14 Jul 2021 14:21:43
Watching it at times it looked like Rice and Phillips were playing a different sport to Jorginho and Verratti. Just could not match their bravery, composure or technical ability whatsoever.

Which is related to us because England reminded me of how we set up sometimes in big games with Mcfred and if we are looking ar Rice to solve our issues in midfield i don't see much changing on that front.


1.) 14 Jul 2021
14 Jul 2021 14:55:10
Both of those players would improve our midfield but not realistic. Rice would massively improve our midfield as a holding midfielder with either Pogba/ Van de beek next to him.
Just because he plays slightly differently to those 2 does not make him a massive upgrade.
The question for me is who we should get and how much would we have to pay.


2.) 14 Jul 2021
14 Jul 2021 16:29:13
It all depends on Ole.

If we signed Rice, then played him alongside McTominey, with McT instructed to play a primarily defensive role like he does alongside Fred, then no, it's not going to change.

However, if Rice was signed to play the defensive role alone, with a partner (either Pogba, Donny or McT) alongside him given freedom to roam forward, then it would be a massive transformation, and exactly what we need.

The same is true no matter who we buy. We could buy Jorginho or even someone like Kimmich, but if we use them as part of McFred 2.0 then the result is the same.

Rice wouldn't be quite my first choice (I'd prefer a more creative CDM), but definitely a good signing IF he is used properly.


3.) 14 Jul 2021
14 Jul 2021 16:52:12
Ole has taken a lot of stick this past season for playing McFred.

Playing two more defensive midfielders in the double pivot is apparently defensive, cowardly and negative according to many posters on here.

We have seen Southgate accused of being just as cautious and defensive this summer by playing Rice and Phillips as his midfield. Although he did just lead England to their first major final in 55 years and only their second ever.

It's funny how some managers are labelled "defensive" based off of their midfield pairing and others are not.

No one considers Klopp's Liverpool side defensive because they played the more defensive midfield duo of Fabinho and Henderson on their way to winning their first title in 30 years. Klopp even played Gini Wijnuldum in a defensive styled No.10 who's primary job was to press and make tackles and win the ball back high up the pitch.

Chelsea won the UCL with a starting midfield of Jorginho and Kante played in front of THREE centre backs. With the full backs as well then that's 7 of the 10 starting outfield players who could be considered defenders first.

Barcelona have played all season with Busquets and Frankie De Jong as their starting midfield.

Over in Italy, AC Milan had a resurgence with the midfield of Tonali and Kessie.

While Juventus had a rotating midfield, but would often play two of Bentancur, Arthur, Danilo, McKennie or Rabiot as their midfield.

Bayern Munich played Kimmich and Goretzka more often than not in midfield, but also had Alaba, Tolisso, Martinez and Roca play minutes in midfield in a league they absolutely dominate.

Dortmund often played Witsel and Delaney at least until Witsel got injured. Then Emre Can, Dahoud and Bellingham covered for him.

RB Leipzig, play Kampl, Laimer and Sabitzer in the double pivot, although they played many different systems and it is much harder to establish who and what system was first choice.

PSG in a real one team league often lined up with two of Danilo Pereira, Parades, Gueye, Verratti and Herrera in their midfield. Marquinhos played there a lot the previous season, but dropped back more permanently into defence now Tiago Silva has departed.

Lille surprised everyone and won the French league with the defensive Bruno Andre and Soumare as their most used double pivot.

Some of these sides play a more defensive way and others a more offensive way. But the same point remains, all of them play with at least two midfielders who's natural instincts and best skills lend themselves to playing a more defensive role.

In fact among the top sides it seems far rarer for a side to play with a single defensive midfielder in their midfield.

This leads me on to wonder if we did sign a player like Rice, would he automatically be paired with one of the more offensive players like Pogba or DvdB, or would he be paired with one of the more defensive players like McTominay or Fred?

For West Ham he has tended to play with Soucek who while grabbing a few goals tends to be a strong defensive presence. While for England Rice has tended to play along side Phillips this tournament and Henderson before that.

It seems that playing with two more defensive minded midfielders is fairly common and in vouge currently. I would suggest that this is because it gives more freedom to the full backs to get forward, while offers a better shield in front of what is becoming far more common, ball playing CB's.

It far more common to find a teams width coming from the full backs, the ball rotation and retention from the centre backs, the creativity from inside forwards and the heart of midfield offering industry and defensive solidity, filling in the gaps and shielding the defence allowing the defenders to get more time and space to get involved in play.


4.) 14 Jul 2021
14 Jul 2021 17:48:43
The difference is shappy, all that you have said are good enough to take the onus of one of them to sit and one to break. McFred doesn’t work that way, if Mctominay bursts forward you’ve got fred who’s as much use as his namesake the Freddo left to sit. If Fred breaks, more often than not he loses the ball. It’s all well pointing out other teams playing with a central two, but they have a system that works. Ours doesn’t, and that’s down to Ole having chose to stick with those two.


5.) 14 Jul 2021
14 Jul 2021 18:02:48
Agree with Thorne. McTominay can't play as a defensive two. Signing Rice would allow him to get forward more.

Sadly, I don't think the manager would change anything though.

Shappy, you've just described completely different systems there. Not too sure what comparison you're trying to make?


6.) 14 Jul 2021
14 Jul 2021 19:34:35
Lol Shappy comparing Fred with Fabinho/ Henderson.
The latter two are from different planet in terms of quality.

The problem we have is McFred are not creative on the ball, don't possess the passing range and don't move the ball quickly to our forwards.

VDB with a proper CDM like Rice will give us a fantastic midfield pivot to build on.


7.) 14 Jul 2021
14 Jul 2021 21:06:51
Its very difficult to know what the manager wants.
Is pogba going to play on the left wing? Or in midfield?
A dcm was not on our priority list of positions to fill.
Is ole playing 2 deep lying midfielders to protect our back 4 and does he intend to continue that with a new cb in place.
Mcfred is good at disrupting opposition play but bad at ball retention and creativity.
At the moment we essentially have matic fred mctom vdb pogba fighting for 2 spots with bruno sitting just ahead of them. I'd imagine garner will go on loan.


8.) 14 Jul 2021
14 Jul 2021 21:07:41
I think if Utd were tearing it up with Fred and McT it wouldn't matter. I have no problem with a so-called defensive pairing, as long as they can play a bit too, as many of Shappy's examples can. Unfortunately, the pair we have been lumbered with are simply energetic battlers, sure there's room for them in a squad but not as 'the' Manchester United midfield. Ideally, neither should be first choice, let alone both. I don't buy this nonsense about Ole 'having' to play them to cover a weak defence. He just has no choice, really. I do believe Rice would be horrifically over-priced and beyond us (at least in this window), but we're not talking about the differences between specficic pairings, we're talking about players who can do the mucky stuff and also play vs, well, donkeys. There isn't a single player in the squad who 'should' be starting in midfield for Utd. For what it's worth I'd consider Fernades more a striker really, he doesn't belong in the war-zone.


9.) 14 Jul 2021
14 Jul 2021 21:12:49
Obviously every team plays slightly different systems, they have to as a team is to an extent the sum of its parts. Some teams have creative wide players, some have attacking full backs, some have a No.10 others don't, some have a false 9 or a back three etc etc.

How the midfield functions as a sum of the rest of the side is the crux of it all.

I'm just really pointing out that very few top sides play with a single defensive pivot. Most have at least two midfielders who carry more defensive burden that offensive. It's quite normal to have a double pivot where both players are expected to tackle, to press and to win the ball. Some are lucky enough to have players who can do that AND offer a more progressive movement of the ball.

Also I'm not saying McFred are good enough or comparable to those players.

Just that stylistically playing with two more defensive midfielders in a double pivot isn't that uncommon.

I find the idea that if we sign another CDM that we will automatically play someone like Pogba or Donny alongside them. The reality is that whoever plays along side any potential CDM we sign will still be expected to make tackles, to work hard, to press the opposition and to track runners.

Yes the midfield needs rebuilding, as simply put it isn't fit for purpose as it is. But the idea that we can sign a CDM then play someone who is only focused on attacking alongside them probably won't work out.


10.) 15 Jul 2021
14 Jul 2021 23:32:29
But McTominay and Fred aren't CDMs, we only have Matic and Garner for that.

So we either put faith in Garner or sign a proper CDM to give the other footballers the license to get forwards.


11.) 15 Jul 2021
15 Jul 2021 08:18:20
Sepp ole didn't want to play like that.


12.) 15 Jul 2021
15 Jul 2021 09:10:41
Ole initially played with one CDM a box to box and an CAM. The double pivot seems to come from his lack of faith in the defense, which could shift with someone like Varane coming in. I don't particularly believe this is how Ole wants to play, as that is not how he began as manager.

Things changed when Smalling got injured after that initial spell in charge, and results suffered, leading to the double pivot the following year, with Smalling departing.


13.) 15 Jul 2021
15 Jul 2021 09:54:17
There is a level of balance a manager will look to when building his team. It's fairly standard that you look to get 5 of the 10 outfield players in attacking positions, along with 5 offering ball retention and defensive cover.

At United we play with a four players (RW, ST, LW and No.10) who are clear offensive players. often with Shaw providing the 5th offensive option playing on either the over lap or under lap on the left.

That means ideally you don't want one of the midfield double pivot in the attack initially as it would unbalance your side, creating gaps for the opposition to counter via.

For the same reason you don't really want the RB to be overlapping either as that again would give us 6 players in the offensive third and unbalance us.

Occasionally you might want a midfielder to break forward during the second or third phase of an attack once the opposition has regrouped and are back in their defensive shape. You then need a 6th player to come in to find/ create space.

What we really lack from of midfielders is the ability to move the ball quickly and accurately as well as carrying out their defensive duties.

McFred's biggest weakness is they move the ball too slowly, which means by the time our forwards get the ball the opposition are back in shape and they now have to win a 1v1 to create the space that was there a few seconds before when the pass to then should have been played.