Former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp believes that Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s presence has been key to Manchester United’s revival in recent weeks.
The Armenian, following a lukewarm performance against Manchester City back in September, had to wait until November 24 for his next opportunity to start.
Since then, Jose Mourinho’s men have claimed seven wins in nine games and have a chance to register their sixth successive win against Middlesbrough on Saturday.
Redknapp, writing for the Daily Mail, was full of praise for the 27-year-old.
“Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s stunning goal took me back to when Colombia keeper Rene Higuita cleared my cross for England in 1995 with a scorpion kick,” he said.
“Mkhitaryan’s effort may not have been as bold but he showed such audacity. He is looking so sharp and has been key to Manchester United’s revival.”
One cannot help but wonder where Man United would be if Mkhitaryan’s absence from the squad was shorter. His reintroduction to the match-day squad had an immediate galvanising effect: they were faster, less predictable, more accurate, blessed with a renewed sense of purpose.
There’s something different about the 27-year-old. His persona on the pitch, above anything, is harder to pin down: enigmatic, diminutive, always looking slightly grumpy. And then, out of nowhere, comes a Mkhitaryan-led onslaught, heralded by constant pressure and moments of sheer brilliance.
United fans will be desperate to see the Armenian cement himself in Mourinho’s starting XI over the next few weeks.