Danny Higginbotham has defended Manchester United’s emerging starlets and says they are being let down and their progress hampered by the rest of the squad.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side faced more criticism this week after needing a penalty shoot-out to beat League One side Rochdale at Old Trafford in the third round of the Carabao Cup.
Their tepid cup performance followed their dismal display in the Premier League against West Ham at the weekend, as they suffered a 2-0 defeat at the London stadium, which led to claims Solskjaer’s current team is Man United’s worst in the Premier League era.
Significant onus was placed on the club’s up-and-coming youngsters, with many claiming they are not good enough compared to other bright stars that have emerged from rivals teams and are making waves at Premier League and international level, including the likes of Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold and Chelsea duo Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount.
Higginbotham agrees that their display against Rochdale was not good enough for a Manchester United team.
But he believes any criticism on the Reds Devils starlets is unfair as they do not have a strong enough group of players around them to help them progress and thrive.
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Speaking following the Rochdale win, the former United defender told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast:
“You’ve got to give Rochdale full credit, but I think you also have to look at United and the team that was put out, they shouldn’t find themselves in that position.
“I’ve heard a lot of things said in the last few days about the young players not being good enough and some of them are just being given opportunities but are not good enough, but I don’t agree with that.
“You look at most younger players who have come through at football clubs and have been successful, and you look at the players around them at that time – they’ve all been in a good place and they’ve all had leaders.
“Whereas I think at United a number of the players who played last night will probably think they’re surplus to requirements and aren’t in the right frame of mind.
“It was an opportunity for them to prove a point and to get through on penalties, yes they went through, but it’s not good enough for a team like Manchester United.
“Solskjaer will obviously get some stick for it, but he can’t go on the pitch and put the ball in the back of the net for them.”