Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has revealed striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has the ability to play in the No. 10 role for the Red Devils.
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has revealed striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has the ability to play in the number 10 role for the Red Devils.
The star striker returned to the starting lineup for the fist time since recovering from a serious knee injury in United's Carabao Cup quarterfinal defeat at Bristol City on Wednesday, scoring his sides' only goal of the game.
Ibrahimovic donned the captain's armband throughout the affair where he was initially deployed as a lone striker, before occupying the space in a deeper position following the introduction of Romelu Lukaku in the second half.
The position behind the main striker is a role which has been heavily rotated by Mourinho this season, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Juan Mata, Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard all trying their hand at filling the creative role in the side.
However, Mourinho is of the belief that Ibrahimovic could be the next man to occupy the position, as ahead of United's trip to Leicester City, he told the club's website: “He played the last match [against Bristol City] in that period in the second half where we replaced Daley Blind with Lukaku and Lukaku played No. 9 and Zlatan played No. 10.
“I know that was in the period where his energy was going down but, obviously, there are spaces where a No. 10 plays and spaces where Ibrahimovic, even when he was clearly a No. 9, feels comfortable to play. So, yes, why not?”
With a fixture heavy festive period awaiting United, with four games in just nine days, rotation will be key to consistent form and results. However, despite Lukaku featuring heavily so far this campaign, Mourinho stressed that he was unlikely to be able to rotate him consistently with Ibrahimovic as he is still working his way to full fitness.
He added: “Yes, he’s an option. He played one hour [against Bristol City] or a bit more. But he could obviously be an option to start a match. Ninety minutes is probably too much - it depends on the match. But I think, yes, he’s ready to start.”