Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel has urged manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to reintroduce Nemanja Matic back into his starting lineup.
The 31-year-old Serbian midfielder is currently sidelined with an injury but was an unused substitute in the Red Devils two Premier League matches prior to his setback.
Is Matic the solution to Man Utd’s midfield woes? Five things to know…
- Nemanja Matic has made three Premier League appearances this season.
- He’s currently sidelined with an injury, and has missed their last seven league outings (with two of them being as an unused sub).
- Matic averages 3.4 tackles per 90 minutes in the Premier League, more than any Man Utd midfielder.
- He also averages 67.5 passes per 90 min, more than any Man Utd midfielder bar Paul Pogba (73.6).
- However, his 0.6 interceptions per 90 is surpassed by Scott McTominay (1.3) and Fred (1.5).
Matic, who has only made three Premier League appearances this season, sees his present deal at Old Trafford expire next summer and there hasn’t been any move towards agreeing a new extension.
Having initially joined following the appointment of Jose Mourinho, whom he worked closely with at Chelsea, the defensive midfielder has often come under heavy criticism from supporters, and pundits, with many feeling his best days are now behind him.
In his absence Solskjaer has fielded Fred, Scott McTominay and even Andreas Pereira in front of United’s shaky defence to mix success; last time out they conceded three at Sheffield United, with Pereira often guilty in terms of losing possession.
Schmeichel, who enjoyed a successful period alongside Solskjaer at Man Utd in the late 1990s, feels Matic should return to his lineup as he’d provide the required calmness his former side needs as they battle for a top six finish.
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“They needed a player like Matic, just to sit in that defensive midfield role and just calm things down,” he told Premier League Productions.
“He’s been criticised for being slow and playing the ball backwards too many times, but sometimes they needed that.
“I like Fred, but he definitely needs somebody strong, somebody that can control him. ‘
“You want to talk about where Man Utd are in this evolving period, but just the fact that Scott McTominay is not there is a problem.”