Jose Mourinho.

Owen Hargreaves suggests Man United's best XI - Rooney is up front

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After overseeing three defeats in eight days, Jose Mourinho is suddenly under intense scrutiny at Manchester United.

It isn't only fans and the media who are questioning the Portuguese manager's decisions either, with a host of former players offering their opinion in the aftermath of the Red Devils' surprise 3-1 defeat to Watford on Sunday. 

However, while both Paul Scholes and Gary Neville openly criticised United's performance after the full-time whistle, another former player at Old Trafford, Owen Hargreaves, didn't wait that long as he offered up a suggested new formation and starting XI for Mourinho before kick off at Vicarage Road.

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Speaking in his role as a pundit for BT Sport, the former England midfielder put forward his 'best' Manchester United XI in an intriguing 4-3-1-2 formation.

It makes even more interesting reading after what unfolded yesterday afternoon, but those United fans desperate to see Wayne Rooney dropped to the bench might want to look away now...

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Anyone watching their defeat against Watford on Sunday would have to admit that Mourinho's men struggled to excel in either the 4-3-3 formation used in the first half, or the more attacking 4-2-3-1 in the second 45 minutes.

However, although Hargreaves' suggestion does see Rooney removed from the deep-lying midfield role fans at Old Trafford are furious about, the England captain does remain in the starting XI ahead of the ever-improving Marcus Rashford.


And that isn't the only intriguing selection from Hargreaves, a man who played a vital part in United's Premier League and Champions League double-winning side of 2007-08.

The idea of Henrikh Mkhitaryan - brought in this summer as an exciting option on the right wing - playing in the number 10 role will have plenty of United fans scratching their head.

Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League

More pleasing alterations come in the form of Michael Carrick and Chris Smalling getting the nod ahead of Daley Blind and Marouane Fellaini; two players who have impressed at times this year but also been guilty of mistakes in recent games.

Smalling did start yesterday's fixture, but it wasn't enough to help United halt a slide that began nine days ago against Manchester City.

It will be interesting to see whether Mourinho does opt for a change of tactics after such a disappointing run of results, and he does have an ideal opportunity to experiment in the Red Devils' next fixture - a league cup tie against Northampton of League One of Wednesday.

Whether any such experiment would go as far as the fairly radical alterations suggested by Hargreaves remains to be seen, however. 


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Wayne Rooney
Paul Pogba
Owen Hargreaves
Premier League
Paul Scholes
Manchester United
Michael Carrick
David de Gea

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