MANCHESTER UNITED would look very impressive if they built next season around “young, hungry players”.
That is what United record goalscorer Wayne Rooney suggested when discussing his former club’s disappointing season.
Erik ten Hag could put together the following Manchester United side based on youth
Donny van de Beek was loaned out to Everton by Manchester United but may get a second chanceCredit: Getty
The Derby manager claimed the signing of 37-year-old legend Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t work out as hoped and it’s probably time the Red Devils made way for youth.
Rooney told Sky Sports on Monday Night Football: “I think he’s [Ronaldo] scored goals, he’s scored important goals in the Champions League early on in the season. He scored the hat-trick against Tottenham.
“But I think if you look to the future of the club you would have to go with younger, hungry players to do the best to lift Manchester United over these next two, three years.
“And obviously Cristiano is getting on a bit. He certainly isn’t the player he was when he was in his 20s. And that happens, that’s football. He’s a goal threat but I think the rest of the game they need more, they need young, hungry players.”
But first, United will have to get a new permanent manager and Ajax boss Erik ten Hag appears as the favourite to take over this summer.
Ten Hag has shown a lot of faith in young players in the last five years with the Dutch giants as he helped mould the likes of Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt, Hakim Ziyech and more.
The Dutchman was also instrumental behind the development of Donny van de Beek, 24, who has been loaned out to Everton after falling out of favour at United.
The 52-year-old tactician could help Van de Beek find his previous form by reinstating him in midfield, where he will have to make some significant additions, in a 4-3-3 formation the team is used to.
United will have to come strong in the bidding war for the likes of Leicester star Youri Tielemans, 24, and RB Leipzig ace Christopher Nkunku, 24.
The Manchester giants will also have to be as decisive in the transfer chase for Benfica striker Darwin Nunez, 22.
The Red Devils may get some essential backing from Ten Hag in their bid to sign his fellow Dutchman Cody Gakpo, 22, who has stood out in PSV Eindhoven’s attack this season.
Leicester star Youri Tielemans has been linked with a move to Manchester UnitedCredit: Rex
Ten Hag could then go with some of the team’s consistent performers, such as David de Gea in goal, Luke Shaw at left-back and Raphael Varane at centre-back.
He could also give second chances to right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka and struggling captain Harry Maguire at centre-back.
And Marcus Rashford, who still has a lot to offer, could be reinstated in the starting line-up.