Revealed: United's fastest player

Wednesday 13 June 2018 15:00

Pace is one element of football that is always intriguing for supporters and a question often posed is: which Manchester United player is the fastest?

Well, thanks to Opta's data, it is possible to track individuals in every Premier League game over the course of the season and the results are in for 2017/18, with some of United's World Cup contingent jostling for position at the head of the leaderboard.

In total, nine different Reds recorded the quickest speed in a match - Victor Lindelof, Jesse Lingard, Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling, Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia. But which one came out on top?

Lingard finished fifth with his top speed of 34.73 km/h tracked in the 2-2 draw at Leicester City, one of his former loan clubs, at the end of last year. The England international is known for his high-octane performances and movement but is clearly no slouch when it comes to sprinting either. He also came out on top in this field in the dramatic 3-2 victory at Crystal Palace.

It is the first time he has pushed himself into the main reckoning, with ex-captain Wayne Rooney the victor in 2014/15, the season when Jesse broke into Louis van Gaal's team.

The Huddersfield Town clash at the John Smith's Stadium did not go to plan but Lukaku's mark of 34.75 km/h earned fourth spot in our list. The Belgian set up our goal for Rashford with a telling cross and tried manfully to help the Reds retrieve the game.

The time was short of the one clocked by Rashford last season, who hit 35.07 km/h, to confirm his reputation as one of the most rapid members of the squad.

A lot of fans reckon Rashford is still the speediest Red and his data for the opening away game of the campaign, at Swansea City, was only beaten by a colleague once in the entire Premier League season. A mark of 34.78 km/h secured joint-second in our chart as he stretched the Swans' defence in a thrilling 4-0 victory, before being replaced by Martial late on.

As he prepares to strut his stuff at the World Cup finals, following a fine display against Costa Rica at Elland Road in the last warm-up fixture, the lightning-quick youngster will hope to shrug off a knock that forced him to miss training on Wednesday.

Lukaku's second entry in the top five is the 34.78 km/h he logged in one of the most memorable matches of 2017/18 - the 2-1 home victory over Liverpool. Rashford took centre stage with both goals but the top scorer's running power was recognised by analysts Tracab, who work with Opta.

The Belgium marksman led the Merseysiders' defence a merry dance as he made life difficult for central defenders Dejan Lovren and Virgil van Dijk in the March clash at Old Trafford.

So top spot goes to Lukaku, another accolade in his first season at United. There can be no disputing his standing as our current fastest player due to the fact he posted three of the best five times to finish ahead of all of his colleagues. One burst through his former club's defence towards the end had the entire crowd on its feet, after he bagged United's equaliser in a 2-1 triumph.

The 34.84 km/h registered was the first winning time to dip below 35 km/h in the past four seasons but he follows in the footsteps of Rooney, Martial and Rashford in landing the spoils.

Well done, Rom – let's see some more of that pace over in Russia!