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14th Aug 2023

Gary Neville on the five Man United players that need to have exceptional seasons

Patrick McCarry

Man United

“He’ll need to explode.”

The first Monday Night Football of the season brought Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher and Karen Carney together, discussed Manchester United scraped past Wolves.

Raphael Varane scored the only goal of the game 14 minutes from time after Erik ten Hag’s side spent a large majority of the game under the cosh from the away side, who were being managed by Gary O’Neill for the first time after taking charge just four days before.

Wolves could be left feeling aggrieved not to have come away from Old Trafford with at least a point after Andre Onana came to try and claim a cross from the right hand side of the pitch before rushing out of his goal and cleanly taking out striker Sasa Kalajdzic.

No penalty was awarded after a VAR check but Wolves were left hard done by with the decision.

The trio were guided through a host of talking points, ahead of kick-off, with Carragher pointing out how new goalkeeper Onana would change the United dynamic of building from the back.

“The big reason he has been brought in is his ability on the ball,” Carragher explained.

“Erik ten Hag has eulogised on Onana’s ability to play the ball long and short. He’s on the ball more than David de Gea, his passing accuracy is better, and his higher number of shorter passes show he is more confident.

“Onana has almost got every pass you would want in his locker which De Gea never had. If you want to be a top club your goalkeeper has to play with his feet.”

Gary Neville then spoke about the five United players that would have to excel were they to try challenge Manchester City for their title.

Gary Neville identifies key United players

“There will be those that say Manchester United should be challenging for the title now,” Gary Neville said, on Monday Night Football.

“But realistically, looking at where Arsenal are and how they have recruited this summer, and looking how established Manchester City are, I think it would be unrealistic and harsh to say Manchester United should be competing for the title.

“For that to happen, Antony would have to explode this season, Marcus Rashford would have to hit the same numbers, and Rasmus Hojlund, Mason Mount and Andre Onana would have to hit the ground straight away. That is difficult; Hojlund is young, Onana has taken the most pressurised job in English football – Manchester United goalkeeper.”

“I still think third and trophy would be success,” Neville added, “but I understand where the pressure comes from after their spending under Erik ten Hag.”

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