Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United plan is abundantly clear; he wants to build a younger side that can compete for decades rather than just one or two seasons.
For that to happen, the old-guard will inevitably have to be replaced. Don’t forget that this isn’t really a squad assembled by the Norweigan. He’s only had one transfer window in which only three players were signed…
One player who has lost his place and fallen out-of-favour at the start of this term is Nemanja Matic. The Serbia international was signed by Jose Mourinho – although it’s fair to say he’s looked a little older over the last six months or so…
Anyway, the 31-year-old midfielder is still as determined as ever, with the ex-Chelsea man out to prove Solskjaer wrong after losing his starting place to Scott McTominay.
‘In the first two or three games he [Solskjaer] determined the team without me.’ Matic is quoted as saying by The Metro.
‘I work as hard as I can, we respect the decision, it is mine to show him that he was wrong and to bring me back to where I belong.
‘There is no problem. I told him I disagreed with him, but that he had to decide the team.
‘I have been in football for a long time, I have played almost all the games for all the clubs in the last 10 years.
‘In order for me to play, one had to sit on the bench and accept that fact, and so do I now. The coach must opt for the team that will fight for the title, and if he does not win, he bears the responsibility.’
I have absolutely no problem with this from Matic. He has made his point, but gone about it in a respectful way. He’s a footballer who is used to playing with regularity and this bench-sitting will all be rather new to him. He won’t like that, particularly at his age. He’s an experienced campaigner.
With that said, McTominay is playing better football than Matic at the moment and that cannot be argued. Matic has been limited to just one substitute appearances before the international break – though I do expect that to change.
The games will start coming thick and fast, with United playing five fixtures before the month of September actually ends as our Europa League and Carabao Cup campaigns get underway.
It’s now down to Matic to back up his talk and go out there and prove it. He’s plenty good enough to do exactly that…