Morgan Schneiderlin was purchased from Southampton following several solid seasons in the premier league, to provide the midfield anchor the team had desperately missed in the absence of Michael Carrick. The french midfielder had been an integral part of the South Coast teams rise through the divisions from League One. Many United faithful were pleased with the midfielder’s signing and had expected him to play a key role in holding midfield. That has not proved to be the case as the player found himself warming the bench for key games under LVG, and the pattern has continued under Jose Mourinho.
At the time of signing for United, Morgan Schneiderlin was one of the finest holding midfielders in English football – and reportedly the best ball winner in the league for a couple of years. The Frenchman and Victor Wanyama were a formidable midfield pairing on the South-Coast, as they provided a reliable base from which the Saints team launched attacks. The form of the french midfielder saw him constantly linked to Arsenal, and it came as no surprise when United snapped him up.
The season before the midfielder’s acquisition, United had seemingly missed out in the title race following an untimely injury to Michael Carrick. Hence the signing of Morgan looked a good decision. However, United unveiled the Frenchman along with Bastian Schweinsteiger – which should have set alarm bells ringing as to the direction the club were heading in relation to Morgan.
At 25 and heading into the prime of his career, Morgan would have expected the United move to go differently. This was a team in dire need of a defensive midfielder and with Carrick and even Bastian on last legs, it looked setup for Morgan. However, as United struggled to find any real consistency under LVG, Morgan consistently put in solid performances in the middle when required. Despite his good performances, then manager LVG never saw fit to single out the midfielder for praise, and dropped him unceremoniously – usually to disastrous effect. His seasons stats (under LVG) highlighted below show just what qualities the midfielder can bring to any team.
Despite his undoubted quality, the French midfielder has now also dropped down the pecking order for France as well. At United, things have yet to pan out in favor of the Frenchman as even a gangling Marouane Fellaini has been preferred under Jose. The midfielder, who is arguably the only defensive minded ‘expert’ in team, has featured in cup competitions – and was yanked off against Northampton, following a wasted simple pass which appeared to irk United’s manager. When on the pitch, Morgan has shown boundless energy and an ability to breakup opposition play quite effectively. His distribution after retrieving the ball is also a key aspect of his game – as his stats will show. His silent influence was credited for some of United’s more impressive displays last term, as was his absence attributed to some losses – Arsenal comes to mind.
Ander Herrera is the current incumbent of the position Morgan was bought to fill, and has kept the team ticking superbly. Jose Mourinho has also been very effusive in his praise of the Spaniard which may not augur well for his chances – and Jose has given a few. When called upon this season, the defensive midfielder has looked short on confidence and his usually good passing range has not been of the expected standard.
The Frenchman looks a perfect foil for Pogba, and any understanding based partnership will only do his international prospects a world of good. United certainly need a defensive minded player, and may look to offload the midfielder should he fail to convince his manager of his undoubted quality. Tellingly, Michael Carrick whose style of play is somewhat similar to Schneiderlin, has also found opportunities scarce under Jose. Spurs were credited with an interest in Schneiderlin during the last transfer window – an interest which was reportedly rebuffed by Jose. United have been ominously linked with defensive minded midfielders in recent weeks, and most recently AS Monaco’s Tiemoue Bakayoko.
Personally, I would like to see Morgan Schneiderlin given a run of games, to find his form, as United certainly need his experience and expertise in the middle of the park. However much he has impressed, United need to make a decision on either to play the Frenchman, or pursue another DM.