By Richard Parks
Graeme Souness has hailed Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen in the Sunday Times as the kind of player that Manchester United are crying out for.
The high-profile pundit and bete noire of Jose Mourinho explained why he has been unimpressed with United’s current blend of central midfielders, who have been signed at huge costs.
Paul Pogba, who signed for a then world-record £90million in the summer of 2016, and Nemanja Matic, who cost £40million 12 months later, were both substituted in the second half of United’s 1-0 league defeat to Newcastle United on Sunday as Mourinho made clear his dissatisfaction at their performances.
Liverpool legend and former manager Souness pinpointed Spurs attacking midfielder Eriksen, 25, as the kind of player that United just do not have.
“They need a craftsman such as Christian Eriksen at Tottenham,” Souness wrote in his weekly Sunday Times column. “Romelu Lukaku has faced some criticism, but he’s not been getting chances put on a plate.
“He could do with an Eriksen-type doing that for him. United are crying out for a clever passer. Juan Mata can do it, but he can’t get around the pitch the way that Eriksen does or the way that Mourinho wants his players to.
“Mourinho will not have been happy with United’s midfield since he took over as manager at Old Trafford in May 2016. He’s still a couple of proper midfielders short, despite signing Pogba and then spending another £40m on Nemanja Matic last summer.
“Matic is not spectacular, he won’t chip in with lots of goals or defence-splitting passes, but he’s a solid, seven-out-of-10 player. It’s finding a regular partner for him that is the key. Ander Herrera is nothing special, other than being a busy bee with his enthusiasm and attitude.”
Eriksen scored after just 11 seconds as Tottenham defeated Man United at Wembley 12 days ago in a man-of-the-match performance and he was equally impressive in the subsequent 2-2 draw at Liverpool and 1-0 win against Arsenal.
The Denmark international has scored eight goals and supplied eight assists in 32 appearances in all competitions this season.