Gary Neville has admitted that Manchester United attacker Alexis Sanchez is a shadow of the player that was so impressive during his time with Arsenal.
However, the Chile international struggled badly during the second half of last season and has shown little or no sign of improvement so far this term.
Sanchez, who Manchester United made the highest paid player in the Premier League when they signed him, put in another listless display in midweek against Valencia in the Champions League and Neville revealed that seeing such a top player struggle so badly saddens him.
“People keep asking me about this player and that player, I must have been asked about 10 different players at Manchester United – what’s going on with Anthony Martial, with Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez, Luke Shaw – the answer is I haven’t got a clue!” Neville wrote in the Class of ’92 Diary for Sky Sports.
“I was at the game on Wednesday night against Valencia. I saw them huddle in the middle of the pitch – that’s the first time I’ve seen a Manchester United team do a huddle in the middle of the pitch before a game at Old Trafford so I was expecting to see an explosion after that – and I didn’t.
“Sanchez looks like a shadow of the player United signed, he looks like a shadow of the player Arsenal had. Alexis Sanchez has been a warrior of a player to watch over the last few years and you don’t become a bad player overnight.
“The idea that he now looks the way he does, more than anything I feel sad. When you see a player struggling like that it’s just sad, you know that player has been a great player over the last few years.
“He’s a fighter, he chases back, he’s a hurrier and a scurrier, he’s everything you want to see on a football pitch. I expected him to hit the ground running this season and I’ve just got no answer for it.
“The atmosphere against Valencia was linked to the game, it felt like a game of possession from box to box with no goals at either end. There was no real quality at either end from either team. It was a bit of a nothing game, both teams played decent football at times but not much happened in either box.
“I was in the ground, you can’t blame the fans, they were trying to have a go but it was a bit flat mainly because the game on the pitch was a bit flat – it’s a natural reaction to what we were watching.”