Gary Neville: These nine leaders need to step-up for Manchester United

Michael Carrick and Juan Mata are just two players who need to step up as leaders for Manchester United, writes Gary Neville.

Louis van Gaal may have appointed Wayne Rooney as Manchester United captain but, for former skipper Gary Neville, the Englishman will need help from a core of senior players and a number of recent signings.

The former right back, a mainstay during two decades of elite-level football at Old Trafford, suggested that, in total, nine players need to step up as leaders on the field if United are to re-establish themselves amongst the elite in the Premier League.

In the space of a summer, Manchester United have seen accomplished players like Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic all leave,

"[They] have gone and new leaders and characters need to emerge in the dressing room," said Neville, a respected pundit and England national football team coach, in his column for United Review, recently. 

"This is now the opportunity for Phil Jones, David De Gea, Juan Mata, Ander Herrera - players who've been signed - to become leaders and develop the mentality that they want to take over the mantle.

"That's particularly true for the ones who have been there for a period of time. Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher and Jonny Evans are the five obvious players who have won many honours between them, now they need to step up."

United need leaders now more than ever after van Gaal began his reign as United boss in disastrous fashion having suffered a 2-1 loss at home to visiting Swansea City over the weekend.

"The main thing is that the manager is a fantastic leader in his own right so he will demand that his players take more responsibility out on the pitch," concluded Neville.

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch