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Only United can stop City winning the treble – Teddy Sheringham

June 2, 2023

 

How do you judge Erik ten Hag’s first season in charge?

They’ve still got the FA Cup to go for, so if he wins that, wow, what a fantastic season. He’s had a lot to deal with, with the Ronaldo situation, which he dealt with impeccably. He let Ronaldo shoot himself in the foot, stayed very quiet at the right times and has come out smelling of roses.

But you’ve got to get results while that’s going on and he’s done that. He’s got one cup in the bag already and has qualified for the Champions League, which is no mean feat at the moment. I know there are a few teams that have slipped away a bit this season but it’s still a great achievement.

If they don’t win the FA Cup would you say that it’s been a failure or would it still be positive?

I think it’s still positive. I think when you you’re playing in cup finals, you’ve got to say it’s positive.

Things can go either way in one-off games. You’re playing against the best team in the world, the way I see it, and it’s going to be very difficult to win.

With your treble record on the line, the Manchester United players surely won’t need any extra motivation?

It couldn’t have worked out any better because it looks like Manchester City will be beat Inter Milan in the Champions League.

It’s not a formality, but you expect it’s only Manchester United that can stop them from winning the treble, equalling what we did in 1999. There’s no better club to stand in their way than Manchester United.

Who do you think have been the standout performers for United this season?

I think Casemiro has been invaluable. You need somebody in central midfield that dictates the play, and he chips in a few goals as well.

I know he’s had a couple of red cards, and that sets you back a bit, but he stamps his authority on a game and I think he’s been a revelation since he’s come in.

Would you say there are similarities between him and Roy Keane?

Without a doubt. He’s not captain, but he leads by example. I wouldn’t put it past Ten Hag to give the captain’s armband to Casemiro next year.

I know it’s drifted about, but I think Casemiro is the leader and he should be captain. He leads by example, the same way Roy Keane did.

What have you made of Ten Hag’s recruitment?

The recruitment has been alright.

Sir Alex Ferguson would have called Antony a little ‘fizz pop winger’, meaning he’s someone that does a little bit here and there and then you don’t see him for 20 minutes. But he’s kept his place in the team, so he can’t be all that fizz poppy.

There were a lot of question marks about Lisandro Martinez as well, with his size, being a centre-half. I think he’s been very good. He’s adapted to the Premier League very quickly. He knows how to defend and he’s got that nasty streak in him.

What do you make of United’s need to sign a No. 9 in summer, and Harry Kane potentially joining?

This is the only thing people have asked me about over the last two years.

If these two clubs want to want to be better, they need Kane. Tottenham need to keep him, Manchester United need to sign him.

He’s exactly the type of player that Manchester United need. He’s a leader, he scores goals and he’s professional. He will drive your team on. He is the full package as a centre forward. He would be frightening for Manchester United.

Was Ten Hag’s right to stick by De Gea amidst some heavy criticism?

De Gea is an 8.5 out of 10 most weeks. He has thrown in the odd rick, which is not like your top goalkeepers. You didn’t get that from Peter Schmeichel or David Seaman back in the day. You knew that they were safe hands 39 games out of 40.

You can’t afford to have those mistakes.

Harry Maguire is another player who has come in for criticism, will he be looking to leave over summer?

I think centre half is a consistent position. If you’re not first choice, which he’s definitely not, and if he’s not second choice, which to me he’s definitely not. He might not even be third choice as that left centre half.

It’s a strange situation for Harry. I still think he’s a very, very good player. He’s never let England down. I know he’s had his problems at United, but I think it would be best for him to leave for his career.

I think he needs be a consistent starter somewhere else and I think there’ll be a lot of takers. You’ll be surprised how many people will want him.

Will his spot in the national team be on his mind when thinking about a potential move?

I’m sure Gareth would have had that conversation with him. You need to be playing consistently.

You can’t switch the tap on and off. You can’t sit there watching on the bench for 10 games and think you can join up with England and be OK.

Going into the FA Cup final, how big a part will the homegrown players have in the dressing room?

You’d be interested to know what the foreign boys think about that situation. If they’ve only been there a short time, they might not realise how tough it is to win the treble.

The local boys will probably be trying to put it out there to make sure that they understand what it’s all about.

They might even get a visit from Sir Alex Ferguson to let everybody know and have a little pep talk.

What was it like to play under Sir Alex when going for the treble?

He didn’t actually mention it really. So many clubs get close by February, March, and the season hasn’t even really got into its final furlong.

It was only once we won the league and we won the FA Cup that we spoke about it, and even then it was only even a half-time team talk at the Nou Camp. That was the only time that it got mentioned.

What do you remember from that night in the Nou Camp and the aftermath of it?

The best part about being involved in a night like that is the fact that people want to tell you where they were and what happened. Whatever pandemonium people had, we had it tenfold in the Nou Camp in front of all the fans.

It was surreal to be a part of. People talk about it probably once a day to me, so it’s constantly on my mind.

Do you ever get sick of it?

No, that’s the beauty of being involved in football and winning things, especially for a massive club like Manchester United.

People all around the world, you wouldn’t believe where, I’d turn up and someone will come over to me and go: “Are you Teddy Sheringham, scored the Champions League final goal in 1999?”

It’s like, wow, I did not expect a little old lady in South Africa to ask about that. The connection there is just unbelievable. It’s a great feeling that she’ll come and tell me her story about where she was watching the game and who went and what happened. That’s what it’s all about.

Have you got a prediction for the FA Cup Final?

I know it’s a one-off game but I still can’t see past Manchester City winning. I want to say differently, but I see City winning 3-1.

 

Who do think should get the Tottenham job?

I think Roberto De Zerbi has come across like a shining light this season. Some of Brighton’s performances at the end of the season were so impressive: Going to the Emirates and disposing of Arsenal in the way they did and they way they went head-to-head with Manchester City.

The way Brighton have played against the top teams has just been nothing short of phenomenal.

De Zerbi knows what he wants, he understands the game and will make players better.

What do you think constitutes a successful manager at Spurs?

In the same way Ten Hag has done at Manchester United, they need to come in and steady the ship.

If Kane does leave the club in summer, who should they get in to replace him?

I think Evan Ferguson from Brighton is an outstanding young centre forward.

Going into this summer, do you think there’s going to be a there’s a big recruitment drive at Tottenham?

I think there’s still some very good players at Tottenham. It all depends where the hierarchy want and expect the club to be going.

 

How impressed are you with West Ham making their first European final since 1976?

West Ham have been unbelievable, and I’m delighted for them. It’s been tough for them in the league this season, but I think it was the right decision to stick with David Moyes. I’d love to see them win it.

Should they win it, how best can they balance another season of European football with their domestic campaign?

Every team in Europe will need a bigger squad to deal with the extra games. Every manager understands how difficult it is to get regular consistent performances out of players when they’re playing and travelling so regularly.

When you’re playing in Europe, you’ve always got your eye on the next big game coming. It can be easy to take your eye off the smaller games in the league. That’s where a good manager can keep things fresh to stop that happening.

After impressing recently, how big a player will Lucas Paqueta be going into next season?

He’ll be invaluable. It can take a little while for foreign players to come in and adjust to the Premier League, but there’s a top player in there. It seems like he’s adjusted in time for the end-of-season push.

Have you got a prediction?

A tough 1-1 and I think it might even go to penalties. I’ll say West Ham to win on penalties.

 

How impressed have you been by Steve Cooper at Nottingham Forest?

I think everything’s been very good at Forest. Not only Cooper’s management, but the management above him. When he was under pressure, he could quite easily have been sacked and replaced by somebody else. But his bosses stood by him and gave him a long-term contract.

It was the perfect timing I think, and it told everybody: ‘He’s our boss, don’t listen to the speculation. Pull your fingers out, back him and play for him, and we’ll be OK.’

I think it’s worked perfectly for Nottingham Forest.

Where do you see the future of Brennan Johnson and Morgan Gibbs-White?

I think Johnson’s scored some important goals, but he’s still a young lad so I don’t think he needs to go anywhere.

Gibbs-White has been the driving force for me at Nottingham Forest. He’s got good energy and a lot of quality to finish things off, I’ve been very impressed.

I think it’s very early stages to start talking about him from an England perspective, but he could force his way in before the Euros next year without a doubt. I think he needs to be a little bit more consistent game-to-game.

 

 

Source: Betway Insider

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