Zlatan Ibrahimovic Says Sir Alex's Shadow, Man United Legends Hold Club Back

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says that Manchester United's biggest problem moving forward is the shadow cast by Sir Alex Ferguson's reign at the club.
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Zlatan Ibrahimovic says that Manchester United's biggest problem moving forward is the shadow cast by Sir Alex Ferguson's reign at the club, and that he thinks Manchester United should build their future around Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford.

Ibrahimovic believes one of United's biggest problems moving forward remains a failure to escape the long shadow cast by Ferguson's glorious reign and a regular stream of criticism from the fabled Class of '92, a group he has dubbed 'The Circle of Ferguson' in comments to The Daily Mirror.

"Everything that happens is judged by the era of Ferguson. They are saying 'if Ferguson was here, this would not happen, Ferguson would not do it like that,'" Ibrahimovic said.

"I do not want to hear what happened before. I want to do it in the present. You come in with a new mentality...Ferguson has his place in history at this club but now the club continues. It has to find its own identity and it is difficult."

Ibrahimovic claims the likes of Gary Neville and Paul Scholes spend too much time complaining about United because they are 'on TV' and 'not active in the club'.

"If you want to work in the club, go and search for work in the club. So you cannot be on TV and always complaining and criticizing," he warned.

"In the circle of Ferguson, they don't like [that Pogba left and came back]. Because they stayed all their life under Ferguson and they never moved from Ferguson. And they didn't even talk if Ferguson didn't tell them to open their mouth."

Ryan Giggs fired back in his pre-match press conference for Wales on Tuesday.

"When you play over 2,000 games for Manchester United between us, we can have an opinion," Giggs said. "Sometimes positive, sometimes negative but I don't think that has any bearings on results. We are supporters of the club, together with other ex-players who are on TV or on radio. That's what football is about, having different opinions. But obviously he knows more about the club than us."

Ibrahimovic played with both during his 18 months at United, acting as a mentor-type figure.

"I think Pogba has the potential to be the best player in the world in his position. He is a good guy, he trains hard, he listens, he wants to become better, he wants to win. He want to perform in every game," the veteran Swede said, adding that "Rashford is the future of Manchester United."

"In the beginning, I saw him more as an individual - now he is playing more for the collective," Ibrahimovic said of the English forward. "He is using his quality more for the team, not for himself only. He has big potential and a big future with United and the special thing is that he comes from the academy. I think he has no limits."