Sunday 15 September 2019

Richard Dunne: 'Solskjaer right to weed out under-performers, but United revolution will take time'

Summer recruitments have shown Red Devils' intent

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Photo: Getty Images
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Photo: Getty Images
Richard Dunne

Richard Dunne

When he took over as Manchester United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, said it would be a long process to build things there, that there would be a couple of players coming in and out for the next few transfer windows.

And I like the players United have signed – I think Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James will settle in well and win the fans over.

The likes of Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku needed to score goals for the fans to like them as they don't do enough over 90 minutes to be the fans' favourite.

Whereas they see Wan-Bissaka running up and down the wing, they see Maguire winning headers, they see effort from James and that's the effort that fans will appreciate.

Solskjaer has bought players who suit the club, players he knows the fans will support and he knows with those three, he has players who the supporters will back.

When you have players like Sanchez and Lukaku who are first team players but not really contributing or getting a look in, it’s best to just get them out the door, instead of having them hang around the dressing room.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka also looked comfortable in his new surroundings. Photo: Getty Images
Aaron Wan-Bissaka also looked comfortable in his new surroundings. Photo: Getty Images

Just get them out – and that’s what Solksjaer has already done in the case of Lukaku. And will do with Sanchez when he does go on loan.

Let them carry on their careers elsewhere.

Solksjaer seems to be looking to the future instead of buying world superstars for £100m on massive wages.

I don’t think there would be resentment in the dressing room over the money that Sanchez gets, compared to other players.

In my experience, players don’t sit there and think 'I don't like him because he's getting more money than me'.

It’s more down to how you play, and if I was a player in that changing room I’d be annoyed with Sanchez because he’s not putting the work in, regardless of his wages.

I’d feel that his wages are his business, I’m happy with my contract so it’s not the money that’s the issue, it’s the effort, I’d expect a team-mate to do his job, just get around the field at least.

If I see someone who is missing training, is sulking, not putting in the effort, I’d just think ‘get on with it and do what you are paid to do. It wouldn’t be in my mind, as a fellow pro, that he's maybe earning more than me.

Now, with his signings, Solksjaer is looking for people who suit his plan at Old Trafford and the signs are that he will get it right, if given time.

James is looking like a great signing for United, he's attack-minded and he’s good on the ball and there are a lot of positives from what United are doing right now.

Harry Maguire
Harry Maguire

And I don't think people are giving Wolves enough credit for that draw on Monday, they are a good side who are strong at home so it’s not a bad point for United.

United have Crystal Palace tomorrow and they’ll look on that a chance to get seven points from the first three games.

There is too much fuss being made of the Pogba penalty on Monday, as if he's the first player ever to miss a penalty kick.

Solsjkaer has come out to say that Marcus Rashford is the penalty taker now, but if he’s injured or just doesn’t want to take one, Pogba is next up, and that’s just the way it is.

Instead of being annoyed at Pogba and Rashford, I think the United manager would be more than happy to see people being leaders on the pitch, making their own decisions.

They are professional footballers and they need to be given the freedom to make those decisions. Pogba will probably back off from penalties for a while, but I am certain he will take one in the future.

In general, at a club the manager asks at the start of the season ‘who fancies a penalty?’, you put your hand up and that’s it. Until that person misses one he stays on penalties and there’s no reason for the manager to change it. The manager has the final say: you are on penalties, you’re on corners, you're taking free-kicks and that’s the way it should be.

It's wrong if a player decides on the spot and that has to clarified within the team. Pogba has missed a couple of penalties, Rashford has scored a few, some high-pressure ones but not taken as many.

The manager has made his mind up that it's Rashford from now on and he will stick with it.

If you asked before the Wolves game who should take a penalty for United, the answer, probably, would have been Pogba so he is one of the two or three takers at the club.

If, in the course of a game, there is a penalty to be taken and he's not up to it, someone else just steps up.

Things change during a game, maybe the penalty taker has just had a knock and doesn't fancy it at that moment, that's the nature of the game.

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