28m deal to take him to PSG. Take it! Take it now! Or offer him to Monaco in a swap for Fabinho. Just get rid. Has proven himself inadequate in both defence and attack. A worse crosser of a ball I have yet to see. Not really a square peg in a round hole more of a triangular peg with no hole. The fact he has never learnt English tells you a huge amount about his aptitude. Would suit a team like Everton or West Brom, anywhere away from Manchester!

Rojo

Marcos Rojo in action for Argentina (Picture: mendozapost.com)
Marcos Rojo could be loaned out this season (Picture: mendozapost.com)

I have seen better defending at the Disabled World Cup than Rojo has offered at times in the red of United. Time and time again he is out thought and out played by so called inferior players. A liability and more money wasted by the board.

Blackett

Celtic fans have claimed he is the worst defender they have ever seen at Celtic Park which is some compliment! Will never be good enough and after his exclusion from the squad going to China. The death toll has probably rang on his United career.

McNair

After watching this lad move through the ranks I have never been impressed or thought WOW what a player. Is mediocre at best and sends the fear of god into me every time he has the ball. Poor distribution and competition for places means the Irishman is out the door.

Fellaini

Mirror.co.uk
Marouane Fellaini in action against Manchester City (Picture: Mirror.co.uk)

A tree could do what he does! Sorry a tree with elbows could do what he does! Yes he offers an alternative but with Ibra joining his height is no longer needed. A perfect example of how to blow 30m. To think we turned down Fabregas for 25m to sign this lanky big haired clown.

Young

Arrogance with ability = confidence. Arrogance without ability = Nothing. Time is up! He gets 90k a week and fails to shine consistently and if he can be moved on we should jump at the chance. Time has come to end Young’s Utd career. Will always be remembered for his performance in that 8-2 mauling of Arsenal. His Olympic quality diving aside has been the only decent crosser at the club. We try not to mention when LVG played him at centre forward? Maybe a return to Watford could be on the cards?

Januzaj

Wrong attitude for a player with so much ability. Has never shown enough fight to earn the right to wear the No.11 shirt once worn by Giggs. Another season out on loan beckons if no buyers can be found.

Wilson

James Wilson on his debut for Manchester United (Picture: manutd.com)
James Wilson has a lot of competition and could leave this summer (Picture: manutd.com)

Another player excluded from the tour, he will have major concerns over his United future. Any outgoing deal done must surely include a buy back clause to ensure we don’t regret loosing such a natural goal scorer.

Keane

Juan Mata and Will Keane celebrate United's opener (Picture: telegraph.co.uk)
Juan Mata and Will Keane celebrate United’s opener against Wigan (Picture: telegraph.co.uk)

Part of our last Youth Cup winning team but has never made the step up to the first team. Hardly set the world alight whilst out on loan and with so much competition in front of him he won’t get near the first team.

Some bigger names could also be on their way out

You could argue that with our new signings and exciting youth prospects that a few more names could find themselves on the way out of the Old Trafford door.

Will Mata and Depay be able to convince Mourinho that they can fit into his tactical master plan and provide the defensive abilities he requires?

Will Rooney get the chance to continue his illustrious United career or will the purchase of Mkhitaryan be evidence that there are better alternatives to a 30yrd cross field ball to the right back?

What will the purchase of Pogba mean to the midfield duo Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin?

Hopefully the money men at United have learnt from previous mistakes, every player has a value and it’s important we don’t undersell players.

Players like Rooney, Fellaini, and Mata are established international players who commanded huge fees when joining us. It would make sense to try and use these players in swap deals. Januzaj and Young for Mahrez anyone?

One thing is for certain as I’m sure just like me we are all looking forward to the upcoming games versus Dortmund and the blue half of Manchester. So get in some egg fried rice and join our coverage of the Manchester United Tour.

Who do you think will be leaving the club before the transfer deadline?

Please like, share and comment in the comment section below.

By Red in Bed

Twitter: @mufcRedInBed

Facebook: Red in Bed

Mourinho “Bailly has world class potential”

Jose Mourinho has praised new boy Eric Bailly after his first game for United during the 2-0 win over Wigan.

Bailly was Mourinho’s first signing as Manchester United boss and Mourinho is convinced he can turn him into a World Class centre back.

Bailly joined United for £30million from Villarreal after only playing 40 games in La Liga. Bailly was impressive during his first outing and Mourinho said he has the potential to be a world beater in his position.

“With Eric, the way the fans showed how much they liked his performance when I changed him is enough.

“Of course, he’s a very young boy coming from a completely different environment, but you could see what he is at this moment.

“For Eric, this was the first time he has worn a shirt like the Manchester United shirt. He can’t speak English and can only communicate with the ones who are French-speakers or Spanish, so for him it’ll be step by step and that’s why I gave him more than 45 minutes.

“I wanted to give him more minutes because he needs to play more than others. He needs to feel it and start communicating.

“I will give him everything to try to make him better and better, like I did with other central defenders I’ve had in my hands. Like, for example, [Raphael] Varane, and I will try to make him the best I can.

“He’s shown the potential we saw when we decided to buy him. He has the potential to become one of the best around.”

Do you agree with Mourinho that Eric Bailly can become a world class centre back? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

5 Reasons to be excited for the new season

On Friday 27th May, the curtain was finally drawn on an era of stale, nostalgic and underwhelming football. For Friday, 27th May, was the day Jose Mourinho was announced in the media as manager of Manchester United. I take a look at how this appointment and various other goings-on at United give us all plenty of reason to be excited for the new season.

Jose Mourinho will bring back the fear factor

It’s no secret that under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, the football frustrated, bored and divided the fans. That last point is an important one. A once ‘united’ fan base had become inwardly hostile. Fighting among United fans on social media became commonplace. All, as a result of what was happening (or not) on the pitch and in the dugout.

United boss Louis van Gaal cuts a frustrated figure as his side struggle against Sheffield United (Picture: mirror.co.uk)
Louis van Gaal showing the same emotion most United fans felt during his time as manager (Picture: mirror.co.uk)

Hopefully that time has come and passed with the appointment of “The Special One”. I strongly believe that having arguably the best manager in world football at the biggest football club in the world is a match made in heaven. Jose was made for this job.

In the few weeks that he has been in charge we have already seen lots of changes made; particularly with recruitment. And since his arrival, social media platforms such as Twitter seem a lot more civilised!

Jose has plenty of experience managing at top and has a fantastic CV boasting an impressive trophy collection. He is a no nonsense manager and will no doubt have United back to winning ways in no time. He will make the Theatre of Dreams a fortress once again.

New signings provide a morale boost for fans

Speaking of recruitment. Jose wasted no time in bringing in new faces. His first acquisition was centre back Eric Bailly, signed from Villareal. With Daley Blind – a midfielder by nature – filling a void in the centre of United’s defence during Van Gaal’s tenure, it’s no surprise that this position was the first to be filled.

That’s not to take anything away from Daley Blind. He did a fantastic job but United are light in that department and it was crucial that a natural centre back was recruited.

Eric Bailly’s biggest traits are his strength and great recovery pace. His rapidly growing talent was also noticed by the likes of Manchester City, Barcelona and PSG who were all interested in securing his services.

Mourinho wasted no time making his first signing, Eric Bailly (Picture: express.co.uk)
Mourinho wasted no time making his first signing, Eric Bailly (Picture: express.co.uk)

Following Eric Bailly into Old Trafford was the one and only Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Quite possibly footballs biggest, worst kept transfer secret in recent history! Rumours had been circling for weeks maybe even months regarding his arrival and were further fueled by the silence of all parties involved. Zlatan’s huge grin and lack of denial when asked about a move to United was surely the confirmation we all were looking for!

Not much else needs to be said about Zlatan other than we simply cannot wait to see him pull on a United shirt and wreak havoc in our oppositions defences!

Zlatan Ibrahimovic outside Carrington (Picture: manutd.com)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Possibly the worst kept transfer secret in recent history! (Picture: manutd.com)

The most recent signing is attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan. He impressed for Dortmund in the Bundesliga last season scoring 11 goals and creating 82 chances which included 15 assists. Most of his goals and assists last season came from playing as a right winger and this is a position United so desperately needed to fill.

Second chances

Louis van Gaal spent in excess of £250m on players during his time as Manchester United manager yet an overwhelming majority of his signings failed to live up to their own AND the fans’ standards.

Arguably, the biggest flop of them all is Memphis Depay. He talked the talk but could not walk the walk. We saw flashes of brilliance from him but when you play for Manchester United, consistency is expected.

Memphis Depay (Picture: independent.co.uk)
Memphis has failed to live up to expectations since his arrival from PSV (Picture: independent.co.uk)

Matteo Darmian is another Van Gaal purchase who couldn’t quite reach the level many expected. The Italian right back had a fantastic pre-season with United in the states and it looked as though Rafael Da Silva would quickly be forgotten. However, Darmian’s form declined quickly and he never really got going.

Surprise signing Bastian Schweinsteiger was for me, going to be our best signing of last summer. I watched him play for Germany in the 2014 World Cup and I remember thinking, “This guy is a warrior. I would love him at United”. When he signed I was thrilled. I couldn’t wait to see him play. He had the odd good game but didn’t look like he was up to the job physically. Injuries did not help his cause.

Bastian Schweinsteiger celebrates his equaliser for Man United (Source: Daily Mail)
Schweinsteiger’s debut season for United was hampered by injuries (Source: Daily Mail)

Finally, one of the Premier League’s best central midfielders in the previous two seasons; Morgan Schneiderlin. For me, Morgan was hit and miss for the majority of the season. He was good defensively for the most part, making some important tackles and interceptions, but his ball distribution left a lot to be desired.

Now, I don’t want any of the above mentioned players to leave United this summer. All of them are talented footballers.

Take Memphis, Darmian and Schweinsteiger. Each of these players have attacking responsibilities in each of their positions. Memphis an attacking winger; Darmian a right back who likes to get forward with pace and Schweinsteiger, a box-to-box midfielder who is not afraid to get in amongst the goals.

Each of these players were playing in a very rigid system under Louis van Gaal and were somewhat restricted in their play. Under a new manger in Jose Mourinho, the shackles will be off, players will be allowed to express themselves and hopefully, we’ll see the players they were when at their previous clubs. For this reason we should be excited by these players again.

Youth players WILL feature under Mourinho

One big argument the Jose Mourinho naysayers were using as a reason NOT to employ him, was that he does not give youth a chance. This is 100% myth. Totally untrue. You only have to do a quick Google search to discover a plethora of top class footballers who were given their chance as youngsters by Mourinho.

During his first press conference, the new United boss defended his youth policy and rightly so. He also hinted at Rashford and Ibrahimovic playing together and he also made it clear that he understands the club and it’s history and knows exactly what the club AND fans expect of him. This will include giving youth a chance.

Many will hope to see Andreas Pereira feature in Mourinho's plans (Picture: metro.co.uk)
Many will hope to see Andreas Pereira feature in Mourinho’s plans (Picture: metro.co.uk)

A few names have already been dropped as potential breakthrough players this coming season such as, Axel Tuanzebe and Tyrell Warren.

So I am confident that we will see this proud Manchester United tradition continue.

Is a title charge out of the question?

With the arrival of Ibrahimovic, Bailly, Mkhitaryan and possibly Pogba, United look to have plugged a lot of the gaps that plagued the team in recent seasons. So with that in mind coupled with having a winner in Jose Mourinho as our manager, dare we dream of a title charge in his first season? Stranger things have happened. Look at Leicester City.

Michael Carrick | The man that makes united tick

For any side to be successful, yes you need your goal scorers, yes you need a solid centre back pairing, yes you need a top draw goalkeeper, but you also need that one player in your side who can do a job for the team without most people even realising they are actually doing it, and that man is Michael Carrick.

He may not grab the headlines every week, nor make you leap off your seat in excitement, but his contribution to the side is just as important never the less. Take Carrick away from that central midfield and I doubt you would have seen the clubs attacking talent flourish so much.

There have been few better passers of a football that have ever graced the Old Trafford turf than Carrick, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a 2 yard simple pass or a long range 40 yard pass, Carrick always finds his man.

Throughout his stay at the Theatre of Dreams, Carrick has won everything there was to win in the game. 5 Premier League Titles, 1 European Cup, 1 FA Cup, 1 League Cup, 1 FIFA Club World Cup and a collection of Charity Shields, round off a mighty impressive CV for the midfielder.

Having impressed for Tottenham Hotspur, Carrick joined United all the way back in the summer of 2006 for a reported fee of 18.6 Million Pounds. At the time the club were going through something of rough patch.

Failure to overhaul Arsene Wenger’s invincible Arsenal side in 2004 and Jose Mourinho’s rampant Chelsea side for the past 2 seasons combined with Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo’s rather infamous fall out at the 2006 World Cup, left the United faithful not really knowing what to expect over the coming years.

What was to follow was beyond the stuff of dreams as United made their way to the peak of not just English, but World football.

The 2006/07 campaign seen the midfielders make a stunning 52 appearances in all competition’s, (his most ever to date) netting a total of 6 goals, including two wonderful strikes against Roma in the 7-1 demolition of the Italian side at Old Trafford.

Ronaldo and Rooney may have been stealing the show, but Carrick was doing his job for the side quietly and effectively, as United won back the Premier League Title from Chelsea.

The following season (2007/08) seen United crowned not only Champions of England but Europe too and whilst a certain Portuguese footballer was scoring goals for fun, Carrick’s influence on the Manchester United side wasn’t too far behind.

In all the midfielder made an impressive 49 appearances in all competition’s most notably playing the entire 120 minutes against Chelsea in the European Cup final.

As we headed into the 2008/09 campaign, United won yet another Premier League Title making it three in a row. The club even went a step further and were crowned Champions of the World! After defeating Liga de Quito 1-0.

For Carrick it was again another successful personal campaign, which seen the midfielder make a total of 43 appearances, scoring 4 goals and again played the entire match in the European Cup final, only this time losing out to Barcelona.

The departures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez the following summer would always make it a difficult season for the club. Despite losing two key members of the squad, United only lost out on the League Title on the final day.

Throughout the campaign Carrick made a total of 44 appearances for the club, finding the back of the net on five occasions, with arguably the highlight coming against Manchester City in a League Cup Semi Final 2nd leg clash at Old Trafford, where Carrick calmly and coolly tucked the ball home scoring United’s second goal on the night and third on aggregate.

As Carrick has edged closer to his latter days of footballing career, his game hasn’t really changed, it didn’t have to. He was never one to rely on pace and can still dictate play from the centre of midfield with ease.

In Sir Alex Ferguson’s final three season’s in charge at Old Trafford Carrick was a consistent figure amongst the United first team squad, and never managed to make less than 40 appearances throughout. Two more League Titles followed (2011, 2013) as did another appearance in a European Cup final, only to lose out again to Barcelona (2011).

His efforts on the field were to be rewarded, as at the end of the Sir Alex Ferguson’s final campaign in charge (2012/13, Carrick was included in the PFA Team of the year along with picking up the clubs Players player of the year award.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement from the game in 2013 led to the appointment of David Moyes, which seen the club have a season they would rather forget finishing in seventh place, leading club to sack David Moyes and place club legend Ryan Giggs in charge for the final 4 games. It would be hard to pick anyone who could have held there head up high after that season, not just Carrick.

The following campaign seen the arrival of Dutchman Louis Van Gaal, but Carrick didn’t feature for the club until November after suffering an ankle injury. His stop start campaign only seen the midfielder make limited appearance’s that campaign, as United finished fourth in the Premier League.

The 2015/16 season under the Dutchman seen the club finish outside the top four, finishing in fifth place, whilst for Carrick on a personal note featured a lot more than the previous campaign, as he helped the club win the FA Cup for a 12th time.

As we head into the new season following Louis Van Gaal’s exit from the club and Jose Mourinho’s arrival to the club, Carrick will no doubt still have a significant role to play for the side. When the bigger games come calling, there can be little doubt that Carrick will be one of the first names on the Portuguese’s team sheet. He has been just that important and he still is.

Patrice Evra | The definition of a true United legend

When Sir Alex Ferguson brought in the then relatively unheard of French full back Patrice Evra from Monaco in the January transfer window of 2006, you could have forgiven sections of the united faithful for having their doubts.

A somewhat disastrous derby debut display against Manchester City, leading the Frenchman to getting substituted at half time wasn’t exactly the greatest of starts to his Old Trafford career. However despite the derby day blues, Patrice Evra went on to become one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s finest ever signings in his managerial career and became an essential part of the clubs success towards the late 2000’s and into the new decade.

In a stay that spanned over 8 years at Old Trafford, Evra won nearly all there was to win in the game. 5 Premier League Titles, 1 UEFA Champions League, 3 League Cups, 1 FIFA Club World Cup, and a bundle of Community Shields rounded off a mighty impressive medal collection for the Frenchman, with only an FA Cup winners medal missing from the Frenchman’s awards cabinet.

There have been few footballers that have played for the club, like Patrice Evra, who had shown so much passion for the club. He knew what playing for Manchester United meant. He wasn’t just here to perform on the pitch and pick up his handsome pay check, he understood what the club was all about.

After joining mid-way through the 2005/06 campaign, it wouldn’t really be till mid-way through the following campaign (2006/07) where Patrice Evra truly established himself in the United first eleven.

Having fought off competition from Mikael Silvestre, Evra never looked back. He opened up his goal scoring account for the Reds against Everton in a 3-0 victory, following that up with a lovely strike in the 7-1 demolition of Roma at Old Trafford.

Despite only making 24 league appearances, Evra was named in the PFA team of the year along with 7 other Manchester United players (Van Der Dar, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Gary Neville, Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs) as the club won back the Premier League title from Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side.

What was to follow in the 2007/08 campaign was beyond the stuff dreams are even made of; as United not only won the Premier League title, but were crowned Champions of Europe for a 3rd time defeating Chelsea on Penalties on that famous night in Moscow.

For Evra personally he was now the club’s first choice left back and made a mighty impressive 48 appearances in all competitions. He wasn’t just United’s best left back; he was now arguably now the best left full back in the world. His efforts on the field were rewarded as the club handed the Frenchman a four-year contract extension.

Evra remained ever present in the United side as we headed into the 2008/09 campaign, which seen the club win a 3rd successive Premier League Title, another League Cup and oh, were crowned Champions of the World! With the only blemish coming in the clubs final game of the season losing out to a superb Barcelona side in the European Cup Final in Rome.

From a personal perspective Evra again was named in the PFA team of the year and again made 48 appearances in all competitions much like the previous campaign.

The departures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez a matter of weeks after the clubs European Cup final defeat, would always make the following season (2009/10) a difficult one for the club both on and off the pitch.

That season saw the club finish runners up to Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea side, but for Evra, he remained as consistent as ever going on to make a whopping 51 appearances in competitions, including appearing in all of United’s 38 League’s matches.

His efforts on the field were again rewarded as the French Man was named in the UEFA team of the year in January 2010.

The 2010/11 campaign brought something of a mixed bag for the club, Winning back the Premier League title is always a sweet moment, but losing out again to Barcelona in the European Cup final at Wembley left a touch of a disappointment on the season.

For Evra it was business as usual, as he went on to make that ever familiar number of 48 appearances in all competitions. He even made it on the score sheet, netting the opener against Wigan Athletic at Old Trafford in a 2-0 victory.

As we headed into Patrice Evra’s final seasons at the Theatre of Dreams he remained a solid and consistent figure in and amongst the united side.

Disappointment on losing the League title to rivals Manchester City on the last day on the 2011/12 campaign was put right the following season (2012/13) as United won back the League Title for a record equalling 20th time.

His final season at the club (2013/14) fast became a rather forgettable one for the club, as United slipped to 7th place under then boss David Moyes.

His time at Old Trafford was officially brought to an end on the 21st July 2014, where it was announced Evra would be joining Italian giants Juventus.

His time at the club may be long over, but he will be forever remembered in the hearts of the united faithful. He knew what it meant to play for Manchester United, and we won’t forget that.

Carrick: China Tour has added spice

Michael Carrick is predicting a pre-season friendly with some “added spice” when Manchester United and City meet in China later this month.

The local rivals will face each other in the International Champions Cup at Beijing National Stadium on July 25th as part of Tour 2016. The Reds will also play Borussia Dortmund in Shanghai, China, three days before the derby encounter.

Carrick who recently committed his future to the club for another year, is relishing the clash with City and says United’s opposition in Beijing will bring an extra edge to the preparation match.

Speaking exclusively to ManUtd.com, the midfielder said:

“I am sure there will be a little bit of added spice for a pre-season friendly and it will be great for the fans out there to witness.”

“The support we get out there is incredible so the atmosphere will go up a notch I am sure.”

“Pre-season is always an important time for the team and for the players, making sure that you get to that level you need to be at for the start of the season.”

Whilst the derby clash with City is arguably the standout game of the China tour, Carrick recognises the Reds will also face a strong test in the opening tour match against Borussia Dortmund.

“They are a terrific team who did well in last season’s Bundesliga and I am sure it will be a good game for us. Playing against them will allow us to a certain extent, judge where we are at.”

“It is difficult to predict exactly what the games will be like because a lot will depend on which players are on display. But we know the games will be tough, as we are talking about two great teams here. I am sure they will be great games to watch.”

How do you think United will fare in China? Who would you like to see play? Let us know what you think in the comments below.