The once-coveted midfielder completed a high profile move to Manchester United last summer, but his debut season at Old Trafford has seen him fail to live up to the hype.


France manager Didier Deschamps opted to call up Leicester City’s midfield engine N’golo Kante instead of Manchester United’s Morgan Schneiderlin, while West Ham’s Dimitri Payet and Crystal Palace’s Yohan Cabaye were among the other Premier League midfielders who made the cut for the Euro 2016 squad.

Schneiderlin is not a stranger to the national team, having made 15 appearances for the senior team and also represented France from U16 level all the way through to the U21s. A majority of these national appearances were during his seven-year stint as a Southampton player and the omission from Euro 2016 is a glaring indictment of Schneiderlin’s underwhelming first season at Manchester United.

A difficult transition from the Saints to the Red Devils

Manchester United vs Chelsea
Morgan Schneiderlin was one of the top midfielders in the Premier League with Southampton. The Frenchman was adept at playing the box-to-box role, acting as a wall to the defence as well as getting forward during attacking play. His first season at Old Trafford has seen him become more inconsistent with performances, as he has played well in some key clashes but failed to perform at a high level with regularity.

Last season with Southampton, the Frenchman averaged 0.8 key passes and 65.4 passes per game. This season with Manchester United, he averages just 0.5 key passes and 50.3 passes per game, more than 25 % lower than his last campaign. This is especially bad considering the fact that Man United are now a team that place emphasis on passing and dominating possession.

Schneiderlin averaged 1.3 shots on goal in 2014/15, but at Manchester United that has dropped drastically to 0.5. Apart from taking fewer shots on goal, he also seems to have been playing in a more holding role instead of getting forward. His attempted dribbles per game has dropped from 0.9 to less than half of that figure — 0.4 dribbles per game.

All of these statistics suggest that the 26-year-old has regressed quite drastically this season and is performing at almost half the efficiency that he was playing at with Southampton in 2014-15. Therefore his omission from the French squad can be attributed as much to his fall from grace at Manchester United as to the rise of other French players in his position.

Bad management also to blame

Manchester United v Everton
Another reason for Morgan Schneiderlin’s poor performances could be the state of turmoil that the Manchester United team has been in all season. After a full season in charge, one would expect manager Louis van Gaal  to have a rough idea of his favoured starting XI and their positions within the team. But this season has seen the Dutchman play several players out of their natural positions — the most heinous example being Ashley Young’s brief spell as a lone striker in the game against Tottenham Hotspur.

Despite putting up good performances at the beginning of the campaign, Schneiderlin has often been left out of the starting XI with Van Gaal preferring to employ a rotating door policy when it comes to central midfield. The Frenchman has, at various times this season, played alongside Ander Herrera, Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick and Bastian Schweinsteiger, without ever truly cementing his place in the team.

While Morgan Schneiderlin has displayed his quality at St. Mary’s — enough to warrant the £24 million move to Old Trafford in the first place — he cannot perform well with his starting XI role less than assured and with ever-changing partners in central midfield. Louis van Gaal has gained a reputation over his career as a coach who develops players that are yet to reach their peak. Morgan Schneiderlin’s case shatters this image completely and leaves one questioning whether the Iron Tulip should be left in charge of the Red Devils for yet another season.

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