Tim Holland speaks to Thomas Heaton, Old Trafford season ticket holder, about Rio’s return to the Boleyn, Man Utd’s Dad’s Army and Carrick the Scapegoat

How do you assess Man United's the season so far

How do you assess Man United’s the season so far?

Being this far ahead with the season coming to an end means it’s been great season for us. We’ve been a top of the table for so long and we’ve not really looked like letting it slip away. We’ve not played our best all season but at times we’ve played breathtaking football and the boys up front usually find the end product. Defensively, however, there are a few questions that need to be answered for next season. Our cup form has been questionable as well and I’ll like to see a definite improvement in Europe next season.

The introduction of Van Persie this season his presence seems to have caused a selection headache for Ferguson with Hernandez and Welbeck pushing for starts. Do you think this affected your forwards?

It’s a good thing to have such quality going forward. And when a world class player like Robin van Persie is up for grabs it’s difficult to say no. Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck have both made names for themselves in the Red shirt so it’s not as if Ferguson is going to put them aside, stalling their development. Fergie’s been able to change things up this season and hasn’t been afraid to rest players.

Alex Ferguson will be 72 at the end of the year. Do you think he’ll ever retire and if so, who could you see replacing him?

I think he’s got at least three seasons left in him but we’ll definitely struggle to find a replacement. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is an option but I’d to see him come in as an assistant manager first. I’ve always like David Moyes as well.

Some critics have highlighted the high number of veteran players you have in the squad. Do you think the likes of Giggs and Scholes still have roles to play or do you think they undermine the team?

I think the likes of Scholes and Giggs definitely have something to offer. Their roles have changed over the past few years but they can both still influence games. Their presence and experience in the dressing room is also a positive thing especially with the amount of young players we have in our squad.

Rio Ferdinand has been linked with a move back to the Boleyn ground. Do you think his future will be away from Old Trafford next season?

I think Rio has had his best season for a few years and that’s been backed up by his England recall. I think he’ll be here next season and will move on after that. Strangely I can see him back at West Ham.

Michael Carrick has been seen playing in defence a bit more this season. Do you think he is suited to his role?

No, not at all. That move was made because of limited options at centre half when injuries started to come in fast. I felt Scott Wootton would have done a better job but Ferguson thought otherwise. Michael Carrick is obviously much better in midfield. He is consistent and underrated by many. Often called out as a scapegoat.

Who should West Ham fans be wary of in the Man U first XI?

Difficult to single out one player. If United go on the attack I think we can hurt most teams. I’ve got a feeling Van Persie will regain his goal scoring touch against you.

What’s your opinion of West Ham this season?

It’s the usual stuff from Sam Allardyce — building a team that is hard to break down, big defenders, rumours of long ball and grinding our results. For your first season back you’ve done well.

Which West Ham players would you have in your squad?

Diamé looks a handful on his day perhaps he just needs to improve his final ball. James Tomkins looks like he’s got potential as well although we’re quite well covered in central defence.

What’s your prediction for both clubs this season?

Manchester United; Champions, West Ham; 15th

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