August 5, 2021

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Better than Torres: Do Man United already have their proper Maguire partner?

Victor Lindelof pushed aside lingering doubts about his Manchester United future with a MOTM display...

Victor Lindelof pushed aside lingering doubts about his Manchester United future with a MOTM display for Sweden in their 0-0 draw with Spain at Euro 2020.

United’s pursuit of a new centre-back has been one of the talking points of the current transfer window, with targets rumoured to include Raphael Varane, Jules Kounde and Pau Torres.

Torres’s inclusion in the Spain side added extra spice to the encounter, presenting United fans with the perfect opportunity to compare two players who could end up vying for the same place next season.

Lindelof’s place has been under threat for some time at club level, with his physical limitations being exposed by the rough and tumble nature of the Premier League.

And his defensive lapse in the run up to Villareal’s Europa League Final opener saw scrutiny over his Old Trafford future intensify even further.

However, the Swede appeared to be enjoying his break from the all-seeing-eye of Premier League football last night, putting in an assured display to help the unfancied Swedes stifle an array of Spanish attacking talent.

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Lindelof looked defensively sound, making nine clearances and showing admirable resistance in the face of Spain’s nimble artisans, refusing to be passed even once during the entire 90 minutes.

Considering the backs-to-the-wall nature of the game, his passing was also very decent, with an overall passing accuracy of 83% and one completed long-range pass.

His performance didn’t go unnoticed, with social media practically ablaze with Linde-love over his stoic display.

The Times’ Henry Winter said:

‘So many defiant #SWE performances including Olsen, Lindelof, Danielsson and a 36-year-old Seb Larsson amongst others. Isak excellent. Pedri class for #ESP’

United We Stand’s Andy Mitten said simply:

That Lindelof looks decent for Sweden.

Naturally, this re-constitution of United’s formerly mushy ice-man prompted a few questions.

First up, how do we explain the upswing in form from club to country? And, if Lindelof could out-perform Pau Torres on the international stage, why is the Spaniard a candidate to replace him at Old Trafford?

In truth, there are a few sides to the Victor conundrum. Firstly, as discussed right here in The Peoples Person, Lindelof is a more cerebral defender, with a preference for the tactical side of the game.

Thinking back to his best displays, often against the very best club sides, he likes seeing the game in front of him and revels in ground-based duels. When up against technical opponents who look to pass through him, he’s at his best.

In many ways, last night’s match was geared towards those strengths, playing in a resolute, organised side against a team that likes to keep the ball on the ground and play through the middle.

Lindelof’s capacity to out-think an opponent has been proven, it’s his ability to be out-muscled that causes him bigger problems. In all probability, if the Premier League season consisted of 38 games against nippy, fleet-footed attackers, the Swede would probably be regarded as a high-grade operator.

Also worth questioning is the differences in coaching for club and country. Maybe Sweden are a more well-drilled unit, and United’s failure to eke out this type of performance speaks to wider tactical failings at Carrington? The side’s persistent weakness from set pieces would certainly suggest as much.

Next up for Sweden is a tricky contest against a Slovakia side that impressed in their victory over Poland. It will be interesting to see if United’s odd-one-out can keep the performances going as the tournament develops.

At the very least, it might add a few million to his price tag.

The post Manchester United’s Victor Lindelof impresses for Sweden at Euro 2020 first appeared on Man United Transfer News & Gossip | The Peoples Person.

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