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Jonathan Spector
Gender Male
Ethnic American
Job American Footballer
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Affiliation

Org USA National Team
Club as Player Manchester United
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2019 07 10 Retrieve

[Jonathan Spector believes that the Red Devils should move on from Paul Pogba and hinted that there is a good chance Sir Alex Ferguson would have sold the controversial midfielder by this point] He’s a great player but he left the club once before and he’s clearly looking to move on again. I’m not sure he’s the type of player to keep at the club because it’s unsettling. He is a big player when he is playing well, but from the outside he seems like the kind of player who is going to move on every few years to a Juventus, a Real Madrid, and then two years later you could see him going to another big club. I get the impression that he’s not the kind of player to stay in one place for too long. If the club think that they can still get the best out of him, then they should keep him, but if he’s unsettled or he’s going to unsettle the rest of the team, it’s time for him to move on

I wouldn’t want to speak for [Ferguson], but I think there’s a very good chance that he would have [gotten rid of him]!

[Lukaku fired 15 goals in 45 games this past season after scoring 27 times in 51 appearances the previous year. Spector says there are perhaps unfair expectations thrust upon United strikers to follow in the footsteps of modern legends such as Ruud van Nistelrooy and Wayne Rooney] I think it would be great if [Marcus] Rashford was able to step up and take that role but I don’t know that he is a finished product yet. It ‘s a young team that they’ve got and I think they need to find the right balance between youth and experience, and I’d love to see them bring in a proven goal scorer. More like a Van Nistelrooy. Which every club wants, someone you know who is going to get you a number of goals. Harry Kane is a perfect example, I’d love to see them bring in someone like that, but also I don’t know how much money is being made available for that position!

Lukaku is a very good player but very different to Ruud. Ruud could disappear for 80 minutes but you knew if he got one chance he was going to score. I do feel that Lukaku needs a couple of opportunities if he’s going to score a goal, so I do think that fans get frustrated by that. Unfortunately they were spoiled with Van Nistelrooy!

2019 07 10b Retrieve

[Jonathan Spector says that Cristiano Ronaldo was a frustrating player during his initial days at Manchester United] He was a frustrating player. You could see that he had so much ability but that he wasn’t a finished product just yet. I think he owes a lot for the player he is today not just to the manager but the players that were around him. [Sir Alex] Ferguson did a great job of having players in the team that could help the players around them, make everyone around them better players. I think those formative years in his development to make him the finished product; he couldn’t have been at a better place than Manchester United. You could see his final ball wouldn’t quite be there, you could see at times Ruud Van Nistelrooy might get really frustrated because he didn’t know how many step-overs Ronaldo was going to do before putting the ball into the box for him but his ability on the ball, to beat players one-on-one, it was clear to see that he was going to be a very special player

It’s funny, Ferguson never spoke to me that way either. I think Ferguson was incredibly clever with that because he knew how to speak to players, that they might not all react the same way to criticism. Some players responded well to an arm around, some players responded well when you got into them and he knew how to speak to players, so he was very clever with that. But I never saw him scream at Ronaldo, but I don’t think it was preferential, he just knew the best way of getting the best out of his players

I do remember a couple of times he got into players, I’ve seen it on a couple of occasions. There was one time with Kieran Richardson in the changing room, after a cup game. We had a number of younger players playing and he was the older player of that group, and I think Fergie was making an example of him rather than him being at fault. It was an example that ‘to the rest of you, this is not acceptable’. Again, he picked on him as he was clever, as he knew Kieran Richardson could handle that, and it was an example to us that we don’t want to be on the wrong side of that

2019 07 10c Retrieve

[Jonathan Spector has backed compatriot Christian Pulisic to continue his rise] I don’t think he’s quite at that level just yet and there’s no shame in that, Hazard is a brilliant player! But he definitely has the potential if he continues to grow and improve. But with Hazard leaving it gives him an opportunity, as he needs to play games, especially at that age and at that stage of development. Being a 20-year-old playing for Chelsea is no small feat, so hopefully, he will get that opportunity and there is no telling how good he could be

At 20 years of age, he’s a very, very good player. Incredibly talented, he’s got a great first touch and he just glides past players. From what I’ve seen both in the U.S. and in Germany, he’s a great outlet, so when teams are under pressure you can give him the ball on the wing or in the middle of the pitch and he’s able to get out of trouble. He’s very similar to Hazard, but I wouldn’t put him at the same level just yet, and I’m apprehensive to make that comparison as he’s only 20 years of age but he has that ability as a player and if he continues to develop, he’s on the path to becoming the best American player that has ever come through

[Weston McKennie is seen as one of those players, having captained the U.S. in the Gold Cup finale against Mexico, and Spector says the Schalke midfielder can reach the same heights as Pulisic with a little bit more consistency] He isn’t a utility player but he has played all over the pitch for Schalke in a number of different positions and it would be good to see him lock down a position. I was similar, where I played all across the back four and even as a defensive midfielder, and it’s difficult when you’re getting moved around. It gives you opportunities to play but I think ultimately he wants to lock down a position and play in one position regularly

2019 07 17 Retrieve

[Jonathan Spector admits he is rather underwhelmed by his ex-club’s courting of Harry Maguire, using Matthijs de Ligt as an example of the kind of player the club should be pursuing] I was actually a bit surprised by [the Maguire approach]. I think he’s a very good central defender and he has proven himself at the international level as well, but a part of me thought that they would go abroad to fill that role. I thought they would potentially be chasing someone like De Ligt but Maguire is a good player and I think he could be good for the club, but only for the right price. It seems like English players command a premium and if they could get him for the right price, I think it would be a good buy

It’s a difficult one because I think the back four is certainly somewhere that they have had issues, but he had a really good season last year and hopefully he can replicate that. It’s going to be difficult to nail down a starting position at the club. But they’ve bought somewhere that they need to strengthen and hopefully he will develop into the player that people think he will

[Romelu Lukaku, meanwhile, may be leaving Old Trafford, with Intermilan mooted as a possible destination] I think it would be great if Rashford was able to step up and take that role but I don’t know that he is a finished product yet. It’s a young team that they’ve got and I think they need to find the right balance between youth and experience, and I’d love to see them bring in a proven goal scorer. More like a [former United star Ruud] van Nistelrooy. Which every club wants, someone you know who is going to get you a number of goals. Harry Kane is a perfect example, I’d love to see them bring in someone like that, but also I don’t know how much money is being made available for that position!

2020 02 02 Retrieve

[Former Manchester United defender Jonathan Spector has backed ex-team-mate Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to lift the fortunes at Old Trafford] [Solskjaer needs] time and the right players once they have found the system they want to play. Under Ferguson that was very clearly defined and everyone knew what the club was about. I think it takes time and they have to stick with Ole, to give him the time to define how this club is going to play. You have to give time to the manager who you think is going to bring longevity and results and I think Ole fits that

I know he has brought in some players but I don’t think that they are necessarily the right players. I don’t know the ins and outs of who has been making those decisions, but I do feel that he needs more time to build the team the way that he feels it needs to go, with the players that he feels that he needs to bring in

We had Patrice Evra who was one of the best left backs in the world, Rio Ferdinand one of the best central defenders in the world. Those are the players that United need to get back to and I know it’s going to cost money. There are also good young players coming through who need to be given time to develop

2020 02 02b Retrieve

[Jonathan Spector says The emergence of Brandon Williams at Manchester United will spell the end of Luke Shaw’s career at Old Trafford] He looks a very good player but I think he is one of those that needs time in the team and time out of the team. I don’t think that you can rely on him for a whole season just yet, that is a lot to put on a young player. I think that Luke Shaw will take on that role of helping to nurture and develop Brandon Williams, although they are in direct competition for that spot. Ultimately I think that Brandon will overtake him, but I don’t think that will be this season, it might be next season, that is done really well since making his debut

Luke Shaw has really struggled with his injuries and I don’t know that Luke Shaw can be relied on to play a whole season. At the moment, I wouldn’t say that either player is the person to go and play 30 or 40 games a season, I think it’s too big an ask for either of them. One because of injuries and the other because he is too young and hasn’t had that experience of doing it

[Spector has been impressed with new right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka] I think Aaron Wan-Bissaka has done really well, and his one on one been really good. I’d like to see him contribute and provide more to the attack, but I think defensively he has done really well. His pace, his strength and his one on one defending has been really good