Former Manchester United manager Ron Atkinson delighted with Zlatan Ibrahimovic

by Leo Nieboer

Former Manchester United manager Ron Atkinson is delighted with Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s incredible start to life at Old Trafford.

The big Swede netted a brace against Southampton last Friday, taking his tally to four goals in his first three games.

Some rival fans and pundits denounced the 34-year-old upon his arrival, citing his age and lack of speed as two detriments to his game. However, Zlatan has silenced his doubters, thrilling Man United fans in the process.

Speaking on MUTV, Atkinson was keen to express his admiration for the striker.

“The most satisfying thing for me is we’ve got a goalscorer in the team who is scoring goals,” he said.

“I look at Zlatan and I think he is a knock-in bet to finish with 20 goals and I’m talking league goals now. If you’ve got that in your locker and one or two others weigh in, it doesn’t half give you chances.

“To be fair to him, there are going to be times during the course of many games when you think where is he? He’s not dynamic in fact and is not going to run here, there and everywhere because he’s 34.

“He is not going to do that. But you do know if you set him up with a chance – we’ve seen two great headers from him already.

“They were two phenomenal headers. You always associate him with acrobatic overhead kicks and long-distance shots but he is a real threat in the air.”

It is, of course, still early days, but Ibrahimovic’s instant impact is unavoidably reminiscent of Robin van Persie’s first season at Old Trafford. The Dutchman’s contribution was instant and invaluable; his 26 league goals guided United to a romping title success.

Both players possess similar attributes: a bold winning mentality, physical prowess and, of course, a lethal eye for goal. A truly ominous striker creates a chance out of nothing, catching the back four off guard. His header against Southampton is a potent example: a floating, easily defendable ball into the box was violently crashed home by the 34-year-old, sending Old Trafford into raptures.

One suspects that this could be an extremely fruitful season for Zlatan, who has shown no signs of letting his age catch up with him so far.

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