Manchester United’s five best players of 2014

With 2015 just around the corner, Vincent Ralph looks at Manchester United's top players from the last 12 months.

With another year about to end we take a look at the five men who have particularly impressed for Manchester United in 2014.

The calendar year has been a strange one for United and their fans. The first half of 2014 was expected to be bright following the arrival of Juan Mata, but under David Moyes the club continued to struggle and failed to qualify for Europe come May.

By the start of the following campaign, things were looking up, with Louis van Gaal in charge and a number of new faces at Old Trafford. But United still have some way to go before they can be regarded as back to their best.

David de Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper has been nothing short of sensational for United in 2014. He impressed in the second half of last season but has taken another step towards greatness this campaign.

Time and again the 24-year-old pulls off saves that ensure United rack up the points and it is vital the club ties him down to a new contract as soon as possible.

Juan Mata

Since arriving at United at the start of 2014, Juan Mata has impressed even if some have always claimed he is only a few bad performances from the exit.

This could not be further from the truth, with the former Chelsea player making 29 appearances for United thus far, scoring 11 goals and providing seven assists in that time.

He scores and provides on a consistent basis for the side and is rediscovering his old form now manager Louis van Gaal is picking him regularly.

Michael Carrick

The importance of Michael Carrick has been seen since his return to United’s starting line-up after a spell on the treatment table.

United have won 19 points from a possible 21 since the England international started his first game of the season and throughout 2014 Carrick has looked the class act we all know he is.

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney will always be one of United’s top players because he is Wayne Rooney. The United skipper puts in a shift whenever and wherever he plays and he continues to be one of the club’s standout performers.

He did everything in his power to pull United up the table last season and this year he is benefiting from having some quality additions around him.

Angel Di Maria

He may have only recently arrived at Old Trafford, and injury may have curtailed his progress, but Angel Di Maria still makes this list for one very simple reason: In the matches he has played since his British-record transfer he has looked like a superstar.

Di Maria is the closest thing United have had to Cristiano Ronaldo since the Portuguese international left the club and he has shown enough in the latter stages of 2014 to suggest he will become a great at the club.

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch