Gary Pallister: “Man United will struggle to land Harry Kane without UCL football”

Former Manchester United and England star Gary Pallister told BoyleSports this week what he makes of Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick, the chances of them landing Harry Kane, how Pogba is no Roy Keane and how Antonio Rudiger would be a great option for the Red Devils.


The 56-year-old, who won four Premier League titles with Man Utd, also weights in on why he thinks Harry Maguire is the only natural leader in dressing room and how Mauricio Pochettino would be the best fit for Man United job.

Gary Pallister: Cristiano Ronaldo quietened critics with brilliant hat-trick and proved he isn’t the club’s problem

“It was interesting to see Cristiano come back after so much conjecture in the press during the week that he left the country and went back to Portugal. There were suggestions he had the hump that he wasn’t involved in the City game, but what a way to answer your critics.

“If you’re putting the problem [at United] down to Cristiano then you’re widely off the mark.”

“Is he the same man that wreaked havoc at Real Madrid? No, probably not, but in and around the box he’s still as dangerous as anybody.

“He’s got that ability to crack it on from 30 yards, we saw it the other day when the ball dipped and swerved and ended up in the back of the net. He hasn’t lost that ability. The spring he had for his header, that was Cristiano back to his very best, so he’s still got that in the locker.”

Gary Pallister: Like Ryan Giggs was towards the back-end of his career, Cristiano Ronaldo may have to get used to being on the bench.

“At 37 going on 38, I think you would expect not to play every game. Ryan Giggs, who was one of the biggest legends Man United ever had, understood that. It doesn’t mean you agree with it, but you have to respect the manager’s decision. If Sir Alex had done it, Cristiano Ronaldo might be more at ease with it.”

Gary Pallister: Man United will struggle to land Harry Kane without UCL football and he’ll favour City move

“Regarding Harry Kane, everybody’s going to be in for him, but the problem we’ve got at the moment is we can’t guarantee Champions League football.

“If we’re not in the Champions League, can you see Harry Kane coming to United? Probably not.

“If we’re in it, would he want to be part of a new Man United? Possibly. But we saw last time he opted to try and go to Manchester City.


“There’s a guarantee of trophies there and every chance he’ll pick up silverware – which he hasn’t done at Tottenham.

“He will score goals wherever he goes and if City came in for him again that will be his first port of call.”

Gary Pallister: Harry Maguire has been good on the whole for Man United, he’s the only natural leader in dressing room

“There’s no getting away from the fact he’s not in the best of form. I thought he had a decent game against Tottenham. The own goal came at a bad time but that happens to the very best, that’s just a fluke.

“People say he hasn’t done this or that, but I think he’s been the natural leader for United over the last few seasons.

“I think he’s been pretty good in a United shirt up until this season. I think he’ll come back to his very best and in the future I think he and [Raphael] Varane will be the partnership at the back.

“There’s factors to why he’s had a dip in form but ultimately Harry has been pretty good and he’s the only one who seems to be the natural leader in the dressing room.

“That seems to be a big problem for United. I played with four, five captains in the teams I played in and I don’t see too many natural leaders with that character and when things are tough in games, those characters can lead you through moments in matches and right now we haven’t got them kind of leaders on the pitch.”

Gary Pallister: Antonio Rudiger would be a great option for Man United

“You can’t have enough quality players in your squad. You’ve seen that with City, Chelsea and Liverpool. Liverpool have just gone out and bought [Luis] Diaz and we thought ‘wow, where do you fit him in.’

“If Rudiger became available on a free and he became interested in Man United, I’m sure they’d look at that.

“I wouldn’t be looking to sell Maguire but if you can add quality like Rudiger, add quality. He’s a no-nonsense defender and showed he’s got quality on the ball and to get him on a free would be good business.”

Gary Pallister: Mauricio Pochettino would be the best fit for Man United job.

“I was in favour of going for Pochettino a few years back when he left Spurs. I think he’s proved himself in the Premier League, he turned Southampton around, made Tottenham their best side in the last 30 years and then unfortunately didn’t get the backing.


“A lot of people say he hasn’t won anything and that’s true, but I think he’s proven himself at Premier League level that he knows how to manage, and I think he ticks a lot of boxes for the job.

“Before they brought Ole in, I thought Poch was the best man, and nothing has really changed. He’s at the right age, right maturity and has the right experience.

“Simeone has done a wonderful job at Atletico Madrid, but I don’t think he quite grabs the Manchester United way.

“The managers who have come in since Sir Alex haven’t quite grasped it. I think Ole tried to. He tried to put a team out on the pitch who were trying to be flamboyant and give the crowd what they wanted.”

Gary Pallister: If Marcus Rashford wants to leave, he should go, but he has so much more to give at Man United

“If players don’t want to be at Manchester United, wow. I’d cut them loose. But this is words getting put in our mouths.

“Marcus has come up through the Manchester United academy, he’s a Manchester United lad and I’m sure he’ll want to stay and be a big part of the club going forward, because there’s no doubt about the lad’s talent.

“He’s proved it in a Man United shirt, proved it for England. He’s going through a tough time, and he’s done lots of wonderful things away from football which may have been a distraction.”

Gary Pallister: Paul Pogba can be world class but he’s no Roy Keane, Bryan Robson or Paul Ince when the chips are down

“Paul Pogba is a world class footballer. On his day he does things which is from a different planet sometimes.

“He’s amazing at times but has he done it consistently enough? You’d have to say no.

“He hasn’t really hit the heights consistently over the period of time he’s been here. He’s had injuries as well. You don’t want to see top players like that run their contracts down and the fact he’s not signed a contract makes you concerned that he’s not going to.

“He can go to some top clubs in the world, command extravagant fees to play his football there so the ball is in his court.

“You do see moments of absolute brilliance from Paul, but when the chips are down, he’s not your Roy Keane, Bryan Robson or Paul Ince.”

Gary Pallister: Boro could shock Chelsea in FA Cup in front of full Riverside Stadium

“With that crowd behind them, anything can happen.

“They’ve had two tough ties and beaten Manchester United away and Tottenham at home.


“I’m sure they feel like they can take on anybody – maybe not Man City or Liverpool. “My only concern is that it [the FA Cup] becomes a distraction for Middlesbrough in getting to the play-offs. That’s what we’re aiming for and where we need to be.

“You wonder what it’s taking out the side on this cup run because it’s going to add game after game and make it even more tough”

Gary Pallister: Chris Wilder a fantastic fit for Middlesbrough

“I think that Chris Wilder is doing a fantastic job.

He’s been the best fit as a manager at Middlesbrough for a long, long time.

“The crowd is getting behind him and the players are believing in him.


“We’ve had a couple of blips over the last week or so, but there’s a lot of positivity going on at Middlesbrough Football Club.”

Gary Pallister: Man United were outplayed in first-leg at Atletico and at home United need to respond

“When we were over at their place it was passionate, it was raucous. We got outplayed and we can’t hide away from that fact

“Elanga got us a goal and a result, but we didn’t deserve it as they were the far better side on the night. We rode out luck and David de Gea was terrific like he’s been all season. But we’re in the tie with a great shout.


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Gary Pallister is an English former professional footballer and sports television pundit.

As a player, he was a defender from 1984 to 2001 and is most noted for his nine-year spell at Manchester United from 1989 until 1998.

His honours at United include four Premier League titles, three FA Cup’s, the League Cup, the European Cup Winners Cup, the European Super Cup and five Charity Shields.

He also had several spells with Middlesbrough that yielded over 200 appearances combined over both periods, as well as briefly playing on loan with Darlington in 1985. He was capped 22 times by England between 1988 and 1996, as well as nine caps for the England B team.