Man Utd urged to sign £50m star ‘better than Fred’ who is ideal Scott McTominay partner
Man Utd: Solskjaer pleased with response in cup win
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Trevor Sinclair believes Declan Rice would be a fine partner for Scott McTominay at the base of the Manchester United midfield and insists the West Ham star is a better player than Fred.
Scotland international McTominay’s seventh goal of the season – and his third in his last three games – saw United defeat the Hammers to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on Tuesday night.
The 24-year-old came off the bench to fire the Red Devils through having played the full 90 minutes in United’s last two league games, partnering Fred in a 9-0 win over Southampton before Paul Pogba joined him in midfield for the first 40 minutes against Everton.
The Brazilian, one of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s most trusted midfielders, replaced Pogba after he was forced off through injury before the interval.
But former West Ham and Manchester City striker Sinclair believes United should be looking at Rice, who former Chelsea manager Frank Lampard was keen to take to Stamford Bridge, as their future of their midfield.
The 22-year-old West Ham academy graduate, who also spent eight years in Chelsea’s youth set-up, hasn’t missed a single minute of Premier League football for West Ham this season and has captained the team whenever Mark Noble hasn’t been on the pitch.
And discussing whether Rice could play for United given the competition for places in midfield, Sinclair believes the England international and McTominay would be a solid two-man partnership in Solskjaer’s 4-2-3-1 formation.
90min.com have suggested that West Ham could drop their valuation of Rice from £80million to £50m in the summer transfer window due to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
United are credited by 90min.com with genuine interest in Rice, who can play at centre-back as well as in holding midfield, as are City and Liverpool. It is meanwhile unclear if Rice remains a Chelsea target after Lampard was sacked and replaced by Thomas Tuchel last month.
And after Simon Jordan expressed a belief Rice might struggle at Old Trafford, Sinclair told talkSPORT: “[Tomas] Soucek and Rice keep McTominay out of the West Ham side, whereas Rice walks into the Manchester United side.
“If that’s a big fish in a small pond then I don’t quite know what you’re talking about, Simon.
“Rice goes alongside McTominay [at Man United]. For me, he’s better than Fred and when you look at McTominay going into the West Ham side, he’s not going to play in one of the forward midfield positions.
“Soucek is the top scorer at the football club and there’s an argument that Rice is better than McTominay. So for me, your argument’s dead.
“Both teams play a 4-2-3-1 so I think the two holding midfielders at West Ham, Soucek and Rice, stay but I think if Rice goes to Manchester United he takes the position of either McTominay or Fred.”
Sinclair, despite his verdict that he wouldn’t get into the West Ham team over Soucek, is a massive fan of McTominay’s.
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He added: “I’m a big fan of his. He brings intensity, he’s combative, his range of passing is brilliant, he’s a box-to-box midfielder, his switch of play from right to left – you often see Marcus Rashford receiving great balls out there.
“He’s now getting goals, he’s joint-third top scorer at Manchester United this season.
“I’ve been singing his praises all season; I really rate him as a player. Whether he’s in there with Fred or whoever he always does a good job.
“He’s learning all the time and I’m excited for him because he looks made of the right stuff, he wants to learn.”
United boss Solskjaer said of McTominay after the cup win over West Ham: “Scott’s a clinical striker of the ball. He used to play as a striker, we know that, and he finishes with authority.
“Like, ‘bang’, finish. No messing about. No safety. That’s something we’ve got to learn from.
“For a defensive midfielder, we’ll have to unleash him and release him forward because he’s a goal threat in the box and he’s got a good strike on him.”
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