Tony Cascarino believes three Manchester United stars are in danger of being immediately dropped from the starting XI when Ralf Rangnick is confirmed as their new interim boss.
The experienced coach, considered the godfather of modern football in his native Germany, is set to be appointed as the successor to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on a short-term deal until the end of the season.
Rangnick’s challenge will be to restore stability at Old Trafford, following a dismal period under Solskjaer.
The United legend was given the wheel to bring a feelgood factor back to the club, and there’s no doubt whatsoever that he achieved that goal, initially.
However, many will argue the Norwegian perhaps outstayed the job he was initially given, and the state of the United team he left was akin the the one he inherited, albeit with bigger names and a bigger wage bill.
Rangnick has a track record of team-building throughout his career, having built the football operations at Red Bull-owned clubs Leipzig in Germany and Salzburg in Austria from the ground up.
Now, his challenge will be to help knit United’s star-studded squad into a unit, and one that can finally look to end the club’s long wait for another Premier League title.
But Cascarino believes his first job will be to send a message to the Red Devils’ poorly-performing star players – by kicking them out of the starting line-up.
Which is, according to the talkSPORT pundit, bad news for Bruno Fernandes and Harry Maguire.
Cascarino said: “I was reading about Rangnick, about how he demands 18 hour days from his staff and will have watched 20 games already.
“Well, if he’s watched 20 games of Man United’s performances this season, he’s dropping players! There will be players thinking, ‘I won’t be in the team next week then’.
“Sometimes you’ve got to drop people. It’s not always the most popular thing to do, but as a manager you’ve got to make a call. It’s not a case of sticking with players for the sake of being loyal, sometimes you have to drop players for the benefit of the squad.
“I felt dropping Bruno Fernandes was well overdue,” said Cascarino, after the Portuguese was dropped from the team in caretaker boss Michael Carrick’s first game in charge in the Champions League this week.
“He has just not played to the level we know he’s capable of.
“But there are others, he’s not the only one. Aaron Wan-Bissaka is in that bracket as well, and Harry Maguire, I think you can definitely say that.
“The top managers will drop you. If you’re not playing to the standard required, you’re out of the team, especially at a giant club in world football. If you’re not making the standard, you’re out of that side.
“I thought Carrick made a bold decision because it was his first game, but he made the right decision to drop Fernandes.
“Players have to feel they’re going to get an opportunity, so you have to drop players. I’ve been dropped in my career and managers have explained to me, ‘You can’t have another bad game, or someone else is going to play’. It’s not nice, you don’t like hearing it, but you pick yourself up and it’s motivation.”
On Rangnick, Cascarino admits he was taken by surprise by the news of his impending Man United move, but says it’s a great forward-thinking appointment by a club he deems ‘sleeping giants’.
“I didn’t consider him for Man United, he was in Russia and I didn’t even think of him as a target,” the Weekend Sports Breakfast host said.
“But it’s almost the Marcelo Bielsa effect, of a type of coaching idea that he believes in, thinks it’s successful and has done some amazing things with it in Germany to get success.
“They have to change. Manchester United have been sleepwalking for quite a long time. Liverpool and Leeds did the same, they went as a sleeping giant for quite a while. Leeds were after Don Revie, they had troubles and the club wasn’t run the way it should have been.
“It’s happened all the way over history where clubs have had to be rebuilt because they’ve been left and been redundant as football clubs – that’s what Man United has felt like to me.
“Even though they’ve spent a lot of money trying to find solutions, bringing in Jose Mourinho and then Ole Gunnar Solskjaer coming in, it was always a strange appointment.
“It’s quite clear the structure of the club has been wrong, they’ve invested heavily but it’s been lopsided. Donny van de Beek hasn’t really worked out, they invented £70million or £80million on Jadon Sancho – why?
“The structure hasn’t been right, but Rangnick is very experienced in that, plus the coaching side.”
However, Casc admits so many of the world’s best football managers are all competing in the top flight, he wouldn’t be surprised if Rangnick is ultimately unsuccessful during his reign.
“We’re fortunate in the Premier League as we have some of the greatest footballing brains coaching, and he is part of that group,” he added.
“The intriguing thing is, which ones are going to succeed and which are going to fail? We’ve got so many great ideas of how to play the game and exciting ways of playing football, but there are going to be failures in this great group of managers.
“Antonio Conte at Tottenham, Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, Pep Guardiola at Man City, Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea – there are so many, and that’s without the others who are doing really well in the Premier League at the moment.
“But someone is going to fall short.”