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"If they aren't playing for him, what are they doing? - Johnny Ward on Manchester United players

Johnny Ward can't understand why Manchester United's players continue to battle each other instead of focusing on the pitch.

Cian Fahey
Cian Fahey

16:15 19 Feb 2022



Johnny Ward and Dan McDonnell joined John Duggan on Football Saturday to discuss Manchester United.

Manchester United have died down a bit since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer departed.

The performances on the field haven't silenced anyone. They haven't gotten better. Even more drama, both in terms of quantity and severity, has developed since Solskjaer departed too. Nothing has improved since Ralf Rangnick took over. But things have quietened down because the onlookers no longer care as much as they once did.

Manchester United are at an impasse between two managers and between two squads.

When Ralf Rangnick's successor is found, they will set about rebuilding a squad that failed to become what it was supposed to be. The current leaders in the dressing room won't be there, or at least they won't be leaders anymore. There was no official announcement about this but it's widely understood.

And the apathy surrounding the club is manifesting itself in regular reports about a fractious dressing room. Whether it's reports that Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo are at odds or it's Marcus Rashford publicly disavowing a report from a German journalist.

Manchester United's players have too much going on off the pitch and very little on it.

Johnny Ward questioned what the motivation of the players is. It's not clear that they dislike the manager as much as they have nothing to play for. But they should have something to play for, whether it's individual pride or the responsibility they have to their team.

"If they're not playing for him, what are they doing?" Ward asked.

"Sorry, they're on a massive amount of money to play for Manchester United. Why would they not play for a decent man? They shouldn't be in the game of football. We all go on about privilege and the amount of money they're on, but why would they not play for him? Is that just the characters that are in that dressing room?"

Ward evoked Roy Keane during his rant. The former Manchester United captain never shies away from calling players out. But he's also right in that doing your job is a simple principle. Manchester United's players don't perform to expectations on the pitch. And to be clear, expectations aren't for them to be Manchester City or Liverpool.

Expectations are that they'll make an effort.

"Roy Keane, he says very simple things but if you're paid a wage by a club that look after you, at least perform and give your best for 90 minutes. Not asking that much. You've an extremely pampered life. You might be on €200,000 a week if you're Martial and not playing. Could you at least not show your best for the manager?

"Obviously that's simplifying things but he's a decent man, why would you not play for him? He's trying to turn things around. At least give your all. It's not asking that much for people who want to support you and go along to watch you play."

Adam Idah out for the season with a knee injury

 

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Read more about

Dan Mcdonnell Harry Maguire John Duggan Johnny Ward Marcus Rashford Ralf Rangnick Roy Keane

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