Ralf Rangnick's Man Utd dilemma that could help Paul Pogba and Donny van de Beek


In the very same way Marco Pierre White inspired Gordon Ramsay, Rangnick laid down the foundations of the infamous ‘Gergenpress’ now affectionately regarded by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp as ‘Heavy Metal football’.

Rangnick has six months to implement a style he has spent thirty years crafting, on a United side eighth in the Premier League table, and in possession of some of the worst running and sprinting statistics in the whole division – no pressure!

At 63-years-old, Rangnick is the second oldest manager in the Premier League, behind Watford manager Claudio Ranieri. Rangnick will not squander the opportunity to employ his philosophy on, what is arguably the biggest football club in the world.

So United players beware, some serious fitness and running is heading your way. While Mourinho, Solskjaer, and most frequently, Louis van Gaal were regularly derided for their slow laborious football, Rangnick will be demanding his side to progress up the pitch as fast as the Red Arrows.

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The back four will need to be on the half-way line, the midfielders will have to cover every blade of grass, and the forward players will need to be on the toes of the other defenders before the ball even reaches them. It is a style not for the feint hearted, and certainly not for the unprepared.

But the German appears to be the next chapter of the post-Ferguson era, and his presence will either represent a new page or a conclusion for many of United’s disillusioned stars. The most exciting sub-plot of Rangnick’s spell will be where Paul Pogba will fit.

If the Red Devils aspire to retain the World Cup winner and commit him to a brand new deal, then the German is the final roll of the dice. Yet, the main aspect of Pogba’s game which is so staunchly criticised is his work rate and defensive nous when the ball is not on his toes.

The 29-year-old Frenchman was the heartbeat of a completely different and significantly slower style of football under Solskjaer and Mourinho.

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Yet there are opportunities for Pogba to thrive under Rangnick, particularly if he can impose his furious pressing style.

High press means higher probability of opposition mistakes, and if Pogba is at the heart of the midfield, then he will be the first to capitalise on those errors.

And Pogba may even be assisted in the process by fellow midfielder Donny van de Beek, who became trapped in the Old Trafford wilderness under Solskjaer.

As a result of the Dutchman’s £35m arrival coinciding with the annual speculation linking Pogba with an exit, Gary Neville theorised van de Beek was brought to Old Trafford to replace Pogba.

“It’s interesting, something’s happened – the Van de Beek signing’s an interesting one – I still can’t get my head around it,” Neville told Sky Sports.

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“It’s almost as if that signing was sort of done in anticipation of one of the others leaving because Van de Beek has just sat on the bench for the last few months and he cost £40m. I think that Manchester United are preparing for someone leaving.

“Nemanja Matic might be finishing at the end of next season, maybe, maybe Pogba could leave.”

Van de Beek’s has already shown through his brilliance under Erik Ten Hag’s furious Ajax side, that he can play within assertive and aggressive sides.

However, every heavy metal band needs a drummer to set the tempo, and Pogba may have all the attributed needed.

Unfortunately, with the Frenchman reportedly facing up to 12 weeks on the side-lines, there may not be enough time for Rangnick to find out.



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