Man Utd have their very own Scholes regen – & he’s leaving defenders with twisted blood
As Manchester United fans filtered out of Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon, hoods and collars fastened to protect skin against heavy rain, it was impossible to escape the feeling of deja vu around English football’s biggest content driver.
After two victories in a week, against Burnley in the Premier League and Crystal Palace in the League Cup, there were whispers that United had turned the corner after a worrying start to the season.
But Roy Hodgson had lulled Erik ten Hag’s side into the falsest of securities. Fielding a much-changed team to the one beaten 3-0 four days before, Palace scored an excellently worked goal from Joachim Andersen and held on comfortably to secure a 1-0 victory.
One step forward, two steps back. But perhaps the most humiliating aspect was, that on a day when Liverpool and Manchester City also lost, United’s result barely raised an eyebrow. This is a side that have lost four of their opening seven Premier League matches.
Supporters rammed onto sardine-like trams, with the thick condesnation on its windows matching the impenetrable nature of their club’s thinking, would’ve been forgiven for decrying the lack of guile in United’s side.
Marcus Rashford is bang out of form. Mason Mount produced the kind of form that made his England starting place untenable. Only Alejandro Garnacho played with any urgency or invention.
Luckily, United might just have an in-house solution. His name? Daniel Gore.
Days after making his senior debut in the aforementioned cup win over Palace, Gore dropped back to the youth ranks and impressed again to amplify calls for more regular first-team action.
The starlet, who represents England at under-18 level, has captained United’s youth team in recent times and possesses the kind of wit and willingness to break the spirit of opposition defences that can act as a shot of adrenaline for Ten Hag’s struggling side.
Starring in a 5-2 win over Blackburn, played in the same inclement conditions that make spectators yearn for a warm blanket and hot soup, Gore picked up possession and dribbled through the Rovers defence as if they were mere figments of imagination rather than actual human beings.
One opponent, seemingly on a death wish, charged into a slide tackle on the edge of the penalty area in the vain hope of dispossessing Gore. The 19-year-old side-stepped him with grace, prompting quasi-orgasmic sounds from those in attendance.
The finish was suitably bullish, burying the ball so emphatically it provoked suggestions that Gore had been an undertaker in a past life.
That is ridiculous from Dan Gore… pic.twitter.com/vPd8gnDGTe
— academyarena Utd (@academyarenaUTD) September 30, 2023
“I think it’s a great birthday for him, but I’m not a manager – and we don’t have coaches here – who give players opportunities [for nothing], they have to deserve it,” ten Hag told MUTV after Gore’s 30-minute cameo against Palace.
“Once they deserve it, they get the chance.
“But then, they have to prove it and I think, the young players like Hannibal, Pellistri and Garnacho, they have to do it every time and we are very critical, they deserve it every day in training.”
Given United’s problems this season, with well-organised opponents holding Ten Hag’s team at arm’s length, somebody that possesses Gore’s qualities can’t surely be kept on the periphery for long?
By Michael Lee