Glen Johnson believes Manchester United’s defenders are going to need extra help from the midfield against Chelsea this weekend and predicts Timo Werner could be an ‘absolute nightmare’ for Harry Maguire with his pace and trickery at Old Trafford.
Maguire, 27, the world’s most expensive defender, has had a shaky start to the season in the wake of his arrest in Greece and was sent off for a pair of reckless challenges in England’s defeat to Denmark earlier this month.
The centre-back put his Nations League nightmare behind him with United’s opening goal in a 4-1 victory over Newcastle but then missed the side’s stunning win away to Paris Saint-Germain with a muscle problem.
Axel Tuanzebe produced a phenomenal performance in Maguire’s absence versus the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar and there have been calls for the youngster to keep his place in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s starting XI on Saturday evening.
Asked whether he would recall Maguire to the side, ex-Chelsea defender Johnson told Optus Sport: ‘If I’m Timo Werner, I’d be like, “Please play him!”, I really would.
‘I think he would be an absolute nightmare for him.
‘But I agree, in the bigger picture, it’s hard to leave your captain out and obviously he’s a big player for them.
‘But on that last performance, if I’m Tuanzebe, I’d be thinking: “Why aren’t I playing?”’
Scott McTominay produced an outstanding performance in the middle of the park against PSG in midweek and Johnson feels the Scotland international deserves another start this weekend.
‘I think sometimes players like McTominay will thrive on an opportunity like this, in terms of getting a chance against a top team in a big game.
‘He knows the manager trusts him if he puts him in and sometimes you get that desire from the youngsters more.
‘Bigger names can think, “I’m so and so, I haven’t got to do as much of the dirty work as somebody else”, so I’d like to see McTominay given a go and let him crash into a few tackles and stamp his name into the game.
‘They’re a fantastic side and when they work hard and do it together, they’re going to be very tough to beat.’