Henrikh Mkhitaryan has urged Jose Mourinho to use him as a No.10 – his favoured position – this season after impressing in that role against West Ham United on Sunday.
The Armenian, who arrived at the club for £27m last year, has featured primarily as a wide man under Mourinho so far, with the Portuguese often opting against using a No.10 at all.
He was given a chance to impress in behind Romelu Lukaku against West Ham, however, and produced a truly sublime display, claiming two assists and pulling the visitors out of shape all afternoon as Man United claimed a 4-0 win.
And Mkhitaryan, speaking on the subject of his preferred role, noted that he felt more comfortable playing centrally.
“I prefer to play as a No.10 but if the manager thinks I’m helpful for the team playing on the wings I am happy to play on the wings. It doesn’t matter,” he said.
“It was not only Matic. I want to mention as well the other two new signings, Lindelof and Lukaku. They are very good players. They are, I think, Manchester United players. Matic does a big job on the pitch. He tries to recover all the balls. He defensively does a big job.”
With Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba comfortably dictating proceedings in midfield, Mkhitaryan could skip around the pitch at will, popping up in one place and then another, refusing to give West Ham a moment’s breath.
It was wonderful to watch, and in games like these, with United dominating the affair, having Mkhitaryan as a No.10 – as the locus of the side’s attacking fluidity – is an ideal option.
That said, there will be games that require greater discipline and more defensive awareness this season and Mourinho, in turn, may have to abandon the No.10 role and force Mkhitaryan out wide.