Researchers at the centre, which is based at the International Centre for Sports Studies in Switzerland, identified the centre-forward as United’s talisman after studying performance data across Europe’s leading five divisions - The Premier League, La Liga, Ligue 1 and Serie A.
They named McGoldrick, who enters Saturday’s game against Leeds searching for his eighth goal of the campaign, as the biggest influence on United’s results during the second half of the campaign. Raphinha Dias, a £17m signing from Rennes, was the West Yorkshire club’s leading performer.
Speaking earlier this term, McGoldrick revealed he has taken on more responsibilities off the pitch as United slide towards relegation.
“I enjoy helping the younger lads out,” he said. “I try to be a good voice in the dressing room - we’re fortunate there’s plenty of those - and be there for them if they need any help or advice.”
After retiring from duty with the Republic of Ireland, McGoldrick is in pole position to start at Elland Road after Paul Heckingbottom, United’s caretaker manager, revealed “strong energy levels” will be required to beat Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
Despite joining United on a free transfer following his release by Ipswich Town three years ago, McGoldrick has netted more times this term than Lys Mousset, Oli McBurnie and Rhian Brewster who cost a combined total of more than £55m in transfer fees.