Thursday, 22 July 2010

Young Guns Go For It! Could This Be Fergie's Greatest Achievement?

So on one hand Manchester United are being linked will all and sundry as usual, and on the other Sir Alex is saying he is not going to sign usual. You will be used to this transfer window role play by now if you are a die hard.

So on this tour of our American owners homelands, it's the normal pre-season chance for many of the kids and reserve players..all competing for a coverted place in the Red Devils side..but this all feels a tad slightly different at the minute.

One of the reasons I say that is because it really does feel like we are now the poor man of English football. Not really in the cash sense of the word. But we know now that if a decent player comes up, then City will nab them..even if it's just to use them to mow the Eastlands pitch rather than play the game. David Silva could well become the worlds most famous groundsman in the next twelve months! The allure of United will always be there for potential targets, but it feels that we have to search that bit more harder now for our new blood, or pray that neither City, Madrid or Barca want any of them...'Biggest Club In The World'?? Maybe in fanbase terms..but most of these players are businessmen and it's really not a time to be signing contracts to a club kicking on with a billion pounds worth of debt.

But I am totally cool with that when it comes to player recruitment. If we cant sign the £30 million plus players in world football then so what? Some of the clubs greatest players have cost peanuts from this last generation. A paltry million pounds for Cantona in the 90s. Cole, Yorke, Sheringham and Solskjaer were all great business. Denis Irwin cost did Patrice Evra. And even Vidic and Ronaldo were relatively cheap. Yes, there has been big signings and also some mistakes along the way..Juan Veron cost a small fortune, but the success of Rio and Rooney as big money signings offsets that. Berba is yet to justify his fee, but could a successful first season by (3 months ago) an unknown Mexican supplement the goal tally we need for success? United never do things the easy way.

Which leads me on to the youth at the club..

The primary reason why things feel different this pre-season, is we are seeing a crop of young players who are very much nearly men. Danny Welbeck looks to have become physically stronger over the course of the summer as his body matures. I remember Fergie saying the shock he previously had with both OShea and Fletcher, when they left at the end of the season as kids (a few years back) and returned at pre-season like physical monsters! That's how I see Welbeck. Technically he still has to improve. But if he is powerful and mobile, he will get more chances.

Also off the production line on this tour are Cleverley, Kiko, Rafael, Fabio, DeLaet, and Corry Evans. Add to that the relatively young pros like Obertan, Mame Diouf, Gibson (no longer one of the kids) and Jonny Evans (positively a senior now!) then you start to see the skeleton frame of a fantastic young which Arsenal would love to produce, but in no way do they currently have that kind of depth of quality, and range of ability. I didn't even mention Smalling then..lets wait and see with him. And there is the very exciting prospect of Paul Pogba, an 17 year old who could have the world at his feet very soon. A Michael Essien/Patrick Viera type player who also scores goals...his time will come soon. Davide Petrucci is also an immensely talented young man who could become a United dynamo!

For me Cleverley is the wild card this year. We don't quite have a player like him in the squad. He had a phenomenal season in the Championship last year as Watford's player of the year and brings a scurrying Gordon Strachan like quality to our modern day midfield. He has got the tricks in his feet, and the drive and desire to succeed, and I think he will surprise a few opposition teams this year if given the chance. In fact...could he be that creative midfielder that we've been begging Fergie to buy??

I also expect the DaSilvas to play alot more this year, barring injury. They are without doubt in my mind the future of United's full back positions...Philipp Lahm? Who the hell needs him! Despite the odd error, at 20 years old I have rarely seen such exciting talents for United in these two positions. They are brave as lions and are totally progressive in their play...something we demand at the club. I trust Fergie to turn them into top class players very soon.

On the other hand, Kiko and Obertan are part genius, part enigmas. Neither has really had a run in the first team, and it is obvious they will need football this year. Do you keep them and break them in slowly? Or is a loan the best option. I know for sure that if both only feature in a dozen or so matches this season that their progress...and their confidence...will be thoroughly stunted.

So I'm quietly optimistic about 2010/11. Every media source is writing us off, and all I'm waiting for now is for Alan Hansen to say "Ye cannae win anything with kids" These lads are progressing well. With the guidance of some brilliant senior footballers at the club, and maybe then add the spark of a Nani, or a Valencia, or even an Anderson..then I think we have every chance of winning silverware this season.

So as Manchester City collect a fantasy league squad of players to fulfill an ambition that they dared not even dreamed before the oil money came in, it will give us immense pleasure to put them in their place with a bunch of old guys and a collection of kids. It would surely be one of Fergie's greatest achievements..and I bet he can smell blood right now.

Tick Tock? I think yer clock just broke.



  1. "I suggest we take a look at both Rafael Van Der Vaart and Alexis Sanchez"

    what is it...signings or kids?

  2. no disrespect, but do you really expect them to win league and a good run in Europe? no doubt Da silvas have the skill and maturity to play at the highest level.can't see Diouf making something at United.Welbeck- on loan.,most probably. Obertan is a talent i am looking forward to more often these days.but then again, can't see him getting selected ahead of an inform Nani and Park. Cleverley is surely a great young prospect, but will be used more in the league cup and FA(as we see all these years). if an injury free season is ahead for the big names and old guards we're in the race for sure.

  3. While you're right to have faith in young players (even though you just blogged that we need to sign two players to be on the verge of silverware), you clearly don't know anything about them.. at your own club, too!

    Your descriptions of them are just so vague and wrong that I doubt you've seen any of them play. Good to have faith, embarrassing to reveal you don't know what you're putting your faith in.

  4. brilliant article...this is exactly what I've been thinking! who's really improved this year? (barring City, but we all know city are going to do fuck all)!!

    whilst everyone is getting poorer/older/cockier...united are quietly generating players that could wear the UTD badge for the next 15 years!!

  5. Mr anon yes I would like a signing to add to the squad...a van Der. Vaart or sanchez would be awesome, but its not coming is it? I like the look of this crop of kids...they will cut it I hope

    And other Mr anon what do u mean about my description of players? This isnt a player profile column! I know these youngsters pretty well but they need to develop. Cleverly looked good dropping into central areas last night and I think he can do that in the first team. Hes gonna get little joy playing wide this yr

  6. Another good piece Rob. It's exactly what I was telling another United fan last night. And if you think about it, what have the other title contenders done this season? Chelsea's one big signing has been Yossi Benayoun who is a step down from Joe Cole and who probably will not start that much for them. Arsenal signed Chamakh who will be decent but I don't think he wins them the league especially if Cesc joins his SuperFriends in Barcelona. Liverpool are a shadow of themselves and might possibly sell Torres. I'm not THAT concerned about Spurs or City. We lost the title by one point last season and I don't think that was enough to prove to Sir Alex that we need to bring in a new signing.

  7. "It's not a player profile column"

    fair enough; You're giving an opinion on them though nonetheless

    Most would know that Welbeck/Diouf/Cleverley have been touted for loans. Most would know that arguably the one area Welbeck doesn't need to work on is his technique. Most would expect that Fabio won't feature much due to Evra, and most would know that the Pogba comparison to Vieira and Essien is at best a lazy woefully inaccurate stereotype.

    It's not a player profile but it is a blog about giving `young guns` there chance. You should at least know something about them!!!!

  8. Nice article and one that echoes my sentiments. I witnessed Beckham, Scholes and the Nevilles (and Butt) stun the premier league and while the current batch don't quite have the same pedigree yet, they are slightly younger and our best batch in a while. Compare to Greening, Cathcart, as well as Richardson and you quickly realize these young lads really do have quality.

    Some of the younger fans are losing their minds, but the older fans have been there and seen it. I think one of the anonymous comments was harsh and I think you summed up the young players well.

    Fabio and Rafael have the makings of classy fullbacks. They have to cut down the helicopter arms, improve their positional awareness and learn how much or how little space to give different opponents.

    Kiko and Welbeck both need to go out on loan. Kiko is not usually uncertain of what to do with the ball and is better at finding space and taking up good positions. Needs first team minutes to improve holding up the ball and bring others into play.

    Obertan and Cleverley will probably provide some very good moments this season, so I'm hoping Cleverley doesn't go out on loan or at least not for the whole season.

  9. Ok Mr anon I will answer this tho I don't normally in my comment section here

    For me, Danny welbeck has bags of natural ability, and as I stated its his power and size that will push him forward...but if he wants to become a prem striker he needs to clean up his technique. His first touch is good but then he dwells on the ball..most utd fans will agree with that. He needs to get the ball out of his feet and play that explanation enough for u on my opinion on his technique

    It is also clear that many of these youngsters will go out on loan, but id like one or two to remain and get a chance if we are to make no more signings. If evra gets injured id make Fabio first choice.

    And I'm interested in how you would describe Paul pogba in a sentence? As I said this isn't a player breakdown, and I wish not to dish out a thousand + words of player technical info..I leave that to other sites.

    Please mail me your website so I can have a look at your writings. Thanks

  10. You make a good case for the youngsters. The problem is how many will actually be at OT this season. Already Welbeck and Cleverly are being tipped to go out on loan. Who else ? If we are not to make any signings and to give youth a chance then these two, particularly, should be at OT this season. I fear for Welbeck - he's far more talented than Macheda in my view but will he get a chance or will it be a case of loan spells leading to a permanent move elsewhere. In view of Hargreaves unavailability we neeed midfielders and this could be a breakthrough season for Cleverly, yet once again he may be elsewhere.

  11. you didn't really mention Welbeck's technique, you talked about his`dwelling` which is a maturity and awareness issue. Technically he is ahead of his peers, you can't expect him to be instantly comfortable in the first team. this is why he has looked more comfortable in the first team in the cup games with his fellow reserve teammates and be able to fully demonstrate that technique. If you dont have an understanding of what technique is then..

    Pogba in a sentence. well I'm not an expert, I've only seem him play, but in the games I've seen, he's creative, keeps the play fluid, far classier on the ball than the players you compare him to. He controls the game from all over the park, if I had to use any player to compare him to, it would be the Scholes of today with an understandably greater engine. Not as intelligent as him yet but probably more imposing & bombastic than him at the same time. 3 sentences for you there. the essien and vieira comparison only comes from people who made that assumption on seeing a picture of him & quickly shows people up.

    I only read, at work when bored, but there are no shortage of blogs like yours that lazily roll off the names of the reserves and youth team that they have seen little bits of or worse still just heard about (in pogbas case). No real problem for me but undermines your own opinion when you don't have the knowledge. You don't have to write a thousand words to show you know . Writing the wrong ones show that you dont

  12. Many thanks for your comments Mr anon

    It appears that I've probably seen Mr pogba play more than you have obviously don't rate Michael essiens all round ability and creativity? I don't see pogba as a Scholes like player but be will be able to give us a similar goal return in the seasons to come as I eluded to.

    Thanks for reading!

  13. thats it, qualify your assessment of one player by talking about another. *doh*

    you don't see Pogba as a Scholes type player because you haven't watched him. bears resemblence to your welbeck technique nonsense.

    pogba scored 7 goals from 19 starts last year btw. i can see where you get the Essien ref from..

  14. "A Michael Essien/Patrick Viera type player who also scores goals.."

    I fully know pogbas scoring record. My opinion about him hasn't changed despite your expert input. Cheers

  15. Cheers Rob great informative post as normal.
    As a young lad with MUTV(I know I should not subcribe) having watched the Lads In Kansas tonight I thought they looked shell shocked and not together.
    But in fairness its hardly Uniteds first team is it.Its a curve they are on.
    Sir Alex is simply following the history of the Club. As far as I am aware started by Sir Matt in the 50s to build through the youth and continued with Sir Alex.
    These lads are generally going to crack it or they would not be at United.
    Only loan them where they play in there favoured postion(ONLY in the Premiership) not as some fill in, Like Danny on the wing at Sunderland, makes no sense he aint going to displace Bent is he.
    But agree totally we have a blend of youth and experience to challenge firmly yet again.

  16. Nice article Rob, your blog is always enjoyable to read.

    And dont listen to 'anon'. Im sure it takes a big man to slag off someones blog, having never written one themselves, and not even leave a name.

    Keep up the good work pal,