So it’s back to winning ways for Manchester United and Jose Mourinho. It’s always good to get those wins, that’s the aim of the game, but as we know, that’s not all that matters at United.
The pressure is on Mourinho and you may well know my view on the manager. I am still not convinced. There is the suggestion that the penny has dropped and he is starting to play attacking football. I will need more evidence for that I’m afraid. But he has to change, otherwise he will be gone.
It is a new game he has to play and learn, to please the United fans who expect their team to play exciting football and attacking football. We will see.
It was good to see United get off to winning ways in Europe but, I’m sorry to say yet again, the number of foreign players in the United team just as all English teams worries me. The number of English players in the league went under 33% a couple of years ago and hasn’t improved.
United had Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford last night – 3 from 11, even lower than 33%.
People are raving about Diogo Dalot at right back, another foreign import. They hope he will do what Matteo Darmian couldn’t do and dislodge another foreign right back, Antonio Valencia.
Meanwhile, the impressive Ethan Laird, who has started the season so well for the academy, will have all three of those in front of him and probably won’t even get a chance in the League Cup next week. It’s the same up front for Mason Greenwood. Don’t get me wrong, United do it better than most, and I wouldn’t especially criticise Jose Mourinho for this as he’s no different to any other manager with this, but in years gone past those exciting players would be given a chance against Derby.
I think that this is very destroying to our game, and the future of young players, when you see young players from other countries coming in and being bought by clubs which leaves our players not getting a look in. They have to look at the Championship, or lower leagues, to get game time.
Gareth Southgate is making the right noises when he says he is looking at the situation. I look at the games very closely and in my opinion around half of the foreign players are not good enough — and by that, I mean, they’re not good enough to justify blocking the pathway of so many young homegrown players — but, in some cases, the manager had them at their clubs abroad and so brings them in because they’re familiar.
The Premier League is just about money. That’s not new. Richard Scudamore is a joke. Our national teams at a younger age are doing great — world champions in two age brackets — but these players never get to see first team football because of the foreign players.
We should be capitalising on the good mood from the World Cup to build for a better future.