Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has specified just why he rates Croatia’s World Cup ace Ivan Perisic so highly — and has provided fans with a bit of hope that he may go back in for the Inter Milan star.
The dynamic winger has turned in some dazzling displays for his country as they have battled their way to the final of the tournament where they face an in-form France, complete with emerging global superstar Kylian Mbappe, in Moscow on Sunday.
Perisic was instrumental in steering Croatia to a semi-final win over England and it was he who grabbed Croatia’s equaliser in the 68th minute and he also came close to putting them ahead but hit the upright.
And Perisic, who is aged 29, even had a hand in Croatia’s winner when he headed on for Mario Mandzukic’s goal to make it 2-1 in extra time of the clash.
Mourinho has already tried to snare Perisic last summer but he decided against bidding the £50million fee demanded by the Italian giants.
But he has retained his admiration of the player and after watching his impressive performance he said:
“Perisic is the kind of winger that is different to the others. Normally you look at wingers and they are just fast and creative. But he is also physical, very physical. So, the way he wins that ball in the air for Mandzukic’s goal and puts the ball into that space is only possible if you are very, very physical and dominant over defenders. So, he was amazing by going there and winning that ball in the air.”
Time will tell if Mourinho eventually gets his man.
Meanwhile, one man already in the Old Trafford ranks and desperately keen to impress in the Red Devils’ upcoming tour is defender Phil Jones. He’ll be part of the squad jetting out to America for a tour that will include matches against Liverpool and Real Madrid.
And Jones, who will join up with his United team-mates from England’s World Cup bid, told the club’s website:
“From the first time I came on tour, it’s been amazing. The fans are outside your hotel constantly and they turn out in huge numbers for the games.
“We had over 100,000 fans last time we played Real Madrid in the US in 2014 which was unbelievable. We’re all looking forward to it this year. I’m sure it will be another special tour and hopefully we can do well. The facilities are top drawer and they can’t do enough for you out there. It helps us massively because it makes it easier for the players, the staff and everyone involved. It’s a big boost to get a good pre-season under your belt.”
The pre-season games start with an encounter against Mexican side Club America in Phoenix on 19 July before they face their next test three days later in Santa Clara against the San Jose Earthquakes. Then United face AC Milan, Liverpool, and Real Madrid in the eagerly anticipated International Champions Cup.