No more taking the Micki - Mourinho must give Mkhitaryan a run

The Armenian has done everything his manager has asked of him and should now get an extended opportunity to prove his Premier League quality


First up Jose Mourinho wanted to see some of the form which encouraged him to sanction Manchester United’s £30 million move for Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The Armenian delivered exactly that in the 4-0 victory over Feyenoord in the Europa League as Mourinho gave him his first start in nearly three months.

It still wasn't enough to earn him a Premier League start though, as the following weekend’s clash with West Ham United took place without the former Borussia Dortmund man in the starting line-up. Mourinho wanted more. He wanted to see him do it against English opposition, in a game of true English intensity.

But after Mkhitaryan starred again in the 4-1 EFL Cup win over the Hammers on Wednesday Mourinho has simply run out of reasons to doubt his No.22. “I’m so happy today because today was against a Premier League team, with Premier League qualities and Premier League characteristics,” the manager said after the match.

“That showed clearly a relation because against Feyenoord we could think ‘OK, it’s a different profile of football.' But today was against a typical Premier League team and Micki could perform this way.

“So we are really happy because we know the reason why we bought him and we were waiting for his adaptation to the English game and it looks like it’s coming.”

Having had a hand in much of United's better play, including laying on their first two goals with neat play on both occasions, there is nothing more the attacker can do to prove he has the tools to be a success in the English top flight.

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With Wayne Rooney ruled out of Sunday's trip to Everton through suspension, there will never be a better opportunity for Mkhitaryan to be reintroduced into the fray. He is ready, and United are more than ready for him.

A team which has been lacking penetration all season has just the man to provide it. Rooney's enforced absence follows what was without a doubt his best performance of the season on Wednesday but Mkhitaryan is arguably more vital to United's hopes of chasing down the top four in any case.

His ability to weigh a pass with either foot allied with the knack of gliding past defenders with ease makes him the kind of player few clubs in the Premier League can call upon. And if Mkhitaryan can excel in the trip to Goodison Park then there is no reason to believe he cannot be a regular part of a resurgent United going forward.

The Reds face a key couple of weeks, with Sunday's game followed by a trip to Zorya Luhansk and then a clash with Tottenham, before pre-Christmas visits to Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion. If they can reach the festive period unscathed then ground could soon be made up.

They need to give themselves every chance of taking maximum points between now and December 25, and to that end Mkhitaryan should become a regular in the starting XI rather than the stands.

Just as Bastian Schweinsteiger has won over Mourinho, it is time the Portuguese realises that Mkhitaryan has also done everything he possibly can to earn both his respect and his faith.

It is time to give Micki the run he deserves.