The Actual Quality of our Players

Discussion in 'Manchester United Forum' started by NinjaFletch, Feb 22, 2018.

  1. Feb 22, 2018
    #1

    NinjaFletch Full Member

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    I've made this point in a few threads now and I feel like it needs its own one. For all the bitching and moaning about Mourinho I'm still struck by just how ordinary we look on paper.

    How many of our players have, in their careers, shown themselves to be unambiguously amongst the best players in their respective positions in the world either at United or elsewhere? For my money the answer to that question is depressing and instructive about the cause of the issues we have here.

    I find it very hard to include anyone other than David De Gea and Alexis Sanchez in that conversation. Everyone else, and I include Pogba in this, came to the club with question marks over them or parts of their game they needed to improve to step up to the level. In Pogba's case he needed to demonstrate he could be the main man without having his hand held by the generational talents next to him.

    We some talented players who may, one day, reach that level – although it depresses me how short this list is – in Martial, Rashford, Lukaku, Bailly, Shaw, Pogba.

    We can add to this, probably, players who are very good, but not in that elite bracket: Matic, Jones, perhaps Valencia before this season started, and maybe Mata.

    That leaves half a team of players who have shown little evidence to suggest they might become the required standard including a huge chunk of the spine and the entire right hand side.

    I really fail to see, even if Mourinho gets sent on his way, how that's going to improve overnight in the way some seem to think it will. It didn't happen when people were making the same arguments about Van Gaal.

    We have fundamentally recruited awfully across several managers back into Ferguson's tenure, and until we address that and get start buying better I don't see how the teams ever going to live up to the sky high expectations that the fans have of the team.
  2. Feb 22, 2018
    #2

    roonster09 Correctly predicted France to win World Cup 2018

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    Answer is never simple. Coaches and tactics also make players better. We have signed good players but we haven't given them good platform to showcase their talent, as in we don't play as a team.

    Just take Liverpool as example, Salah was a good player and this season he looked like great player and one of the best, same with Mane last season.

    Poch made Kane into one of the best players in the world, same with their CBs and FBs but in the league. Then he improved Dembele too.

    We can sign any players, unless we improve our game, they will all look poor signings.
  3. Feb 22, 2018
    #3

    charlenefan Far less insightful than the other Charley

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    People often choose to forget the football under Fergie in his last season was really bad to watch at times as well, often relying on RVP to bail us out but you're right the quality of player still isn't there and every transfer window that passes and we think we've made a jump forward just further highlights flaws that maybe weren't a prominent as before case in point Matic - started the season looking like the player we've lacked since Carrick's best now however is there actually that much between Matic and a soon to retire Carrick?
    A lot of our lack of retaining of the ball comes from our CB's inability to pass it accurately so now that's an issue.
    Our right side is still an issue given Mata's (who plays there more than anyone) first instinct is to bring the ball back inside even when he takes it on the half turn this kills a lot of our attacking momentum.
    The manager of course also has to take the blame for some of the team selection Young over Shaw for example.

    We're getting there but it definitely needs at least 1 more transfer window
  4. Feb 22, 2018
    #4

    TheReligion Abusive

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    Do the same assessment on our rivals.

    How many have players you would say are confirmed elite level?
  5. Feb 22, 2018
    #5

    Rifer Full Member

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    World Class | David De God, God Zlatan*.
    *Age means he's disgressing.

    World Class Potential | Pogba*, Martial, Rashford, Shaw, Bailly.
    *Not reach that height consistently with us.
    *Otherwise, they're all elites.*


    Elite Class | Matic, Valencia, Carrick*, Sanchez, Rojo, Lukaku.
    *Age means he's regressing.

    Squad Player | Young, Mata, Lingard, Herrera*, Smalling, Lindelof, Jones, Blind, Darmian, Romero, Fellaini.
    *Can easily be elite, but this season form just doesn't justify it.
    *Category ranges from players who are normally averages to players who can play at higher levels to a specialized ones.*

    Reserves | McTominay*, J. Pereira.
    *Good potential to be valuable squad player.

    P.S. Based on capability and current form mind.

    Edit: Lukaku moved.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
  6. Feb 22, 2018
    #6

    NinjaFletch Full Member

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    I'm just not convinced that's always the case. Very few that we've abandoned have gone on to prove that it was solely our failure to get more out of them that was the issue and we've signed some really, really poor players like Schneiderlin, Darmian, Blind (sorry), Memphis, Falcao (because of his injury situation) and Schweinsteiger based on a complete scattergun approach to signing players.

    Others as you rightly say we've signed with no idea how to fit them in.

    I genuinely think you can count on one hand the number of good players we've signed since Ferguson left, and that's simply never going to lead to consistent success.
  7. Feb 22, 2018
    #7

    broccoli Correctly predicted Portugal to win Euro 2016

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    I've said it multiple times. There's potential in Martial, Rashford, Shaw even Pogba but they have yet to reach a top level.

    Take Bayern for instance which is a far cry from their recent prowess: Lewandoski, Muller, Robben, Ribery, Neuer, James, Vidal, Alaba, Hummels, Boateng, etc, all played at the highest level. World cup finals, UCL, euros, copa América.

    Hell, even Coman who many underrated here is superior to Martial currently and is just unstoppable most of the time I watch him.

    Everyone overrates their own team but people must get a grip on reality.

    So in my book, José is doing a pretty good job so far and it will only get better. Earlier this season I saw amazing things from this team. He was taking the best he could from this lot but now, somehow, they aren't connecting that well. Despite that drop in performance I was glad to see maturity against Sevilha. A bad oriented team would have crumbled in this type of game where things aren't clicking.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
  8. Feb 22, 2018
    #8

    NinjaFletch Full Member

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    They all have one elite player: Hazard, De Bruyne(/Aguero/Silva/Sterling this season), Salah (and Coutinho until January), Kane. Arsenal's probably the worst of the lot, but if you're comparing yourself to Arsenal then things have gone wrong.

    They also all have a far better quality of player around those players. I genuinely think only probably Lukaku (at Chelsea and maybe Liverpool although it'd difficult to see how he'd be better than Firminio in their current system) and maybe Martial at Spurs (although he'd have to work a hell of a lot harder than he does) would get games for them.

    When you compare that picture to our continental rivals it is even more bleak.
  9. Feb 22, 2018
    #9

    goons New Member

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    Fans always overrate players on the team they support. Like suggesting Rashford have world class potential. Really? He had an excellent start for you guys and I can see him becoming a good player in the premier league but he isn't exactly the next Wayne Rooney.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 22, 2018
  10. Feb 22, 2018
    #10

    ghagua Full Member

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    Exactly! Team looks fecking clueless out there against a decent opposition when we need to attack. Most teams would sell their souls to get players of quality like Sanchez, Pogba, Martial, Lukaku, Rashford, Matic and Dequad Gea. Yet we constantly talk about lack of quality in our squad and then point the blame on Smalling and Jones.
  11. Feb 22, 2018
    #11

    dannyrhinos89 OMG socks and sandals lol!

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    There’s Only De Gea I’m bothered about.

    Literally ANY other player could leave tommorow and I wouldn’t care
  12. Feb 22, 2018
    #12

    el3mel Full Member

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    I think we have a very good squad overall.

    Problem is, for some strange reason, the squad never shows its potential when it matters. This has been the case since SAF for now. We got some very good players and then the most important game came and our best players go invisible. Struggling to find a reason for that. Only exclusion is Europe League final last season.
  13. Feb 22, 2018
    #13

    Ballache Full Member

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    We are a couple of players away from properly challenging however we're better than our performances suggest.
  14. Feb 22, 2018
    #14

    SSSSnake Full Member

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    Shaw!!? Behave.
  15. Feb 22, 2018
    #15

    Greck Full Member

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    What makes you think that was ever a widely held opinion on here?

    If anything this place loves to hype other teams' attackers as being superior. This thread will soon devolve into such
  16. Feb 22, 2018
    #16

    El Zoido Full Member

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    It’s like the club is cursed, or fundamentally broken. You could blame Mourinho but the problem existed before him, but at least in the first couple of months of this season it seemed like his was getting a lot out of the players.

    The cycle:
    1. Fans: “This player is crap, we need to sign better players.”
    2. We sign world renowned, highly rated talent
    3. Said talent starts on fire and looks great
    4. Within five games he has it beaten out of him and looks despondent on the pitch and a shadow of his former self.
    5. Fans: “This player is crap, we need to sign better players.”

    I legit think we’d make Messi look like Bebe within a month. I’m not even exaggerating.
  17. Feb 22, 2018
    #17

    Varun Moderator Staff

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    Go ahead and post a similar list for players signed by Poch, Klopp and Pep.
  18. Feb 22, 2018
    #18

    Rifer Full Member

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    :p No. You're free to disagree, and it's just a potential, categorized from whether the player have the right set of (1) football technical skills at a high quality, performed (2) flashes of brilliance which normal/average players are unable to play, and (3) recognition by experienced football coaches and players who have rated them that highly. Additionally, having the "right" (4) physical attributes can be considered an advantage.

    Whether the players will reach their potential is different story. Shaw as a fullback (LB) have all the complete right skills/technical sets of a good FB already, and couple that with his high quality physical attributes. He have also given brilliant performances in the past, a hint of his high ceiling capability, and is highly rated by coaches and pundits who have experienced football at the highest level. It's only the attitude/mentality which is always being questioned of him in the past, which is not a problem this season.

    Edit: (5) Being at a young or "right" age (around 25 and below) is also a good factor.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
  19. Feb 22, 2018
    #19

    bosnian_red Worst scout to ever exist

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    We have a good side, it's bollocks to say we don't and are being held back by a lack of quality. Which of our outfield players are playing to the best of their abilities under Mourinho? They've all shown glimpses of form here and there, some more consistent then others, but nobody has been consistent bar maybe Valencia. De Gea is the best in the world. Bailly is very good and any team would want him in their side but he's injured a lot. Valencia is also a terrific right back and has been for a few years. Center back partners to Bailly are all pretty meh but can be fine in the right system and if they actually build a partnership. Shaw has been playing well since returning, is still young and has potential, but doesn't get trusted in difficult games for whatever reason and we play Young there.

    In midfield, Pogba has shown his quality before but we aren't getting the best out of him, whether because of him or because of us, but you can't deny he'd be playing better elsewhere. Herrera has shown he can be a very good player and was our player of the season last year, this year got relegated to a bench player once Matic arrived and is since being used in roles he isn't as good in, compared to playing as the defensive mid like last season (or a 3 man mid where he can be a ball winner). Matic was good for chelsea and at first for us, but now looks like he needs a 3 month rest. Fellaini injured all year, but as a squad player on paper is fine. Obviously a bit short on numbers here and the issue lately with injuries, but Mourinho definitely not getting the best out of them rather then them just not being good enough.

    In the attack, Sanchez has shown he is world class but just got here, lukaku is a reliable goalscorer but probably not quite good enough and it costs us in big games (also being used incorrectly - he's not a target man). Martial should be used way more then he is, but is anyway a very good player with huge potential, Rashford young and has a lot of potential (and currently a useful squad player), while lingard and Mata are useful squad players to have.

    If the manager could get the all performing and implement a style/system that suits them, then there's no reason at all for a starting 11 with these players not to do much better then they are. It has a good balance to it and loads of quality around, and with the right system in place, would get them all playing much better. And this isn't some imaginary level from them. It's a level they've all shown before at certain times playing these exact positions, just never been used all together and never showed that quality under Mourinho for an extended period of time. Always a few really good games and then something changes, either rotation, or change of tactics to go defensive for no reason, or injuries, or whatever else.

    De Gea
    Valencia Bailly Jones Shaw
    Herrera Matic Pogba
    Sanchez Lukaku Martial
    Don't tell me that starting 11 doesn't have the potential to dominate teams like Sevilla and not get outplayed by the likes of huddersfield and newcastle.
  20. Feb 22, 2018
    #20

    Keeps It tidy Hates Messi

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    Did Sane, Sterling, Stones, etc prove to be among the best players in the World pre City? How about Salah, Mane and Firminio pre Liverpool?
  21. Feb 22, 2018
    #21

    Di Maria's angel Captain of Moanchester United

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    Somewhat agree. We've a talented bunch - Rashford, Lingard, Lukaku Martial, Pogba, Shaw have bags of potential but have yet to display it consistently.

    We've added Sanchez as the ready made elite/WC player and the difference between him and every other player is remarkable. In my opinion, it does show just how far off the guys named above are from reaching this level. Sanchez is the first player since di Maria (first half of 14/15) who you kind of feel could create something out of nothing any moment he is on the ball. When Gary Neville stated, during the Newcastle defeat, that he couldn't put his finger on what United were missing before he felt we'd click, I think we're almost at the stage where it's simply time. A little more experience for the likes of Martial, Rashford, Lukaku et al. and, logically, they should be able to perform consistently and you'll see a far better United side than we've seen in a long time - especially the attack. Patience is what we as supporters lack.

    As for the rest of the team, Valencia and Young need to go. I commend both for the effort and ability they've shown to date but neither are good enough to play as full backs. It's quite painful to see Valencia receive the ball and never be able to put in a cross. Young just doesn't have the quality anymore.
  22. Feb 22, 2018
    #22

    bosnian_red Worst scout to ever exist

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    Funny you mention Coman. He was trash until Heynckes took over and like the flip of a switch, his and Bayern's form changed and he started playing well again. Perfect example of how someone like Martial would be a lot more consistent in a better system. Martial looked like the best u21 player in the world in his first season here, and it wasn't being overrated or whatever. He was genuinely amazing for a 19 year old, scored 17 goals and 11 or 12 assists playing as a left winger for a Van Gaal team that created pretty much nothing. Even this season he's averaging a goal or assist under 90 minutes. In addition to that, while he might be inconsistent for us, he still shows his quality every game here and there. He's literally the perfect example of how he probably should be trusted more and used in a better system, because he does show his unstoppable form on occasion, and then on other occasions (usually also when the team generally dies), he looks really inconsistent and like he can't do much.

    And yeah, they've all played at the highest level... as many of them developed in the right systems that brought the best out of them consistently and turned them into top players. Many of the same players struggled under other managers and looked half of what they show under Heynckes. Or look at Douglas Costa. Looks a world beater under Pep because of the way he uses his wingers and that style getting the best out of the exact player Costa is, and looks average at best under anyone else.
  23. Feb 22, 2018
    #23

    broccoli Correctly predicted Portugal to win Euro 2016

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    That's false. I've seen him play only once under Heynckes, i'm basing my opinion from many other instances. Even if his delivery wasn't always consistent the lad is a fantastic talent. The way he easily gets past a defender while being direct and having a great shot is not something you see everyday.
  24. Feb 22, 2018
    #24

    bosnian_red Worst scout to ever exist

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    It really is true. Under Guardiola, he looked terrific. Guardiola left, and then he looked shite for a season and a couple of months until Ancelotti left and Heynckes took over, and he looks very good again. Look at his whoscored ratings: 7.52 in 15/16 Bundesliga (20 starts, 3 subs), 6.83 in 16/17 Bundesliga (10 starts, 9 subs), then his first 10 or so meaningful appearances in this season with Ancelotti mostly trash with just 1 assist and no goals and average at best performances. Heynckes takes over and he has 6 goals and 4 assists in his next 20 (nothing amazing) but much improved performances and the ratings show it. Obviously whoscored ratings aren't the be all and end all, but it's a pretty obvious difference.

    That "way he easily gets past defenders", "being direct", "having a great shot" isn't something he shows every game under any manager. He looked like classic brainless speed merchant before Heynckes took over again and his form turned around.
  25. Feb 22, 2018
    #25

    Random Task Correctly predicted France to win World Cup 2018

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    This is a very fair assessment of our current squad.
  26. Feb 22, 2018
    #26

    kaydee2k New Member

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    This!
    The Mbappe comparisons :lol:
  27. Feb 22, 2018
    #27

    NinjaFletch Full Member

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    But this is exactly the point. There's this decision that these players are actually all capable of consistent performances based on no evidence at United and very little evidence of it outside of it and as soon as it's challenged people start talking about 'glimpses' and 'potential'. I'm not talking about what these players may or may not be able to do, but what they've shown they're capable of this season.

    No ones disputing they've shown glimpses of talent, what I'm disputing is there can be any expectation of consistent performances from a group of players who at neither United nor their other clubs have shown consistency. Young talented players are by their very nature not going to deliver consistency unless they're truly exceptional.

    The fact that Shaw, based off of about 6 matches in three years, always finds his way into these best teams which are supposed to be delivering league winning and champions league competing performances shows you how much expectations are based on some hypothetical 'top level' rather than the actual reality of their current abilities.
  28. Feb 22, 2018
    #28

    MoskvaRed Full Member

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    I think we have a talented set of players (the best at United since 2011 IMO) but, to date, Mourinho is struggling to combine them into a coherent unit. Another poster mentioned the English national team (presumably the “golden generation”) and there is the same sense of them looking good on paper while serving up unsatisfying stodge on the pitch. Mourinho and his coaching team really need to work out the best XI fast and, if that means dropping some bigger names in the interests of team chemistry, then so be it.
  29. Feb 22, 2018
    #29

    Santoryo ripping the reward

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    So we're back to once again blaming the players. Happens all the time here on the Caf. Sign a player that was looking great playing elsewhere, everyone getting giddy after acquiring them, announcing how we'll be challenging for x, y etc to then see those same playing perform below their actual level due to cowardly and toothless tactics served by their managers.

    How many threads have we had about us having one of the best squad if not the best in the league? Those sentiments don't just comr out of thin air, especially in a pessimistic place like the Caf where underrating our own players is the go to thing to do.

    We could bring in 5 widely seen world class players to our squad and as soon as they underperform due to a pathetic tactics, our players quality will once again be questioned.
  30. Feb 22, 2018
    #30

    TrustInJanuzaj Full Member

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    This is a great post and I agree with everything here.
  31. Feb 22, 2018
    #31

    bosnian_red Worst scout to ever exist

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    Shaw is obviously purely hypothetical, but that's one position. Herrera was our player of the season last season, and this season his role completely changed to one that doesn't bring the best out of him (not to mention mostly being on the bench and rotating in on rare occasions anyway). Our center backs are always injured so obviously that's a big issue that Mourinho can't do much about, but De Gea bails us out defensively anyway. Pogba has shown his quality and you can't just say for a player like him "where has he shown that quality consistently to think he can do it here?". The guy was voted in the world 11 before, he's pretty much globally accepted as a terrific player - at his best. Obviously he should be doing better for us and I've said that plenty of times with how he plays, but there's no question that Mourinho should be using him in a role that minimizes his obvious weaknesses as a player and not using unbalanced formations constantly. And you can't just keep buying and replacing players with proven stars elsewhere just because the one's here have never showed that quality consistently. It's on the manager to find a system that gets them playing consistently. How do any of these players show quality consistently anywhere else? They grow into the role and are used in the right system. Look at Sterling. Was a joke for a couple of seasons before he exploded this season when Pep gave him the confidence and found a role and system which brought the best out of him. Sane was inconsistent as hell last season, this season been one of the best wingers in the league. Look at Salah. Mourinho got nothing out of him a few years ago, now he's up there with De Bruyne (who also Mourinho got rid of because he favored Oscar... who now plays in China) for player of the season. You can't just say the players aren't good enough or they never showed consistent form, when they haven't had the right systems in place to show their best form consistently while at the club.

    And you don't need a full squad of world class players to make a good team. We have a good team. We have a very good squad, arguably as good as any in the league after City (but go back to the summer and it was pretty even according to most anyway). There's a world of difference in how we play though. They are playing to the best of their abilities, playing a clearly defined and cohesive system that brings the best out of everyone... We are looking like a group of individuals that any random manager put together and put on the pitch with little coaching.

    You have Sanchez, Mata, Pogba and Matic in the midfield and attack (including McTominay to help in midfield and then Lukaku top). Why are we being dominated by Sevilla? Why are we putting in a pitiful performance to Newcastle? Why are we getting hammered by Spurs with only one team that day looking like they know what they are doing and us looking like we just have no plan whatsoever? Maybe if we were playing against City, Bayern, Juventus, PSG, Barcelona or Real Madrid every game, and we were getting outplayed, then ok, obviously our players aren't as good. But that's not the case. We get outplayed by much lesser teams who have better systems in place, and the only person you can blame for that is Mourinho failing to get a good system in place, 20 months into his career here.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
  32. Feb 22, 2018
    #32

    shamans Hoser

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    So you are telling me we don't have the quality of players to beat Newcastle? Huddesrfield? Give me a break
  33. Feb 22, 2018
    #33

    100 binary bot

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    Pogba has been to european finals at both club and international level and won 4 league titles in Italy as a starter, ability is undisputed. Same for DDG and Sanchez.
    Mata has won almost all there is to win in football.
    Martial looked like one of the biggest talents in the world a few seasons back.
    Matic won the league under Mourinho at Chelsea, questions about his legs now but his peak wasn't a long time ago.
    Smalling and Jones have won the league here. Bailly looks like a great player.
    Even squad players like Rojo & Blind have been in successful sides - Rojo went to a world cup final at left back. Blind was eliminated in the same competition in the semis, he's had good games in the CL for Ajax.
    Lukaku is the biggest uncertainty, in terms of potentially being one extreme or another.

    Below par players is the only Mourinho argument that I don't get. If you look at the players in our average lineup, instinctively people would predict that we'd win games by outscoring the opponent, but it's the opposite. We score and concede few goals. The defence outperforms our attack. When we go a goal down we struggle to get back into the game. The place where our players are arguably below par, is the part of our team actually performing well.

    Based on reputation, you'd say Ashley Young was the biggest question mark in our lineup. Currently in his position for our rivals is Andy Robertson, Fabian Delph, Ben Davies, Monreal and Alonso.
  34. Feb 22, 2018
    #34

    LoneStar Full Member

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    If Sane and Sterling were here instead of City, they would be laughed off as flops. Just how Martial and Sanchez would be amazing if they played for City.

    We have a good enough team to play the likes of Sevilla with more attacking intent. It’s the manager that is the problem. Coaching plays a major part in the performance of the player. I refuse to believe that we are coached in attack these days. Looking more and more like the coach says just go out and play. No cohesion or understating whatsoever.

    If you honestly say that a team with the likes of Pogba,Sanchez, DDG,Martial,Matic Rashford and Mata, along with our fairly good defence, can’t string two passes against fecking Sevilla, then I don’t know what to say.
  35. Feb 22, 2018
    #35

    careca07 New Member

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    I always feel a good litmus test is how many of our players would get into our rivals starting line-ups. If we are supposed to be an elite of world football, how many of our squad would get into Barca, PSG, Real, Bayern's first XI? Because that's the level we need to be at. Our back four, keeper and our current captain could all have been picked to play for us in 2011, we've stagnated totally. De Gea is class, Pogba is great and Sanchez hopefully will show his quality.

    We need to throw enormous amounts of money at this to begin to compete, not just with City but in Europe. We are just not going to cut it with the likes of Darmian, Smalling and Jones, Young, Fellaini, McTominay, Lingard etc. You win stuff by having the best players - apart from Leicester's win, this is the same in every league, every year.

    We are supposed to be the biggest club in the world, but we don't have the players to match that profile.
  36. Feb 22, 2018
    #36

    ThatsGreat New Member

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    The quality of a team isn't judged in a single one to one matchup. Its the average of several one to one matchups. Which is why the points tally at the end of the season is the best measure of the team.
  37. Feb 22, 2018
    #37

    Raoul Admin Staff

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    Mata, Falcao, Di Maria, Ibrahimovic, Pogba, Bailly, Alexis Sanchez - all very good players.

    The truth is we've recruited better than just about any club in the world over the past 5 years. We have simply hired managers who have not been successful at binding it all together into tangible, consistent success, and the constant sacking and hiring of managers has created more instability than value in terms of each manager wanting to bring his own new players in and in the process cancelling out much of the value of previously bought players.
  38. Feb 22, 2018
    #38

    Keeps It tidy Hates Messi

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    Darmian, Fellaini rarely play for us, Smalling probably would not be in our first 11 if everyone was fit, Lingard was mostly a reserve for us until he started scoring goals and McTominay only recently started playing for us.
  39. Feb 22, 2018
    #39

    EyeInTheSky Full Member

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    On my sofa enjoying pineapple on its own
    /thread
  40. Feb 22, 2018
    #40

    careca07 New Member

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    Not quite sure what your point is. Lingard has started 90% of the last fifteen games. McTominay five out of five. They are the players we are using this season. We have three players, maybe four in our entire squad that are good enough to get in any of City, Barca, Real, PSG, Bayern's teams. We are way, way off the quality we need.