Top five Manchester United stars of the World Cup group stage

by Alex Turk

Manchester United had a large presence in Russia when the 2018 World Cup kicked off in June.

12 Man United players were set to their respective countries at the tournament this summer and whilst some have barely featured or impressed, there were stand-out names as a still-hefty total of 11 reached the knock-out phase.

Here are the five United stars who particularly caught the eye during the World Cup Group Stage.

Marcos Rojo

It’s no secret that Rojo was part of an under-achieving Argentina side, a side that has now exited the World Cup, throughout the group stage but he came up with one of the moments of the tournament in the final match Group D match against Nigeria.

Argentina were heading out at the first hurdle with five minutes to go as the score was level at 1-1 in St Petersburg, but the centre-back found his way forward and scored a late winner to keep the nation’s hopes alive.

Rojo was well-placed in the box before lashing Gabriel Mercardo’s cross home ferociously with his weaker right foot to send the South American fans into hysteria including, rather notably, Diego Maradona in the stands.

Paul Pogba

Regularly criticised for his United performances, Pogba normally impresses while on international duty with France and that’s been the case once again this summer.

His range of passing and exciting skill-set has been fully on show which has benefitted attackers like Kylian Mbappe as France topped Group C with a fair amount of ease.

The 25-year-old has publicly said how having a more-dynamic holding midfielder like N’Golo Kante behind him helps his game, which could be Jose Mourinho‘s idea behind the signing of Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred.

Victor Lindelof

Lindelof hasn’t really had the chance to shine at United since joining from SL Benfica last summer – but he wasn’t expected to just fit into the team straight away.

He’s much more comfortable when representing his country Sweden and showed the world his true potential as Sweden surprisingly topped Group F above Mexico and the reigning world champions Germany.

It’ll be interesting to see whether he has a bigger role to play at Old Trafford throughout the 2018-19 campaign. Jose Mourinho‘s desire to sign a new centre-back would suggest not, however.

Jesse Lingard

On the back of such a fantastic 2017-18 season at United, in which he established himself as one of Mourinho’s most-trusted players, there was great hope revolving around how Lingard could help England at the World Cup this summer.

And he’s certainly delivered, acting as one of Gareth Southgate’s most creative midfield outlets as the nation comfortably qualified for the Round of 16 behind Belgium in Group G.

He topped off his group stage displays with a stunning strike during the 6-1 win against Panama in Nizhny Novgorod and is expected to play yet another big part in the knock-out stages, starting with the last 16 against Colombia on Tuesday night.

Romelu Lukaku

Lukaku carried on exactly where he left off in his debut season at United, in which he scored 27 goals, at the World Cup – scoring a brace in both of the Group G matches he featured in.

His goalscoring form in the group stage has put him in a great position to secure the tournament golden boot as his four is just one behind England’s Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo, who he finds himself in joint-second with, is no longer a part after Portugal’s 2-1 round of 16 loss to Uruguay.

United fans will be hoping he can continue his form into the new club campaign where he’ll once again be Mourinho’s main man up front.

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