Manchester United have a new King ready for action

by Sam Peoples

Joshua King celebrates scoring against Cyprus.

Earlier this season, Joshua King admitted that he would leave Old Trafford this season if it was the only way for him to get more game time.

Speaking about his future at Manchester United, he said: “I have set Christmas as a deadline. If I haven’t got more playing time by then, I will consider moving to another club.

“Considering the players United have, it is not easy to get into the starting 11. I would prefer to stay in England, but in case I do return to Norway, Molde is the only option.”

So far this season, Joshua King has been in extremely impressive form both for club and now country. Last night, King scored his first senior goal for Norway in their 3-1 victory over Cyprus. He won the penalty that gave Norway a 2-1 lead and scored a late third to seal the victory (for full highlights, click here. He was voted man of the match for his performance.

With the U21s, King has showed a big improvement in his all round game. He has always had electric pace and a fierce shot but his decision making sometimes left a lot to be desired – not this season. Take his performance against Southampton U21s in the recent 3-3 draw as an example.

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Watch from 0.20. He shows smart, patient and intelligent play on the byline to delay the ball into the box before teeing up Lingard on the edge for United’s opener. The Joshua King of old might have simply fizzed in a cross earlier but it was his hold up play that created the chance.

Fast forward to 5.50. Joshua King breaks down the left with United in search of a late winner and he gets his head up, looking across the box for the right option, before dinking a beautiful outside of the right foot cross to Veseli, who smashes in a volley at the back post with aplomb.

The 20-year-old has certainly been one of the outstanding U21 players this year but the big problem facing him is not his ability but the players that sit above him in the pecking order.

In Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck, United have four world class strikers who are all eager to get game time themselves, and Sir Alex knows this. This makes it infinitely more difficult for Joshua King to get that game time he craves.

However, the League Cup fixture against Chelsea could be his chance to shine. We have two trips to Stamford Bridge within three days in the league and cup coming up, so Sir Alex will no doubt be rotating his squad. A relatively young team impressed in the last round against Newcastle and if King gets his chance at Stamford Bridge, he’ll have to grab his opportunity with both hands as they don’t come much bigger than this.

It would be a shame to see Joshua King search pastures new for game time in order to keep his place in the international team but if he does get his chance against Chelsea and impresses, he will certainly be given ample opportunity to impress as the season goes on.

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