As many of you will have seen, yesterday we posted a video of a man known only as ‘Keith from Wilmslow’ calling in to MUTV to give his two cents on the Wayne Rooney dabate.
Keith’s articulate and well-thought-out argument perfectly expressed the frustration that many fans feel regarding the captain’s continued selection.
The YouTube video of Keith’s call-in to the MUTV show went viral, and was picked up by several online publications for the way in which he expertly made his point and appeared to flummox United legend and MUTV pundit Sammy McIlroy.
We managed to track down Keith from Wilmslow -- real name Keith Tully — to find out a little bit about how he is dealing with his new found notoriety, and to get his opinion on some Manchester United-related issues.
tBB: Were you surprised at the attention your call to MUTV got?
Keith: Yes, it was unexpected. I've been on MUTV quite a lot and I enjoy it, but I didn't think I was saying anything most fans weren't thinking.
tBB: You did a great job of articulating the Rooney issue, is it something you've been thinking about for a while? And how long have you been of the opinion that he needs to be dropped?
Keith: I think the change in managers since Sir Alex [Ferguson] has led to Rooney being given a 2-3 year extension on his career at United. His form has been really poor and I think Louis van Gaal making him captain and saying he had special privileges, i.e. not being dropped, didn't help. He's not a captain and changing his role to midfield, I think, has taken away the sharpness a forward needs to succeed at Premier League level.
If you think, last season our defensive record was very good; it highlights how poor we were going forward, and Rooney is our so-called star man, on the largest contract, and should be performing at [Sergio] Aguero levels, or he should be replaced.
tBB: If Rooney is taken out of the side, who would you like to take his place? And how do you see United lining up?
Keith: I think in home games we should play [Daley] Blind with [Eric] Bailly, as they both are better on the ball than [
Mike Chris] Smalling, and you need that to open up teams who come to defend. In midfield, I'd like to see [Morgan] Schneiderlin, [Ander] Herrera and [Paul] Pogba given a run of games together to cement an understanding. And I'd go with [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan, [Anthony] Martial and Zlatan [Ibrahimovic], with Rashford developing by being used in the second half of games. This way, Blind can act as another central midfielder if we are dominating games and Pogba can push forward to support the front three.
tBB: Do you think Rooney is the biggest problem with the team at the moment, or is there something else holding United back?
Keith: Rooney is a huge problem. He has lost the skills needed to play up top; his close control has deserted him; he rarely gets a shot off now and he roams into ineffective positions when he should be in the box, ready to convert opportunities.
I think he realises this and that's why he's pushed for the easier, less-scrutinised roll of a midfielder. Sir Alex knew he wasn't suitable for that role and, unfortunately, our poor recruitment in that area of the pitch since [Roy] Keane left, has led to this debate as to whether he can play in the middle.
I'd like to see us sign full-backs on both sides as real quality replacements/competition to our existing options. And I think we need to be considering forwards who are available, such as [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang [of Borussia Dortmund] to replace an outgoing Rooney.
tBB: Are you hopeful that José Mourinho will turn things around? Was he the man you wanted to replace Louis van Gaal?
Keith: Yes he was and I do think he will turn it around, but he's got a massive decision to make on Rooney. He's got to give players such as Mkhitaryan, Herrera and Schneiderlin a chance to hit form and find their feet at United, and he needs to keep away from the media arguments that have followed him around in his career.
tBB: What are your expectations for this season?
Keith: I think if [Mourinho] gets a settled side and uses his charisma to charm the press and the players, he can achieve great things. But his odd team selections, i.e. [Jesse] Lingard and Mkhitaryan starting versus [Manchester] City, and his public criticism of players, worry me. I hope he keeps his head down and shows once again what a great, tactically-aware manager he is.
If you’d like to follow Keith on Twitter, his handle is @WilmslowKeith
And if you missed the video of Keiths MUTV rant, it’s embedded below.