Football

Man United not miles away from the top sides, says Jamie Carragher

Manchester United have found a new admirer in former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, who said that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men are not as far off the mark as some pundits think.

The Red Devils finished a dismal sixth in the English Premier League last term, but shone in flashes during their season-opener last Sunday, by thrashing Chelsea 4-0 at Old Trafford.

Carragher, who was among those who were impressed by the rampaging Red Devils, has also backed them to challenge for a top-four spot.

"I know from being at Liverpool when we've had times outside the top four as a player, I'd always say it's never as bad as you think," Carragher told The Last Word with Stan Collymore podcast.

"Sometimes, you just get one player or a couple of players who leave, and something just lights up. I'm not saying that takes you to the title, but I don't think Manchester United are miles away, I really don't.

"In some ways, I admire what they've done and the signings they've made.

"Could they have replaced (Romelu) Lukaku?

"I think it's about time (Marcus) Rashford was given a go through the middle.

"Let's see if Rashford is good enough to be Manchester United's centre forward.

"He may not be. He may always be that player who plays wide a little bit, plays though the middle now and again.

"Is he really going to be that 20, 25 goals-a-season striker? Let's see..."

Carragher also backed their £80-million (S$133.8m) signing of England international Harry Maguire, believing that they have got the best available defender on the market.

He added: "Maguire... it's a good signing.

"People are questioning the price tag, but he had a five-year deal and they knew you were desperate.

"Is there anyone better out there you could get? Probably not.

"People are saying (Matthijs) de Ligt, but he's going to sign for Juventus before United. "

While the signings of Maguire, right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka and winger Daniel James seemed to have rejuvenated United, Carragher believes it will take time for Solskjaer to remove the unwanted players.

He said: "I think it will take them one or two or two or three or maybe four transfer windows to get rid of the bad apples, players that aren't good enough or don't suit the way Ole plays."

"I don't see them challenging for the title.

"I'll think they'll have a fight on for the top four, but I certainly don't think they're as far away as people think."

Football