Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tell us which United youngsters are good enough to hold down a regular first-team place...

As the summer drags on and with Fergie hinting there will be no more signings this summer, it looks like the manager will be true to his word when stating he will keep faith with the youngsters at the club.

The supporters would love to see Fergie make one or two big name signings, but if it doesn't happen, now seems like a good time to ask who is likely to make the first-team this season out of the young players at the manager's disposal.

Fergie doesn't often get it wrong when allowing young players to leave United, but he got it really wrong with Gerrard Pique - in all fairness, there probably wasn't much the manager could do once Barcelona came knocking - but nonetheless, you wonder what might have been if the Catalan defender had stayed at Old Trafford.

There's been no better to time to be a young player at Old Trafford in the last 15 years, not since Beckham, Scholes et al were given their chance to prove their collective worth.

So the big question is, who out of the current crop of young players is good enough to hold down a regular place in the first-team?

Javier Hernandez and Chris Smalling are likely to be thrust into the limelight, they will be expected to make the grade given their transfer fees - £10m and £7m respectively.

The coming season should be a big one for at least one of the da Silva twins; Rafael was outstanding last season at times and many supporters would like to see the young Brazilian starting every week ahead of Gary Neville.

Although we only saw fleeting glimpses of Gabriel Obertan and Kiko Macheda, there are high hopes for both of them.

We'd like to know who the fans' are backing to eventually hold down a regular first-team place by submitting your votes in our poll which is located in the right-hand sidebar of our home page. Voting will continue throughout the season until the end of April.


  1. Macheda, Chicarito, Obertan, Rafael, Anderson.

    To name 4 who could really emerge this season.

    Will be interested to see what happens with Cleverly and also Gibson (don't really rate Gibson myself - but could do a fletch).

  2. See my reply to your other comment from this morning...

  3. See, you say that about Pique, but would you have had him in the team ahead of Ferdinand or Vidic at the point he was knocking on the door? I wouldn't.

    I hope that Welbeck and Cleverley make it, it'd be great to have two up and coming English talents in our squad. This will also be a make or break year for Anderson. If he fails to deliver again, he'll be out.

    Hernandez, Obertan, the Da Silva twins and Gibson will be the ones we'll see most of this year, I reckon.

  4. Spoon,

    I'll tell you what I'd have done. I'd put Pique ahead of Brown and Jos when it came to defensive cover but Fergie didn't do that.

    I'd also have seriously considered flogging Rio last summer. Wenger would have got rid too I suspect in the same circumstances.

    It's too late for any of that, obviously.

    Even though there's plenty of young talent in the poll list opposite, I wonder if any of them will go on to be long-term solutions for the positions in the spine of the team - I have my doubts.

  5. have to say having entered debate with you I respect your blog a lot more than I used to. I used to find it very irritating.

    I think Evans is better than Pique (esp will be in long term) Pique was too slow in PL - although he is excellent.

    I think hindsight is a wonderful thing with regards to Rio.

    Also agreed on Smalling - not proven yet - so think we could do with one cb.

    think CM should work out but could do with someone

    Elsewhere I think we are fine - we don't need more strikers we have loads and we need to give them a chance.

    But on the whole there isn't a lot out there - you think how much city paid for Toure and Silva both imo are a waste of money.

    Oezil at £12m would be good but would he hack it here?

    We don't play classic 442 anymore so we could have Oezil in hole

  6. OAJP,

    No problem with your views on my blog.

    Regarding Pique and Evans. You could be right. I had a big row with two old reds in the pub a few weeks back about Pique. They were of the opinion (after watching some dwarf give him the run around while playing for the reserves) that Pique was too slow too. But nonethless I'm simply not sure about Evans because as I've stated he's neither a Rio or a Vidic.

    One of the biggest problems I see in the current squad is there is no obvious leader. We haven't got one. We used to have loads of them back in Bruce's day.

    Wherever I look at the current squad I see problems down the spine of the team and despite agreeing with you about some of the names you've listed I still have big doubts about the squad.

    But I'd be absolutely delighted to be proven wrong.

  7. Really no leaders




    to name three - and I think (despite not rating him) Gibson looks like one.

  8. Sorry, what I meant was no vocal leaders. You need players like Keane, Bruce, Robson, John Terry or Tony Adams.

    WE don't have anyone like that right now.

  9. Of the youngsters listed in the poll very few will kick a ball for us outside of the Carling Cup. Cleverley, Diouf, Fabio, Gibson, Hernandez, Macheda, Obertan, Rafael and Smalling are the only ones who will get games this season - at least more than 2-3 sub appearences.
    Hernandez should positive signs at the World Cup but hey so did Claudio Pizarro before he joined Chelsea. Hernandez is a player that interests me - but lets be honest here he is a youngster who other than a few games in the world cup is an unknown. Its almost like we are putting the expectations of a £30m striker on him. It could be a few years before the guy actually does anything for us. Same with Macheda really. Great potential in them both but will be some years before they look anything like first team players.
    Gibson sorry I just dont see how he is any different than say Luke Chadwick or any of the other past youngsters that are premiership level (or there abouts) but not top 4 level.
    Smalling - looked good at the start of last season. looked terrible after the united deal was completed. Again I cant see this guy getting anywhere and consider him below Evans and possibly even Cathcart too.
    Obertan - the fact that his manager at the time Blanc was stunned by Uniteds attention says it all. He didnt make the grade at Bordeaux and seems pretty injury prone too.
    Diouf, well he was great in Norway but I do fear he is another Manucho another striker with a great record in a lower league but couldnt make the step up.
    Fabio and Rafael, they are the future for us in the full back positions. I do rate these kids and hope they will stay at United a good 10 years+, but personally I dont consider either of them ready yet. Rafael is ready to share the right back role with Neville, O'Shea, Brown etc and is at the same sort of level as an aging and declining Neville but Fabio doesnt look to have progressed as fast and nobody on this planet can really consider him ready to step into Evra's shoes should he leave this summer. 2-3 years from now I can see them both playing 30+ games a season for us but not yet.
    Anderson. I dont think he will make the grade in England... 2 seasons and nothing special. How long do you give him before you cut your losses? infact wasent he pretty much on the verge of leaving when he got injured. I could see him being great in Spain but I really dont see him getting any better at United.

    I really dont see how the likes of Obertan, Diouf, Gibson are no better than Liam Miller, David Bellion, Manucho, Jordi Cryuff, etc.

  10. We have been successful over the last 20 years by spending money to get quality players near the peak of their abilities - maybe not at the peak as Madrid do (and pay through the nose for) but not far off it, combined with the cream of the crop of young players. Remember that Beckham, Scholes, Giggs werent the norm - they were exceptional youngsters and since them we havent had any kids like them. You might get a player of that quality once every 10 years, we were lucky to produce 3 world class youngsters around the same time. As for transfers, you only need look at the likes of Keane, Ferdinand, Cole, Veron, Stam, Rooney, Nistelrooy... almost all of them were transfer records in some way be it british transfer record, highest fee for a defender, highest fee for a dutch player etc.
    If you want to keep competing at the highest level then you need to maintain the quality of the squad and that requires spending every season. Teams at the very top dont have the luxury of weakening the squad giving a few youngsters opportunitys and still maintaining that level. Fergie himself said something like that not to long ago.
    Look at Arsenal - undefeaten a few seasons ago now look like a shadow of that team and not won a thing in ages - because Wenger insists on using youngsters rather than spending on proven quality. When your rivals are spending on proven quality you need to do the same to keep up and we arent doing it.

    I wish I could look at it in a more optimistic way but the squad is weaker than this time last year and lets not forget last year we werent good enough. Oh and these talented youngsters people are defending - arent they the ones that lost to Leeds at old trafford in the FA cup... still excited by them?

  11. Dave,

    I think you've pretty much summed up my thinking in those two replies. Good stuff.

    I think the only thing I'd slightly disagree on is Rafael I think he's ready and worth a starting place every week.

    Regarding, Hernandez, here again you are bang on the money - the expectation levels are going to be huge. I hope he has it within him to cope. But it's a big ask in his first season. When Macheda first burst on to the scene I really thought he was going to make it - but since then he looks to have lost a yard of pace and now he looks slower than big Norman ever did - I'm simply no longer sure about him.

    Your point about Fergie spending big to get where we are today is something I hadn't really gone to town on - but it is very true -especially since the late 90s when fees went through the roof.

    We are about to find out how good Fegie is without any money and it is going to be very interesting...

  12. OAJP - did you really name Fletcher, Evans and Gibson as natural leaders?? Come on mate.

    Back to the youngsters, Hernandez and Smalling cant be included, they are new signings and will play sparingly. Out of the two Hernadez could force the issue more though.

    As for the current crop.. Anderson, Nnai and Evans again can not be included. They have all played 74-100 games for United and been around the 1st team for the past 3 years.

    So, who is Sir Alex talking about? Gibson? In my opinion he will never ever make it at United! The type of midfielders we are used to are Robson, Ince, Scholes, Keane etc and this kid isnt in their class. We have enough average midfielders in Fletch and Carrick so need to find someone special. Fab and Raf look great prospects but neither can stay clear of injuries so unless that improves they amy never really make it. Wont count Cleverley as he has never played in the premiership, we have no idea what level he is at. So, onto the 2 strikers, Welbeck and Macheda... a year ago I thought we had two top prospects but due to injuries and a lack of 1st team action they made no impact at all and I have to say I am worried. With Rooney, Berba, Owen and now Hernandez when are they going to play?

    So in my opinion I do not see any youngster making an impact this season. If Brown or O'Shea are fit they will play RB so Raf wont get in. And Cleverley and Obertan will not dislodge Park, Giggs, Valencia and Nani so I think its same with the old!

  13. Art,

    You aren't far off there. I think Fergie has been talking about the improvement in the youngsters by way of trying to create some sort of smokescreen in a bid to deflect attention away from the very obvious problems he's facing.

    IF you look at the very early poll results it is fairly clear the only players with big expectations are Hernandez and Rafael.


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