David De Gea has been told that his time as a Manchester United player may quickly come to an end with the player likely to struggle with a major tactical change brought about by new boss Ralf Rangnick.
The Red Devils have appointed Ralf Rangnick, 63, to oversee their bright new era after showing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the door. The wily German sage will then take up a two-year advisory role at Old Trafford.
Indeed, Rangnick is likely to bring about a huge change of style at United. Known as the Godfather of the Gegenpress, the 63-year-old is already starting to make an impact – and it all starts on the training field.
As such, a report last week revealed how Rangnick plans to introduce a ‘countdown clock’ to United’s training.
Under Rangnick’s plans, he will install an ‘eight-second rule’ at Carrington. This requires players to win the ball within eight seconds before producing a shot on goal within 10 seconds of successfully reclaiming possession.
Players will also be able to hear the countdown clock during their drills which he hopes will increase intensity and produce quick results.
The change is likely to hugely shake-up United’s training sessions in the extreme.
Rangnick will not have time in the short-term to get his ideas across to his players. Indeed, the new coach has had very little time to prepare his players for Sunday’s game against Crystal Palace.
However, he will have some idea of his team and how he wants to play having been in the stands for Thursday’s 3-2 win over Arsenal.
He will have seen the way United conceded an unusual opener to Emile Smith Rowe.
De Gea comes in for criticism over Arsenal opener
The goal came after De Gea fell to the ground after being stood on by teammate Fred following an Arsenal corner. Smith Rowe then drilled a shot into the goal from outside the area with a prostrate De Gea still lying on his line.
Now another pundit in Trevor Sinclair claims Rangnick will have been “disappointed” with the Spain stopper. Furthermore, he feels his inability to play as a ‘sweeper keeper’ will also see him fall short tactically.
“They got it right,” Sinclair told talkSPORT when discussing Arsenal’s opener. “We’ve all been smashed in the ankle, it’s not going to get any worse. You can get back to your feet, wait for the ball to go out of play. Then get the assistance you need medically.
“I can’t believe how lacking in bravery De Gea is. I’m really disappointed, his teammates will be disappointed, the coaching staff and all the fans will be disappointed.
“Sometimes when you go on the pitch, you’ve got to take a bit of pain – and that wasn’t good enough. And he’s cost his team a goal because the shot from Smith Rowe wasn’t great.”
Sinclair added: “With Ralf [Rangnick] coming in, wanting to play a high line, I think he’s going to have to be sweeper keeper.
“So De Gea’s time at Man United is probably going to end quite shortly.”
He continued: “For me, that’s a little acid test, how big’s your heart? And he’s let them down.”
Rangnick explains his countdown clock method
While De Gea will likely retain his place this Sunday against Palace, mistakes like that on Thursday will, no doubt, put the focus firmly on him.
Indeed, Sinclair raises an interesting point about the high line United will play under Rangnick. It’s a method utilised by Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool – though you need the right players to make it come off.
In the meantime, Rangnick has previously explained to DW’s Kickoff! Show the purposes of his countdown clock.
“We’ve had a countdown clock custom made for us,” he said. “The assistant coach activates it, and it starts ticking. We use it for a game called the ‘Eight Second Rule’.
“The players can hear the ticking and know they have to get the ball back within eight seconds, or if they have possession, they need to take a shot on goal within 10 seconds.
“The ticking can be irritating for them at first. But what we’ve noticed is this type of training can affect players within weeks. They adjust their style of play and it becomes an instinct.”