Gary Neville believes Manchester United’s dressing room is “broken” and the former United defender fears new boss Erik ten Hag will have too many problems to clear up before the club can start winning trophies again.
United’s demise since Sir Alex Ferguson left in 2013 has been startling, with the club’s fortunes having hit an all-time low.
“That dressing room is broken,” stressed ex-England right-back Neville.
“You can’t fix that dressing room, I don’t even know where Erik ten Hag starts to be honest.
“That’s my biggest fear for him in the first few months.
“I don’t know where the clicks are because I’m not close enough to it anymore, but you can use words like rotten and broken to describe how it’s become.
“Harry Maguire has gone from someone who was growing on the pitch during Covid, to someone who now looks like he’s shot to pieces when he pulls on a red shirt.
“Bruno [Fernandes] looks like half the player he was and the rest of the young players, well it looks like they’ve lost complete faith and you want to get rid of them.
“That’s when you know something has gone fundamentally wrong in the changing room, the club and the leadership.”
Neville won eight Premier League titles with United, as well as two Champions League crowns, three FA Cups and the League Cup twice during a glittering career at Old Trafford. But the 47-year-old, like many of his former Class of ’92 teammates, have been left dismayed with the club’s management and sorry demise.
“I don’t think you can dissolve anybody of blame,” slammed Neville. “Everybody has to take blame for what’s happened.
“They had to try and keep Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] in a job and get to the end of the season, I think I was right about that.
“I was against the appointment of an interim manager because the right manager wasn’t available so they could think about the long-term.
“So when Ralf Rangnick came in I thought it was more like me at Valencia. It ended up going horribly wrong for him [like it did for me].
“But the reality of it is that the problem is much bigger than that.
“Everyone is optimistic when a new manager takes over a club, but I’m very cautious with my optimism.
“I don’t think there’s many Man Utd fans sitting there thinking ‘wow, here we go!’
Dutchman ten Hag has been left with the unenviable task of getting United back on track after a miserable near-long decade without much success. And Neville is only too aware of the mounting problems at his boyhood club.
“You can’t have ten years of playing football manager,” added the Sky Sports pundit. “You can have three, but the Glazers have got to take the blame for that and so does Ed Woodward.
“If you don’t have success for three years, you’ve got to change it. And you can’t just change the manager or recruitment style, you’ve got to change yourself.
“Ed Woodward should have been given three or four years to have a go.
“Once it got past Louis van Gaal and the mess of Jose [Mourinho], he had to go after that.
“The Glazer family are to blame for leaving Ed Woodward in situ for such a long period of time.
“United have got a new CEO [Richard Arnold] now and I do believe more power is going to be given to him.
“But I do fear the operation on the football side is still not strong enough as the other clubs in the league. In fact I know it’s not, it just can’t be.
“So my worry is that the club have not gone external to bring in an outstanding football operator. But we’ll see what happens.
“You just have to look at the England squad which was announced this week, there’s just one Manchester United player in it. We’ve depleted completely.
“We’ve [United] have destroyed players.
“I can’t think of an England player in the last ten years, who United have signed, who has come to the club and has improved and who has gone on to be a better player.
“I honestly can’t think of one.
“When you think of what Jurgen Klopp or Pep Guardiola has done with players, or [Antonio] Conte with someone like Ben Davies, I just can’t think of one at United.”
The Overlap is a YouTube channel from Gary Neville.
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