Man Utd: Seven reasons why Brendan Rodgers should be appointed if Solskjaer is sacked

  • Kobe Tong
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under serious pressure at Manchester United.

On the back of a dismal performance against Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday, United fans are almost unanimously calling for a change in personnel in the Old Trafford dugout.

According to the Manchester Evening News, Solskjaer is 'increasingly at risk' of losing his job and the Red Devils' desire to prepare a ready-made replacement might be the only thing slowing down the process.

Solskjaer linked with the sack

It has been widely reported that United turned down the chance to hire Antonio Conte, who has since gone to Tottenham Hotspur, but now Brendan Rodgers is the big name being thrown around.

The same MEN report claims that United are admirers of the Leicester City coach despite his former ties to Liverpool and there's good reason to think that he could be an inspired pick for the club.

In fact, as you will already be well aware from the headline, this humble GIVEMESPORT writer is of the belief that Rodgers is the perfect successor for Solskjaer if United do indeed swing the axe.

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Who would replace Solskjaer?

Now, if anything, I've been an ardent defender of Solskjaer over the years and before we get into things, it's important to clarify that I'm not campaigning for the Norwegian to be sacked.

Nevertheless, if United were to hand Solskjaer his P45, which is seeming increasingly likely, then I have at least seven reasons as to why I think that Rodgers is the best-placed coach to replace him.

I can sense the fizzing rage of disagreement already and I'm well aware that Rodgers isn't exactly the stylish and vogue appointment, but hear me out because I hold out hope that I can persuade you to join me.

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Why Rodgers should be Man Utd's first choice

So, without further ado, here are seven reasons why I think Rodgers would be the best manager for United to hire if they decide to sack Solskjaer this season:

1. Continuation of a long-term project

For me, this is the biggest tick in Rodgers' box because he's not the sort of hit-and-run manager that is going to throw his toys out of the pram after a couple of seasons and want £300 million handed over on day one.

Why is that important? Well, because I think that United's switch to a more long-term strategy in the image of Liverpool after Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho's sackings has actually done them a lot of favours.

Solskjaer seems, to me, to have taken United as far as he can by bringing them up through third and second-place finishes, so the time feels ripe for a manager with a higher ceiling to execute the endgame with similar sustainability.

To be fair, it's easy to see Erik ten Hag achieving that, too, but Rodgers has all the tools to elevate United towards those sought-after title challenges without breaking the bank and tearing the house down to do so.

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Signing Cristiano Ronaldo shouldn't mean that United should expect the world and more right this second and the end goal here can't simply be to win a single Premier League title then implode and wind up back at square one.

Dodging Conte suggests to me that the board are on a similar wavelength and Rodgers - for six more reasons that I'll explain below - feels like the perfect upgrade on Solskjaer while still continuing the 'Solskjaer plan'.

2. Attacking brand of football

At the end of the day, the modern game is such that unless you're winning week after week, you're going to lose the fans if you're not playing attractive football - and that's particularly the case at United.

For a club so used to swash-buckling and edge-of-your-seat football, United should surely be rubbing their hands together at the prospect of Rodgers' all-guns-blazing style that really came into its own at Liverpool.

We are, after all, talking about a manager who led the Reds to 102 Premier League goals just one season after they'd been licking their wounds between Everton and West Bromwich Albion in seventh place.

Just imagine what Rodgers' counterattacking nous and forward-thinking ideas would do for the likes of Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial. It's mouth-watering.

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You can criticise Solskjaer's tenure until you're blue in the face, but you can't deny that one major positive has been an upturn in excitement and attacking compared to Van Gaal and Mourinho.

As such, it's going to be really important that whoever picks up the torch from the Norwegian will maintain that approach and even if Rodgers were to fall flat on his backside at United, he'd at least do so entertainingly.

3. Premier League experience

Is this the most vanilla, ready salted and Barry Basic argument in the locker? Yes, yes it is, but that doesn't make it any less important, particularly when coaches like Zinedine Zidane are in the frame.

Great tacticians and coaches can and have adapted to the Premier League in the past, but look me in the eye and tell me how many of those are actually realistically available for United right now?

Zidane gets a hard rep when it comes to tactical nous, but I'll die on the hill that Rodgers holds his own against the Frenchman in that area and with no less than 257 more Premier League games to his name to boot.

Having done fantastic jobs with Swansea City and Leicester in the division, the Northern Irishman also took a completely top-heavy Liverpool side with Jon Flanagan and Aly Cissoko to within an inch of the title.

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And with any potential new appointment likely to transpire during the season, Rodgers comes oven-ready with the knowledge, expertise and experience up against the top Premier League managers with which he'll compete.

4. Experience winning and competing for trophies

Yes, yes, yes, managers like Zidane and Ten Hag boast more impressive trophy cabinets, that much is a given, but don't think for one second that Rodgers is undercooked in this department.

It's easy to roll your eyes at the mere mention of Rodgers' silverware with Celtic because, yes, it's not rocket science to win trophies with Old Firm clubs, but it's the manner in which he did it that deserves respect.

Besides, Rodgers didn't merely win seven major honours in Glasgow, but he masterminded the first 'Double Treble' in Scottish football history and guided Celtic to an unbeaten SPL season in his debut year.

Marry that to winning the FA Cup and Community Shield with Leicester, as well as guiding them to consecutive fifth-place finishes, to see that Rodgers is no strange to both silverware and competing at the top.

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Is he the number one candidate when it comes to this area? Of course he isn't, but don't think for a second that he should be discredited for it, particularly when he's seldom had world-class resources in his career.

And don't come back at me with his Liverpool spell when you hear me say that because great swathes of his Reds side were, and eventually proved to be, shy of even top-four quality.

5. Matches Solskjaer's best skill: man-management

In this hypothetical scenario where Solskjaer is shown the exit at Carrington, we've got to remember the potential downsides to the decisions as we much as we do the possible upsides.

And no matter what you think about Solskjaer's tenure at Old Trafford, you can't deny that his superb man-management and instillment of club values has been a much-needed course correction post-Mourinho.

Ok, give or take the Donny van de Beek situation, that is...

And given that Solskjaer's close connection with the squad has, for the most part, worked wonders for the club - seemingly bailing him out whenever the #OleOut calls loudened - it's important that United don't lose touch of this.

Enter Rodgers. It's clear that with all the big names and clout floating around the United dressing room that a human touch is needed to get the most from their performances and Rodgers can most certainly provide that.

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You always get the feeling that players want to give their all for Rodgers and that allows him to get superb displays from footballers that maybe don't have top-level ability and talent to fall back on.

Simply put, hiring Rodgers allows United to improve upon the areas in which Solskjaer hasn't been good enough, such as tactical ability, without losing the aspects that made his spell successful at times.

6. Ability to improve players and bring through youth

Let's face it, there are some serious weak points in this United squad and the club needs a coach who is proficient at getting the best out of players as opposed to someone who has only ever been used to wall-to-wall quality.

Would Zidane get the most out of Fred, Scott McTominay and Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the way that you imagine Rodgers would? Not for me, because his reputation for improving players is revered for a reason.

After all, Rodgers' ability to push Leicester into Champions League contention and win the FA Cup while shedding Ben Chilwell and Harry Maguire along the way borders on extraordinary.

In fact, there's an argument to be had that everyone from Daniel Sturridge to Jamie Vardy and Martin Skrtel to Maguire all played their best football under Rodgers. Steven Gerrard even had his last great season under his stewardship.

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Plus, you can draw similarities between 2013/14 Liverpool side and the current United team in terms of the top-heavy nature of the squad, so Rodgers is well-versed in finding the best balance possible.

And yes, albeit not a huge point in the context of United fighting major honours, it is nonetheless a major tick in Rodgers' box that he does have a Red Devils-like interesting in bringing through youth.

His track record with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Harvey Barnes and Flanagan sets a promising precedent for potential work with Greenwood, Amad Diallo, Anthony Elanga and many more at the Theatre of Dreams.

7. He's not the bottler that everyone says he is

Now, before I rest my case, let's address one of the biggest counterarguments that is so often lodged against Rodgers and that concerns his apparent reputation as a 'bottler'.

When you look at how Liverpool blew their lead at the Premier League summit in 2013/14 and Leicester dropped out of the Champions League places two seasons in a row, you'd be forgiven for subscribing to the notion.

But can we really staple the 'bottler' label to Rodgers when we zoom out and remember the context in which those three late-season stumbles actually happened?

Let's not downplay how crazy it would have been for Leicester to finish in the top four twice on the bounce at the expense of clubs like Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur along the way.

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And let's not act as though 2013/14 Liverpool - despite having an inspired Luis Suarez leading the line - actually had a stronger and more rounded squad than the Manchester City and Chelsea sides with which they competed.

Or to put things simply: 'bottling' is messing up something that you'd be expected to achieve, not falling short of something that - frankly - would have been borderline miraculous.

Who would your choice be?

You're sold, aren't you? I know, I know, you want to phone up your nearest tattoo parlour and ask when they can rustle up Rodgers in United gear for your upper thigh. I have that effect on people.

Ok, jokes aside, I'm not expecting everyone to start nodding in total agreement because the simple fact of the matter is that United would have plenty of problems to solve if they do sack Solskjaer.

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And trust me, there are numerous points in favour of, say, Zidane compared to Rodgers and I'll be the first person to admit that his lack of Champions League experience is a major red flag.

However, for all the reasons that I've outlined above, I do believe that Rodgers would be the ideal appointment for United in the long run even if it didn't have fans weak at the knees in the short-term.

Or if nothing else, at least the players would show great character...

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ENTER GIVEAWAY

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