Friday, September 29, 2023

Mark Goldbridge: Antony could be Man United’s Grealish but club has serious decision to make – and why Hojlund and Casemiro exchange against Arsenal could help ignite season

In an exclusive column for, Mark Goldbridge reveals why he’s excited by what he saw from new signing Rasmus Hojlund and Casemiro against Arsenal, his views on Antony and what Erik Hen Tag should do to turn Manchester United around.

It was great to see Rasmus Hojlund come on against Arsenal because as a new signing – and a striker – any club is excited about that and having him injured when he joined was disappointing.

To see him get on the pitch against Arsenal was a huge positive, then to see his attitude, hunger and desire – we know he’s very young and there’s got to be some patience there but what comes with that is the question of are they scared and are they ready?

Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba are fantastic centre-backs and he was there roughing them up and getting them involved.

We need that because it’s not been a very energetic start to the season and when you see someone like Casemiro grabbing his shirt and roughing him up, it’s great.

Casemiro’s not had a great start to the season either, he’s looked lethargic and tired like a lot of United players, but you don’t see that mentality very often in the game these days where players are really trying to rile up another player.

There aren’t many positives around Man United at the moment but I think those incidents and Hojlund coming into the team are positives – as long as we can kick on after the international break and these players can start feeding off that.

Man United have lacked an identity and a chemistry and have looked lethargic in the first games, so if this is a way that we can get moving then winning one or two games can quickly become five or six games unbeaten, so hopefully we see that leadership from Casemiro and Hojlund leading us from the front.

Hojlund and Casemiro’s exchange was a real positive for Mark GoldbridgeX:@UtdPlug


I know Antony is a really divisive player, but for me it’s interesting because I always use Jack Grealish as an example. He’s not a Man United player – he was a £100million player who went to Man City – and in his first year he hardly played and didn’t do very well but in year two he was fantastic.

Time and again we’ve seen players who aren’t successful in their first year at a big club and then in year two he really kicks on.

I have to say I’m a fan of Antony. I liked him at Ajax, I know it’s a different league, but I don’t think we’ve really seen the Antony who Ten Hag signed from Ajax.

Maybe that’s because he isn’t good enough for the Premier League – we’ve seen plenty of players come over from the Eredivisie who aren’t, but I don’t think it was fair to judge him on his first season and this season was always going to be the year to judge him.

The more important thing here, though, is not football related – it’s to do with these serious allegations that have emerged over the last few days. That will have the biggest impact on his future at Manchester United.

Unfortunately we won’t be able to talk about whether the second season is where he proves himself as a player because the allegations are serious.

The club have been through this situation over the last 18 months with Mason Greenwood and all eyes are on Manchester United to see if they are going to deal with it the same way.

Antony’s second season could be disrupted by the very serious allegations made against himGetty

If they do treat it the same way then Antony may not be playing football for Manchester United for the foreseeable future.

The next few days will be really interesting because there is a feeling within the fanbase that he will probably not be playing against Brighton [on the 16 September after the international break].

If he is going to play then there needs to be clear and concise reasoning as to why they are taking that line, so I suppose we just have to wait and see because it is very serious.


I’m on Erik ten Hag’s side on this because ultimately he’s asked a question and answered it – he thinks he’s got four wingers better than Sancho for this week based on training.

Sancho then posted a statement on social media, which is still out there refuting that.

Sancho may already done damage to his reputation by calling his boss out publiclyGetty

At any football club, the manager must be allowed to manage.

Maybe there’s a way back in the immediate future, but I think long term – is Jadon Sancho the man to make Man United catch up with Arsenal and Man City?

Long term I think he’ll leave but in the short term let’s find a way to move forward where Ten Hag can manage the team and hopefully an apology comes in from Jadon Sancho.


It’s way too early to say whether the transfers will be a success.
Ten Hag wanted Harry Kane and Kim Min-Jae but didn’t get them – he didn’t even get a centre-back.

Sofyan Amrabat hasn’t played because he was bought so late, Hojlund had an injury, Mason Mount is injured and Andre Onana is a transformative goalkeeper where it’s going to have an impact on us.

The overarching thing, and I hate to say it as a United fan, but I think Ten Hag and fans were expecting a different summer – one where the club had new owners.

It’s not been good. The goalkeeper will take time, but I think immediate changes are needed in midfield. It’s looked leggy and disorganised, so with Amrabat coming in – we know he’s aggressive and tenacious.

Kane has been a huge hit in Germany and Ten Hag could be watching on wondering about the impact he could have on his sideGetty

Hojlund will be massive up front and straight away you’ve got two players in key positions who give the team more energy which fans feed off.

We need to solve the centre-back injuries because Jonny Evans and Harry Maguire at the back would relegate Luton.

I’m hopeful if we can make those changes, that could be the catalyst to getting results needed to get back amongst it.

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