Scott Patterson: Here’s the worst Man United XI of this decade

This will make you miss Fergie even more!

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Manchester United are ending this decade in much worse condition than they started it. From winning league titles and playing in Champions League finals to struggling to compete even to finish in the top four.

David Moyes was the worst manager during this time, taking the champions of England to seventh in his first season before being sacked. Louis van Gaal can take responsibility for signing the costliest flops though, while Jose Mourinho made his fair share of mistakes.

Interestingly though, it is arguably Sir Alex Ferguson who signed the most hilarious of awful players for United this decade.

So here it is, Manchester United’s worst XI of the past decade.

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GK: Lee Grant

Following the disaster years, United went through after failing to replace Peter Schmeichel adequately, it appears as though the club have vowed not to let history repeat itself.

Edwin Van der Sar and David de Gea have been our no.1s over the past decade, while Sergio Romero has been our second choice and is arguably the best out there as back-up. During the 2016-17 season, he was our Europa League goalie and played a vital role in helping us win the trophy.

So really, that doesn’t leave United with many options for the worst player in this position, so it’s a little unfair to name Grant, who’s only made two appearances after signing as the third-choice keeper in 2018.

He made his debut in the League Cup against Derby, coming on after Romero was sent off. 15 minutes later, the opposition scored to go 2-1 up, before Marouane Fellaini scored at the death to take the game to penalties. United lost 8-7 and Grant didn’t make a save.

RB: Ashley Young

Having been blessed with the likes of Gary Neville and Rafael Da Silva, United haven’t had a proper right-back for most of this decade until signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Matteo Darmian could arguably be included here instead, but it has to go to Young, a former left-winger who has played far too many games well out of position at right-back.

His effort and work-rate can never be questioned, but that didn’t make up for a lack of ability when forced in to regularly playing in this position.

CB: Eric Bailly

Phil Jones could give Bailly a run for his money here, given that he joined with the expectations from Ferguson as having the potential to be the greatest player the club has ever seen, but it is the Mourinho signing who pips him to the worst player in the centre of defence.

Bailly showed signs of looking like a quality defender initially, but it’s been all downhill for him following his debut season. Now in his fourth year at United, his time at Old Trafford has been blighted by costly mistakes and lengthy injuries.

He was subbed after half an hour during United’s incredible 3-1 win away to PSG last season, a decision that undoubtedly allowed us to win the game after his early horror show. He’s played one game for United since.

LB: Alex Buttner

After his transfer to Championship side Southampton collapsed at the last minute, United snapped up the left-back on a five-year deal, raising a few eyebrows. Given how much more Luke Shaw cost, and how little we’ve had in return from him, he may well be lucky to have missed out here.

Ferguson claimed Buttner was a “terrific addition” and had been signed for the future. While he had some decent performances, he was never good enough for United.

“Who can say that he has become champion of England? Steven Gerrard cannot,” Buttner later reflected. “At United I played more games than I ever dreamed.”

Buttner made 28 appearances at United and now the 30-year-old is currently without a club.

LM: Bebe

Without a doubt the biggest comedy value signing we’ve ever had at United. Famously, this was the only Ferguson signing who was brought to the club without the manager having watched him first, and it showed. Bebe was awful, with reports at the time claiming people likened him to a competition winner when was on the training field.

Having played in the Homeless World Cup and joining from a third division Portuguese team, there were plenty of questions asked of the transfer, with Jorge Mendes’ involvement making it suspicious.

“It was a surprise,” Bebe later claimed. “One day I was training and immediately they told me to leave, that I was going to sign a five-year contract. I did not know if it was a joke.”

Bebe made two Premier League appearances, seven in all competitions, before several disappointing loan stints saw him return to Portugal. Unsurprisingly, United recouped nothing like the £7m they had spent on him.

MF: Morgan Schneiderlin

The Frenchman was supposed to bring defensive steel to United’s midfield, but it’s hard to recall even just one great game that he had under Louis van Gaal.

He typified the football United played at that time. It was boring and position obsessed – with Schneiderlin the king of passing the ball sideways.

He lasted just a season and a half, with his appearances on the decline, and was sold to Everton.

MF: Bastian Schweinsteiger

Had United signed Schweinsteiger a few years earlier it’s unlikely he would feature here. Despite being well-loved by the crowd, the German World Cup winner was years past his best by the time he came to Old Trafford.

He barely played during his season and a half at the club.

His legs had gone and he didn’t even look a shadow of his former self. Mourinho made clear, upon his arrival, that the midfielder’s time was coming to an end when he didn’t even let him train with the first-team squad.

RM: Andreas Pereira

United fans have waited a long time to see this academy graduate get regular first-team football, with him preferring a loan to Spain against Mourinho’s wishes, but he has struggled to live up to the hype.

This season, with United’s already threadbare midfield suffering from plenty of injuries, Pereira has had lots of playing time and has largely been awful.

Approaching his 24th birthday, you would expect at this stage in his career for him to have reached a much higher level of performance.

RF: Angel di Maria

United fans could hardly believe their luck when Di Maria’s transfer from Real Madrid was announced. Having just been named Man of the Match in their recent Champions League-winning final, United had a genuine world-class player on their hands.

But the Argentinian had never wanted to join United, preferring a move to Paris from the beginning, but he had to make do with Manchester. While he showed his class on occasion, he just didn’t fancy it and wasn’t prepared to graft.

Di Maria wasn’t helped by Van Gaal playing him out of position, and the relationship between the two soured. His time at United ended when he refused to return for pre-season training and forced through a move to PSG.

His visible devastation at getting knocked out of the Champions League by United last season was enough to bring a smile to the faces of plenty of Reds.

LF: Alexis Sanchez

Sanchez, whose huge wages United are still contributing to now he’s on loan at Inter Milan, earned his money in one game for United during his two seasons at the club. With United 2-0 down at the Etihad and Manchester City set to win the league after beating us, Sanchez’s second half performance turned the game around, with him creating all three goals in the comeback.

One outstanding game in 45 appearances is obviously a dreadful return though and fans were as relieved as him to see his misery at Old Trafford ended with a loan move to Serie A this season.

The only benefit of him signing for us that we got to cut Henrikh Mkhitaryan loose, who went on to be as disappointing for Arsenal as he had been for us.

ST: Radamel Falcao

Arguably the biggest star that United have ever signed, but he never lived up to the billing. He looked like was running through treacle whenever he played and failed to deliver goals.

Given the insane salary he was on, his performances were all the more disappointing. He managed just four goals in 29 appearances before his loan ended. He tried his luck at Chelsea the season afterwards where, incredibly, he managed to be even worse, scoring just one goal in 12 games.

Some players just aren’t cut out for the Premier League and Falcao is undoubtedly one of them. He returned to Monaco and scored 30 goals in 43 games the following season.

* Honourable mentions for Gabriel Obertan, Nick Powell and Memphis Depay.

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