The 46-year-old, who won two Premier League titles with the Red Devils under Sir Alex Ferguson, has asserted that the current team under David Moyes desperately require leadership in the form of a Roy Keane presence as he had in his six-year spell with United.
“When you look at the team, they have never replaced Roy Keane,” the former England international told talkSPORT.
“There are no leaders. It’s a major problem. Chelsea have people like John Terry and Gary Cahill, proper leaders, Man United don’t.”
Current captain Nemanja Vidic has revealed his plans to leave the club at the end of the season with many wondering who will take on the armband from the Serbian international.
Senior players like Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher and Robin van Persie could be in line to be the next skipper, the first appointed by the new manager.
The likes of Ryan Giggs, now 40, and Rio Ferdinand, 35, will likely retire imminently which would leave the club with a relatively young squad compared to, as Ince notes, Chelsea.
The defence without Vidic and Ferdinand along with vice-captain Patrice Evra - who is also expected to leave this summer - would have an average age of just 23.8 and goalkeeper David De Gea is still just 23.
I would expect Rooney to be handed the armband should he decide to stay on at Old Trafford; the England No.10 has been as close to a leader on the pitch as United have had this term under difficult circumstances at times.
Club-record signing Juan Mata is a fantastic playmaker but I wouldn’t expect him to assume a role of leadership given that he has just arrived and is only 25. Much the same can be said for 26-year-old midfielder Marouane Fellaini.
We all remember, as Ince does, the role played by Roy Keane on the pitch and in the dressing room. A number of players who played alongside him, especially those younger than him, have described their fear of and respect for him. They did not ever want to let him down and the Irishman expected them to give their all at all times for the team.
In that regard, I do agree with Ince that United are lacking a presence that drives them on. We have seen a number of players play below the standard they are capable of this term without Ferguson and there appears to be no one on the pitch, bar perhaps Rooney, who wants to influence the morale and drive the team forward when their backs are against the wall.
image: © Blogsession