It is a new era at Old Trafford as Ralf Rangnick has been officially announced as the interim manager for Manchester United on a 6-month contract. Rangnick is an appointment that is out of left field in a sense as it was not expected United could tempt him to come here but they have after giving him a role as a consultant starting next year.
Whenever there is a new manager at a club there are questions on which players will improve under the new manager and which players will regress under the new manager. Under Ole, there were players that were favorites and that was seen in the lineup choices with players like Scott Mctominay for example consistently getting minutes over the likes of a Donny Van De Beek. With a new manager coming in a fresh start is expected for each player so they will need to impress the new gaffer to warrant a place in the starting XI and that might even include Cristiano Ronaldo but that is highly unlikely.
In this article, I will discuss 3 players that will massively improve under the management of Ralf Rangnick.
Fred is a player that is almost guaranteed to improve under Ralf Rangnick as he fits Rangnicks gegenpress system very well. Fred is a player that when is put in a well-drilled system he will shine but in a system where there is no structure he will look lost. A good example is his performances for Brazil compared to most of his performances for Manchester United. For Brazil, he operates as an LCM in a three-man midfield and is the pressing midfielder tasked with winning the ball back and giving it to the creative players ahead of him. For Manchester United, Fred is tasked with several different tasks and it overwhelms him at times.
Under Rangnick, Fred will be able to play in a well-structured midfield that should be able to utilize his strengths. Rangnick is most likely going to use the 4-2-2-2 and Fred will slot in the LDM role and be the ball winner in that midfield and help transition the ball from midfield to attack as quickly as possible. Fred’s best attribute is his pressing as seen last week in the win against Villarreal as his pressing led to Ronaldo’s goal which ended up being the winner. His ball-winning ability is great as well as seen in the Chelsea game this past weekend as he made 9 ball recoveries and 4 interceptions according to Statman Dave.
I personally think Fred will become one of Rangnick’s go-to players at the club and be one of the first names on the teamsheet, the only difference this time is fans will not complain when they see him in the lineup.
2: Donny Van De Beek
It has been a very rocky 15 months for Donny Van De Beek at Man Utd that almost saw him leave in the summer and was certain to leave in January but those plans have been scrapped for now with Rangnick coming in. Donny is a player that was never going to fit in Ole’s system unless he played deeper in midfield which Ole never thought he could play that role. Under Rangnick, Donny could play two different roles potentially as he can be part of the pivot or be one of the AM’s most likely the right AM. Donny’s versatility will certainly intrigue Rangnick and he will utilize him where he thinks he needs him most. Donny is a player that needs other players around him to be thinking the same as him so he can succeed. He comes from the school of Ajax which is all about patterns of play and attacking football. Rangnick prioritizes that alongside pressing. Donny was coached and developed by Erik Ten Haag who is a little different from previous Ajax managers as he has German influence in his game and loves to press from the front. Therefore Donny can become an important player in the team and his versatility will be important.
3: Jadon Sancho
Four months ago, Jadon Sancho was regarded as one of the best wingers in the world, and up until last week he was treated as a laughing stock on Twitter by many rival fans. This past week was by far Sancho’s best as a Utd player as he scored his first goal for Utd on Tuesday and then his first-ever premier league goal on Sunday with a great calm finish against Chelsea. Sancho seems to have finally somewhat gotten adjusted to life at Manchester United and it will only get better now that Rangnick is in town. The one advantage that Sancho has over his teammates when it comes to Rangnick is that Sancho was developed in the Bundesliga and is used to playing fast counter-press football from his time at Dortmund.
Like Donny, Sancho’s versatility will see him become a favorite of Rangnick. In Rangnick’s trusted 4-2-2-2 he can play either of the wide AM spots or even be used up top in a 2 striker system. At Dortmund, he played in all three and last season played a few games up top alongside Erling Haaland. Great decision-making is vital in Rangnick’s system as you will be expected to create many chances and Sancho has arguably the best decision-making at the club. His assist numbers over the last 3 years are exceptional and with Rangnick helping create a structured team tactically hopefully the players start to get on Sancho’s wavelength as there have been multiple instances where he seems visibly frustrated at his teammates not giving him the ball or making a run at a certain time.
Overall, Manchester United seems to be heading on an upwards trajectory and Ralf Rangnick will bring in new life into the team. Every player will have a point to prove to the gegenpress godfather and try to impress him. For fringe players like Donny now is the time to step up and insert yourself in Ralf’s plans. As for Sancho, Rangnick should help his transition to the prem improve by putting him in a system he is already accustomed to.