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UNITED UNCUT

Greenwood for England, Ole’s words to Ake, and more…

Seven things we learned
I could get used to this… 

It was another fine weekend of swashbuckling football from United, with five stunning goals against Bournemouth making up for some less-than-impressive defending (I’m looking at you, Harry).

I’m sure everything that could be said about Bruno Fernandes has already been said, with the Portuguese already forming a stunning partnership with Pogba that’s averaging a goal every 24 minutes when the duo have been on the pitch together. And in Mason Greenwood, we’ve got a genuine once-in-a-generation talent who could become central to United’s – and England’s – plans.

Let’s quickly dive into this week’s United Uncut, before I have to stop typing and take a cold shower…

MORE MATIC

We woke up on Monday morning to the news that Nemanja Matic has signed a new deal, keeping him at the club until 2023. At 31, he’s certainly one of the older players in the squad and many clubs – especially a club like Man United, who are very dependent on young players and the youth academy – don’t always like to tie down players at that age. But with Matic, they’ve made an exception – and rightly so.

Nemanja has been superb for us in this weird second-half of the season. He looked to be on his way out of the club not too long ago and well behind the likes of Fred and McTominay in the pecking order, but he’s been a player re-born since the club’s great injury crisis of the winter period. He’s provided some much-needed experience and stability to our midfield, while his discipline and defensive-mindset has allowed Bruno and Pogba to do their thing.

I imagine he’ll be very important for us both on and off the pitch over the next few years as we look to press on and challenge for titles and silverware. I’m pleased as punch. How about you?

Getty Images - Getty
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GREEN(WOOD) SHOOTS

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about Greenwood. This has been the kid’s first proper season in the first-team remember, and he’s already shaping up to be one of our best and most important talents. It’s incredible to imagine how much he could improve, and how good he could become…

But no pressure, lad. I’m perhaps more guilty of this than most when it comes to over-hyping young players, but I truly believe Greenwood could be key for us next season and even in England’s run-out at the European Championships next summer. He’s a shoo-in for a spot in Gareth Southgate’s next England squad and I believe he has the confidence and ability to step up. Don’t you?

Greenwood has started seven times in the Premier League now, having mostly been used as a substitute earlier in the season – with Ole using the Europa League to ease him into first-team football. And now, all these months later, Mason has become the first teenager to score 15 goals in a single season for United since a certain Wayne Rooney netted 17 in 2004/05. His reputation already precedes him, judging by some of the shouts from Bournemouth’s defenders on Saturday

So England’s senior side are next in action in September, with matches against Iceland and Denmark in the Nations League. Reckon we’ll see our boy wonder given the nod? I really hope so.

PA:Press Association
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LUK AT THAT

I read something over the weekend that made me realise how much of a win/win the sale of Lukaku to Inter in the summer was for all parties; United, Inter and Lukaku.

Big Rom’s found happiness in Milan and he’s working with a manager who truly loves him and knows how to get the best out of him. He has scored 26 goals in all competitions, and he’s the first Inter player to score 20+ goals in their first 30 Serie A games since Ronaldo.

And United… well, we offloaded an unhappy player who was earning a hrellua lot of money, we received a decent amount for him, and we’ll likely receive performance-based bonuses on top of that too. What’s more, his absence has allowed Martial to play with freedom in attack alongside Rashford, and has also spring-boarded Greenwood’s place in the team, which has done wonders for his development.

So, as they say… all’s well that ends well, yes?

AP:Associated Press
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WHAT DO YOU M-AKE OF THIS?

Has anyone seen this video of Ole chatting to Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake after the game on Saturday? It’s interesting, isn’t it?

It seems to reveal that Ole is interested in signing the young defender or, as he states, is at least in the market for a ‘left-footed centre-back’ – possibly to replace Marcos Rojo in his squad this summer. Ake is very-much one of the names that’s been on the club’s radar in recent years, from what I’ve heard, anyway.

So what do you think? Personally, I think Ake fits the profile of the sort of defender we’d want. Sure, he’s not the tallest or strongest centre-back around and that certainly goes against him, but he’s terrific with the ball at his feet and appears to be part of that new-wave of technically gifted Dutchmen.

He’s also highly regarded in England, with his former employers Chelsea apparently interested in bringing him back to Stamford Bridge, while Pep’s Man City have also been keeping their eye on him, according to reports. If the Cherries do get relegated this season, and that seems fairly likely at the moment, then he’ll probably be available – and at a cut-price.

Slightly unrelated, but the BT subtitles that accompany the audio of that videos seemed a bit off to me.“You need a bit of luck from your centre-backs.” That’s not what he says, is it? My only guess is that BT didn’t want to land our gaffer in any hot water. Heh heh.

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SQUEAKY BUM TIME… 

We travel to Villa on Thursday. Then it’s Southampton next Monday. Followed by Palace, West Ham and Leicester. Five league games to go and three points separating us from third-place.