By Dave Marshall
Liverpool legend and Sky Sports pundit, Jamie Carragher has stated that the return to full fitness of charismatic Swede, Zlatan Ibrahimovic could affect the development of Romelu Lukaku. Zlatan got injured in April with a nasty knee injury and was initially thought to be out for the rest the year, but made an amazing comeback in the 4-1 victory over Newcastle over the weekend.
Carragher believes that both men won’t want to play second fiddle to each other, and that could affect dressing room unity. When Zlatan entered the pitch on Saturday, he instructed Lukaku to shift to the right wing, which Carragher believes might not go well with the Belgian superstar.
Manager, Jose Mourinho has stated that he sees the pair playing together but with the Portuguese being a one-man striker manager, one player could be left feeling unhappy, a sentiment shared by Carragher. Lukaku was a man on fire at the beginning of the season, registering 10 goals in 9 matches, a new club record but the return of Zlatan from injury means that he faces a fight to maintain his status as the number one striker.
Lukaku scored in the 4-1 victory over the Magpies, which would come as a huge relief given that he had gone seven matches without a goal.
Via Daily Express, Carragher was quoted as saying: “I don’t think they can play together, Lukaku’s goal could be the most important in that 4-1 victory (over Newcastle), because, if we are talking about Zlatan and the effect he is going to have on Manchester United – and it is brilliant for United to have a player of that quality – but when he comes on, it’s hilarious, he tells Lukaku to get on the right wing and Lukaku does it.
“Zlatan is not going to do that job, and Lukaku doesn’t want to do that either. “You can imagine Zlatan in training, telling Lukaku to get on the right wing.” He added.
Despite his injury, Zlatan looked very good on his return and will want to command regular first team football. It is up to Mourinho to see the best fit for the team, but with the hectic fixture schedule of next month, both players will get their chance to impress. This situation must be managed well, so as to no cause dressing room unrest.