Scholes turns spotlight on Ten Hag with dubious signing deemed not Man Utd standard; second star ‘could be a problem’
Paul Scholes doesn’t believe an Erik ten Hag signing has what it takes to play for Man Utd, while questions have been raised as to whether a second star should be featuring in the biggest games.
Man Utd arrived on Merseyside hoping to stake their title claim and deliver a hammer blow to Liverpool’s chances of finishing inside the top four.
The Red Devils went into the break one goal down, though within five minutes of the restart, the game was gone.
Liverpool outthought and outfought Man Utd and were first to every second ball. Several United players lost their heads in the Anfield cauldron, with the likes of Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw and Bruno Fernandes all downing tools.
Ten Hag branded his side “unprofessional” no fewer than three times post-match. However, the biggest fireworks were in the Sky Sports studio with Graeme Souness and Jamie Carragher rattling into Gary Neville. The full transcript from that heated exchange can be read here.
United legend Paul Scholes was covering the game for Premier League Productions and in typical Scholes fashion, did not pull his punches.
The former midfielder branded a mistake centre-half Lisandro Martinez kept making as “criminal”. However, two other players as well as the manager came in for criticism too.
Scholes took aim at January recruit Wout Weghorst. The giant Dutchman was a loan signing from Burnley and has played at centre-forward or more recently, No 10.
Weghorst never lacks for effort, though whether he’s of the standard a club like Man Utd require is another matter entirely. Indeed, in 14 matches for Red Devils he’s returned just a single goal in the League Cup.
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Weghorst not Man Utd calibre – Scholes
“You’re talking about a Manchester United No 10 or a centre-forward, he’s (Weghorst) in the team to be defensive,” said Scholes.
“He’s the one who runs about and rats about and everybody likes playing with him because he does that.
“But quality-wise as well you’ve got to have a certain level of quality to play for Man Utd… it’s not there.”
United were heavily linked with Cody Gakpo in the run up to the winter window. However, whether it was through a lack of funds or doubting his ability to play centrally, Ten Hag opted not to act.
That left the door ajar for Liverpool and Gakpo has scored four times in his last five league matches.
Diogo Dalot unselectable in the biggest games?
Elsewhere, Scholes voiced his concerns over whether right-back Diogo Dalot has what it takes to warrant starting in the toughest games.
Andy Robertson was particularly effective down Dalot’s side and Scholes suggested Dalot “could be a problem” for the club moving forwards.
“I think there are a couple of players in that team that when it comes to big games like this I don’t think they’re quite at the level,” continued Scholes.
“I think the right-back position (Diogo Dalot) could be a problem. They clearly need a centre-forward if [Anthony] Martial’s going to have the injury record he’s got.”
United were heavily linked with adding a new right-back in January, though the return to form of Aaron Wan-Bissaka urged a re-think. Wan-Bissaka would’ve been ousted to make room for the new face had he not shone since the World Cup.
Dutch pair Jeremie Frimpong and Denzel Dumfries are both known to be on United’s radar in the event Ten Hag makes a ruthless call on either Dalot or Wan-Bissaka.
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