Players That Need To Step Up Or Step Away From Old Trafford

Our loss to the hands of Stoke City blew away any optimism that was brewing due to the win against Cardiff and the signing of Spanish playmaking maestro Juan Mata. The record signing has had two solid if not spectacular games in the famous red jersey producing two assists in two games averaging an assist every 87 minutes. Before the Stoke defeat it seemed as if Mata had really breathed life into the United team uplifting spirits, however the defeat at Stoke revealed Mata’s signing is more of a cosmetic makeover and will not sure up the structural cracks that have become prevalent to all at Old Trafford.

This bad situation is only being made worse due to a lot of players not stepping up to the plate and shouldering the burden or performing to what is expected of them in a Man Utd shirt. In this article I will be highlighting a few that need to step up or step away from Old Trafford.

Tom Cleverly: 

Cleverly vs Stoke

Cleverly vs Stoke

The stat map does kind of tell the story. It shows a player who is short of confidence and out of ideas. Tom’s sideways passing has become his signature trait and that is NOT a good thing. His passes provided no penetration into Stokes defence and most of the forward passes in the Final 3rd he did attempt failed. I do not doubt his talent as he has progressed through the MUFC academy which is famous for producing midfield masters such as Scholes and Nicky Butt etc. However I do doubt if at 22 he was ready for his debut. Despite being a fairly regular starter never has he consistently shown true quality that merits so many starts. Perhaps he is just a show piece to the other youth players and the world that we can still nurture and promote players to the first team. At this moment in time I do not think he contains the solution to our midfield problems and I would rather play the more experienced Fletcher over him to shift the limelight away from the young Englishman. I would give him a spell away from the first team to play with the reserves so he can get some regular football and regain the lost confidence. A loan move wouldn’t do him much harm either.


Nani Chip Vs Bayer Leverkusen

Nani’s Chip Vs Bayer Leverkusen

Oh where has our other less appreciated Portuguese sweat heart gone? I remember the days when he used to make any Premiership full back look a fool with a perfect roulette or when he used to make a keeper look a fool with an outrageous goal from who knows how many yards out. His minute to assist ratio still remains one of the highest in Premiership history to this day and his bag of tricks is I think still the biggest and most entertaining in the league! Nani on his day can still torment any defender (you can tell I am a Nani fan) however those days are becoming fewer and and further in between. He reminded the United faithful of his presence with a stunning chipped finish over the Bayer Leverkusen keeper in the Champions League clash. No other wide player we possess, bar Januzaj perhaps would have the audacity to attempt and even fewer would have the ability to execute it! He has now reached a crucial stage in his career at 27 where he must perform like he did at Bayer week in week out or he could just remain the inconsistent winger who had so much but gave us only glimpses. I for United’s and Nani’s sake hope it is the former. Unfortunately injuries have also recently kept the year winger out of the side and he has been ruled out a further month, till the beginning of March due to a hamstring problem. However he has signed a new 5 year deal which will keep him at Old Trafford till 2018. Thus we can expect to see more of the Flair infused winger in the latter stages of the season and for years to come.

Patrice Evra


First of all let me get this straight. I respect Evra and all he has done for the club. He has been an immense and consistent servant to the club who over his Man Utd career has made the LB position his and only his. He also has a knack of causing havoc in the box through set pieces by clever movement despite having a small frame of 5″8. However as a LB he has repeatedly over the course of the season looked a weak cog and a liability (not the only one) in our defence. recently he allowed Peter Odemwingie to chest the ball down and set himself up for a shot which could have been disastrous had Odemwingie’s chest control been better. This is not an isolated incident either, unfortunately. Defensive errors are becoming far too common, and in such a tight season such as ours where goals aren’t exactly flowing though the other end defensive errors can not and should not be made. Thus I think the French caption and Old Trafford faithful should leave at the end of the season whilst he is still remember by many in a bright light. This is of course unless he raises his game another level and can become  tighter defensive unit which at the age of 32 does not look hugely like;y. A new LB will be needed as I don’t think Buttner is yet ready to handle the pressures and responsibilities of a Man Utd first team regular LB. Luke Shaw looks impressive and is a viable option in the summer and shows great potential, whoever steps in as First choice LB will have huge shoes to fill.



The play-a-maker (yes that is an @evilkagawa reference) has not been able to play-a-make from the left flank as he has proven time and time again. Kagawa and Man Utd seemed a perfect fit when he was bought. United needed a creative CAM as Rooney was playing up top. This was before the surprise acquisition of  RVP who filled in Rooney’s roles up top which resulted in Rooney taking Kagawa’s role. This had a knock on effect of Kagawa being introduced to a completely new unrecognized position, the bench. When he plays in the CAM role Kagawa has shown more than glimpses, full performances of a creative and clever No.10 who can unlock any defence. He has also shown his ability to roam the pitch and link up play very well. His hat trick performance against Norwich showed what a player he can be when used correctly however his exclusive No.10 role is taken by Wayne Rooney. This has resulted in upsetting the team as either Rooney or RVP have had to sit out or play out of position. It is unfortunate as the team is built around Rooney and Shinji simply does not get enough game time in his exclusive No.10 role.  I feel for the former Bundasliga Player of the Year. He is truly gifted undoubtedly however it looks like the romance between United and Kagawa that once seemed so perfect is fading away. Unless a radical change of system which accommodates 3 fluid floating midfielders behind RVP is brought (this is what it would look like), Kagawa back to Dortmund seems more and more likely. The 24 year old may not be able to win over the manager as his lack of appearances has shown however he and his famous parody @evilkagawa account have certainly won over the hearts of many Man Utd fans!

Other Noteworthy Mentions


Ashley Young: His performances overall have been disappointing however in recent times he has started to amend with a couple of goals. The one against Cardiff was a low well hit strike which hinted at the type of player he can be when he is not busy rolling on the floor. However for me he does not do enough. His crosses are becoming fewer and lack quality although he still can deliver a rasping ball in. His diving antics have although put me off him as I can accept Cleverly not playing well however i can not accept a full England international who is experienced cheating. That is something that one associates with Chelsea and Mourinho and not us. We may lose however we must not cheat. Where he ends up is reliant on his performances from now till the end of the season. If we can see him recreate his lost form he can be welcomed back to the MUFC first team however if he continues to dive he must be quickly shipped off as a warning to his fellow players who attempt diving in our red shirt.

Javier Hernandez: The little Mexican is a much loved figure at Old Trafford however he is playing fourth fiddle behind Welbeck somehow, who stays off this list only due to his recent ability to put 6 goals in 6 matches whilst Robin and Rooney were out. The Mexican is the most clinical finisher naturally however due to lack of game time even this his signature trait is beginning to fade away. He also has great aerial ability and can find space in the box producing a poacher’s finish. Not only this his game outside of the box such his passing and vision and chance creation for others has also improved dramatically over the last couple of season. Now 25 the Mexican must decide if he must settle at Man Utd and lack of game time which he deserves or move to another club where he can get the 90 minutes week in week out. Chicha will have no shortage of suitors and could possibly unfortunately leave us this transfer window.


That is who I think must step up or step away from Old Trafford. Be sure to check out my other articles. I hope you find them interesting and let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments section below! I hope you enjoyed reading and have a good day!


One response to “Players That Need To Step Up Or Step Away From Old Trafford

  1. Pingback: Moyes Still Man Utd’s Man? | rafqazi's Blog·

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