Anthony Martial’s potential, Harry Maguire’s leadership qualities and Paul Pogba’s importance were among the topics discussed by Gary Neville after Manchester United’s 4-0 victory over Chelsea on Super Sunday.
Marcus Rashford scored twice and Martial and Daniel James also netted as United started the Premier League season in impressive fashion.
Former United defender Neville analysed the performance on the Gary Neville podcast, while also reflecting on the transfer window and explaining why United have to be patient.
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Here’s Neville’s verdict on United after their thumping win over Chelsea…
‘Maguire can be catalyst’
There was a lot of talk over the summer about the transfer market and the addition of Maguire was most welcome in the end. Manchester United fans felt one or two more would have been the right amount of signings in terms of adding another midfielder and striker, particularly with Romelu Lukaku leaving, but today leaves everybody in a good mood if you are a United fan.
You had Marcus Rashford scoring from the left, Martial scoring as a centre-forward, Maguire outstanding at the back alongside Victor Lindelof, who played really well too, then Aaron Wan-Bissaka had a really good start, and Daniel James comes on and scores a goal. So the three new signings all had a really good day and it’s really important when you come to a club of this size to adapt quickly and settle quickly and build a relationship with the fans which is what they have done today.
Maguire looks secure and he looks strong. Every time the ball came near him in the air he won it and he never looked any different to how he was for England or Leicester. I think that was the main thing; coming here with a huge price tag in a big game as a Manchester United player for the first time it didn’t look like anything had changed.
He has a really good temperament. The hope is that he doesn’t just do his job, but he is a catalyst for strengthening the whole team. The great centre-backs I played with didn’t just help themselves during the game, they also had a big impact on others. We have spoken about Virgil van Dijk doing that at Liverpool.
It’s too early to say Maguire will make the same difference as Van Dijk, but there’s a chance.
Manchester City wanted Maguire and Manchester United won him and they so needed him. A character, a personality, a leader, a dominant force, he will bring stability to the club for the next five or six years.
‘Time for Martial to deliver’
Martial has not realised his potential on the left side for three or four years and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is probably thinking he wants to play centre forward, he’s a good finisher, I have to give him that chance.
You could argue it’s to the detriment of Rashford, but if he can get his head around playing on the left and be comfortable and Martial can be a centre-forward then it’s worth giving him that chance.
At Manchester United when there’s speculation around Martial leaving there’s been a big fear that he will go to another club and become one of the best players in the world because he has got that much talent. I think now is the time for Martial to deliver it. He is being given his chance as a centre-forward and scored a good goal today.
‘Pogba can be United’s best player’
I think Pogba did well and he played a brilliant pass through for Rashford’s goal.
He can play better, but last season I said there were a number of players who were demonstrating week in, week out that they didn’t look like they wanted to be at the club and Paul was one of them. I said those players needed to be let go but definitely not all at once because they are probably the best players in the team. Ole is going to have to transition those players out of the club if they do want to leave.
There is always speculation around Pogba and I don’t think it will go away, but if he can get his head down for this season and be the dominant force in midfield then he is Manchester United’s best player. There is no doubt about it.
He wants to be in a winning team but can he make Manchester United a winning team?
‘United must be patient’
Manchester United have to build block by block and wait a bit. They have to make sure they make the right decisions because every time you have a bad transfer window it takes two to unravel it and they have to stop doing that. This summer has been solid, if not spectacular, in the market.
It’s a case of can Manchester United get a couple more signings in January and then two or three next summer and slowly rebuild what they want here, which is a team of players who want to be at the club and are committed and motivated and have the quality to challenge for the title.
It’s never too far away. Pep Guardiola will leave Manchester City in the next few seasons, Jurgen Klopp might lose Mohamed Salah or another key player and then all of a sudden you have to be ready to step in and challenge if it’s there to challenge for.
Wan-Bissaka is young and has potential, and they needed Maguire, who is a personality and dominant force at the back.
It’s the start of something. They will have to be patient. They have a new strategy, it’s probably the fourth in the last eight years, but stick with this one. Don’t keep going down a path and then ending up back at the roundabout and going down another path and doing the same thing. You have to stick with a strategy. There has been a lack of that in the last few years.
It ended up being a brilliant day for Manchester United. I don’t think Ole will get too carried away. He will know it’s early but he will think it’s a big moment.
United are building a new team and have Rashford, Martial, James, Jesse Lingard and Scott McTominay, there is youth there.
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