Marcos Rojo relishing Manchester United defensive role
Manchester United, 11/4 with Coral to lift the FA Cup, are in the hunt for silverware success this season, while also aiming to make a return to Champions League football by securing of a top four spot.
A key factor in the Red Devils’ defensive resolve has been the performances of dominant defender Marcos Rojo, with the astute Argentina international proving to be vital in the heart of Louis van Gaal’s back-line.
The 24-year-old arrived at Old Trafford last summer after helping his country reach the World Cup final in Brazil, eventually losing out to Germany in extra-time, before signing from Sporting Lisbon for a reported £16m.
United’s Dutch boss revealed that he was convinced into securing the former Lisbon lion’s signature after analysing a video of his performances during the 2014 tournament, where his on-field antics left Van Gaal enchanted as he managed Holland to the semi-finals.
Since arriving in the red half of Manchester, Rojo has been deployed at left-back and centre-back, but his most prominent performances have come from operating as one of the latter in a 4-4-2 system.
His ability to seamlessly switch from one role to the other is a factor which made United’s boss sign the versatile defender during last summer’s transfer frenzy, arriving alongside fellow countryman Angel Di Maria.
The aggressive Argentine has been one of United’s star performers in recent months after returning from an injury lay-off, having dislocated his shoulder, and has been crucial to his side’s impressive run of results.
Despite a serious surge of criticism regarding their style of play and tactics, Van Gaal’s men have now been beaten just once in their last 19 games in all competitions, climbing to third in the Premier League and securing a place in this year’s FA Cup quarter-finals.
Rojo has been one of the players at the forefront of that rampant run, with his strong defensive displays and no-nonsense attitude finally shining after a frustrating injury-stricken start to his United career.
However, with the Red Devils looking likely to make a welcomed return to European football next term, their talented centre-back will undoubtedly need a fitting partner to lead Old Trafford’s defensive unit, and after a quiet January transfer window, it will be the summer before a suitable partner arrives.
While Van Gaal scouts for a defender to pair with Rojo, the Argentine will be having a busy summer, as he prepares to represent his native country at the Copa America in Chile next June.
The uncompromising defender has featured 30 times for Argentina, scoring once, and is set to play an important role in Argentina’s bid to claim an incredible 15th Copa America crown.
Former Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino took over international duties from Alejandro Sabella, and led Rojo and his fellow countrymen to the World Cup final in 2014.
Rojo’s potent performances at Old Trafford are almost certain to cement his position in Martino’s squad for the upcoming tournament, with the sublime South American set to help United contest for a place in the Premier League top four, and are odds-on 2/5 to do so.