Sunday 23 July 2017

Eamon Dunphy performs extraordinary u-turn on Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Manchester United

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been in impressive form in recent weeks
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been in impressive form in recent weeks
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

It's 31 days since Eamon Dunphy claimed Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was 'past his sell by date' and now he is lauding the giant Swede.

After United's 1-1 draw with Arsenal last month, the outspoken pundit claimed that Ibrahimovic was finished.

“I’d say Ibrahimovic has no more football in him,” Dunphy told Game on on 2FM. “Against the weaker teams they had to play at the beginning, I think he got six goals in seven games and they were important goals as well.

“But he’s way past his sell by date. He’s 35 now. He can’t really put in the work. The passing, scoring goals, his general play has been very, very poor."

Draws with West Ham and Everton were followed up by league wins over Tottenham, Crystal Palace and West Brom since the draw with the Gunners. United also advanced to the semi-finals of the EFL Cup and the last 32 of the Europa League with victories over the Hammers, Feyenoord and FC Zorya Luhansk.

The mood at Old Trafford has certainly changes and so to has the opinion of Dunphy.

The former Republic of Ireland international is now talking in glowing terms about Ibrahimovic.

"I have to admit that I'm very surprised by how well Ibrahimovic has done," he wrote in his column on today's Irish Daily Star.

"At the European Championships, he was Sweden's captain and talisman.

"He was the man they looked to for inspiration, to make something happen.

"But it seemed that the fire had died in him. He strolled through their group games, offering little.

"Given how poor he was, it was no surprise that Sweden made an early exit.

"Even though he scored a few goals early on for United, I was convinced that Ibrahimovic was a busted flush.

"As the season wore on, I was sure that the pace and intensity of the Premier League would find him lacking.

"But he's still scoring regularly, and is one of the main reasons why United look like a proper team again."

Dunphy does not believe, as Steven Gerrard does, that United are still in the title race but is confident they are 'well-placed' to secure a Top Four place and are the best team remaining in the Europa League.

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