Former Red Devil Phil Marsh gives his opinion on United’s summer signings and answers the question of whether the club can win the Premier League this season.
Phil is pleased with the signings United have made so far this summer and believes an additional centre-back and maybe a striker would complete a good summer’s work for Louis Van Gaal and Ed Woodward: “It’s all been very positive for me, obviously there was a lot of talk last year of needing to strengthen and progress to the next level but I think the signings that they’ve made so far have been top class.
“Schneiderlin is a really good holding midfield player who is kind of similar to Carrick but probably a little bit more mobile. Schweinsteiger is obviously a top signing who has done it all and won everything, he’s played at Bayern Munich for a long time and has proven that he’s one of the best midfielders in the world.
“Memphis Depay looks like a good signing, he’s a little bit more of an unknown than the others but he is a good player. It might take him a year or so to get used to the Premiership so I wouldn’t be expecting him to set the world on fire this season, but in the next few years he’s potentially a very good signing.
“United could now maybe look towards getting another centre-half, there’s talk of Jonny Evans maybe leaving so if we could get another top central defender in that would be great. Maybe another striker as well but everywhere else we look in pretty good shape now.”
Louis Van Gaal has spoken in recent days of how Wayne Rooney is his number one striker and Marsh agrees with the widely accepted view that this is his best position. Phil was also at United at the same time as Rooney before leaving the club in 2007 after making one first team appearance and gives an insight into what he was like as a person.
“You know Rooney, he likes playing everywhere but for me his best position is as a centre-forward and I think he’s proven that over the years when he has played there. His goalscoring record for England is fantastic and I think that goes a little bit unnoticed, but because he’s an all-round good player he can play a little bit deeper or out wide and do a job for the team.
“As a person he was a really nice lad, obviously he made it at a very young age and he used to help the younger lads. If you had any questions or anything to speak to him about he was always there and was really approachable. Now he’s one of the most decorated English footballers and I can’t speak highly enough of him.”
The lack of out and out strikers at the club could see a renaissance of the United career of Javier Hernandez after it looked to be well and truly over last summer: “It’s a weird one because at the moment we do need another striker and Hernandez did quite well at Real Madrid last year even though you wouldn’t have thought that he’d of played as much as he did.
“When he did play he looked really lively and he is a good player but I just don’t know whether Van Gaal sees him as a starting player for United and I don’t think he’d be happy sitting on the bench. I think he’ll want to be playing this year whether that be at United or elsewhere. I’m not sure he could get you 20 or 25 goals a season and I think to challenge for the title United need to look towards that type of player.”
Asked whether United can win the title this season Phil says: “I think they can, they’ll definitely be up there. If they can get a centre-half and a top quality striker then they’ll have the players and the squad to definitely challenge. You’ve just got to hope that the new players will gel quick enough and little things like too many injuries don’t kick in.
“If they can do that and get off to a good start in the league then they’ve got a good chance. Chelsea are probably going to be the favourites because they won it last year but I don’t see why United can’t win it.”
Now 28, Phil is still playing professional football and his most recent spell was with Welsh Premier League side Cefn Druids towards the end of last season, he is also planning to return to the club where his career began in the near future: “I was playing in the Welsh Premier League at the end of last season, I was at Salford at the beginning of the season and then went to Ashton United where it didn’t really work out.
“My friend asked me to go to this side in Wales and I signed for them until the end of the season to help them out and get more regular football. I enjoyed it, it was different because I’d never played outside of England before.
“I broke my leg towards the end of the season so I’m still on the road to recovery but I’m not that far away now. I should be back for the start of the season and have spoken to a few managers but I’ve not actually signed for anyone yet or decided anything for definite.
“I just want to make sure that I get myself back fit first because I don’t want to rush back and then end up setting myself even further back. I’ve started doing a bit of coaching and I’ve passed my UEFA B licence so I’m going into United in a few weeks to do a bit of work with some of the younger lads which will be good.”