Football

Lukaku and Ibrahimovic.

Jamie Carragher explains how Zlatan Ibrahimovic will feel about Romelu Lukaku

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Not many managers in world football have the luxury of choosing from players as talented as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku for their attacking line-up.

Jose Mourinho is blessed with two incredible talents; one a mercurial talent unlike anything football has ever seen and the other a rising star who commanded a £75 million fee in the summer.

Yet, as we’ve discovered in the past week, it’s not as easy as simply putting them on the pitch and expecting them to flourish together.

Ibrahimovic made his return from a knee injury in last weekend’s 4-1 win over Newcastle and he instructed Lukaku to move to the right upon his arrival.

In the defeat to Basel on Wednesday, the Swede came on in the 74th minute and played behind Lukaku in a No.10 role.

Two matches, two different looks. It’s clear Mourinho must find a way to get his two strikers on the same wavelength when they’re on the pitch together.

Carragher: 'Players think about themselves'

Jamie Carragher has explored the situation in his exclusive column for the Telegraph, admitting Ibrahimovic and Lukaku will both want to be the main man at Manchester United.

“Longer term, Lukaku will become No 1 choice by virtue of age, 35-year-old Ibrahimovic being in the final years of his career.

“But I also know how players really feel when their position is threatened. Ultimately, they think about themselves.

“You do not get to the level of Ibrahimovic and Lukaku without being single-minded. Yes the team comes first… as long as you are in it.”

Manchester United v Newcastle United - Premier League

Carragher often found himself in Zlatan's position

Carragher compared the situation to the one he found himself in at Liverpool.

The Reds would purchase several players who would compete for Carragher’s position but he would respond by thinking: “You think you’re coming here to get my place? You better earn it more than anyone else in this side.” 

Carragher added: “I know how Ibrahimovic felt during his rehabilitation, studiously watching Lukaku’s early performances.

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN UTD-NEWCASTLE

“I know what it is like being an established player identifying new threats to your place. I had that throughout my career, Liverpool often buying players who many felt would replace me – mainly when I was still at full-back; players like Markus Babbel, John Arne Riise and Steve Finnan.

“They were good, but mentally I made it as tough as possible, no matter how highly they were regarded or what they cost.

“I look back and believe some players could not cope with my mentality, day after day. It was too much for them - that unrelenting intensity to ensure you are selected.

“When I was seriously injured – I had a knee operation and a broken leg – I never feared I would not be back. Both times I returned a month early, watching the team and stating with confidence I would reclaim my place.

Liverpool v TNS

“I do not write this to be sound big-headed, just to demonstrate how far absolute belief matched with application and talent gets you.

“My attitude was this: ‘You think you’re coming here to get my place? You better earn it more than anyone else in this side.’”

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Topics:
Jose Mourinho
Liverpool
Manchester United
Premier League
Romelu Lukaku
Jamie Carragher
Football
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Paris Saint-Germain

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