Paul Scholes and Michael Owen both believe Jose Mourinho must start Henrikh Mkhitaryan against Tottenham Hotspur this weekend.
The Armenia international capped a sparkling performance against Zorya Luhansk on Thursday night with a superb solo goal to open his account for the Red Devils.
— Henrikh Mkhitaryan (@HenrikhMkh) December 8, 2016
That form hasn’t gone unnoticed, with ex-striker Owen claiming the former Borussia Dortmund man should be a key player at Old Trafford.
“He would be my first choice in one of three positions,” the former England international told BT Sport.
“Jose will be picking his team, with Ibra up top and whether it’s left, right or central, he’s my first choice.
“Mata’s had a fantastic season, and they’ve got the pace of Marcus Rashford and the experience and quality of Wayne Rooney.
“You’ve got so many options – Lingard, Martial – but Mkhitaryan would go in first for me.”
The 27-year-old has been largely overlooked by Mourinho in the Premier League this season, despite United’s struggles domestically.
The FA Cup holders currently sit sixth in the table, a whopping 13 points off leaders Chelsea.
United legend Scholes, however, believes that Mkhitaryan is the final piece of a supremely talented puzzle that will see the Old Trafford outfit finally hit their best form.
“Three or four weeks ago I thought it was only a matter of time before he started producing and we’re seeing that now, with a little run of games, he’s starting to produce,” Scholes said.
“What’s he got different from Mata is that pace. Mata’s got the trick but has he got the pace to go past people? I don’t think he has.”
United head into the Spurs game knowing that a defeat would leave the club nine points off the all-important Champions League places.
With the season beginning to near the halfway stage, that distance, while not insurmountable, will worry Mourinho and the Old Trafford hierarchy immensely.
That unease plants the onus firmly on Mkhitaryan to be the creative helm of a star-studded ship, and fans will be praying that the fleet-footed winger can help United topple their London rivals on Sunday and regain some much needed ground at the top of the table.