The World Cup 2018 is in full swing and now that the group stages are finished, it’s time to reflect on some of the star performances from Manchester United’s players. In total, 11 Manchester United players from seven different countries have made the trip to Russia in an attempt to help them win the trophy, and some have fared better than others.
Romelu Lukaku: Glden Boot contender
Plaudits have rightly gone to Tottenham’s Harry Kane for his five goals in the tournament so far, but Red Devils striker Romelu Lukaku looks like he could be a close rival, with football betting site bet365 putting his odds at 10/3. The leader of Belgium’s frontline currently has four goals to his name, and while Kane has profited off two penalties and a lucky deflection, Lukaku has had to convert some harder chances. A good example of this was his second goal against Tunisia, a delightful chip with his weaker right foot from a tight angle.
Though he (like Kane) was rested for Belgium’s match against England, there’s no doubt that manager Roberto Martinez (who coached him at Everton) will want him starting every knockout fixture to come, and if he and Belgium can continue to play as they have done so far then we could see him take home the prize.
David de Gea: disappointment
After his most recent season at Manchester United, people around the world have been calling the Spanish keeper the best in the world. However, he has not quite transferred the same level of performances shown at club level to the international stage in Russia this summer. Particularly glaring was his calamitous error that gifted Cristiano Ronaldo a second goal in Spain’s opening match against Portugal, and, although he kept a clean sheet against Iran, he shipped a further two goals against Morocco, taking his total number conceded to five, the highest of any team to top their group at the tournament.
Spain are still one of the bookies’ favourites to win the World Cup 2018, with Bet365 placing them at 9/2, but they will have to shore up defensively and come much closer to playing like the team that won three straight trophies from 2008 to 2012 than they are currently. For that to happen, De Gea needs to play his part by rediscovering the form he has displayed for Manchester United.
Round up of the rest
Victor Lindelof has impressed for Sweden after a rocky first season at Old Trafford, while Nemanja Matic has ably commanded the Serbian midfield. Paul Pogba has been as maddeningly inconsistent for France as he has been in the Premier League, and Marcos Rojo’s stunning volley against Nigeria has glossed over an indifferent defensive performance for Argentina. On the England front, Phil Jones and Marcus Rashford have featured sparingly, with the latter missing a glaring chance against Belgium. Meanwhile, Jesse Lingard recovered from a profligate first match against Tunisia to score a belter against Panama, and Ashley Young has brought experience to the left wing back role he is employed in. It will be interesting to see if any of Manchester United’s players will be able to win the trophy, as they currently all head into the last 16.