Exclusive : “Ring the changes and put the kids in,” Manchester United legend implores Ten Hag


Erik Ten Hag should make wholesale changes and give chances to some of Manchester United’s young players in the wake of yesterday’s defeat to Brighton – so says Old Trafford legend Paul Parker.

United put in an awful performance at home as Graham Potter executed a fine tactical plan to earn a comfortable victory for the visitors. Collectively and individually it was a difficult afternoon for the hosts, with many players suffering criticism for their poor display. Following a season of pronounced repression, there is growing frustration with continuing with the same players, leading to some believing it is time for promising young players to be given opportunities.

And Parker, who went on record to suggest he didn’t think it was a good idea last season due to the struggles of the side, believes the freshness of a new era makes it an opportune moment to make the change.

“It’s a good time to do it now,” Parker said, exclusively on this week’s Talking Devils podcast. “I didn’t think it was a good idea to do it before because it’s sort of like saying would you let your nine year old go out after 11pm? That’s what it felt it would have been like putting in kids in the team last season, because it was getting ugly, and it would have affected them for a long time. There was no-one within the team who would have helped them through it.”

“But now if you talk about Laird at right back for example, I think it makes sense. Dalot does what he does and it’s adequate but it’s nowhere near enough. That’s a position where you think could it be made stronger by putting Laird in? And I think to myself that it definitely isn’t going to weaken it. It will improve it. You might say he doesn’t get forward enough but if you defend and opportunities for the opponent to score are lessened, then you’ve done a great job.”

“Dalot was in the centre forward position yesterday and the last thing you want is Harry Maguire with forty feet of space around him. I had Steve Bruce next to me and I knew that if I was in the right position, even if a cross came in, Steve would be in the right position to head it away, rather than being on the touchline with someone trying to beat him out wide. Anything that comes from that side of the park and results in a goal you would take personally because that’s your job. You wouldn’t be looking at other people. I think the young lad deserves the opportunity because he’ll be watching it, and he’ll have friends and family around him too saying he’s better than that.”

Parker says that he would even go as far as to make the switch immediately, starting with next weekend’s trip to Brentford.

“I would normally say it’s not a good idea to make a number of changes,” he said. “But looking at where the team is now, I think 100% yes. If he puts the same team out against Brentford I’ve got a very good idea of where that is going. It’s a good time to make changes because it will get a better form of energy out on that pitch. The energy and drive to make a point will make a difference and the travelling support of Manchester United, which makes more noise than any other, will be even noisier. They know those young players will give everything. What a lift that would be.”

Paul was speaking on the Talking Devils podcast as he does every Monday morning. It is the number one independent Manchester United podcast and you can watch it below on YouTube or subscribe to the audio podcast on Spotify here, and Apple Podcasts here.


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