You may have noticed, but the Manchester United team isn’t too fun at the moment. But, above everything else – the money and the rivalry and the health benefits – football is supposed to be fun and likable. So here is my current Manchester United likable- nay, lovable XI. (PS: There is also a treat if you read to the end).
Goalkeeper – David De Gea
Not only is he a genuinely great keeper but he is also a likable guy. Like I predicted magically here, he also signed a new contract this season and is good mates with some other players who will feature below.
Right-back – Rafael
I know he’s not still at the club but have you ever known a more lovable guy? If so you are probably lying. Or an Arsenal fan. Darmian is quite likable but only like an 8.5/10 whereas Rafael is a solid 12.
Centre-back – Phil Jones
Partly for the fun value (or (yet to be actually made) Expected Fun for all you stattos out there), Jonesy gets a deserved call up. Given that he can liven up even the dullest of LvG United games, he gets the nod.
Other centre-back – Daley Blind (2014/15 hair version)
The centre-backs were the hardest positions to choose, so Chris ‘Mike the Jaeger Bomber’ Smalling and Marcos Rojo would get regular appearances too. Blind is picked, but only if he gets back to his top-class hair form of last season, which was bountiful in its glory. He would also be the calm to Jones’ storm, which is nice.
Left-back – Luke Shaw
Partly just because it would mean he’s fine and not injured anymore. And he seems a good lad. And he has a spiffing friendship with Depay (SPOILER: features later).
Central midfield – Bastian Schweinsteiger (captain)
The presence, the quality, the £££ that can be gained through shirt sales (because of his name and because of his *name*). He seems a top notch guy and a top notch player.
Other central midfield – Ander Herrera
The second corner in the Spanish triangle. Also playing in the ‘second defensive midfielder’ position in the current LvG system and he isn’t a strictly defensive midfielder so will keep some defensive stability AND open some attacking play up. Good stuff all around.
Right-winger – Juan Mata
The last of the ‘La Trinidad Adorable’ [<google_translate>’The Adorable Trinity'</google_translate>], the giver of Hugs, imagine a right-side of Mata and Rafael. IMAGINE. Now look in the mirror. That is JOY and HAPPINESS you are seeing on your face.
Left-winger – Memphis Depay
Ok, so you’re smile has died down a bit now since thinking about Mata and Rafa. Now imagine, on the other side, Memphis and Shaw. I KNOW!! I honestly can’t think of anything else to say just because this kind of likability is rare in football and I want these four players to be in the starting line-up now, tbqh.
Central attacking midfielder – Jesse Lingard
Ok, so I’m not a Lingard expert and this is partly jumping on his bandwagon, but let’s examine the evidence. In reality, Rooney would be playing here probably. Lingard is everything Rooney is not. Rooney is old, Lingard is not; Rooney has a first touch which is regularly worse than my own, Lingard does not (I haven’t verified this but he’s a professional footballer so it’s a reasonable assumption); Rooney should consider retiring before his career legacy is further tarnished by his poor performances (a la Gerrard), Lingard should not. Lingard ftw.
Striker – Anthony Martial
Not only is he Not Rooney, he is actually brilliant and magical and no-one can say otherwise and still be correct. He may not have a face that often smiles but that just means that when he does smile it is even more precious and you know he means it. Plus he scored against Liverpool.
Manager – David Moyes
Yeah. You heard. (From the impression gleaned from reports) Louis van Gaal is a man who tried to bully Victor Valdes out of a job in a frankly pretty nasty way. He also kept slapping Giggs last season which was strange, and appeared in a bizarre and creepily sexist photoshoot for Dutch football which does him no favours either. Moyes seems a much more likable guy whose only failure as United manager was a lack of success on the pitch. But with this combination of lovable players, there’s no way that could happen again, so it’s aaaaall good. (It seems no-one else likes Moyes, pretend I put Sir Alex instead).