Ralf Rangnick can transform Man United midfield by doing what Solskjaer refused to

Ralf Rangnick might have a hefty Manchester United squad at his disposal but the options are still rather limited as he looks to gradually implement a style of play that will see his side relentlessly press at every opportunity.

The German coach is set to ring the changes for the visit of Young Boys in the Champions League on Wednesday night but for his first match in charge, he stuck with the same side which had ended Michael Carrick’s reign with victory at Arsenal last week.

As such Rangnick opted for a continuation of the ‘McFred’ midfield axis, the only two players who appear to be suitable as a partnership to fulfil his mercenary roles in front of the back four.

The interim manager is eager for United to have energy and mobility in those two roles, Fred and Scott McTominay lead the way, though there are still concerns regarding their limited passing range and the lack of line-breaking passes that come from the deeper roles.

Instead United relied on long balls from centre-backs against Palace at the weekend as well as overlapping support from their two full-backs in order to move the ball forward and override the lack of creativity from their midfield duo.

On early evidence it seems United are still desperate for a new midfielder next year with the focus on acquiring a player who can partner Fred, not only offering the same mobility on the ball but also with the ability to pick a pass and start attacks from deeper in the pitch.

Part of the issue stems from the identity crisis McTominay has experienced in recent years with the Scotland international still caught in a limbo between being a defensive specialist and an attacking midfielder.

There is no doubt McTominay, 24, has the ability to secure a long-term starting role in the United side but right now he is suffering from a lack of certainty about his best role as he approaches a crucial point in his playing career.

While the Scotland international remains a very handy squad player to have around his eagerness and impeccable professional have almost done him a disservice because he is moved around the team in a selfless manner to cater for the squad rather than his own development.

At international level McTominay has shone as both a defensive midfielder and an auxiliary centre-back but former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was always been keen to use him as an attacking option given his development as a striker in the club’s youth system.

McTominay repaid his mentor with seven goals for the club last season from a more advanced box-to-box role though under Rangnick his hopes of regular playing time will have to come in the ball-winning role which Solskjaer never wanted to solely restrict him to.

While the stock of midfield partner Fred has risen in recent weeks it is easy to dismiss the talents of McTominay who still has all the core attributes his new interim manager craves.

In order to keep his place in the United side a change of approach will be needed from the academy graduate, and after reluctance from Solskjaer to pigeonhole him as a defensive midfielder it is down to Rangnick to refine his rock into a diamond.