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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Man United’s £40m target admits Scholes is ‘my idol’, no wonder Ashworth loves him

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Earlier this week, during a wide-ranging interview which touched on his plans for a new Old Trafford, his admiration for Cristiano Ronaldo and his dislike of Liverpool, Manchester United’s new co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe named the one player from Red Devils past who would come in very handy today. 

“Paul Scholes (is the former Manchester United star) I would bring in. That’s the player that is most missing,” Ratcliffe told the Geraint Thomas Cycling Club podcast.

Now, you’d probably need only one hand to count the clubs who would not immediately benefit from the inclusion of a prime-time Paul Scholes in their starting XI. But Manchester United, more than most, are crying out for a player who combines the tenacity of Casemiro with the poise of Kobbie Mainoo, the creativity of Bruno Fernandes and the box-crashing abilities of Scott McTominay; Scholes blending together just about every attribute you could want from a world-leading central midfielder into one 5ft 7ins frame.

And we are not suggesting for a second that Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, linked with Man United this week by 90Min, is destined to be the second coming of one of Carrington’s favourite sons.

But, having spent much of his youth practicing the long-range shots and the tempo-switching, line-breaking passes that made Scholes such an iconic presence in such an iconic era at Old Trafford, Dewsbury-Hall understands what makes the Salford-born icon so special, while attempting to add a few of Scholes’ attributes to his own game.

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Manchester United target idolises Paul Scholes

“The ideal player to describe myself as would be a mix between Paul Scholes and Kevin De Bruyne,” Dewsbury-Hall told Sky Sports back in 2022. “If I ever got to that level, I’d think I’d completed everything! That’d be me done.

“Scholes was my idol growing up. And I think De Bruyne’s the best midfielder in the Premier League. Having their attributes – the unbelievable passing, being so technically gifted, comfortable on the ball, the awareness and knowing all the space around you…

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“Having all those things, those ingredients to be that top, elite-level midfielder, and on top of goals and assists, adding those stats to your game. I’ve always said I want to be that all-round midfielder who can do everything.

“That’s what I’m working towards in my game.”

10 goals and 12 assists this season

Two years on, and while Dewsbury-Hall is plying his trade in the Championship these days following Leicester’s shock relegation, the 25-year-old is certainly making good on his plans to become a ‘midfielder who can do everything’.

Dewsbury-Hall is one of only three players in the division to hit double figures for both goals and assists. The Leicester graduate, who burst onto the Foxes first-team while displaying a composure and the intelligence far above a player of his relative inexperience, showed just how far he’s come during that FA Cup quarter-final clash with Chelsea last week.

Drifting between the lines and finding pockets of space in that left-sided central midfield role, Dewbury-Hall gave the £115 million Moises Caicedo the slip on a number of occasions and looked more than at-home against top-flight opposition. 

Dewsbury-Hall also offers something very few of Man United’s current midfielders can provide; genuine, ball-carrying ability. He is arguably at his best when receiving possession, turning and driving into the final third in a manner not wholly dissimilar to Ten Hag’s top 2022 target, Frenkie de Jong.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall has a big fan in Dan Ashworth

“He’s calm, fantastic with the ball, he knows when to attack and what to give the team,” Leicester coach – and one-time Pep Guardiola assistant – Enzo Maresca tells Sky Sports

“He is so dangerous near the box, and has the quality to score or assist from anywhere. He is probably the most-improved (player) for us.”

According to 90Min, Man United’s incoming technical director Dan Ashworth is a big fan, and previously agreed a deal to bring Dewsbury-Hall to Newcastle. The report adds that Dewsbury-Hall, who’s camp have now been contacted by the Red Devils, is valued at £40 million but could be avaialble for £25 million if Leicester – as is now a genuine possibility – miss out on promotion back to the Premier League. 

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