Manchester United supporters remain pretty downbeat after seeing their side play out a drab draw in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
Jose Mourinho’s men went into their meeting with Valencia at Old Trafford having failed to win any of their previous three games in all competitions, drawing against Wolves alongside defeats at the hands of Derby County and West Ham. And the pressure ramped up even more on under-fire Mourinho as his side failed to sparkle in a 0-0 draw on Tuesday night, although it does keep them second in their Champions League group behind next opponents Juventus.
Nonetheless, there are many disappointed and frustrated United fans up and down the country at present, several of whom are wondering what the future holds for their side in both the short term and indeed the long term, and whether or not either involve current boss Mourinho.
And one thing the current United boss is having to contend with is finding a replacement for the hugely influential Michael Carrick, who retired at the end of last season, yet they may well have come up against the ideal man to fulfil that role at the London Stadium on Saturday, namely Declan Rice.
The 19-year-old came up through the ranks at the London Stadium and became a regular under David Moyes last season, with a sensational display against Tottenham in the Carabao Cup back in October last year paving the way for his ascent into the starting eleven.
And the Republic of Ireland international has continued his meteoric rise to become a vital part of Manuel Pellegrini’s side this term, as although he was substituted at half time on the opening weekend against Liverpool, he has since played his part in some crucial West Ham wins.
Rice was outstanding in helping the Hammers dominate the middle of the park in their 3-1 success at Everton last month, before producing a similar level of performance in thwarting Chelsea in their 0-0 draw with the Blues at the London Stadium at the rear end of September.
And the 19-year-old again produced the goods at the weekend against Mourinho’s United no less, of all which coming in a more defensive-minded midfield position to underline his versatility given he has often turned out for West Ham at centre back as well.
And in being supremely adept on the ball, showing calmness and composure when under threat in possession, as well as possessing a great reading of the game in often getting into the right positions to anticipate play, the young Hammers star has all the traits to go on and fill the Carrick-shaped void in United’s midfield.
Carrick was arguably one of the most underrated players during his time in the Premier League, with very few midfielders as aware, as intelligent, and as solid on the ball as the now-United first team coach – 464 Red Devils appearances and five Premier League titles speak for themselves.
And while still at the age of 19 and with a long way to go, there are signs that Rice could become that type of player in the middle of the park, which is why the North West giants have to be keeping a close eye on the West Ham youngster in the coming weeks and months.
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