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Nemanja Matic has proven to be the most mercurial signing for Manchester United in the summer.
The Serbian has had a metrical transformative effect since his arrival at Old Trafford, one that has added to their credibility as Premier League challengers and jolted United into life in the Champions League.
He was never asked to re-invent the wheel at his new club, but the 29-year old had the responsibility of stabilizing the midfield, so much that it shielded the back four without necessarily stifling on their attacking capabilities.
His physical element to the game is a common feature of Jose Mourinho’s preference of a defensive midfielder, but it is likewise his tentative approach in games that imbues football the Mourinho way.
Matic is good on the air and swift with his feet, but it is his ability to chase and recover the second ball that has made the difference for Manchester United this season. While Ander Herrera works on an extra lung to recover balls- which more often leads to a foul- Matic does it in his stride without seamlessly breaking a sweat.
It is that stability that has seen United concede a meek five goals while scoring thirty two in all competitions since the season began.
Nemanja Matic is pious and dedicated in his craft but the top drawer quality of his partnerships has helped him blossom at United.
Nemanja has fitted well in midfield partnerships with Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini, which is why the Serbia international has appeared subjugated in the absence of the duo.
Having lost Pogba and Fellaini to injury, the most natural fit for replacement would be Ander Herrera. The Spaniard has however been sparingly used despite being United’s player for last season, mostly because Jose is spoilt for choice on the ultimate midfield partnership.
The lack of game time has however taken a toll on Herrera as witnessed against Liverpool, but his true quality alongside Matic will be evident once he is taken through the motions in the coming games.
Matic is an integral team player; a cornerstone on which Manchester United’s title challenge is built upon.
Written by Brian Humphrey
Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum
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