Manchester United Legend Says Leicester Remind Him Of The Great United Sides

Old Trafford legend Andy Cole says Premier League leaders Leicester City remind him of the great Manchester United sides in which he played. Former United hitman says the Foxes remind him of the great Red sides he was part of in his days with their “tenacity and passion.”

Cole joined Manchester United in January 1995, following the move from Newcastle and went on to score more than 100 times for United. Before leaving for Blackburn Rovers in December 2001, he won five Premier League titles, two FA Cups, two FA Charity Shields and a Champions League title in 1999 during his time at United.

Cole during Sydney Lunch

Cole said the style that has been employed by the pre-tournament relegation contenders with such unbelievable success evoked memories of his glorious Manchester United days. Shocking the entire footballing world, Leicester stand top of the Premier League table after 17 games. Meanwhile, United sit 9 points behind them at fifth.

Leicester extended their lead at the top of the table to 5 points following a 3-2 win over Everton on Saturday. Arsenal can cut the lead to 2 points if they can triumph over Manchester City this Monday. The result means Leicester goes into Christmas as the Premier League leaders for the first time in their history.

United, meanwhile, slumped to their second Premier League defeat in a row at the hands of Norwich following last week’s defeat at Bournemouth. United lost 2-1 to Norwich. The result has increased the pressure further on United manager Louis Van Gal, under whom United have now won only 4 out of the last 15 matches in all competitions.

Mahrez Taking Free Kick Against Arsenal

Speaking to BreatheSport, former Manchester United striker said of their approach, “It’s like a 4-2-4 system, with the wingers Mahrez and Albrighton constantly on the full back’s toes.”

“Both are direct, getting at their opposite man on every occasion. Mahrez looks a real star, he’s tricky to mark and likes to come back in on his left foot.”

United icon further added, “The goal against Chelsea was sublime. Decent touch, bit of skill and then curls it top-bins!”

“The thing that has impressed me the most is their tenacity and passion.”

The former United hitman also likened midfielder N’Golo Kante with another United great Roy Keane. He said, “Kante is a real leader. A little like Keano when we had all the success.”

“He leads from the front, presses, breaks up play, and when he does get on the ball he rarely gives it away.”

When he was asked if Leicester could genuinely challenge this season’s Premier League crown, Cole added, “The Christmas period is always a tough one and if they can get through the next few games being unbeaten, there’s no reason why they can’t be seen as top 4 contenders.”

Cole started his career as a youth at Arsenal joining them in 1989. However, he could manage just a single league appearance for Arsenal coming on as a substitute against Sheffield United, aged 19. He was later loaned to Fulham, who were then in the Third Division.

After a season at Fulham, Cole was sold to Second Division’s Bristol City, becoming their most expensive player at that time. It was with Bristol City that Cole first made his name. He was sold to Newcastle after just a single season and again, he broke the transfer record, becoming Magpies’ most expensive signing.

In 1995, Newcastle sold Cole to Manchester United with Keith Gillespie moving in opposite direction. The deal was worth £7 million and this time, Cole didn’t only break the United club record but also became the most expensive British transfer during that time.

After being shipped to Blackburn from Manchester United, he moved clubs regularly playing for the likes of Fulham, Manchester City, Portsmouth and Sunderland. He last played for Nottingham Forest in 2008. He announced retirement from football in November 2008, ending his 19-year long career. He earned 15 caps for England.

[Photo by Clive Brunskill /Allsport/Getty Images]