ARTICLES Opinion

Three Manchester United players that could struggle under Ralf Rangnick

It feels like it has been an age since news broke out that Ralf Rangnick is going to take over at Manchester United on an interim basis. A few days ago I wrote an article looking at three players that could thrive under the German’s leadership.

This article will look at the flip side, and will focus on a few players that could potentially struggle to adapt to the system that the former RB Leipzig manager operates with.

Scott McTominay

The Scotsman has been a mainstay in Ole Gunnar Solskjær‘s squad throughout his tenure, but will have to adapt his game in order to impress Rangnick.

The new manager wants his side to create chances quickly after turnovers, and dislikes his teams keeping the ball for the sake of keeping the ball.

Speaking to The Coaches’ Voice, Rangnick explained his style: “Our Red Bull football is heavy metal, rock and roll, it’s not a slow waltz. We hate square passes, back passes, just having the ball ourselves doesn’t make sense.”

It’s no secret that Scott McTominay can often hide when United are in possession. He does so in regard to his passing choices, but also in how and when he chooses to receive the ball; sometimes positioning himself behind oppositions cover shadows so that he is not a passing option.

This particular area will certainly be one that will needed to be worked on. The 24-year-old midfielder actually has impressive attributes such as his long passing and ability to drive forward with the ball; but these problems in his game are limiting him greatly.

There’s also a question to whether the midfielder will be good enough for Rangnick’s pressing system, as he can often gamble out of possession too often; which leads to easy progression for the opposition.

However, this could easily be down to the lack of pressing structure that has been apparent under Solskjær, and also the fact that he and Fred both had roles where they were stretched hugely.

McTominay’s saving grace is that he’s a character that’s clearly willing to learn from anyone, let alone a tactical genius in Ralf Rangnick. He will almost certainly look to improve his game under the new management, but he will have to do a lot of work.

David de Gea

One of Manchester United’s best players since the start of the season, many may question why he’s on this list. However, we’ve already seen that outside of his *outstanding* shot-stopping ability this season, the goalkeeper is limited in many other areas; which could become even more prominent under Rangnick.

With the manager putting huge emphasis on pushing his teams high and ensuring they look to press the opposition, this can lead excess space in behind the backline — and that’s where the goalkeeper comes in handy.

It’s likely that Rangnick would want his goalkeeper to be able to actively sweep, and be more comfortable in possession than de Gea currently is in United’s game. That isn’t to say that the manager can’t help improve the Spaniard’s all-round game.

Rangnick is certainly not Pep Guardiola, and David de Gea won’t need to be as impressive on the ball as Ederson has shown across the City, but will need to show improvement in those different areas of his game to ensure he remains United’s no.1 for years to come.

If he doesn’t improve, it could lead to a different long-term route being taken for United in regard to their goalkeeper, whether that be through Dean Henderson, or the transfer market.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka

In Rangnick’s previous teams, his full-backs have had crucial offensive roles in his team as they offered width and height in attacks.

Both in and out of possession they’ve been key, and while Wan-Bissaka’s one-on-one ability is very impressive, his lack of intensity on the right wing has a knock on effect in attacking situations.

This situation above shows how Wan-Bissaka can often be problematic when we attack. While his underlay was initially ignored by Jadon Sancho, it was clear that the wide man wanted to engage the opposition full-back one-on-one. His own full-back, however, made this more difficult as he was blocking space that Sancho wanted to be in.

A more commanding and intelligent run could’ve drawn a defender away from Sancho, or he could’ve offered to link with his winger after his run. Instead, he didn’t really do much, and with it being likely that Sancho will be a mainstay on the right-wing — he need a good relationship with his right-back.

Whether or not Rangnick adapts his style to the United squad, Aaron Wan-Bissaka could cause some troubles in possession, with his lack of comfort in build-up being a possible problem. While, his defensive positioning has also been questioned by many over the last two seasons.

This could be an aspect improved upon by the new manager, however bringing in strong competition for the right-back will likely be one of the first plans of action for Rangnick in the transfer window.

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