What is our problem ?

Natener

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Football at the top level these days don’t allow passengers on the field. When our attacking players take their time to move up the field whoever is carrying the ball gets crowded out. When one or two players take their time to jog back to cover the defence, the opposition team will get more space to make runs and passes. Just look at how often we lose out on second balls, a lot of our players lack the intensity and effort to match the opposition team’s numbers. Too often we will have one or two players strolling about. 10 v 8/9 outfield won’t cut it at this level. That’s the problem.
 

Van Piorsing

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Main problem for me is we're in repeating time loop since 2014 to the point, I can easily picture next manager after ETH getting sacked somewhere near 2026. Somebody needs to finally figure it out, and only possible solution feels like Berrada, because who else ? Another Everton employee ?

He'll either fire ETH, or help him figure things out, in two possible scenarios I'm willing to 100% trust his judgement, mainly because absolute lack of anything to hang on to.

Keeping a manager almost feels like experiment. Either way, squad clearout is to be continued, and that one thing make definite sense at the moment.
 

Acquire Me

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Im inclined for this also.

Teams kill us with high pressure. Mctominay, Wan bissaka, lindelof, heck even Varane and Maguire are not players that are able to kill a ball with a silky first touch, turn away from 1 or 2 players pressuring them and give a clean ball to Bruno. We are relying only on Mainoo who is only 18 and will make mistakes. We improve this area a bit when eriksen comes in but he wont play every game.

Getting the ball out of our half is done via long balls which always be 50/50, our fullbacks carrying it from the sides (Only Dalot seems to be in form right now to do it ok) or by fluking bad passes with poor touches through the middle.

To relieve modern pressure in the league (Even fecking Brentford choked us succesfully) you need a Rodri type of player which are scarce in the market, or get better ball playing defenders
Spot on. I do understand that fans get mad as hell. I get mad too. But it’s also naive to believe in something that isn’t going to work out. It’s not going to be the majority of the current players who will challenge for the Premier League and Champions League.

Even if it’s Erik ten Hag or another manager, it will be other players. We need players who can relieve pressure, it’s actually as simple as that.
 

mu4c_20le

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I listen to a podcast from two United supporters/journalists who sat a few feet away from Erik ten Hag vs Liverpool. They said he coached them perfect time after time, but most of the players either are not able to execute or not remotely good enough to make the right moves.

It’s all to easy to lay all the blame on EtH.
Well, yeah, because it's not like Murtough forced these players on him. Most were his choices, and either played for him or in the same league where he coached. One or two club signings that he signed off. So it's even more worrying if our manager thinks this team is capable of executing his tactics. I think I joked about this a few months ago, but maybe he's some sort of flawed genius who needs a caretaker next to him 24/7 handling everythign else. He just sets up the tactics and answers in grunts.
 

Acquire Me

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Well, yeah, because it's not like Murtough forced these players on him. Most were his choices, and either played for him or in the same league where he coached. One or two club signings that he signed off. So it's even more worrying if our manager thinks this team is capable of executing his tactics. I think I joked about this a few months ago, but maybe he's some sort of flawed genius who needs a caretaker next to him 24/7 handling everythign else. He just sets up the tactics and answers in grunts.
Well, either way, we need a lot of players out and we need new in. He should not be in charge of player recruitment. If we replace him, the new manager should not be in charge of the recruitment process.
 

Pughnichi

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Look at Brighton. They aren't half the team they were last season, having lost Caicedo and Mac Allister. Mitoma and Enciso out is also damaging. However, watching them today, they still resemble a football team. They cause problems due to a system that is ingrained. They play through the press with ease. Point being, we need to learn how to play football.
This is the most damning thing for me. we can all sit behind our phone and type horrible things about Rashford Bruno, McT, Antony etc…and much of that content isn’t wrong!!

but I don’t think since his arrival there is any noticeable method to our madness. No patterns of play. Nobody’s seems to know where they should be or where their team mate will be.

jump across to Brighton, like you suggest…they still play how we’ve come accustomed to Brighton teams playing. Despite being much changed. Similarly Liverpool when Klopp introduced some of the kids. They just know what is expected of them.

we on the other hand offer nothing. And seemingly just hope for one of Bruno’s passes to come off…or Rashford to run at his man and swing a boot through it. We are and have been for some time…moments FC. This isn’t sustainable and even at our recent peaks (when Rashford was on form) there were quite a few concerned that we weren’t dominating teams but rather individual moments of brilliance were ensuring victories.

we are a mess
 

bosnian_red

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I agree with much of what you've said but disagree here - at least insofar as our defensive play off the ball is concerned. I think we are pressing well and winning the ball high up the pitch very well.

I am sure there are plenty of statistics produced that prove that point - I'm sure I saw something suggesting that we win the ball off opponents high up the pitch more often than even the best pressers in the league.

For me it's our criminal play WITH the ball that kills us. A lack of passing options, slow and cumbersome possession, and abysmal decision making is destroying us.

But I'd say as well that defensively we are insanely porous and we have some extremely obvious weaknesses to exploit. Wan Bissaka is the worst professional footballer I've ever seen with the ball over or above head height, and has the least game awareness of any of our players. Martinez being easy to beat in the air too means all you need to do is get it in the box somewhere on our right and we are dead.

Dalot is average - he's improved a lot this season. Maguire has 1-2 game losing mistakes in him every 90 minutes.
Nah, off the ball coaching is more than just a high press, and from what I remember the stats don't support that we are that good at it anyway. We make it very easy for teams to bypass our press, and we have massive holes and space between lines that means teams get run after run att us and leads to shot like 80+ touches in our box and 30+ shots by fecking Brentford. We play with so much space that leads to so much extra running, leads to injuries and so on.

I mean just look at this clip. This is a regular occurrence, which you never see with any other competent pressing team.

 

bosnian_red

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I listen to a podcast from two United supporters/journalists who sat a few feet away from Erik ten Hag vs Liverpool. They said he coached them perfect time after time, but most of the players either are not able to execute or not remotely good enough to make the right moves.

It’s all to easy to lay all the blame on EtH.
It's extremely easy and correct to lay the blame on the coach that has Manchester United among the worst defensive sides in Europe's big 5 leagues, yes.

What does coached them perfect mean? Coaching them perfectly would be evident on the pitch. If you are a well coached team, your system hides your weaknesses and controls games. We literally never put in competent performances. Games like the Liverpool ones are pure passion, abandoning all reason and coaching and just chaos games. That's not coaching, that's a one off.
 

BenitoSTARR

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Im inclined for this also.

Teams kill us with high pressure. Mctominay, Wan bissaka, lindelof, heck even Varane and Maguire are not players that are able to kill a ball with a silky first touch, turn away from 1 or 2 players pressuring them and give a clean ball to Bruno. We are relying only on Mainoo who is only 18 and will make mistakes. We improve this area a bit when eriksen comes in but he wont play every game.

Getting the ball out of our half is done via long balls which always be 50/50, our fullbacks carrying it from the sides (Only Dalot seems to be in form right now to do it ok) or by fluking bad passes with poor touches through the middle.

To relieve modern pressure in the league (Even fecking Brentford choked us succesfully) you need a Rodri type of player which are scarce in the market, or get better ball playing defenders
Physical and technical profiles. Who in our squad has the right ones? I’d argue:

Physical
Højlund
Shaw (when fit)

Technical
Martinez
Mainoo (physical potential too)
Mount
Shaw (when fit)
Onana

Would anybody argue strongly in favour of any others?
 

Acquire Me

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It's extremely easy and correct to lay the blame on the coach that has Manchester United among the worst defensive sides in Europe's big 5 leagues, yes.

What does coached them perfect mean? Coaching them perfectly would be evident on the pitch. If you are a well coached team, your system hides your weaknesses and controls games. We literally never put in competent performances. Games like the Liverpool ones are pure passion, abandoning all reason and coaching and just chaos games. That's not coaching, that's a one off.
Well the guys behind the podcast are not professional, but they heard what he said or yelled to the players. It made perfect sense in context to the game played. So they felt that he actually is working his socks off to make them better, but his guidance are not being used or they can’t pull it off.

I believe you are completely right. He can’t get through to them. So in the end, you can lay all on him and be right about that as well.

I am not there though, I believe most problems are down to the group/players and management. I have experienced the same problems in corporate and it’s hardly always just the CEO and management at fault. Sometimes it just needs a lot of changes and some belief in new ideas. And patience.
 

Lu Tze

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Nah, off the ball coaching is more than just a high press, and from what I remember the stats don't support that we are that good at it anyway. We make it very easy for teams to bypass our press, and we have massive holes and space between lines that means teams get run after run att us and leads to shot like 80+ touches in our box and 30+ shots by fecking Brentford. We play with so much space that leads to so much extra running, leads to injuries and so on.

I mean just look at this clip. This is a regular occurrence, which you never see with any other competent pressing team.

People that are just suggesting a high line as a solution to all our woes are idiots. Because you can't play a high line without fast and physically dominant defenders. Which we absolutely do not have. If anything, the solution to this would be to drop everything back and forget about the high press within the opponents half, but that's not fashionable or whatever today.
 

Lu Tze

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Physical and technical profiles. Who in our squad has the right ones? I’d argue:

Physical
Højlund
Shaw (when fit)

Technical
Martinez
Mainoo (physical potential too)
Mount
Shaw (when fit)
Onana

Would anybody argue strongly in favour of any others?
Dalot's physical profile is adequate for a top team. Not exceptional, he can be done on the first step but has great pace after that, but adequate.
 

BenitoSTARR

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Well the guys behind the podcast are not professional, but they heard what he said or yelled to the players. It made perfect sense in context to the game played. So they felt that he actually is working his socks off to make them better, but his guidance are not being used or they can’t pull it off.

I believe you are completely right. He can’t get through to them. So in the end, you can lay all on him and be right about that as well.

I am not there though, I believe most problems are down to the group/players and management. I have experienced the same problems in corporate and it’s hardly always just the CEO and management at fault. Sometimes it just needs a lot of changes and some belief in new ideas. And patience.
100% people are always quick to blame an individual as it’s the easier route but rarely do I find it’s the most successful one.

There are absolutely bad managers who make teams worse in football and real life I really strongly do not believe this is what we have here.
 

Amira

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Our problem is the fact that you get what you tolerate. Our manager has tolerated a lack of effort and fight from certain players at times and now that’s what he gets on most nights.
 

BenitoSTARR

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Dalot's physical profile is adequate for a top team. Not exceptional, he can be done on the first step but has great pace after that, but adequate.
Key word “adequate”

We are expecting or wanting great things from “adequate” options.

The issue is a personnel one. We haven’t had our best technical players available all season. We’ve had no LB and we’ve had a heavily rotated and poorly constructed mixture of CBs none of which match the physical profile of a modern top CB.
 

BenitoSTARR

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Our problem is the fact that you get what you tolerate. Our manager has tolerated a lack of effort and fight from certain players at times and now that’s what he gets on most nights.
You have to tolerate some things though. He can’t midway through a season or during a takeover bid rip everything up. It just won’t get sanctioned.

What he can do is try to improve what he’s got regular access to. I don’t think he’s ever had regular access to a top CB pairing, he’s certainly not had regular access to any kind of LB which means our left side is vulnerable, which will also affect our left attacking (Rashford).
 

bosnian_red

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Well the guys behind the podcast are not professional, but they heard what he said or yelled to the players. It made perfect sense in context to the game played. So they felt that he actually is working his socks off to make them better, but his guidance are not being used or they can’t pull it off.

I believe you are completely right. He can’t get through to them. So in the end, you can lay all on him and be right about that as well.

I am not there though, I believe most problems are down to the group/players and management. I have experienced the same problems in corporate and it’s hardly always just the CEO and management at fault. Sometimes it just needs a lot of changes and some belief in new ideas. And patience.
I don't doubt that he has a plan, and I think the players are following this plan. Otherwise we would see actual changes now and then if they weren't following it. His management is basically just saying that eventually something will click and it'll work.

My opinion on it is that his plan is just not as good as the plan of probably about 10 other premier league sides. It's not just coaching us. He has to coach us better than the other premier league managers coach their sides. There's nothing out there to make us believe he is a better manager than half of the others in the league. Loads of managers have won titles at Ajax and failed horribly outside of that league.

I agree that there are a lot of problems, but I also am pretty convinced that our off the ball coaching is just entirely inept. It was a concern with Ten Hags Ajax teams, it got brought up as an unknown before he joined, and it's proven to be the big problem during his time. That's not on anything else but his coaching.
 

Betson

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It starts with awful player recruitment over numerous years which has left us with such a disjointed ,and low quality squad and the current manager has only added to that.
 

bosnian_red

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People that are just suggesting a high line as a solution to all our woes are idiots. Because you can't play a high line without fast and physically dominant defenders. Which we absolutely do not have. If anything, the solution to this would be to drop everything back and forget about the high press within the opponents half, but that's not fashionable or whatever today.
Who cares what is fashionable. You do what works as a team. You do one or the other. You don't try both and lead to a shit show every game, that definitely doesn't work. He's the manager, it's his job to make it work, not have us all over the place and make excuses.

And it's not as simple as playing a high line. There are a lot more nuances to it. That's why guys like Pep, Klopp and now Arteta are such good managers. You can't just say you want to do something, you have to be able to coach it, and when it's properly coached, you can make it work even with injuries where it's clear what the system is.
 

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I agree with much of what you've said but disagree here - at least insofar as our defensive play off the ball is concerned. I think we are pressing well and winning the ball high up the pitch very well.

I am sure there are plenty of statistics produced that prove that point - I'm sure I saw something suggesting that we win the ball off opponents high up the pitch more often than even the best pressers in the league.

For me it's our criminal play WITH the ball that kills us. A lack of passing options, slow and cumbersome possession, and abysmal decision making is destroying us.

But I'd say as well that defensively we are insanely porous and we have some extremely obvious weaknesses to exploit. Wan Bissaka is the worst professional footballer I've ever seen with the ball over or above head height, and has the least game awareness of any of our players. Martinez being easy to beat in the air too means all you need to do is get it in the box somewhere on our right and we are dead.

Dalot is average - he's improved a lot this season. Maguire has 1-2 game losing mistakes in him every 90 minutes.
Suicidal pressing that gets ran through 90% of the time but gets some nice turnovers high up the pitch isn't pressing well though. A good press is one that seems impossible to play through, not some high risk gamble where you hope the other team gives you the ball but takes one decent pass to play through
 

caid

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People that are just suggesting a high line as a solution to all our woes are idiots. Because you can't play a high line without fast and physically dominant defenders. Which we absolutely do not have. If anything, the solution to this would be to drop everything back and forget about the high press within the opponents half, but that's not fashionable or whatever today.
It was definitely the solution yesterday, they weren't trying to play through our press. Just drag us up the pitch and go long. If they didn't win the first ball, they'd pick up the second
I wouldn't particularly trust us to sit in and soak up pressure most weeks though so its a bit of both. Mostly i just expect us to struggle until we bring in fast, physically dominant defenders.
 

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Look at Brighton. They aren't half the team they were last season, having lost Caicedo and Mac Allister. Mitoma and Enciso out is also damaging. However, watching them today, they still resemble a football team. They cause problems due to a system that is ingrained. They play through the press with ease. Point being, we need to learn how to play football.
Correct. Their passing and movement is dare i say?? Competent.
 

Rozay

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Our ‘history/DNA’, certainly when it comes to how we approach football matches. We were sadly hoodwinked into getting a Dutch Ajax coach who was supposed to teach us to pass the football, and move off of it, however - he has done anything but that.

We still have the simple 1990s plan of being more concerned with doing everything quickly rather than doing it properly.
 

Longshanks

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Unsustainable shape and tactics.

Pressing high and narrow with a low defence, teams just go round our press so easily, than the midfield gets dragged out wide to cover with a low defence opens a chasm of space for teams to play into and build attacks.
 

Hammondo

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A shit midfield, we need to start playing a 3rd player in midfield.
 

bosnian_red

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Key word “adequate”

We are expecting or wanting great things from “adequate” options.

The issue is a personnel one. We haven’t had our best technical players available all season. We’ve had no LB and we’ve had a heavily rotated and poorly constructed mixture of CBs none of which match the physical profile of a modern top CB.
Just have to pull you up on this one as well, not gonna accept Dalot slander. He's a beast physically and technically is an excellent full back as well. If you're searching for better than dalot to be the bar than you'll be looking for 100m signings for every position and go a galactico route where you think the coaching will be irrelevant because your squad quality is that much better than everyone else
 

Scarlett Dracarys

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It's a combination of a few problems. Some can be solved with better management and some can be solved by getting better players.
 

Zen86

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The squad needs properly gutting. Too many players that have survived multiple managers and we’ll just end up repeating history without a clear out.
 

BenitoSTARR

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Just have to pull you up on this one as well, not gonna accept Dalot slander. He's a beast physically and technically is an excellent full back as well. If you're searching for better than dalot to be the bar than you'll be looking for 100m signings for every position and go a galactico route where you think the coaching will be irrelevant because your squad quality is that much better than everyone else
Ok let’s add Dalot (I like him too).

Anyone else?
 

RoyH1

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A so-so squad (for the highest level of football), a manager who might not be as good as we expected and an ownership/front office that didn't know how to continue a winning culture built up under SAF

So a lot things need to be change for us to win the PL again.
 

BenitoSTARR

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Physical and technical profiles. Who in our squad has the right ones? I’d argue:

Physical
Højlund
Shaw (when fit)
Dalot (developing)

Technical
Martinez
Mainoo (physical potential too)
Mount
Shaw (when fit)
Onana
Dalot

Would anybody argue strongly in favour of any others?
 

redmanx

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Players who dont care, players who dont try, players playing for themselves, players who think they are bigger than the club. Owners who show no interest except in the share price, owners who refuse to invest, owners who appoint managers who are simply not good enough. Managers who over the last 11 years have failed to grasp what Manchester United is all about; who buy players for their marquee value, not their talent; who are bereft of a plan B when plan A fails; who seem to lack any real idea of strategy and tactics. A Board of Directors too scared or too much in the owners pocket to stand up to them; a board constantly employing mediocre people to fill important and menial roles and then chop and change at the drop of a hat; a board with seemingly no more idea of how to run a football club than I have of running NASA. Problems? The biggest problem we have and one which covers everything is incompetency.
 

bosnian_red

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Ok let’s add Dalot (I like him too).

Anyone else?
IMO the list of players who are good enough all round the play for big European sides are:
  • Onana
  • Dalot
  • Wan Bissaka as a squad player is good
  • Shaw (when fit, unfortunately so needs replacing)
  • Malacia as a backup is fine but can't stay fit
  • Martinez (bad luck on his injury, but also we don't play a higher line with him in anyway)
  • Varane is still a good CB. But always injured so has to go
  • Lindelof as a backup RCB is fine
  • Casemiro is older and looks past it now, but I'm hesitant to say he went from being a world class CB to completely done in a year, you can make a system that asks him to cover less space (and I think our job in midfield is a hopeless task for anyone and more on coaching)
  • Mainoo
  • Mount (albeit pointless in our team given his position)
  • Bruno
  • Rashford (honestly think his issue is more pressure of being the guy at United rather than just being himself elsewhere, he needs a move I'd say)
  • Garnacho
  • Hojlund
There's a very solid list of players who could play at a high level or be signed up by a top team, or have a role as a squad player at least. They should be coached better. But of course, there's a lot of work that has to also go in our squad even among the group above (namely replace the 30+ year olds who can't stay fit like case/Varane/Maguire/Shaw). But that doesn't excuse our performances this season on a weekly basis.
 

Hammondo

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Physical and technical profiles. Who in our squad has the right ones? I’d argue:

Physical
Højlund
Shaw (when fit)

Technical
Martinez
Mainoo (physical potential too)
Mount
Shaw (when fit)
Onana

Would anybody argue strongly in favour of any others?
Mount is not really stand out technically. I would argue Rashford is physical, he's just too dumb to use it. Varane is physical, AWB is physical.
 

bosnian_red

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Physical and technical profiles. Who in our squad has the right ones? I’d argue:

Physical
Højlund
Shaw (when fit)
Dalot (developing)

Technical
Martinez
Mainoo (physical potential too)
Mount
Shaw (when fit)
Onana
Dalot

Would anybody argue strongly in favour of any others?
Garnacho for both as a winger, hojlund under technical too as CF, mctominay physical, Wan Bissaka as physical, mount under physical (if he could stay fit, so probably remove Shaw and him...), Rashford under technical and physical when he can be arsed (mental things with him though so doesn't help us much).

Bruno is a top player who both stays fit and runs all day and while yes you need an upgrade (mainly in being press resistant and being able to carry the ball) if you want to challenge with Arsenal and city, doesn't stop us from being a very good team and is very important in that step.

Generally though, it's not that helpful to just list out players. There are enough of them to make a functional side that is a steady top 4 side. He has to coach them.
 

Hammondo

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Garnacho for both as a winger, hojlund under technical too as CF, mctominay physical, Wan Bissaka as physical, mount under physical (if he could stay fit, so probably remove Shaw and him...), Rashford under technical and physical when he can be arsed (mental things with him though so doesn't help us much).

Bruno is a top player who both stays fit and runs all day and while yes you need an upgrade (mainly in being press resistant and being able to carry the ball) if you want to challenge with Arsenal and city, doesn't stop us from being a very good team and is very important in that step.

Generally though, it's not that helpful to just list out players. There are enough of them to make a functional side that is a steady top 4 side. He has to coach them.
Rashford technical? Then you might as well add everyone to technical.
 

bosnian_red

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Rashford technical? Then you might as well add everyone to technical.
You missed the when he's arsed... As a wide forward, the Rashford that exists and we saw last season and most of the time between 2019-2021 is definitely good enough all around. I genuinely think he can't handle the pressure at United though, it's tougher being a home grown player with the expectation and I think he doesn't deal with it well. I think he'd do brilliantly in la Liga/Bundesliga/Ligue 1/serie A if he were to leave United and just needs a change of scenery. But again, that doesn't mean he doesn't have the right qualities to be a top player, just other issues exist.