Paul Scholes Analyzes Manchester United’s Defensive Choices
Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has provided insight into Erik ten Hag’s defensive selections, suggesting that the manager has turned to Harry Maguire and Jonny Evans because they excel in ball distribution compared to Raphael Varane.
Varane, who was the club’s primary choice center-back last season, has seen a surprising loss of his place to Evans this season, following Evans’ return to Old Trafford on a free transfer.
The Northern Irishman has been preferred to Varane in the last four Premier League games, and even on Wednesday night when Manchester United suffered a 4-3 loss to Copenhagen in the Champions League.
Maguire, on the other hand, lost his place in the starting XI last season and had come close to leaving the club after being stripped of the captaincy during the summer.
However, he remained at Old Trafford after a move to West Ham fell through and has managed to regain his place in the team due to Lisandro Martinez’s injury.
Scholes expressed concern about ten Hag’s reliance on Maguire and Evans, suggesting that this preference is worrisome for Manchester United.
He stated, “I actually think he’s playing Maguire and Evans at center-half because he thinks they’re the two best ball-playing center-halves, which in itself is a bit of a worry.”
This season, Manchester United has conceded 16 goals in 11 Premier League matches and 11 goals in their four Champions League outings.
Scholes indicated that defensive issues may be attributed to injuries that have limited ten Hag’s options, with players like Luke Shaw, Martinez, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and Victor Lindelof missing matches.
Furthermore, Scholes highlighted that experienced players like Varane and Casemiro have underperformed so far this season, despite their extensive European Cup achievements.
He said, “Even Casemiro when he played he looked a bit loose and not playing his position well. These are two players who have won the European Cup five times.
If you can’t rely on these types of players, where do you go? You can see where he’s gone, back to Jonny Evans, who was a free transfer.”
Varane replaced Evans in Wednesday night’s game after Evans suffered an injury 15 minutes into the match, and he might retain his place when Manchester United faces Luton on Saturday.