We spoke with Manchester United legend, Wes Brown, on underrated players and buying Harry Kane.
Sir Alex Ferguson lauded him for being “the best natural defender this club has had for years”. No, we’re not talking about Rio but actually Wes Brown. Brown, while not lauded as highly as the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, has been a dedicated and top performing servant of Manchester United – winning 5 Premier League titles, 2 Champions League trophies, 2 FA Cups and the League Cup in his illustrious career.
He has since taken up an ambassadorial role with United. We first met Brown in Singapore when he was here for the ICC tournament and we were delighted to have had a few minutes to chat with the defender in the lead up to the Battle of the Reds match where ex-players from Liverpool, Manchester United and Singapore would take on each other in a series of friendlies.
Welcome back to Singapore, Wes. Who in the current team would have fitted in well with the best United teams that you have been a part of?
Wes Brown: I have been a bit surprised by Daniel James. He wasn’t a regular yet at Swansea and he came to United and hit his form. He looks dangerous, he’s very quick and uses it to his advantage. His assists this season have been fantastic. Aaron Wan-Bissaka is another one. I would have thought he needed a bit more time to settle. Defending-wise, he’s top notch. Excellent in one on ones and does his job perfectly.
And Rashford too. He’s a young lad and has got to shoulder a lot of responsibility. And you can see the talent that he has.
Do you see similarities between Sir Alex’s management style and Ole’s current regime?
WB: I think so. Ole said that he used to watch the manager when he was a player. Since Ole has come in, you’ve seen a bit of a change in the way the team performs. Ultimately, he will get more players in to try make us even better. In the last few games, you can see the style of football he’s trying to play. More importantly the lads have taken it on board and you can see a big change. We would love to be higher in the league but these things take time.
Back in the day, many would say that you’re an underrated player. Who in this current United team do you feel does not get the credit they deserve?
WB: There’s probably quite a few. Scott Mctominay. He’s been fantastic, taking that midfield role in his stride. He’s a young lad in a big position. Many greats have been in that position over the years and I think his attitude has been excellent. He understands what wearing the shirt means. Andreas Pereira is another one.
The good thing is that at this stage, a lot of young lads have come in and have had the opportunity to impress. It doesn’t happen all the time where they have the chance to play.
Roy Keane mentioned a few weeks back that United should just go buy Harry Kane. Do you feel that the club should groom youth players or go buy the biggest players available?
WB: It’s not as easy as that (to buy Harry Kane)! I do think we need to sign players. If a striker is injured at the moment, we are limited (in that area). On who, that is a different thing. Harry Kane is an exceptional goal scorer and he’s proved it over the years in the Premier League. How much would he cost? I don’t know but definitely a lot of money. If it was very simple, we’d love to have Harry Kane.
We’ll have to see (about transfers) in the summer where your main targets are. We need some additions to boost the squad to get us back to where we were.
Your thoughts on VAR?
WB: It’s difficult. VAR is brilliant in judging whether the ball went over the line. It starts getting more complicated when you judge matters like whether it is a penalty or not. Ultimately it’s still human decisions. For some things it’s good, for some it’s been bad. Eventually, it’ll get better but at the moment it’s frustrating.
You were here in Singapore for the ICC. Ashley Young got booed by the local United fans. And not too long ago, Xhaka got booed by the Arsenal fans. Do you think fan culture is changing?
WB: It’s never nice for such things to happen. Ashley’s been a great servant, he’s the captain and he’s been there a long time, winning trophies. There was a little bit of frustration from myself when I was there. He’s been loyal to the club and doesn’t deserve it in any way. It’s not something you want to see as a player.
It’s different now with social media and lots of people who can get their views out straight away to the world. The fans have changed but the die hard fans understand that things can happen on the pitch. But regardless what happens, you support the players and the team that you love.
Thank you so much to Wes Brown and the organizers behind the Battle of the Reds. Click here to purchase tickets and use voucher code “BOTR2019FIFTEEN” to get 15% off your tickets.