Manchester United: Why isn’t this man starting?

We think that the Manchester United manager has made some strange selections during his time at the club. It took him way too long to realise that Ashley Young and Tom Cleverley weren’t up to scratch – if either plays tonight there will be mass hysteria.

He has also left Shinji Kagawa on the bench for a large chunk of the season – particularly of late. In fairness, Sir Alex didn’t play him a lot either. But that doesn’t make it right. Kagawa is one of Manchester United’s most mobile and fluid players in a team that lacks, you’ve guessed it, mobility and fluidity.

The other baffling decision, as far as we are concerned, is the omission of Rio Ferdinand. Yes, time is catching up on Rio. But, at 35, he still has so much to give. He may not have the pace or movement that he once had. But he’s still no slouch and any loss of pace would be more than made up for by his silky touch, great passing ability and overall wealth of experience.

Readers of soccersweep will know that Rio has always been one of our favourite defenders – a Rolls Royce of a player – but, favouritism aside, we still think that he is comfortably the best centre back at Manchester United.

Put someone young and energetic next to him and, all of a sudden, you have composure in the back line once more. You don’t need lightning pace or blood and guts when you have someone who can read the game as well as Ferdinand. We hope that he will play for Manchester United tonight and more in the next few weeks. He has made a few mistakes of late but no footballer is perfect.

But we rate Rio so highly that we think he could play for Manchester United for a couple more years. He is a world class talent who has been underused in perhaps his last season at Manchester United.

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