Pundit picks out £50m man to upgrade base of Man Utd midfield

Date published: Thursday 11th February 2021 7:36 - Matthew Briggs

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer TEAMtalk

Declan Rice is the ideal partner for Scott McTominay at the base of Manchester United’s midfield, insists former West Ham star Trevor Sinclair.

United have settled into a 4-2-3-1 formation this season with McTominay and Fred getting the two holding roles most of the time.

McTominay was left on the bench on Tuesday in the FA Cup win over West Ham, but he arrived in the 73rd minute and duly scored the winner in extra-time.

It was his seventh goal of the season and his form has been impressive this term.

Sinclair is a fan of the Scotland international, but he believes Rice is a superior player and one United could improve their team with.

Former Chelsea boss Frank Lampard was interested in a deal for the England man. That interest may well have waned with Thomas Tuchel in charge at Stamford Bridge.

90min report that four teams are in the hunt for Rice – Manchester CityLiverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United. They claim the price tag on the 22-year-old has dropped to the £50m mark and a summer scramble could ensue.

Sinclair thinks it’s a no brainer for United and Rice represents a better option than Fred and McTominay.

Former Crystal Palace owner Simon Jordan suggested Rice might struggle at Old Trafford, but Sinclair told talkSPORT: “[Tomas] Soucek and Rice keep McTominay out of the West Ham side, whereas Rice walks into the Manchester United side.

“If that’s a big fish in a small pond then I don’t quite know what you’re talking about, Simon.

“Rice goes alongside McTominay [at Man United]. For me, he’s better than Fred and when you look at McTominay going into the West Ham side, he’s not going to play in one of the forward midfield positions.

“Soucek is the top scorer at the football club and there’s an argument that Rice is better than McTominay. So for me, your argument’s dead.

“Both teams play a 4-2-3-1 so I think the two holding midfielders at West Ham, Soucek and Rice, stay but I think if Rice goes to Manchester United he takes the position of either McTominay or Fred.”

McTominay ‘wants to learn’

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Sinclair, 47, though remains a fan of McTominay despite suggesting he would not get into the West Ham XI.

“I’m a big fan of his. He brings intensity, he’s combative, his range of passing is brilliant, he’s a box-to-box midfielder. His switch of play from right to left – you often see Marcus Rashford receiving great balls out there,” added Sinclair.

“He’s now getting goals, he’s joint-third top scorer at Manchester United this season.

“I’ve been singing his praises all season; I really rate him as a player. Whether he’s in there with Fred or whoever he always does a good job.

“He’s learning all the time. I’m excited for him because he looks made of the right stuff, he wants to learn.”

READ MORE: Solskjaer hints at tactic switch to ‘unleash’ McTominay

 

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