Mauricio Pochettino could reform four Ralf Rangnick outcasts at Manchester United



Since taking charge at Manchester United, Ralf Rangnick has attempted to restore balance and stability to the team with a view to stepping aside in the summer.

In his quest to secure consistent results on the pitch, the German coach has shaken up the United squad, with the likes of Anthony Martial and Donny van de Beek leaving the club on loan in January in search of more game-time.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw are two further examples of players who have been presented with fewer minutes under Rangnick compared to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer beforehand.

With Mauricio Pochettino widely tipped as Rangnick’s successor in the summer, how could the former Tottenham Hotspur boss revitalize the players who haven’t quite made an impact under the new regime?

Donny van de Beek

Van De Beek recently joined Everton until the end of the season, but United had no interest in allowing the Blues to insert an option to buy into the deal, very much suggesting he has an Old Trafford future.

Speaking about the Dutch midfielder in the past, Pochettino said: “The example of the operation of this Ajax is Van De Beek. I like him very much. Nobody talks much about him, but he has a dynamic in the game. He gets behind [Dusan] Tadic, he arrives, he works, he scores goals.”

The praise suggests that Pochettino would use Van de Beek, perhaps as a no.10 or as a central midfielder who is encouraged to make delayed penetrative runs into the penalty box.

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Bruno Fernandes is typically fielded as United’s no.10 but if Pochettino was to lean towards 4-2-3-1 as he did at Spurs, the Portuguese international could occupy the role of Christian Eriksen to the left or right side.

Such a make-up would allow Van De Beek to perform as Dele Alli did during his prime years, with both players possessing comparable skill sets. For the time being, they’ll play together at Everton.

Anthony Martial

Martial is another player who Pochettino seems to be fond of, having encouraged Spurs to sign him in 2018.

The Frenchman appears suited to perform as Son Heung-min did under Pochettino’s tutelage by offering a pacey and direct threat from the left of the pitch — but Martial has a problem.

His issue throughout his stay in Manchester has been competition, with Marcus Rashford possessing a very comparable skill set and desire to occupy the left before cutting inside using his right.

Similar can be said for Jadon Sancho — although he’s equally capable on the right side — and Cristiano Ronaldo, who has evolved to become more of a central striker as he’s aged.

Martial could thrive under Pochettino but at the same time, it seems equally likely that he wouldn’t make United’s strongest outfit.

Aaron Wan Bissaka

Wan-Bissaka could be one of the trickier players for Pochettino to accommodate, as his skillset as a full-back differs from the players the Argentinian has used in the past in the Premier League.

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The 24 year-old is predominantly defensive and, unlike players such as Shaw, Kyle Walker, Danny Rose and Kieran Trippier, he doesn’t possess obvious offensive qualities that can be harnessed.

On the other hand, Pochettino did maximize the impact of Nathaniel Clyne while at St. Mary’s who wasn’t overly attacking. And he could implement a system that allows the English defender to contribute positively when he’s involved.

There is also the possibility of Wan-Bissaka being re-trained as a centre-back, although that option feels like more of a wildcard for United as things stand.

Luke Shaw

Sticking with the overriding theme, Shaw is another player who has been praised by Pochettino in the past. The Argentine coach worked with the left-back during his time in charge of Southampton.

“I remember Luke Shaw was like a son to him,” said Jose Fonte, who was a centre-back at the club when Pochettino led the Saints.

Although Alex Telles has been favored by Rangnick, it is reasonable to suggest that might change with Pochettino at the helm, especially considering the Brazilian is now 29 compared to Shaw, who is still only 26.

Considering Pochettino tends to encourage his full-backs to gallop up and down the flanks slowly for 90 minutes at a time, Shaw could become quite a force under him.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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