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Ever since Jose Mourinho took charge of Manchester United, he has been struggling with the left-back conundrum. One might even say that United have struggled to find a quality player in that role since the departure of Patrice Evra.
Their lack of a quality left-back has certainly affected their overall performance on the left. Much has been said of how ineffective Marcus Rashford has looked whenever he plays on the left – but far less has been said of how much easier it is for the opposition to subdue Rashford’s approaching threat when he’s the only danger on that flank.
When Luke Shaw joined the club, he was brought in as the solution to their long-standing concerns in that area. However, his unfortunate injury saw his absence cause a lot more problems to the Red Devils.
To address this problem, Jose Mourinho is now targeting Danny Rose from Tottenham Hotspur. Rose has managed to blossom into one of the best left-backs in the Premier League under the watchful eye of Pochettino. He has also proven his ability to go forward by chipping in with goals and creating chances – much like Shaw. But when compared to the current crop of makeshift options Mourinho has at his disposal, how good is Danny Rose?
Luke Shaw has struggled with fitness – something for which Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho have perhaps been partly responsible. Moreover, his chances were further stunted due to the time taken to recover from his horrific leg-break against PSV Eindhoven in the UEFA Champions League.
Shaw’s brilliance is not in doubt, but the looming question mark over his future continues to remain. He did make an appearance in the Carabao Cup but he hardly made an impact. He may well have conquered most of his mental challenges, but physically, he will be a lot fragile.
Mourinho has shown a lot of faith in Shaw and that puts more pressure on the defender to live up to the billing. Having said that, Danny Rose would be a like-for-like replacement for Shaw. It is unclear as to when exactly Shaw will fully resume his first-team duties, making Rose a perfect short-term option.
Although fans were shocked when Young was first deployed as a left-back, the player has truly proven to be reliable in that area. In fact, that is one of the reasons why the 32-year-old has jumped to top of Mourinho’s list of left-backs.
Young is defensively sound and has been strong when it comes to contributing to the attack as well. It was his cross that set up Romelu Lukaku’s winner at Southampton. He did the same to create Marouane Fellaini’s first goal against Crystal Palace.
However, as seen earlier, United’s makeshift left-backs did well temporarily and Mourinho cannot risk waiting until Young’s performances take a dip. Thus, Danny Rose will definitely prove to be a better option when compared to Young. Unlike Young, Rose is a natural left-back and has plenty of experience in that area.
Daley Blind lacks the pace that allows him to overlap on the break, and though he is a fine playmaker when he remains in a deeper role, he can find himself exposed against teams with strong attacking players.
Blind has struggled playing as a left-back before and there is no reason for Mourinho to even consider playing with him if Rose were to make the switch.
Matteo Darmian is perhaps the most defensively disciplined among the other names discussed here, but he is also the least capable of offering any sort of attacking outlet, and rarely seems comfortable when venturing beyond the halfway line.
Rose, on the other hand, is never shy of contributing to the attack. Spurs enjoy a clean and seamless transition from defence to attack, and Rose has played a major role in helping them achieve that. Thus, the Tottenham left-back is ideally better suited for that position when compared to Darmian.