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Paul Parker
Gender Male
Ethnic English
Job English Footballer
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Affiliation

Org England National Team
Club as Player Manchester United
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2019 07 04 Retrieve

[Paul Parker says Aaron Wan-Bissaka is the best right-back in the country] I saw Wan-Bissaka play a lot of times last season, both at home and away with Crystal Palace, and I’ve said constantly that, for me, he’s the best right-back in the country. People might throw up Kyle Walker and Trent Alexander-Arnold, but as a full-back, first and foremost in the number two position, you have to be able to defend, and he definitely can defend. He’s the best full-back in the one against one situation, without a doubt. People can get past him, but he’s got good pace, he knows when to tackle, he does slide in and he does remind me of Des Walker in the way he defends - long-legged running style, but covers the ground quick. He enjoys defending, which is a rarity as most players now like to make their name going forwards, being great crossers, overlapping and scoring goals. His priorities are defending and he thrives on making tackles.

Playing for Manchester United, he’ll soon realise the difference it makes in your life. It puts more pressure on you, and it’s important you use that and take it forward, because if you do that, and it goes the right way, there’s no better place to be. He has to close everything off around him, because the game’s changed so much now. He’s got to understand that there’s going to be pressures on him both on and off the pitch. He needs to keep everyone he knows close to him. He has the opportunity to go on and compete to become England’s right-back, because there’s no certainty over who is England’s guaranteed right-back at the moment - it’s still open. The move gives him a better chance as he’s gone to United, and if he starts delivering there, that puts more pressure on Gareth Southgate to choose him. Given his age, it puts him in a good position, because he’s only going to improve

2019 07 15 Retrieve

[Paul Parker says Manchester United have to part with Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez] You have to let Pogba and Sanchez go. Pogba’s a definite one. He wants to go - that’s been stated, but the only thing he’s not done is go on strike. You don’t know whether it’s struck him to do that. When people are watching him week-in-week-out they see what I see. You see him sulking

Sanchez was another massive mistake. It was a ridiculous signing and it was always going to go wrong. He wasn’t needed. But how do you get rid of somebody when they’re carrying so much money in their wage packet? You’d have to supplement them. You might have to give him over 50% of his wages. It’s madness. Whatever club he goes to next, they’re going to have the same issues as well

2019 08 08 Retrieve

[Paul Parker claims Everyone knows Harry Maguire isn’t worth £80m] Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under a lot of pressure. He needs a good start and he needs his team to show consistency. People are questioning how that team fell apart after such a good start. They capitulated - their performance at Everton (a 4-0 defeat in April) was like an ostrich sticking its head in the sand, it was awful. So Ole is under immense pressure. United have addressed a situation that the fans have been screaming for. They’ve been saying that their centre-halves are rubbish, which was implanted in people’s heads by Jose Mourinho.

The best way to shut the fans up is to go and spend £80m on a defender who everyone knows is not worth that money. The hope is that Harry Maguire can have the same impact that Virgil van Dijk has had at Liverpool, but you rarely get two bangs out of a stick of dynamite. I really don’t see how Maguire is going to come out and play in the same vein as Van Dijk. They’re hoping that he can make the defence better, but there’s a massive amount of pressure on him. United still have problems elsewhere, in midfield where there’s a lack of creativity. There’s been talk of Christian Eriksen coming in there, and then up front, Romelu Lukaku wasn’t the ideal frontman that United need. If you take Lukaku’s goals away, there wasn’t enough substance. They need another centre-forward as at the moment they’ve not got anywhere near enough, they can’t rely on what they’ve got unless someone hits the ground running and keeps at that pace throughout the nine months of the season

2019 08 12 Retrieve

[Paul Parker says Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold can’t defend like Aaron Wan-Bissaka] I’ve said it many times, I watched him often last year, I just like what he does. People talk about the lad at Liverpool [Alexander-Arnold] but he can’t defend like Wan Bissaka, whose defending and positioning is very good. He wants to defend, he loves it. And every time he won a tackle [against Chelsea] there was no doubt he won it cleanly. You would think he had been there years. I’m judging him as a defender. He is the best right back in the Premier League. There’s always a question about him going forward, he can learn that, he will get better and better. He’s playing for a team who will allow him to do that. If you’re playing next to him as a centre-half, you’re saying to yourself ‘there’s my get out of jail card’ because he wants to make those tackles and wants to protect that right hand side. He doesn’t want to give anyone a yard or see anybody deliver crosses from his side of the park. I thrive on that. I love that

2019 08 24 Retrieve

[Wolves (1) vs (1) Manchester United. Paul Parker says Paul Pogba is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t] Pogba has taken penalties previously, maybe the highlight of his game was that run into the box and he felt it was upon himself to take that penalty against Wolves. Marcus Rashford, as a Mancunian, a Manchester United fan and someone with respect for Pogba, turned around and said, ‘okay’. Pogba misses the penalty, fails to score and gets ridiculed for it. If he scores the goal, and Manchester United win the game 2-1, Pogba’s a hero. But that’s the situation Pogba’s in - he’s damned if does and damned if he doesn’t

2019 09 14 Retrieve

[Paul Parker says Manchester United have too many players trying to be magicians] United’s start has been poor. There’s no way around it. Five points from four games and only Daniel James has come out of it well. You can see there’s something about him, even though he has to look at how to react to being tackled and targeted. That can be sorted out, but the rest of it has been quite poor. They’ve got problems in all three key areas; if they had a creative midfielder, we’d be talking about an attack that isn’t clinical enough, but the front players aren’t being given the opportunities. A lot of them are trying to be magicians, making things out of nothing for themselves but it’s been very difficult

[Many are tipping Brendan Rodgers’s side to break into the top six this season] If [Tottenham, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea] don’t get their form right sooner or later, they’re going to struggle to reach Leicester’s level. They’ve not missed Harry Maguire and the way they allowed the talks to go on, I believe now that they wanted the money. They wanted a return on investment, and they got what they wanted

2019 09 19 Retrieve

[Paul Parker says Manchester United must forget the Class of ‘92 as they aim to get themselves back to the top of the Premier League] Everyone is looking at [the Class of] ‘92, but that needs to be put to bed. The Class of ‘92 were coming into a different Manchester United team. If you have a squad of players who feel mistreated, the young players can struggle, but our youngsters had a flourishing team. The boss knew how to fit them in. They became even better because of what was happening around them

[The likes of Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Nemanja Matic have been linked with moves away and could be frustrated by their lack of time on the pitch, with Parker concerned over a potential lack of leadership] Ferguson wanted the right players around them. If you bring a team who are not together, who are a little bit bitter, the younger players are going to feel they’ve got to do something straight away. They haven’t got the real pros around. They will need to keep it simple, and if they make a mistake, they want players to encourage them. You need to be told, ‘Right idea, but wrong execution’. That’s how players are made and broken

[The likes of Mason Greenwood, Angel Gomes, James Garner and Tahith Chong could all feature on Thursday night but Parker thinks pressure from the press and social media to perform right away means their careers are vulnerable to early disappointments] You could put those kids to the sword, and they won’t come up again. You have to give the team the chance to win [by not fielding an entirely youthful XI]… I don’t know if Ole can trust some of the pros to help them through the game. They might be more worried about themselves

2019 09 20 Retrieve

[Paul Parker does not believe Marcus Rashford has done enough to show Manchester United that they can rely on him to be their main striker] The hardest thing about United is trying to work out the direction they want to play. They need to find a centre forward who has a lot of pace, maybe like Andy Cole. When Cole came from Newcastle United he did so as a natural goalscorer, but he was able to adapt, to drop deep and link up with play in midfield

[Parker is not convinced by Rashford’s approach play] Does Rashford score tap-ins? He’s still learning. You don’t have to go off stats, you look at how the game is. He’s not doing enough

Should United have kept Lukaku? No. He could never change enough to become a United player. Rashford needs a mentor. Someone like Solskjaer or Mark Hughes, who could drop deep into midfield. Even someone like Eric Cantona or Teddy Sheringham would suit the squad

2019 09 23 Retrieve

[Paul Parker says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made the right decision in moving Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez out of Manchester United] He [Solskjaer] wanted Lukaku to go, and he would have liked a replacement, but as we know he wasn’t allowed to [sign one]. As far as Sanchez goes, if he’d kept him and not used him, or he’d have got injured, or if he’d kept him and used him and his performances continued to dip, he would have been slaughtered for not getting him out. I think in the long term it’s still absolutely right. With Sanchez they’ve been able to get rid of a portion of the money and there was obviously an issue with Lukaku, an attitude problem and the way he conducted himself didn’t help, he disrespected the badge on the shirt. It’s the long game he looked at and in my opinion it’s to the benefit of the dressing room

2019 09 26 Retrieve

[Paul Parker says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may be going through a tough time as of late at Old Trafford] I just think it doesn’t make sense for Manchester United to sack a manager, whether you want to call it a sacking or leaving by mutual consent. I don’t think they can at the moment because they’ve got enough issues going on

I think they are in such a bad place at the moment it would throw more mud at the club if they were to get rid of Ole. If they could come out and say ‘we are getting rid of him and we are going to have a clean slate with someone fresh’, in other words Ed Woodward is going to move away from his position and someone else is going to take that position and the club is going to be run as what it should be, a football club, I would say yes. Whoever is going to come in next is going to have the same barriers in front of them

[while their early performances have been mixed, Parker believes that reflects more on the club’s senior players than the young stars themselves] There’s not enough men now, who I would come out and say, who have got anything about them to believe they can make something happen. I keep reading all the time about bringing through these young players, I think to myself, if you were a parent and your son was with Manchester United you would not want him to go on that pitch to make his debut with that team there in this moment in time. There are too many selfish players out there who are more concerned about their own issues than be concerned about looking after a young player out there who is looking to make his name in the game. It’s the wrong time to be using these wrong players

2019 09 30 Retrieve

[Paul Parker believes Paul Pogba is fading out of the picture at Old Trafford due to his desire to be elsewhere] He’s talking himself out of it, he’s not really joining the party. Every time he talks, it’s about when he’s going to leave, and about the relationship between him and Zidane. That is the biggest problem for Pogba at the moment

[Next summer, Zidane may not even be at Real, and there may be no club willing to take a risk on a player who will likely be coming off the back of four inconsistent and unfulfilled seasons. Even United fans have started to turn on him. As Parker points out] Every footballer wants their ego to be massaged, but he is missing a golden opportunity to be remembered

2019 10 06 Retrieve

[Paul Parker says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces a near impossible job at Old Trafford as the team and his employers are not Manchester United Football Club anymore] You don’t have to be a rocket scientist or ex-player to know what the issue is at Manchester United and that’s why it’s called Manchester United. They’re not Manchester United Football Club anymore because at this moment in time it’s ‘Manchester United [the brand] who come first’ and not ‘Manchester United, the football club, who should be coming first’.

[He added on a coach who has started to see questions asked of his ongoing presence amid further struggles for consistency] Everyone’s trying to turn around and blame Ole for it [but] you’ve got to remember that he’s trying to manage and coach a professional football club in the Premier League. But he’s not been allowed to do that properly because people are not allowing him to go and bring in what he wants and allowing him to give it his best shot. This is a problem, it’s a problem for any club in any division of football but if you’re in the Premier League, at Manchester United and you’re not showing anything what people see as trying to win a football league then all of a sudden they’re going to be negative towards him and that’s what’s happening.

He’s totally out of control of what’s happening next at Manchester United. He can only serve up what’s in front of him. When I keep hearing people say ‘get rid of him, do this, do that’ - all of these people who seem to know better, I tell you what, if you’re a plumber and someone takes away your wrench, and then you expect to go to work, but you can’t do it and they won’t give it back to you, then it becomes very, very difficult. The problem Ole’s got at this moment in time is that did he really want to go into this season without a centre-forward? Of course he didn’t but there’s a reason why he has and it’s nothing to do with him

2019 10 12 Retrieve

[Paul Parker says Manchester United’s selfish stars have been told that they would be better off playing golf or tennis] The squad that has been destroyed by [Jose] Mourinho has taken another hit because the new manager still doesn’t think they’re up to it. So they take it personally because today’s footballers take things personally rather than going out and wanting to prove someone wrong. They would rather sit back and wait until they get their next move - because people will gamble on them since the money allows them to.

Before, a manager would have said ‘yes I’ll take you but you’re going to have to take a wage drop because you haven’t really cut it there’. It would give players an incentive to work hard and earn that contract again, which a lot of them don’t want to do any more. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist or even a football fan to work out something is going wrong at Manchester United. Everyone has got a say on what is happening to that football club. Right now, United haven’t got team players. Life today is about how many followers we’ve got on Instagram or Twitter so everyone is out there with their own agenda, not understanding that football is a team game. Most of them would be better off playing golf or tennis where they can do it on their own because some of them are not suited to playing a team game

2019 10 12b Retrieve

[Paul Parker says Jose Mourinho annihilated Manchester United before leaving Old Trafford] I’m not saying that you can’t get rid of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, or that you should. You can change him, then someone will come in and people who don’t really understand the game will expect things to change for the better. But it will be the same tools in the box. The best-case scenario is that the players’ mindset will change a little bit and the new man has a hell of a start. He might get an extra mile out of them in the game because they want to do something for someone else - but then we’ll soon be back to square one. We’ve already seen it happen with Solskjaer

I said the club should sack Jose Mourinho because he annihilated a lot of the players in the hope that it would motivate some of them to avoid being next. That affected the whole club, from the playing staff to the back offices. That was why he had to go. He was destroying a club that is on the verge of being destroyed from above as well. That had to change. By contrast, Ole came in and has tried his best to bring everyone back together, which he has done and some of the feel-good factor had come back to the club. But it will make no difference at all what they do with Ole because Manchester United is like a house without a roof. The people in charge are not looking after the roof properly, and now it’s getting a bit windy so the house is starting to wobble. And when the house wobbles, it affects the very foundations

2019 10 25 Retrieve

[Paul Parker asks Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again?] United don’t have enough players who can play that game. They don’t play to get the ball or their midfielders into the box as quickly as possible. McTominay, for example, does not get into the penalty area often enough

[Parker says that under Sir Alex Ferguson the players weren’t overloaded with tactical information] It was about how best to express ourselves. There weren’t necessarily too many instructions. In front of our back four was an excellent front six. That made our jobs easy

Ashley Young has played as a full-back for years but he still defends like a winger. He doesn’t know how to track runners and, as a defender, you need to be aware of where your opponents are at all times - even when you think they’re offside

[United’s squad is certainly not well stacked from an offensive perspective] Attacking is going to be difficult. There is not enough quick feet or quick decision-making. There is no creativity. Perhaps they will have to have another look at Juan Mata, who has been wasted in this team. At Manchester City, with better ball retention, the football would suit him better

[Paul Pogba could be used as a No.10] Pogba can make the difference if he actually wants to

[Parker would also like to see Solskjaer take a chance on James Garner, the 18-year-old box-to-box midfielder who impressed on Europa League duty in midweek, as he remains completely unconvinced by Andreas Pereira] Is Solskjaer still going to persist with Pereira? I thought his decision-making was poor against Liverpool. He was looking for the glory pass or the glory shot. Would a better alternative not be Garner or even Greenwood instead of Pereira? Nobody knows quite what they offer and could provide the element of surprise

2019 10 28 Retrieve

[Paul Parker recalls ex-United winger Andrei Kanchelskis] I had a Ukrainian train in front of me, and I could play it to Andrei Kanchelskis’s feet. But I could also play it into space as he was quicker than anyone. United don’t seem capable of running for a whole match like Andrei was, and they don’t have the pace and the energy of Lee Sharpe or Ryan Giggs, who would run the whole 90 minutes. They don’t have players with the physical toughness of Paul Ince, and I won’t even mention Roy Keane. Man United’s players don’t have the same physical strength. Andrei was so physically strong he could do keepy-uppies with a medicine ball

[When it came to running for the side under Ferguson’s era] We’d all pitch in. You’d get an acid tongue from the boss if you didn’t run. You don’t get the chance to carry too many people before it starts to reduce your own effectiveness, especially if you don’t have too much talent yourself

2019 11 08 Retrieve

[Paul Parker says Man Utd’s only route to the Champions League is via the back door] The Europa League is the only way into the Champions League for Manchester United. They’re not going to make the top four as they don’t win enough games of football when it really matters. So the only way realistically that they can qualify for the Champions League is via the back door. However, it won’t be easy, having watched Rangers and Celtic. I tell you what, if everyone’s talking about United winning the whole thing, both those sides will be saying it too because they were excellent. Arsenal are still left too and there is also serial winners Sevilla. It’s not an easy competition to win but it is United’s way to the Champions League

The United boss needs to decide on his best 11 or 12 players, get consistency and get points on the board and try to play that 11 as often as possible. At the end of the day when you look at some of the sides in the Premier League, we are not talking about five or six great players in each team, we talk about the whole team. With United, they don’t have great individuals but they’re not a team either, so they’re playing games of football off the name of Man Utd

2019 11 23 Retrieve

[Paul Parker says It would be no surprise if Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has already spoken to Mauricio Pochettino in the wake of his dismissal by Tottenham] What’s next for Pochettino? He’s a young experienced, ambitious manager, and although he has been linked with United in the past it wouldn’t be the right choice. At Tottenham, he was at a club with a clear vision and structure, but under Ed Woodward, United don’t seem to know where they are going. But given the way managers are moving around at the moment, would it be surprising that Woodward has been speaking to Pochettino? No

[Quizzed on the Pochettino rumours ahead of a meeting with Sheffield United on Sunday] No, it [speculation] doesn’t bother me at all, I’ve got the best job in the world and if you’re in or out of a job you want this job, so it doesn’t really matter whatever happens around it. I’ve got to focus on my job at Manchester United, do it as well as we can, speak with Ed [Woodward] and the owners all the time about how we move forward and that doesn’t change if others change managers

2019 12 05 Retrieve

[Paul Parker says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should be gone at Manchester United] Can they finish eighth? You have to look where they are at this moment in time, the games where they’ve dropped points and people may say even then they won’t finish eighth. They’ve given away soft points

All the stats say that he [Solskjaer] shouldn’t be in a job and other managers may have slightly better stats. I think I know and everyone else knows that he should be gone but I look at what can happen next and I don’t see any different that can happen from when Jose Mourinho arrived. It’s all about what’s happening above in and around that club. It’s still not a good environment for a top manager to come into. There needs to be a football-orientated person to take control of the buying and selling of players

I like Pochettino. I like what he did at Spurs and everything about what he does. I like his signings and the way he wants to play but the problem is I don’t think he’s going to get all that if he goes to Manchester United. People will say ‘he needs some time’. He’s not going to get time. People will be on to him saying ‘you did this at Spurs, do this here. We want it now’. Football’s a very now, now, now scenario and it’s become lose-lose, sack-sack

2019 12 07 Retrieve

[When asked if the Paul Pogba still has a long-term future with the Red Devils] I don’t think so, which is something I’m not happy about. I think with the way things went under the previous manager, things that were said and done. I’m not sure he will still be there, and I don’t think he wants to be there. With the current situation at United, they need players that want to be at the club and give everything they have got for the team, fans and the club

[Parker doesn’t believe that Harry Maguire has fully justified his price-tag yet though] [Maguire] has done okay. He has not stood out for me and for the money that United paid for him, he has not earned that. You look at someone like Virgil van Dijk, who has been value for the money paid, and you would go as far to say that he has exceeded that. I don’t think they needed to spend that money on Maguire. They got pressured into getting him from the previous manager when they did not need to spend that type of money. They were pressured into getting rid of Chris Smalling, which has now been deemed as a mistake due to how well he is doing at Roma

2019 12 16 Retrieve

[Paul Parker says Manchester United should be looking to offload Paul Pogba if they can recoup the £89 million they paid for him] If they can get back what they paid for him - or maybe just a little bit more - I think they should take it to be honest. As long as that’s allowed to be spent on the team, then it does make sense. I don’t think we’ve seen a great passion for him wanting to play for Manchester United

[Croatia international striker Mandzukic has been linked with a switch to England] They need to spend money if they want to get in the Champions League. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to show that they need at least two quality players to give them some hope of doing something. That’s got to be a goalscorer and a goal maker. Someone of Mandzukic’s ilk, who’s got a good physical presence, work ethic and can earn you fouls with his hold-up play. The thing with him as well is he can play wide and be comfortable there as well. They need someone who’s adaptable - but Mandzukic would only be a short-term fix

[United could do with more than a short-term fix, with a long-term rebuilding project] United at the moment still aren’t a stable club. The Glazers and Ed Woodward are often mentioned - and they shouldn’t have anything to do with the football side of things. The club is in a poor state because of what’s happening above. It’s putting players off. The problem is United are still a big name - so people are making money off that. History only goes so far, though

2019 12 24 Retrieve

[Paul Parker says David de Gea looks a little bit disillusioned with life at Manchester United] I think David de Gea is a little bit disillusioned, which is why these errors have come into his game. He’s had to carry his outfield team-mates a lot over the last few years and I’m not sure his mind is in the right place at the moment. For the incident against Watford, he was either thinking ahead and messed up the easy bit of his job, perhaps he’s generally worried about the state of the club, or maybe he’s worried about his form, especially with the Euros coming up. There are a lot of players who make more mistakes than him. He’s dragged Manchester United into Europe on his own in previous seasons. We have to remember that before we write him off or condemn him.

[Parker added on what the future holds for De Gea, who has been on the Red Devils’ books since the summer of 2011] It’s very hard to see him leaving United for a while yet though. With his new contract, he would cost a hell of a lot of money. He probably just needs changes at the club to feel better in himself. The 10 United outfielders were terrible on Sunday. All his error really did was change the headline

2019 12 24b Retrieve

[Paul Parker says Man Utd should sign Mario Mandzukic as a quick fix] If you’re talking short-term, yes. If you’re talking about someone who’s just going to come in, be a focal point, be aggressive, and hold the ball up - earn your fouls, rather than the ball coming straight back - then yes. But you’ve got to have good ball retention as well with him. He’s fortunate; he’s had a great career, played for some great clubs, but he’s played with teams that can pass the ball. You can’t just keep pumping them down his throat, that’s not the way, even though he’s a big strong physical man. So, for me, yes [he’d be a good signing]. Other people go ‘no, he’s not Manchester United’. Well, what is Manchester United at this moment in time? What is the real Manchester United in 2019? No-one really knows

Everyone has their own opinions, but I think everyone knows Manchester United do need a centre-forward. They do need a central midfield player that can create. They need a centre-forward, they need a central midfield player. That’s at least two players they really do need at this moment in time

To be talking about Manchester United finishing in the top four, I really don’t see how anyone can think that will happen at this moment in time. If Ole can last until January, they’ll maybe allow him to get three players in, which will all have to be down the spine of team. Then, maybe they have a chance of getting that fourth spot. But, other than that really I don’t think there’s much chance

2019 12 25 Retrieve

[Paul Parker has heavily criticised the way that the club is discriminated against from within] At this moment in time, everything that’s going on above the manager’s head is shocking. The stories are coming out all the time. It’s becoming a hard world for everyone. It’s hard enough being an ex-player for a club, and if you played for that club and you enjoyed your time, you have a feeling for the club. You may not support them, but you at least want them to be right, and you don’t want them to be discriminated [against]. At this moment in time, United are being discriminated [against]. The football side is, by the business side of it. It’s Manchester United. It’s not Manchester United FC anymore. It was a football club. Not a business, it was a football club for one side of the people of Manchester. Even that’s been taken away now

[Van Gaal’s instant firing for Mourinho after winning the FA Cup was mentioned by Parker as an example of a club lacking in morals] You look at what they’ve done to LVG; disrespected a great, world-class manager, embarrassed him. He wins a cup final and then they sack him after it. There’s a big, big problem with the club

2020 01 02 Retrieve

[Paul Parker says Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof are not good enough for Manchester United] Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof are not good enough. I don’t know how they are going to improve on the two of them. They still have players who won’t be taking United forward when you consider defenders like Jaap Stam, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic who were vital when United teams were winning. A lot of people are talking about how much money United need to spend to bring in new defenders but what they are not thinking about is whether the players will actually want to come to Old Trafford right now

[Parker added on Maguire, who has taken on captaincy duties at United but is still finding his feet] He has done okay. He has not stood out for me and for the money that United paid for him, he has not earned that. You look at someone like Virgil van Dijk, who has absolutely been value for money, and you would go as far to say that he has exceeded that. I don’t think they needed to spend that money on Maguire. They got pressured into getting him from the previous manger when they did not need to spend that type of money. United were also pressured into getting rid of Chris Smalling which has now been deemed as a mistake considering how well he is doing at Roma

[He said of a side that saw the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson send them into a downwards spiral] I would say this is the worst United team in the Premier League era. The deterioration from 2013 has just been really poor. They have only won three trophies since then and if something does not change ASAP, things will only get worse for the club

2020 01 02b Retrieve

[Paul Parker says Paul Pogba doesn’t want to be at Man Utd - Jack Grealish not the right replacement] I don’t think he has a future, which is something I am not happy about. With the way things went under the previous manager, things that were said and done, I am not sure he will still be there, and I don’t think he wants to be there. With the current situation at United, they need players that want to be at the club and give everything they have got for the team, fans and the club. If he wants to leave and the right price is being matched, I would get rid of him as soon as possible. If United were to get the right price, they could use it the other way and bring someone in. They need to be tactical with their signings as they need to realise that bringing in new players will not get them instant success. You can’t buy instant success anymore

Jack Grealish is not consistent enough for me, to be honest. Whereas James Maddison has been playing a high level for a few months now. He has more experience in the league and is constantly being mentioned by players, managers and pundits as standing out this season

[The Germany international is another that Parker feels should be avoided] United don’t need a player like him right now. They need someone who is going to be creative going forward and that is not something that Emre Can will provide

2020 01 09 Retrieve

[Paul Parker says Manchester United should have been looking at landing James Maddison several years ago] James Maddison is a fantastic footballer, hell of a player - but why didn’t Manchester United see him and get him when he was at Norwich City? If you want him now, he’s going to cost you over £120m

Ole should be allowed to go and get players in January, just to add a bit of a spark in to the club and lift the other players. It always makes a difference if a top player comes in. For me, you can talk and talk, but does the player really want to come? If you look at what’s going on at Leicester City, you’d have to question Maddison’s mentality if he leaves them now

2020 01 09b Retrieve

[Paul Parker says Scott McTominay is no more than a modern-day Robbie Savage that runs around trying to kick people] Scott McTominay is a good example of the problem. He just runs around trying to kick people, thumping the badge. He’s like a modern-day Robbie Savage. You need more than that. If people are saying United are missing McTominay, they’re not really Man United fans. The reason he’s out injured is because he tried to kick someone and hurt himself. If that’s what people think United are, then they weren’t around for the good times

Every time Solskjaer looks at what his midfield’s going to be - well, let’s just say I’m just surprised he’s not gone bald already because it must paralyse his brain that there is no midfield at all at United. Whatever he puts out there, there’s absolutely no guarantee it’s going to work. If you’re playing up font, you know that you’re not going to get the ball. If you’re in defence, you know that the ball’s going to come straight back. The midfield is the problem at United. They have absolutely no middle ground

[Parker has also suggested that Solskjaer could do with another experienced head alongside him in the dugout] I’d even look at Solskjaer and ask if he’s got the right people sitting with him on the bench. Does he need someone next to him who has been a manager themselves to sit with him and help him? I would say that maybe he does. It doesn’t have to be big names that come through the door in January to fix it. Apart from anything else, how many big-name players want to come to Manchester United at the present moment? I don’t believe that’s the answer.

We can talk tactics all day long, but tactics only work if you’ve got players who can understand and execute them, and United don’t have good enough players to do that. We can question Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, we can look at his CV. But there’s a bigger problem here. If you’re going to change the manager, then the next one that comes in has got to be able to go out and buy six very good players and four world-class players, because what’s there right now just isn’t good enough

2020 01 13 Retrieve

[Paul Parker says Manchester United will get greater value from a deal for Bruno Fernandes than they would a move for James Maddison] I wouldn’t have any concerns over him playing in Portugal at his age. People say you can’t put the words £50m and bargain together, but when you’re talking about James Maddison costing near or over £120m, and the fact he will have to hit the ground running, you have to reconsider. You’re getting a player who is technically better than any other United player in that area, other than arguably Juan Mata.

If Ashley Young wants to move, if it’s for the money or the lifestyle, or if he wants a chance at winning a league title medal, then you’re going to have to just let him go. You don’t want a player moping around and becoming a sour apple. It’s human nature, you can’t blame him for it, if you feel someone is depriving you of something you want to do, you are unhappy. There’s nothing wrong with it. I think you have to let him go

2020 01 17 Retrieve

[Paul Parker says Bruno Fernandes will need to be Man Utd’s De Bruyne] He did OK at Udinese and Sampdoria but ended up back in Portugal. Maybe he was homesick or didn’t enjoy his time in Italy, I don’t know. Perhaps he wants to try going abroad again and prove a point.

For £65 million, United may have got themselves a bargain - in this day and age anyway - but we can’t be fully sure. When he comes to Manchester United, the moment he turns up he’s got to be as creative as anyone else in the Premier League, that’s the expectancy. He’s really going to have to hit the ground running and be like United’s own Kevin De Bruyne, because he is going to be judged from the very first minute he starts playing for the club.

The only thing is, if you were to put De Bruyne in the United team right now he would struggle because he would be the only creative player in the team - he needs other people to work with him. So I’m not so sure we’ll see Fernandes at his very best right away because he might not have the right players around him.

The good thing is, though, he should strike up a good rapport with Fred because they can both speak the same language. OK, one will be speaking Brazilian-Portuguese, but they should still be on the same wavelength and perhaps he can help bring something extra to Fred’s game. It’ll be interesting, but he can’t expect to come to United and be given time to settle in, that doesn’t happen at Manchester United

They definitely do need something different up front. Anthony Martial tries, but one good performance in six just isn’t good enough. We need consistent performances from him where he is seen as a threat, but that doesn’t materialise enough from Martial. And the problem he has is that Rashford is at his best on that left side, he likes to cut inside onto his right and he does it very well. Martial wants to play that side too but Rashford does it better and more consistently than him

2020 02 15 Retrieve

[Former Manchester United defender Paul Parker has described Bruno Fernandes as an artist in the same mould as Eric Cantona] He [Fernandes] is someone who makes opportunities and is brave enough to make those passes to try and win football matches. There are some players who just have that way about them, they’re artists. You can’t make those people. Artists aren’t made, they’re born. It was like when Eric Cantona came in 1992, he came to a team that just missed out on the last First Division

The whole onus can’t be on Fernandes, some of the onus has to be on the midfielders around him. They’ve got to help him out and do things for themselves now and again. But they’ve mainly got to work hard to give him the ball in space and then make things happen. We were missing an edge but got in Eric and United’s whole concept changed, particularly in the way we attacked. One player made so many more options and more players did more themselves. Fernandes won’t have the same impact as what Eric had … United right now have to focus on being a side that can score

2020 02 15b Retrieve

[Paul Parker says Manchester United’s pursuit of James Maddison & Jack Grealish called into question] Manchester United need to sign proven players but the one who has proven himself [Maddison] is not going to leave Leicester. He’s not going to move unless Leicester get offered ridiculous money, like they were for [Harry] Maguire. Leicester couldn’t believe their luck with that one. So you go with Maddison [over Grealish] but can they get a deal? Grealish for me is still potential, there’s been a lot of talk, and he hasn’t really done it on a consistent basis

[Parker went on to suggest that United are also still in desperate need of another centre-forward] You have to look long-term. They definitely need a centre forward. Ighalo has come in but that’s a temporary move. You would probably look at a centre back as well, a quality centre back for a reasonable price

[United are due back with a crucial trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea on the cards] It’s a big game for both teams, they both need to come out and be positive. Nobody can predict what will happen because both teams are lacking in confidence and desperate to win. Neither team can afford to lose the game. These points could make a massive difference at the end of the season

2020 02 17 Retrieve

[Paul Parker says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has faced unfair criticism at Manchester United] There has been so much negativity surrounding Manchester United that it’s easy to forget what is still possible for them this season. United can’t win the Premier League title or the Carabao Cup, but they head to Stamford Bridge on Monday night still fighting on three important fronts. They’re among the favourites for the Europa League, face Derby in the fifth round of the FA Cup, and if they beat Chelsea they’ll be just two points behind the Blues in the race for the top four

As a footballer at this stage of the season you can’t ask for much more than that. Maybe if there was a different person in charge of the club, a bigger name with more managerial experience, people would be focusing on the positives. As it is, though, everyone is condemning Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and saying he should never have got the job. But some of the things that have gone against him - the injury to Marcus Rashford and the Paul Pogba situation, for example - are out of his control and he shouldn’t be blamed for them

Manchester United will always be a big story because the club has been so successful in the past. They’re still the number-one talking point but Ole and his players just need to ignore the criticism and focus on winning games of football because there’s still so much to play for.

Anything can happen in the FA Cup and remember that United won the Europa League under Jose Mourinho with a poor team - and a bit of luck. I certainly wouldn’t have Chelsea down as home bankers to beat them at Stamford Bridge. The English press always seem to want to write great things about Frank Lampard but if it was someone else doing a similar job at Chelsea then they might be under more pressure. They have not been great at home this season and United’s record in these big games is decent

2020 02 22 Retrieve

[Paul Parker says Man Utd should move Pogba on now & he can take Raiola with him] The whole thing has to stop, it’s as simple as that. They just need it to move on. It’s not about when he comes back, don’t even wait for that. Just move him on now and take his agent with him. His agent has said a lot of stuff, Pogba hasn’t said anything. There are enough opportunities for him to come out and set the record straight. If he came out and said he wants to leave, a lot more respect would be had. Don’t let a non-football man do it for you

The fans are not fussed about him anymore, they’ve got no interest anymore. Even if he does come back, they are fed up of ifs and buts. If the real Paul Pogba was there, with Bruno Fernandes and Fred around as well, that would be a good combination. But it isn’t going to be. Manchester United have to move him on. They need positivity and that’s with players that want to be there

2020 02 27 Retrieve

[Paul Parker says Paul Pogba is bad for Manchester United and the Red Devils need to shift on from him now] At this moment in time, he is bad for Manchester United. He’s bringing too much negativity to the club. His quality is incredible, but he’s averaged about one performance in 10, that’s how bad he’s been. I think they need to shift on from him now, I see any comeback now as being very, very difficult. He’s been a bad fit all round.

When you see [Romelu] Lukaku now scoring loads of goals, he had to leave because he was affecting the club and the dressing room - it was the right decision. Pogba’s agent says he sees Juventus as his home. He left his home for a package holiday, the package was the big package and now he wants to return - that’s what it seems like

There’s been a lot more lowlights than highlights. I put it down to the unstable running of the football club. Everything from above has been massively negative, which is reflected on the pitch. They’ve been signing the wrong players, not as footballers but as men, mentality-wise. Prior to Ole Gunnar taking over, there were some terrible signings

The moment you bring in someone who is very inexperienced, they get absolutely persecuted. For Ole Gunnar, everything has to be right. He has the biggest rucksack in the world. Just let him do this job with the tools he’s got. When he came in, the club were in a bad state. There were a lot of scars there from the previous regime, and he built bridges that were broken from the previous manager [Jose Mourinho]. Frank [Lampard] at Chelsea can say he uses young players and no one wants to close the door on him, it’s strange really

2020 03 06 Retrieve

[Manchester United midfielder Fred has been held up as an example to Eric Dier of how to deal with abuse and come through it a better player] Every player gets abused. Look at poor Fred at Manchester United and what he has had to endure. The team was performing badly and he was only playing occasionally, one game out of five, and was probably not comfortable because he’s not getting continuity in his game. He will have had his frustrations and let go of his cool but instead he kept his composure and came back. If United were to do an award for their most improved player he would win it. There are a lot more players in worse circumstances than Dier who every week know there is going to be one, a hundred or thousands of people who will pick them out because they’re an easy target to do that

2020 04 30 Retrieve

[Paul Parker is not convinced that Manchester United should be looking at investing £100 million ($125m) in Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho] Is Jadon Sancho worth the money that is being talked about? All people have seen is flashes in an England shirt, and all of a sudden they think he is the next best thing. He is English, so we have to hype, hype, hype. I am not 100 per cent sure, given what I have seen. At the moment, I am just being honest, I am not 100 per cent sure about him.

There are clubs like United who are willing to spend big money, but this sort of fee could leave them with egg on their face. £100m is a lot of money for a player that an English club have let go already. If you look at Paul Pogba, who United let go before, then having to spend an extortionate amount of money to bring him back - look how that has turned out, so far. On the playing side, it will be a risk. Let’s see what happens after all this (the coronavirus lockdown), as that will affect it. Agents are starting to get concerned about when they are going to start earning money again. People talk about the value of the player going down, it just remains to be seen which clubs will have enough money to spend this sort of cash. Let’s wait until footballs have been kicked and see

[Parker added, with it unclear where Sancho would fit into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans given the attacking options already available to him] United have wide forwards. If Sancho comes in, you have got to ask where is Anthony Martial going to play? Where does Marcus Rashford play? Given how he likes to start wide and then come in.

What about Daniel James? When you then go and spend £100m on a player who is younger than him. That will affect him, mentally. Would it be a backwards step to ruin all the progress they have made?

Look at other areas, like the centre forward position. You can buy as many wide players as you like, but you still need a centre forward who is going to score you a minimum of 19 league goals a season

It is a problem at United. They have Odion Ighalo at the moment, but he is not the long-term solution. This position may well be the priority than bringing in a fashion statement like Sancho

2020 04 30b Retrieve

[Paul Parker says James Maddison should be favoured over Jack Grealish if Manchester United are looking to spend ‘big, big money’] Look at the United midfield and think how do you fit a Jack Grealish into it? If he plays for United it will not be out wide. Then, in the middle, is he going to win the ball back? Can you have him and Bruno Fernandes in a midfield two? Fernandes is a far better player, and wins the ball back. He wants to get on the ball and does it with the ball.

Grealish is still, at the moment, a big fish in a small pond, it would be interesting to see how he gets on at a bigger club. Maddison has done really well at Leicester but is happy there. He is definitely more of a guarantee than Grealish as he has proven himself at a bigger club. He is a better proposition for United. He is more adaptable, he plays at a higher energy than what Grealish does. Grealish spends long spells out of the game, and only comes into the game when he is on the ball.

If you are going to spend the big, big money, then Maddison should be the target. Does he want to leave Leicester at this time, with the way things were going there? It seems he wants to stay, but if somehow United can persuade him and Leicester otherwise, he should be the main target. If the opportunity does arise to go to United, it may well be a decision he would regret saying no to later in his career

2020 05 25 Retrieve

[Paul Parker says Calls for Pochettino to replace Solskjaer are wrong] Given that nothing has really been happening in football, people have got to find a story they can build into something. You talk about Pochettino, he’s been mentioned of late. I’ve seen that he’s been speaking on TV, he’s about and people are trying to push him towards jobs. You throw him in at Manchester United and it’s an easy one to do, to say that something could happen, but things at United have shown, with how they finished before this situation started, it would have suggested they would have been there until the last kick of the ball to get into the Champions League. They had turned around, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had turned them around as a team, as a club, the whole place was definitely moving forward. When you look at the players he’s spent money on, not one of them have let Solskjaer or Manchester United down, they have all stepped forward. Bruno Fernandes in particular has made an impact straight away and everyone is growing into it now and has got the right mentality. So United at this moment are going forward, we’ll wait and see what happens when things start again, but if you’re judging now it’s wrong that people are still trying to get that man [Solskjaer] out of that job

2020 06 25 Retrieve

[David de Gea looks as though he does not trust his back four at Manchester United] It wouldn’t surprise me if De Gea is on edge because he does not trust his back four. When you trust your defence, you play much better. I think that United need to make changes in the transfer window. Harry Maguire should not be on the left of the central defence. He should be on the right where he is more comfortable. I’d drop Victor Lindelof and bring in Nathan Ake from Bournemouth. Chelsea don’t seem to want him, so now is the time to make a move. He has proven that he is a good defender in a poor team. He’s comfortable on the ball. Being left-footed, he would bring the ball forward better than Maguire does from that side, which is needed because Luke Shaw isn’t good enough in attack either. Ake would balance the whole side. Every player has a blip, and it’s up to the manager to coach De Gea, to sort him out and stick him out. He can’t just throw him out. De Gea knows he needs to justify his contract, and the club can’t afford to stick his £300,000-a-week wages on the bench.

2020 06 26 Retrieve

[Paul Parker says Jesse Lingard is ‘in a rut’ at Manchester United and appears to be looking for a way out] He could go to Italy to re-establish himself, perhaps at Inter Milan. But he has to ask, is he moving to spark his career or simply to embellish his CV?

2020 06 26b Retrieve

[Paul Parker says Jesse Lingard is in a rut at Manchester United and appears to be looking for a way out] One player who may be moving on is Jesse Lingard. He is on the periphery now. Once he was delivering for club and country, and he became big news - a local boy who took his opportunity. But now when he gets his chances he can’t stand out and lead a group of young players, and nor do senior colleagues help him raise his game. He’s in a rut. When the team are playing well, that will be killing him. If you’re in his position, you don’t want the team to do well because then you can get another chance

For now Mason Greenwood, [Marcus] Rashford and [Bruno] Fernandes are doing their jobs. They’ve done what United needed Lingard to do, but he has to get close to Fernandes’ level before he can demand another chance. Now he’s signed up with Mino Raiola he’s probably looking to get abroad. He’s unlikely to find a top European club who wants him, but everyone is looking for cheap players right now. He could go to Italy to re-establish himself, perhaps at Inter Milan. But he has to ask, is he moving to spark his career or simply to embellish his CV?