Gary Neville and Roy Keane, with the help of Jamie Carragher and Ian Wright, have given their assessment of the individual players in the Manchester United squad, deciding whether they would assign them into the category of ‘keep, last straw or ditch.’
Speaking on the Stick to Football podcast, the punditry quartet were largely unanimous in their judgements. And it does not make for easy reading for any United fan, where it feels unlikely anyone would disagree too vehemently with the decisions.
The only players placed in the ‘keep’ category were: Alejandro Garnacho, Rasmus Hojlund, Bruno Fernandes, Lisandro Martinez, Kobbie Mainoo and Mason Mount.
Marcus Rashford was included alongside these players by Neville, Carragher and Wright, with only Keane expressing doubts over the misfiring forward. “Marcus is twenty-six…when is the penny going to drop for him?” the former Ireland international asked.
It was the same story for Luke Shaw, who Keane designated as ‘last straw’, while his fellow pundits placed him in ‘keep’.
The ‘last straw’ contingent was headed by Andre Onana, whose erratic displays have left little confidence in the goalkeeper.
The Cameroonian was joined by Scott McTominay with all four pundits in agreement he was on thin ice at Old Trafford, despite his recent goal scoring heroics.
The ‘ditch’ category was a much simpler affair.
Jadon Sancho, Anthony Martial, Antony, Christian Eriksen, Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof, Sofyan Amrabat and Jonny Evans were all ditched without any hesitation; perhaps harsh on some of the players, though none can claim to have been consistently impressive during their time at the club.
Perhaps the two most divided assessments centred around the manager and his midfield general – Casemiro.
Carragher chose to ditch the Brazilian midfielder, Neville described him as on his last straw, while Keane and Wright offered the more optimistic ‘keep’ option.
Conversely, Ten Hag was described as ditch by Wright, last straw by Carragher and keep by Keane. Neville offered the assessment of “keep, but on the basis that there needs to be an immediate turn-around” – the former United captain appearing to not understand the rules of his own game, given that his assessment is a synonym of ‘last straw’.
It is a damning indictment on the United squad that only six players were considered unanimous ‘keeps’, though this becomes eight without Keane’s harsh standards. Eight out of twenty-five feels a long way short of a good team, however.