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UNITEDRANT

Last chance for Nani and Anderson

August 3, 2009 Tags: , Opinion 23 comments

Luís Carlos Almeida da Cunha and Anderson Luís de Abreu Oliveira, share more than the lengthy name and short-form nick of their heritage. Bought for a combined total of more than £35 million in summer 2007, each is also under huge pressure to perform in the coming campaign as two of United’s most expensive ever young imports. The pair, having suffered what can be reasonably described as a ‘difficult second season’ at Old Trafford, could find that the campaign ahead is the last in a red shirt such was their under performance in the previous year. It would be a harsh call perhaps, but the realities of modern football dictate that United cannot wait forever for promise to migrate into performance.

Indeed, the future of Nani and Anderson has been repeatedly questioned in the media of late – with the aforementioned Portuguese winger often thought to be leaving for new pastures. However, Sir Alex Ferguson, who is not prone to criticising players in public, has consistently defended the pair, including after the recent pre-season Audi Cup in Munich.

“They are young, for a start,” said Ferguson. “And when you are young, you have the ambition to get better. Not only that, but they have the right platform at Manchester United and the right training development.”

“I expect to see great improvement and I have got no fears about it. Anderson is 21 and Nani is 22. They’re young boys and they’re playing at the highest level of football, so yes they will improve.”

Improve they must. This is especially true of Nani who was a shadow of his former self last season, starting just seven Premier League games. That the winger also started six Carling Cup matches, playing alongside the reserves and squad fringe, was a clear indicator of Nani’s fall down the Old Trafford player hierarchy. Statistics aside, Nani’s failure to mature must have been frustrating for a manager who prides himself on the development of youth. While Nani is just a year younger than the departed Cristiano Ronaldo, he is miles away from the quality of the Real Madrid player.

Anderson, meanwhile, was frustrated by injury and the search for form last season. Fans, who had become used to the player’s authoritative displays in his début campaign, rarely saw the best of the Brazilian in the early part of the season. While the player was voted Man-of-the-Match in United’s low-key April win over Portsmouth, it was a rare highlight in an otherwise disappointing season.

The pressure may be the same but the challenge is different for each of the young stars. While Anderson has quickly built a bank of credit with the fans – outplaying both Steven Gerrard and Cesc Fabregas will do that – Nani is a poor performance away from becoming the squad’s bogeyman. Instinctively, fans understand that while Anderson has the making of a world class central midfielder, Nani is doing little more than flattering to deceive.

The Brazilian must add goals to the authority he hopes to regain. A stunning strike against Boca Juniors in the Audi Cup will undoubtedly help his confidence. Nani meanwhile must compensate for the loss of Ronaldo, which many fans already believe is a task beyond him.

23 comments

cpr - August 3, 2009 Reply

Anderson has been criticised very very little compared to Nani, I wouldn’t say he is under a huge amount of pressure this year either.

Nani has shown very little since he joined, the odd goal and fancy flick but other than that he has just been very inconsistent. Anderson on the other hand is a year younger and I think personally has shown quite a lot of potential, I think Fergie recognises this as well and definetly feels he’ll have a big future at Utd.

Trcr - August 4, 2009 Reply

what people seem to forget is that Ronaldo had ALOT more playing time in which to gain expereince in his first 2 out of 6 years at United that Nani has had in his first 2,

Replacing the best player in the world is never going to happen, Nani may be behind Ronaldo in experience more than his age will sugest but when you look at playing time it looks good for Nani,

Ronaldo used to play every game for is, now with more opertunities to play I think Nani will improove.

JLC21 - August 4, 2009 Reply

Last chance seems a bit dramatic, doesn’t it? As Fergie said, they’re 21 and 22. It takes a very special kid to make it big at an elite club at that age. Sure, we’d all like them to step up this season, and it’s fair to expect them to improve upon their form from last season. But “last chance”? Thankfully, I don’t think Fergie shares your sense of desperation.

foreman - August 4, 2009 Reply

totally different situations. i realise that their both having portuguese names makes them tough to separate, but anderson at 21 has demontrated the potential to be one of the best midfielders in the business and will be given plenty of time by fergie, who doesn’t suffer from the fickleness of fans. nani will be hoping for progress. he has yet to show against strong opposition across the course of regular ninety minute showings that he translate his undoubted talent into being fully effective for the team. i’m still confident about both players. the real pressure is on berbatov to step his game up.

Lee - August 4, 2009 Reply

I think you have got to give Nani time to adapt. Being Portugese and having Ronaldo, the national captain, ahead of you is a bit daunting. I personally think he will have a good season.
As for Anderson, he needs to be played in position and allowed the platform to perform…he is quality and WILL one day be regarded as the best in his position.

In Saf I trust.

venu - August 4, 2009 Reply

Not every one is going to do a Ronaldo, we should stop using those yard sticks!! I am very sure about Anderson being a mainstay at United. That said however with Nani, considering the competition he he has now {Tosic, Obertan, Park, Valencia, Wellbeck, Fletcher, Gibson, Giggs and in some games even Rooney!} players who can play on the wings will mean that this is the only season he will have before the newer players start getting more game time. He probably has just the one season to deliver.

20legend - August 4, 2009 Reply

Yeah they both have a lot of maturing to do. But i think they will both get there. Don’t forget Fletcher was going nowhere fast, until recently. Time will tell. Another season isn’t soon enough to judge their United careers.

Matt E. - August 4, 2009 Reply

I am not sure that is especially fair on Nani. People forget the amount of formation-jiggling (on Fergie’s part) and patient frustration (on the fan’s part) that had to be endured at United before Ronaldo “came good”. I don’t think Nani has had the same privileges: Fergie would play Ronaldo pretty consistently and move other more consistent players out of poisition to do so. So far I don’t think he has done this with Nani. Yet because he is Portugese the expectation is that he will perform like the finished-article Ronaldo.

On the other hand Nani does seem to have a problem so basic that perhaps no amount of work on the training pitch can change it: i.e. his first choice is always to slow the ball down and to beat a player front-on. Given his pace, strength, and his not inconsiderable dribbling ability, he should be running past, not jinking it round, defenders.

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ben - August 4, 2009 Reply

This is ridiculous to critisize these very promissing assets of ours.And am not of the view that SAF doesnt torrelate younger players to develop into stars what about fletch and shesy?.These are players who used to be hated not only by fans also by fellow players such as Roy Keane but fergie stood by their side and now every one of us has witnessed what they are capable of.

Leave alone our players they have got what it takes to become formidable stars of tomorrow especially ANDO

Macky1992 - August 4, 2009 Reply

Yes they both came with big reputations however they both were young and both played in a league with a lower standard of teams and quality of football therefore surely they should be given a chance to prove their worth

Nick A - August 4, 2009 Reply

It is definitely NOT Anderson’s last chance whilst it most definitely IS Nani’s. Anderson had a brilliant first season as was disrupted by injury and the form of Darren Fletcher last year.Fergie hasn’t signed any central midfielders and with the injury problems for Hargreaves and the lessening impact of Scholes means Anderson will have a pivotal role this season.

Nani has regularly disappointed with his attitude and ability. I hope I’m wrong but I think Nani will be gone in 12 months time.
The major concern I have is that Anderson was great friends with Ronaldo. His departure my have resulted in Anderson wishing for a move to La Liga.

ManU - August 4, 2009 Reply

MU have all the talented youngsters but Fergi always favour his three old senior players Giggs.Gary N and Scholes also include John Oshea the worst player MU ever had. Fergi should consider downgrade them to the reserved team to train the other youngsters. Players like Rafeal.Fabio and the rest who were involved last season should be given regular spot so that the team will be strengthen with good muture players every season.

Drew Vader - August 4, 2009 Reply

I think Nani’s situation sucks because he is going to be forced to play on the left wing this year, and we as fans are going to be demanding (as ignorant as it is) a Portugues Giggs. But Nani isn’t a left winger, he’s a right winger. Unfortunately for him, (fortunately for us) it looks like Antonio will have the right wing slot locked down. I really think though that if Nani was given a good run of games in his natural position, we would see some real quality.

Drew Vader - August 4, 2009 Reply

MU — O’Shea the worst player ever huh? Give me a fucking break!!!!! Just this decade we’ve had Djemba X2 and David Bellion who both weren’t fit to lick JOS’s boots. And thats not even venturing into the dark ages before Fergie came around…

riss - August 4, 2009 Reply

Anderson is the man…..this season will be his !!
Nani needs to step up…if he continues his pre season form he will be fantastic !

cantona7 - August 4, 2009 Reply

really disappointed to see a fellow red calling JOS the worst ever. sorry to say this, but you dont deserve to be a mancehster united fan. go support real madrid or manchester city.

even your choice of name, “ManU”, shows your lack of knowledge in the history of our club.

gere - August 4, 2009 Reply

can anyone single out what Anderson has done since he came to manutd? He is the most over rated player I have ever seen. In my view, has to do alot to play for united. Same can be said for Nani. THEY HAVE TO WORK HARD instead of playing around disco houses.

Marco - August 5, 2009 Reply

ManU – I couldn’t disagree with you more. First of all, JOS is a highly reliable utility man. He’s got the ability to play anywhere across the back line, as well as in midfield. We, now more than ever, need somebody of his versatility to come of the subs bench when the need calls for it.
And downgrading Giggs, Scholes and Nev to the reserve team is one of the silliest suggestions I’ve heard. Granted, they’re no longer in the prime of their career. Still, their experience and know-how will be extremely useful in games where a tactical approach is needed. Giggs especially has added so much more to his game over the past few years that the loss of his speed and stamina can largely be overlooked.
We’ve got a hugely talented bunch of kids and these old-timers will be invaluable in instilling that famous United fighting spirit and never-say-die attitude in them.
Anderson – with his industry, power and vision – definitely has a future in the team. I’m not so sure about Nani though. He’s flattered to deceive for quite a while now and I wonder how long it will be before SAF’s patience runs thin.

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