Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville is never shy on voicing his opinion on United’s current stars, and with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side battling for a top four spot, he has had plenty to say in 2019-20.
The Reds have improved since the turn of the year, with a five-game unbeaten Premier League run prior to the Covid-19 suspension, but Neville has offered a mixed response on certain players.
Brazilian midfielder Fred has seen his career at United come full circle in 2020, with his all action performances winning fans over.
The 27-year old was held up as a symbol of the lacklustre end of Jose Mourinho’s tenure during 2018-19, but a corner has been turned this season, with 22 Premier League appearances, and Neville has taken note.
“Fred was a mysterious signing, for £60M, but he has improved a lot."
Scottish international McTominay has endured a frustrating campaign due to a knee injury sidelining him for three months at the start of 2020.
But, despite the injury, Neville has been impressed with the pair as a midfield partnership this season.
“McTominay is far better on the ball now, and he has massive courage and belief in himself.
“I did not expect either of them to get to the level they have, they have performed far better than I could have imagined.”
McTominay is likely to return alongside Fred base of the United midfield, if, and when, the season returns, with January signing Bruno Fernandes operating as a No.10.
Harry Maguire/Victor Lindelof
Defensive partnerships can take time to settle, with some of the Premier League’s best pairings enduring teething problems.
United’s £80M move for England international Maguire last summer was heralded as a firm response to the defensive fragility of 2018-19.
Solskjaer has persisted with a partnership of Maguire and Victor Lindelof this season, but Neville is not convinced they can bring the glory days back to Old Trafford.
“I like them as a pair, they offer control and they read the game well.
“But are they a top-class centre back pairing that will win United titles again, and get them back to the top of the Champions League? I’m not wholly convinced.
“But from what they have shown, there is something to work on.”
As a duo, Maguire and Lindelof have kept eight Premier League clean sheets from 27 games together in 2019-20.
Paul Pogba’s future is never far from discussion at Old Trafford, despite injuries restricting him to just five Premier League starts this season.
The links to Real Madrid continue to grow, despite Solskjaer’s insistence the French international is staying at the club.
And Neville believes it is time for the Red Devils to stick or twist on the 27-year old in what could be a decisive summer.
“We all know he’ll score goals and get assists, but every single week, we are fielding questions about him.
“He needs to settle down at the club or leave.”
United have looked good without Pogba this season, and Neville added the team has developed without him.
“I said last season that United need players who want to be at the club.
“I get from the situation that he wants to play football somewhere else, and if that is the case, Manchester United would be better off without him.”
Pogba is still on Zinedine Zidane’s radar, but the La Liga giants have also been linked with other potential midfield targets.
Greenwood has burst onto the first team scene this season, with 12 goals in all competitions for Solskjaer’s side.
The Norwegian boss has looked to manage expectations and pressure on the 18-year old and Neville agrees with his cautious approach.
“He is bleeding him into the side, which what you like to do with a young player.
“He’s got such composure in front of goal for a young player, and locally they talk about him as highly as Marcus Rashford.
“And that is high praise for what he’s done.”
Martial has netted 11 Premier League goals so far in 2019-20, matching his best league tally at the club for a single season.
However, the French striker remains open to criticism for his overall performances in a United jersey.
But Neville showed he is in the pro Martial camp, arguing with former skipper Roy Keane over the need for patience with Martial earlier in the campaign.
“There definitely needs to be a persistence with Martial, in that he needs to have his chance in the team.
“The idea of selling him, and him coming back to bite you, is something you can’t risk.”
Former Republic of Ireland international Keane disagreed with Neville, insisting Martial has had enough chances to prove himself, and had come up short.