With the World Cup running we sat down to have a chat with the former Manchester United and England defender, Paul Parker, who during the interview gave his thoughts on Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United´s ownership and England. Parker´s worst case scenario in terms of new owners would be American owners which have proved to do badly in England.
Manchester United terminated Cristiano Ronaldo´s contract and Paul Parker says that Ronaldo never should have gone back to Man United.
“Second spell with Cristiano Ronaldo has ended very, very badly. He started off wonderfully but it finished quite badly.”
“You should never go back to a place where it went good, because then you can only disappoint which is going to affect his legacy.”
“Man United couldn't continue with having Ronaldo in their squad, because he didn't accept that his level wasn't good enough anymore. He blamed the manager and the club but everything was really up to him.”
Man United announced that the club is now for sale and we asked Parker about how he sees the future for the club and what the worst case scenario would be.
“The worst that could happen for the club is to get American owners again. We've already seen that it hasn't been favourable to have them in the club and we saw that in Liverpool as well.”
“Americans don't seem to work out in England and they are always struggling financially or infrastructure wise.”
“But football fans don't really care where the owners are from in general. As long as they are running the club properly, that's all what matters.”
Glazers have been in Man United for ages and Parker says that their time in the club has been a living nightmare. He also reveals his concerns for the future as the new owners might want to bring in their own manager.
“Glazers´ time in Man United has really been dramatic. No one realised how bad it was going to end when Sir Alex Ferguson left.”
“Glazers have been an absolute living nightmare, especially after Robin Van Persie and Sir Alex Ferguson left.”
“The thing I'm most concerned about is that the new owners might want to bring in their own manager and if that happens, Man United has to start from scratch again.”
Parker said that Manchester United is a more attractive club than Liverpool for potential owners as the club has a bigger fanbase and a better infrastructure.
“Manchester United is, without a shadow of a doubt, more valuable than Liverpool. Even without the trophies because of the way the club has been built for ages. Man United´s fanbase and their infrastructure is incredible and no one can compete with that.”
“It's really incredible that Man United are in this position and more or less any potential owners should be interested in the club.”
The World Cup is running and Parker believes that Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice are the most important players for England and said that they are the future of the English midfield.
“Jude Bellingham is the most important player for Liverpool. Without a shadow of a doubt. He is like an old fashioned midfielder, he leads people and I can't remember any player in that age to have a status like that on the pitch. The only player who is near to that would be Wayne Rooney.”
“He is playing with incredible energy and he moves the ball very quickly. He also makes the players around him better. He helps Declan Rice a lot.”
“And Declan Rice is important as well. Rice and Bellingham are the first two players on the team sheet for England and will also be that for many years to come. They do their job, they are unselfish and they are anything but lazy”
“Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham will be the most important players for England the rest of the tournament and for the future as well.”
Mason Mount started the first game against Iran as the most attacking midfielder but Parker is advocating for another player to take over his place in the starting eleven.
“I wouldn't play Mason Mount as the attacking midfielder, because he is not really attacking. I would definitely play with Phil Foden as the attacking midfielder for England.”
“Phil Foden plays for Pep Guardiola, which means he isn't lazy. If you want to have a midfielder that can create chances and score goals, Foden is the one you should go with.”
“He is really the attacking midfielder for the future for England and he is the only England player that could play for every single top team in Europe and fit well in.”
Parker also compared Phil Foden to Messi and Maradona and says that he can´t remember a bigger English talent since Wayne Rooney.
“England hasn't had a talent like Phil Foden since Wayne Rooney and I really love that he is from a working background. He plays his own kind of football and you can see that he is unbelievably skilled.”
“He is the only one on the national team that has played street football. The best players ever in football have played street football and Phil Foden is like Xavi, Iniesta, Messi and Maradona when you are watching him on the pitch.”
Harry Maguire was subbed off against Iran due to an illness and if he is not ready for the next game, Gareth Southgate has some major problems according to Parker.
“Gareth Southgate will have problems with sleeping during the night when he looks at his available centre halfs. Harry Maguire was not feeling well and was subbed off against Iran. I´m not impressed by him, but England doesn't have any alternatives with quality.”
“Eric Dier plays in a five man backline as a sweeper and wouldn't be able to do his job in a four man backline for England.”
“Ben White hasn't played as a centre half this season, so Gareth Southgate will struggle to find a decent replacement for Maguire as John Stones is the only world class centre half.”
Rashford was subbed on against Iran and scored a goal but he should still not be close to the starting lineup according to Parker.
“Rashford shouldn't be nowhere near a starting position. Yeah, he came on as a sub and scored. Great. Who cares?”
“Gareth Southgate is not going to replace Bukayo Saka for Rashford in an important game. No one is talking about Marcus Rashford when he is not scoring goals, and that says everything about Marcus Rashford in my opinion.”
Parker has previously been criticising Harry Kane for not being a classic centre forward but he says that Gareth Southgate doesn´t have another choice than playing with him.
“I´ve said it for ages. Harry Kane doesn't want to be a centre-forward and he shouldn't play as a centre forward. He prefers to be like Kevin de Bruyne or even play as a right winger.”
“But Gareth Southgate can't put him on the bench. He simply can't. That would just be putting salt in the wounds and he doesn't want that chaos in his team.”
“But again, if Harry Kane doesn´t score, no one talks about him. Goals make a big difference even though it shouldn't be like that.”
“The best example is Gareth Bale. He was very poor against the USA but he scored a penalty and everyone is talking about him being the best British player ever. That's ridiculous.”
Jordan Pickford has previously done well for England and did great during the Euro´s but Parker calls him erratic and doesn´t believe that England will win anything with him in the goal.
“Most teams that have won the World Cup have had a world class goalkeeper. It is very difficult to go far in the major tournaments if your goalkeeper is average.”
“But England hasn't had a world class goalkeeper since David Seaman. He was a top goalkeeper and Jordan Pickford is not. It's as simple as that.”
“Jordan Pickford is a very erratic goalkeeper and a top class goalkeeper is calm.”
The “one love” armband has been a heavy discussion over the last days but Parker says that he doesn't think that the captains of the countries really wanted to wear the armband.
“If you really were a strong captain you would have worn the “one love” armband. But they decided not to wear it, and to be perfectly honest I don't think they actually wanted to wear it.”
“But I would also say that football is being used as a political tool, which is totally wrong. Football is football and politics is politics. Don´t talk about it in the same sense.”