Mark Goldbridge: Mason Mount can challenge Bruno Fernandes for starting spot, ‘Ole Gunner Solskjaer back’ calls are nonsense and Jadon Sancho is a certified Manchester United flop
EPL

Mark Goldbridge: Mason Mount can challenge Bruno Fernandes for starting spot, ‘Ole Gunner Solskjaer back’ calls are nonsense and Jadon Sancho is a certified Manchester United flop

Mar 15, 2024

In an exclusive column for talkSPORT.com, Mark Goldbridge delivers his verdict on the latest news coming out of Manchester United.

Mason Mount is nearing a return to fitness, but does the £55million signing have a place in Erik ten Hag‘s squad? Plus, the YouTube host responds to the ‘Solskjaer back’ brigade and where Jadon Sancho ranks in the club’s all-time flops.

Mount has returned to training after fourth months out with a calf injury and may soon make his return to the field - but where will he play?

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Mount has returned to training after fourth months out with a calf injury and may soon make his return to the field – but where will he play?Credit: Getty

Mount-ain to climb

It’s been a write-off for Mason Mount so far at Manchester United. It’s very, very frustrating. 

We’ve seen it with Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia at Chelsea and when Jurrien Timber at Arsenal – when you sign a player and then they miss basically most of their first season it’s massively frustrating and it’s easy to get frustrated with the player, the club or the manager, but it’s an injury.

So putting that aside and going back to when we bought Mount, I must admit I was confused. Where does he fit in?

I really liked Mason Mount at Chelsea, when he was good, and he was 24 at the time so he was a good signing, but I was confused where he’s going to play.

Read more from Mark Goldbridge

I assumed he was going to play where Christian Eriksen did with Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes, but that’s been proven not to work. You get overrun, you need more defensive cover, and this season we’ve also seen the development of Mainoo.

So where Mount fits in when he’s back…

I look at Martin Odegaard at Arsenal and he’s a magnetic No.10, the way he looks and protects the ball – I think Man United desperately need a player like that, but then what are you doing with Bruno Fernandes?

Ideally Mount plays as the No.10 and we get a little bit more control of the pitch, but there is a big Bruno Fernandes problem there because that is Bruno’s position and he’s the captain, and I really don’t want Bruno on the right wing because that’s just putting a square peg in a round hole.

Goldbridge has previously said Fernandes' form has 'fallen off a cliff' this season - maybe Mount's return can be the push he needs to get back to his best?

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Goldbridge has previously said Fernandes’ form has ‘fallen off a cliff’ this season – maybe Mount’s return can be the push he needs to get back to his best?Credit: Getty

I think Mount’s best position is ahead of Mainoo and Casemiro, but what do you do with Bruno?

So I don’t really have the answer, but he can’t play in a midfield three with Bruno and Casemiro, I think that would be massively imbalanced.

But we need him back, we need competition for places, so why shouldn’t he be pushing Bruno out of the team? He’s been off it all season.

Mark Goldbridge labels Jadon Sancho as a Manchester United flop suggesting he ‘completely and utterly failed’ in the Premier League

Ole back? You’re having a laugh

I thought it was a brilliant interview with Solskjaer on The Overlap because I think it encapsulated his strengths and weaknesses – like this blind loyalty to players who weren’t good enough.

When Roy Keane smelled Ole’s drink after his Fred comments – it’s true, he spoke glowingly about players like Fred when ultimately they were not good enough to take Man United to titles, so it exposes the naivety of Solskjaer as a coach.

I don’t think he’s a very good coach to be honest, but what a guy and he is a legend of the club and he comes across how we’ve always known him to be.

There was a massive guilt thing in the fanbase to turn on Ole and say he needed to go because he’s loved so much, but you’ve got to be cruel to be kind. He was not good enough.

There was some other interesting stuff as well, he spoke about players not standing up, downing tools, not wanting the captaincy, I think that’s was really interesting, especially when that’s clearly a problem at United now. 

The inconsistency, I believe, comes from a lack of mentality in the dressing room from some players… and there’s been all sorts of speculation about who these players are.

Goldbridge says Solskjaer's appearance on the Overlap showed Man United are still being dogged by the same problems behind the scenes

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Goldbridge says Solskjaer’s appearance on the Overlap showed Man United are still being dogged by the same problems behind the scenesCredit: YouTube

But the stuff about signings was brilliant, because when you’ve got managers like Jose Mourinho and now Erik ten Hag who have struggled with that and you’ve got Solskjaer coming out and saying ‘I wanted Jude Bellingham and I wanted Erling Haaland, I told them about these players and they didn’t do it’ – that is ridiculous. 

I think Solskjaer said two or three times, before he even came to the club as manager, ‘Go and buy Haaland’, he then comes to the club and says Haaland has a release clause and United still ignore him, and now Haaland is doing what he’s doing – for Manchester City!

There would still be some United fans, especially with the debate about Ten Hag, who would say, ‘Bring back Ole’, which is just incredible. It’s just complete and utter nonsense and it’s red-tinted glasses ignoring the past.

I think the interview is completely about making himself look good so he can get a job elsewhere, but as a United fan I’m quite glad because it also just exposes the massive problems at the club.

We’ve got another manager under fire and Solskjaer is coming out and telling the problems he had there and, knowing they’re still there, it just highlights to United fans to enormity of the job and the massive amount of problems that have gone on over the last few years behind the scenes that make managing that club really hard no matter how good you are.

Top of the flops?

I think Jadon Sancho has to go down as a flop, and that’s always a hard word to use, but he does.

This is a player we spent two summers trying to sign. I was really excited about it, a fantastic CV at Dortmund, but to be honest with you he completely and utterly failed in the Premier League.

Sancho put in a man-of-the-match display to help Borussia Dortmund into the Champions League quarter-finals with a win over PSV

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Sancho put in a man-of-the-match display to help Borussia Dortmund into the Champions League quarter-finals with a win over PSVCredit: Getty

There have been flashes, but that’s not good enough, especially when you look at what players like Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka are doing.

He had this opportunity to come to the Premier League for a big, big transfer fee and wages and at a big club, and he’s failed.

There’s been a lot of stuff about blaming Ten Hag, well he wasn’t there when Sancho signed, he was with Solskjaer for a year. 

In the first three months of Ten Hag’s reign the manager let him go off and deal with the issues that he had, I think he’s been well looked after by Manchester United.

He’s just another Memphis Depay, Angel Di Maria, Alexis Sanchez and every other Man United player who has failed. He’s not in an exclusive club, there are a lot of players who fail at all sorts of clubs.

There are reports Sancho could be set to stay put at Dormund in the summer following his loan return from Old Trafford

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There are reports Sancho could be set to stay put at Dormund in the summer following his loan return from Old TraffordCredit: Getty

I think Jadon Sancho just needs to look in a mirror, look at why he’s failed and try and rescue his career, because he’s a really talented player.

But not at Manchester United. I think the bridges are burnt. We need players who take responsibility, and I just don’t think Sancho has done that.

So I wish him all the best, but he does need to leave and move on.

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