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Football Manager 2020: The ultimate Man Utd team guide

By Ben Green

Football Manager Man Utd Team Guide

Published: 11:38, 4 December 2019

Manchester United are a club in limbo and still struggling to stabilise themselves following the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson. A chance to re-establish this sleeping giant as one of football’s most feared clubs makes them a mouthwatering proposition on Football Manager 2020.   

The Red Devils haven’t been the same since Fergie called time on his trophy-laden career in the Old Trafford dugout.

Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tutelage the North West club have flirted with the idea of rediscovering that former spark, but have thus far proven to be too inconsistent.

The record 13-time Premier League champions are currently languishing in mid table and without a real sense of direction – something almost unfathomable a decade ago.

The infrastructure is there, the fanbase is brimming with passion and Old Trafford has that mystical ability to create a cauldron effect, all the club needs now is the right man to lead them back to glory.

So, can you handle the pressure of the Man Utd hotseat and take this club back to the upper reaches of domestic and European football? If so, we have everything you need to know about the Man Utd job on FM20 below…

Expectations

Football Manager: Man Utd Team Guide

Upon pitching up at Old Trafford chairman Ed Woodard demands that you uphold two philosophies almost intrinsically woven into the fabric of Man Utd’s culture and club ethos.

Those include:

  • Play entertaining football.
  • Develop players using the club’s youth system.

Compared to some big clubs this is not an outlandish request from the club’s polarising chairman, given that a) Man Utd’s youth academy is fraught with exceptionally gifted young players and b) Man Utd have some very good attack-minded players, so forming an entertaining side shouldn’t prove too strenuous.

Moving onto the transfer budget and, despite spending excessively this summer – just shy of £150 million, the board seem desperate to get back to dominant ways and will hand you a transfer kitty of £100m.

This includes a lavish £3.5m per week wage budget to distribute where you see fit. Of course, you can adjust both budgets to suit your needs, with your transfer allocation reaching as high as £109m.

Despite struggling in recent years, the club’s top brass are expecting you to reach the Europa League final and an FA Cup semi-final at the least, with both objectives seen as mandatory obligations in their eyes.

Elsewhere, you will be pleased to know that you boast quite exceptional facilities, with both the training and youth provisions in “state of the art” condition, while the youth recruitment is in “excellent” shape. Finally, you will also have a 10-man coaching team, including Mike Phelan, Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna. 

Tactics

Football Manager: Man Utd Team Guide

During your introductory meeting with the Man Utd hierarchy you are presented with the club’s best XI in the customary team report.

The formation is a typical 4-2-3-1, with David de Gea manning the sticks, while Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Aaron Wan-Bissaka are stationed in defence. Further forward Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay are holding the fort in a double pivot, while Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard are in support of lone striker Anthony Martial.

This was a formation often utilised by the great man himself and may be your best bet too, given the players on hand. Certainly try your luck with a traditional 4-4-2, or perhaps a Christmas Tree formation (4-2-2-2) with Martial and Rashford up-top looking to recreate the Wayne Rooney-Ruud van Nistelrooy partnership or perhaps the Dwight Yorke-Andy Cole pairing.

Solskjaer has often experimented with a three-man system at the back, but no-one wants a repeat of Phil Jones vs Sheffield United, so avoid this cautious approach at all times.

Keep it slick and keep it fluid. A 4-2-3-1 will probably best accentuate the assets of your team, with Rashford operating as an inside forward – as pictured above – Daniel James offering sonic speed on the right, and Lingard dovetailing behind Martial in the No. 10 role.

You have the pace and requisite wide-men to hit teams with rapid counter-attacking motions, so we recommend playing with width, distributing to the flanks, a quick tempo and with urgency  – let’s bring the intensity and cut-throat zeal back to Old Trafford, eh!

Key Men

David de Gea

Football Manager: Man Utd Team Guide

Not only one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League, but arguably the best in the world. Sure, the Spaniard has come in for some flak in recent months – ahem “poppadom hands” – but with an organised and disciplined backline in front of him and a team zipping it about with confidence, that will transmit to De Gea as well. Without him, you’re in worlds of trouble!

Harry Maguire

Football Manager: Man Utd Team Guide

The allure of the modern centre-back is such that they are essentially seen as a defensive playmaker. Every manager now craves a competent ball-playing centre-back, someone who can instigate attacking moves and function as a springboard. In Maguire, Man Utd now have that man, a player who can defend with precision, but also play out from the back with an assured head.

Paul Pogba

Football Manager: Man Utd Team Guide

The mercurial midfielder is oft questioned on the Old Trafford terraces, but remains one of world football’s most versatile and gifted footballers. And that is certainly reflected in FM20, where the World Cup winner boasts simply ridiculous attributes. All he needs now is a manager who will give him the freedom to express himself and a strong central midfield alongside him to truly flourish – a la France.

Best Youth Products

Mason Greenwood

Football Manager: Man Utd Team Guide

Tipped for stardom, Greenwood possesses stats that are far more advanced than his tender years. On first glance he appears to already be an established Premier League player, such is his untapped potential. If you can truly polish this star in the making and nurture him accordingly, then you are looking at one of the great strikers of the 21st century.

James Garner

Football Manager: Man Utd Team Guide

Man Utd have had significant troubles in the central midfield area across recent seasons, but those ailments can be well and truly remedied with the development of Garner. The 18-year-old is elegance personified with 15 passing, 14 first touch and 14 vision. Promote this tyro to the first team reckoning and reap the rewards in just a few years time.

Hannibal Mejbri 

Football Manager: Man Utd Team Guide

Man Utd fended off intense interest to secure this precocious playmaker over the summer, and it’s clear to see why. The teenage Frenchman brags simply outrageous attributes for a footballer his age and will surely develop into one of the best attacking midfielders on the game.

Transfer Targets

James Rodriguez

Football Manager: Man Utd Team Guide

The Colombian playmaker is exactly what Man Utd need right now, and Man Utd are exactly what he needs right now. At Real Madrid, and before that Bayern Munich, Rodriguez was just one galactico among many, but at Old Trafford he would be the fulcrum.

Los Blancos will likely transfer list him when your save loads so definitely look to snap him up on the cheap, or better yet, wait until January when you can negotiate signing him on a free transfer upon the expiration of his contract in the summer.

Toby Alderweireld

Football Manager: Man Utd Team Guide

Bayern Munich have formed a habit of strengthening their stranglehold on the Bundesliga by essentially plundering the ranks of their rivals, and so you could look to do the same here by securing the jewel in Tottenham’s defensive crown. The Belgian centre-back has a release clause of £25m so won’t cripple your transfer budget and would make for an exceptional ball-playing partner to Maguire.

Ruben Neves

Football Manager: Man Utd Team Guide

It’s curious to consider Man Utd saw Ander Herrera leave over the summer but decided not to replace him. Well, this is now your chance to put that right, by securing one of the Premier League’s best deep-lying playmakers. The Portuguese metronome is the luxurious axis in the Wolves midfield and could really add some rhythm, fluidity and downright class back to your side.

No Longer Needed

Marcos Rojo

Football Manager: Man Utd Team Guide

The no-nonsense Argentine centre-back really isn’t what Man Utd need at the minute. In terms of beefing up a defence, Rojo can certainly bring that, but his fiery temper and recklessness could cost you down the line. You are certainly better off bringing one of the youngsters into the fold or signing the aforementioned Alderweireld.

Ashley Young

Football Manager: Man Utd Team Guide

Young has been a very solid player for Man Utd over the years and his versatility certainly offers a slightly different dimension, but let’s face it, your aspirations will be to take this club back to the pinnacle of the Premier League, and a 34-year-old Young at left-back doesn’t exactly scream champions.

Nemanja Matic

Football Manager: Man Utd Team Guide

With a £100m transfer budget and Matic on £120k p/w you really are better off trying to flog the towering Serb and bring in some fresh talent. He still has excellent attributes for a defensive midfielder but will be 31 come the start of the season and is certainly not the force he once was.