Anderson returns but in what shape?

Anderson is on the cusp of a return to the Manchester United team after recuperating in Portugal and – more prominently – the bars of Braga. The midfielder, who ruptured his left anterior cruciate ligament against West Ham United last season, has much to prove beyond his fitness though. The Brazilian’s place in the United squad is at stake.

Even before the midfielder’s injury last February question marks hung over the 20-year-old former Porto player. In the three seasons since Anderson’s £19 million move from Portugal, the player has fitfully excelled but all too often disappointed both with performances on the pitch and the player’s off-the-field behaviour.

Indeed, a year ago Rant described the season as Anderson’s last chance. While Nani grabbed his opportunity in the second half of last season to save his United career, Anderson had taken a step backwards. So much so that Sir Alex Ferguson consigned the midfielder to the reserves for a month.

Then, seeking a move away, Anderson went AWOL in Brazil, with the club issuing a hefty fine. United even considered for a moment offers from European teams, including Paris St Germain, to take the midfielder away from Old Trafford at a considerable loss. The temptation, as we now know, was rebuffed.

In the player’s comeback match Anderson suffered the injury that may just have saved his United career. Now the boy from Porto Alegre is keen to make up for lost time.

“I’m so happy and excited to be back again after six months without football,” Anderson told ManUtd.com today.

“I’ve been really excited to be back. I’ve been so happy ever since I got back to Carrington and I just can’t wait to play again.

“I’m feeling good. I’ve been training for two weeks and I’m very happy. I think maybe very soon I’ll come back again and start playing normally with the rest of the team. I have had no problems at all with the injury. I’m just running and training now really hard, so I can come back and train normally with the team.”

Questions remain though, both about Anderson’s attitude towards his career at United and his role – if any – in the team. There are few guarantees that the player has the desire to succeed at United, with all the professionalism that entails. A history of prostitutes, late-night parties and car crashes hardly bode well.

More to the point, there is little evidence to suggest Anderson can rediscover the attacking instincts that brought him to the world’s attention as a 17-year-old.

Today, United’s failure to recruit a new midfielder this summer – with Ferguson’s favourite Mesut Özil joining Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid – means that Anderson is arguably more important to United’s cause than ever. Indeed, plenty of supporters believe that the Brazilian can provide the link between midfield and attack that is so patently missing from United’s squad as it stands.

However, that is a belief that stems not from any recent evidence but institutional knowledge of Anderson’s pedigree at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup. After all, aged 17 no coach in Brazil would have considered the player for a central midfield role, according to the BBC’s resident South America expert Tim Vickery.

It is now more than three years since Ferguson slowly began the process of replacing the attacking player Anderson once was with an all-action, Europeanised version. That is not a criticism of United’s manager per se, but a reflection of European football’s differing needs. After all, prior to the player’s arrival in Manchester, Porto rarely used Anderson as the ‘number 10′ in the youngster’s short spell on the Iberian coast.

The question now is twofold – could Anderson rediscover the talents of his youth and is Ferguson amenable to it? The answer, one suspects, is negative on either account. Ferguson simply doesn’t trust Anderson in a creative role, while the player’s history in that position, Under 17 World Cup aside, has become a fading memory.

But the loss to romantics is United’s gain if the Anderson that so enthralled the Stretford End two seasons ago rears his dreadlocked head once again. The doubts are nagging. More than a concern now; a genuine fear that the player may not become the midfielder of the highest class United requires.

Time remains on the midfielder’s side of course but the patience is wearing thin. The rest is probably up to him.

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Comments

  1. says

    I always found it hard to believe that he was an advanced attacking midfield player as his passing is terrible, both short and long range and his shooting is even worse.

  2. uncleknobheadffsuncleknobheadforfucksake says

    fergie never consigned anderson to the reserves it was at andersons request that he played a reserve game

  3. chan says

    anderson will not become the next Ronaldinho. it is very that he is not a attacking midfielder and all the stats points to that.1 single goal in 100 games, less than 3 shots per game, not going forward more interested in tracking back etc… the only hope is that he can evolve into something of a edgar davids mould. able to offer something in attack, have a great engine and traking back.

  4. redevil_83 says

    anderson hasn’t shown any quality to suggest he can play as CAM, and his questionable motivation is another factor. i find the article a bit too cynical in nature, and not very supportive of anderson. as long as he is a united player, i am hopeful he can and will turn it around under SAF’s guidance. if not, his exit will be swift. from the way he’s been played at united, i continue to see him vie for a CM position, probably a box-to-box role but breaking into the starting xi is an after thought. he needs to get in physical shape first, and lay off the pies!!

  5. danniitronix says

    shit passer
    shit tackler
    shit header
    shit shooter
    shit engine
    shit control
    shit energy
    shit courage
    shit desire
    shit enthusiasm

    but needs one more change to redeem himself. Numpty Nani seems to have turned the corner let’s see if Dumb Ass Ando can do the same.

  6. cantilever_moaner says

    danniitronix said:
    shit passer
    shit tackler
    shit header
    shit shooter
    shit engine
    shit control
    shit energy
    shit courage
    shit desire
    shit enthusiasm

    I take it you think he’s shit then !

  7. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    Unregistered User said:
    He doesn’t have dreadlocks Ed! He’s got braids.

    Well, I for one am grateful that you corrected that unforgiveable mistake…

    ffs…

  8. Just1n says

    I remeber that CC game against Blackburn when Tevez got 4 goals. Anderson was fucking immense in that game. He has the ability , no question , and Fergie should give him a run of games. It did wonders for Nani. It does not help that his attacking instincts got retarded by SAF playing him as a defensive midfielder. Wonder if like Bebe , SAF never saw Ando play before.

  9. Just1n says

    sidney said:
    Get Knobby and/or Capt on the next Podcast! It’ll be funny as fuck :D:D:D

    NSFW defo.

    Wonder how much anal comments can fit into a Utd Rant Podcast

  10. Sidsidney says

    Just1n said:
    NSFW defo.

    Wonder how much anal comments can fit into a Utd Rant Podcast

    Imagine the fans who tune in to hear some serious United debate only to hear an hour of Knobhead & Capt talking about shagging, Emla cream and how much of a cunt Fergie is, haha

  11. danniitronix says

    sidney said:
    Imagine the fans who tune in to hear some serious United debate only to hear an hour of Knobhead & Capt talking about shagging, Emla cream and how much of a cunt Fergie is, haha

    and the fact that Joe Cole, Ozil and Fletcher are all flids

  12. RobDiablo says

    Again, everyone is going off topic. Ed clearly asked in what shape Anderson would return. My guess is the stay puft marshmallow man or his cousin Bibendum.

  13. captain-fletcher says

    I really do help he comes back and plays well. Now it’s obvious we can’t buy any decent midfielders I’m really hoping he proves all the doubters wrong. However, he was supposed to be an attacking midfielder but he can’t even shoot. He should think about taking up golf

  14. baggio365 says

    i still believe in his ability. this is a huge season for him. and if he can step up and deliver then we’ll have that creative midfielder we need

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