Manchester United may have signed five players this summer but they still lack a defensive leader – that’s the opinion of Stoke City legend and boyhood Red Danny Higginbotham.
United have been linked with a move for Sergio Ramos but that move appears unlikely even though the player is still haggling over his contract with Real Madrid. Defence appeared to be a problem for Louis van Gaal last season and Higginbotham – now one of the country’s leading pundits – believes that the Red Devils require another body in that area.
‘Leaders are vital all over the pitch and non more so than at centre back,’ Higginbotham exclusively told RetroUnited.com on the even of the new season. ‘The current centre backs are good, but they’re too alike. You want opposites, like central midfielders – one box to box and one sitter, and like wise at centre forward, one who wants to get behind defence, and one who wants to come short to receive ball. Centre back is no different. United need that leader no nonsense type that wants to get tight and dominate the centre forward. At the moment most of the centre backs want to be the one that covers that tough tackler so therefore defence can end up too deep.’
Louis van Gaal’s preference to play a right and left footed centre half would suggest that the first choice pair at the club is Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo; but Higginbotham believes that a more domineering centre half is required.
‘That (Smalling and Rojo) is probably the best blend but Rojo is still some what an unknown entity in the Premier League… so, for me, a Bruce, Stam or Vidic type is needed,’ says Higginbotham.
Danny is the co-host of ‘the Players Lounge’ on Talksport this season every Friday from 7pm-10pm.
RetroUnited.com are still stocking signed copies of his best-selling autobiography ‘Rise Of The Underdog’ which can be ordered by clicking here.