Manchester United do not strike fear into their opponents like they used to, Peter Odemwingie has insisted.
United haven’t lifted a single trophy since Sir Alex Ferguson departed in 2013 (no, the Community Shield doesn’t count) and no longer carry that intimating aura.
And opposing players do not consider games against United the fearsome task it once was.
SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250-word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay5
Article continues below
Odemwingie’s Stoke travel to Old Trafford on Tuesday and will record a season-sweep should they come away with a win.
The Nigerian said: “They are not the club they were - they don’t have the names and the quality they used to have,” reported the Daily Mail.
Article continues below
“They themselves look more shy than usual, they don’t take as much risk as we know them to do, so people take advantage of that and go for it when they play against them now.
The 34-year-old thinks United are currently undergoing a period of transition and have yet to discover any true leaders beyond Wayne Rooney.
He continued: “It’s a turning point for a big club like that.
“They have all the resources, they just need to do the right recruitment probably and go through this difficult stage and get back to the heights they are used to.”
United lifted 13 Premier League titles under Ferguson and could be relied upon to challenge for the title every year in the 2000s.
They boasted the league’s best players, with Rio Ferdinand, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Paul Scholes all helping the club to unrivalled success.
Now, though, United are a shadow of their former selves.
David Moyes was given just 10 months before he was sacked and it would surprise nobody if Louis van Gaal is fired should United lose tonight.
A crop of average players have filled Ferdinand and co.’s boots despite Van Gaal spending roughly £250 million since his arrival in 2014.
Lack of leaders
The lack of leaders is noticeable, admits Odemwingie.
He said: “There was a lot more quality there, they had real leaders on the team. Now they've lost that.
“Many teams go through that. When you lose a generation of players it's hard to then get a new set that will produce the same way. I think the process they are going through is rebuilding.
"You still give them the respect, they are still good players, but not in the times when they had the likes of Rio, Roy Keane, Ronaldo, [David] Beckham and great finishers like Van Nistelrooy, so it's a bit of a different time for them now."
Stoke are ninth in the table and will close to within one point of fifth-placed United with a win. Rest assured, they’ll be going for it from the start.