Man Utd legend Paul Scholes described Christian Eriksen as the “perfect example” of what he looks for in a midfielder after solving a problem created by two players.
Erik ten Hag’s primary target this summer was Frenkie de Jong. However, when the Dutch maestro refused to leave Barcelona, Manchester United changed course and moved quickly to draw Casemiro.
The Brazilian still plays at Old Trafford, although the player who has benefited most from De Jong’s stay in Spain is Christian Eriksen.
The stylish Dane – which has recently been compared to Scholes – got one for free and has been instrumental in helping United win four on the spin in the league.
He has mainly operated alongside Scott McTominay in the dual pivot role. While the Scotsman does the dirty work, Eriksen pulls the strings and has helped United move forward.
Central midfield has been an area that has been heavily criticized in recent times. The much-maligned combination of McTominay and Fred frustrated many a fan and expert.
Scholes was one such figure who had seen enough of the duo and took to social media after the 4-0 defeat to Brighton to blast the players.
‘McFred’ too lax in possession – Scholes
He wrote on Twitter: “Thoughts for the week: it’s all about body shape when receiving the ball, too many times for their own purpose and can only play one way.
“For God’s sake, go do the ‘half turn’ and bring out more talented players in the game’. Have a great week everyone.”
He later focused specifically on Fred and McTominay, adding (through the mirror): “With Fred and McTominay, he [Ten Hag] will only have to play one [going forward] but even one of them is probably too much.
“Fred gives the ball away all the time and McTominay constantly tries to run with the ball and then gives it away.
“Pass it to your best players! It’s not that hard. It’s criminal on a day like today.”
Scholes praises Eriksen
However, the arrival of Eriksen has broken the collaboration. Although McTominay is currently starting alongside him, the general consensus is that Casemiro will eventually take over.
Speaking on Gary Neville’s Overlap YouTube channel, Scholes was asked what qualities he is looking for in a midfielder.
After mentioning the most important property, he labeled Eriksen a “perfect” example of an intelligent operator.
“Intelligence, smart players with brains,” Scholes said. “[Eriksen] is a perfect example of a player who plays with intelligence.
“He’s a smart player, he knows where he is on the pitch and knows where others are on the pitch.”
What’s stopping Fred and McTominay?
Further outlining what it is that lets Fred and McTominay down, Scholes continued: “Maybe I was a little hard on Scott and Fred. But they were just back to target the whole time.
“Attackers standing in front of their goal, that’s a waste of time. You should be on the half turn so I can still see you [the player passing]but I can also see my forward.
“Playing around the corner, you saw Casemiro do it, Eriksen does it all the time.
“The goal they scored, Eriksen received it in the half, passed it to Fernandes, who was in the half, and they scored. Little things annoy me, but when you play for Manchester United you should be able to do that.
“You’d expect that, wouldn’t you?”