The accused



In the euphoric midst of United’s demolition of Wigan on Saturday, fans could be forgiven for failing to notice the director’s box at the DW stadium. There, sat behind United director Sir Bobby Charlton, were several United players. They say a picture paints a thousand words and the image of Michael Carrick, Ji-Sung Park and Oliveira Anderson in their club suits spoke volumes. The three players, who were once considered vital members of United’s first team squad, looked isolated and anxious. Defendants soon to enter the dock might be an apt analogy for the three, who have caused so much debate amongst United fans. How has it come to this? It’s time to take a closer look at the alleged crimes of those now known as ‘the accused’.

Michael Carrick: accused of being an overpriced and inadequate replacement for Roy Keane, his arrival caused much disquiet amongst the United faithful. However, Carrick formed a formidable partnership with Paul Scholes, leading United to a ninth Premier League title in 2007. Carrick’s supporters will also point to last season’s match against Inter Milan as a true reflection of the player’s quality. But it’s a worry that all of the doubts harboured about Carrick when he first signed for the club remain three years on. Here are the charges:

  • Failure to exert any authority even against mediocre opposition (evidence: Burnley away). Few United fans would expect Carrick to routinely dominate against top teams like Chelsea but after three years there has been no improvement in Carrick’s ability to dictate the flow of games
  • Lack of leadership. Carrick is the last person the team can look to for inspiration
  • Lack of goals. He has never scored more than four Premier League goals. In comparison to his English peers such as Lampard and Gerrard, it’s embarrassing.

Ji-Sung Park: few United fans had heard of the South Korean prior to his move to United from PSV Eindhoven in 2005. There was even the suspicion that the player was bought solely to sell shirts in Asia. Four years on and here are the charges:

  • Offers United nothing but work-rate. Park seems incapable of consistently putting in the excellent performances of the standard seen in the Champions League semi-final against Barcelona the season before last
  • Lack of goals. Three goals over the last two seasons is not good enough.

Oliveira Anderson: during his first season at the club United fans saw the Brazilian as a potential successor to Paul Scholes. Remember the player’s duels with Gerard and Fabregas the season before last? But Anderson’s development has not gone to plan. He’s clearly very talented but after two years the former Porto midfielder has made limited progress. Here are the charges:

  • Lack of goals. There was hope in Munich but it’s fading fast
  • Lack of fitness. How many games has Anderson looked exhausted after an hour?
  • Poor positioning, movement, and decision making.

The accusation: each is guilty as charged. The verdict: United’s judge, jury and executioner Sir Alex Ferguson holds the answer.

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  • Mic

    Nonsense, Anderson has tonnes of potential and will be staying, he’s looked good during preseason and one game against Burnley will no determine their futures. Park is close to signing a new deal, Carrick was the only player we bought a few seasons ago while Ruud had left, it was doom and gloom “overrated” was peoples opinions yet each season he’s been here we’ve won the league. We have a massive squad, if players don’t make it, it’s purely because we’ve chosen someone else for the bench.

  • Don Pablo

    Vey true especially for Park and Carrick. I’m afraid we are too optimistic to think Ando will make it.

  • venu

    I just hope all these rumblings are wrong. Seeing what our options are….. :(

  • ManU

    Nonsence may be except for Pak and Anderson but the most weakest player of all season John Oshea must be sell off asap.As fans knows very well he and Gary N have always been Fergi favourate eventhough they are hopeless and at times ball watching.Please sell off these three plyers John Oshea,Pak and Anderson but not Garrick. Its time to retire the three seniors Gary N, Giggs and Scholes before they make a mockery of themsleves.

  • FrankluvsWazza

    an absolute truth about the lads especially carrick, indeed he’s d last person to look to for inspiration, not just overrated but very fortune to wear the colours of our great Manutd. he never wants to be tackled, loses possesion quickly, cant go past a player. just embarrassing,cant make an england team. fergie plz……an hairdryer!

  • Pez

    Kari-Anne like your first article but as for this one….

    The facts are:
    Park has been an outstanding squad player,ok hes certainly not world class(and was woeful in the Champions league final,but werent most?)i feel some people live in the world of Pixies and expect 11 superstars on the pitch(and trust me Madrid have tried that and failed and dont be surprised if there not in the top 2 in la liga and fail again.

    Anderson had a great start to his united career and will go on to a large role to play in this united team.Carried an injury for most of last year so a little foolish to be writing him off three games in to the season

    Carrick can do better and always looks good when united have a foothold on the game.He needs hargreaves back beside him in order to excel.Fergie bought him as
    a replacement for scholes who at the time looked like he might not play again.

    Keep the faith

    • http://www.unitedrant.co.uk Kari-Anne

      Hi Pez. Thanks for your comments.
      I think there seems to be some confusion about the aim of this article. It was not my aim to suggest that Park, Carrick and Anderson add no value to the team and should be sold immediately. I made sure to include a reference to good matches for each player.
      The main issue is that each player has been at the club for a number of years and they seem to have the same deficiences as when they joined the club. Is that good enough for United? For example, their lack of goals is a chronic problem that is unlikely to change in the near future. In the absence of Ronaldo, can United accept this?

      At United, time is precious ask Diego Forlan. When does a player run out of time? It’s a question most United fans should be asking themselves.

  • Marco

    I think Fergie knows exactly what he was getting when he bought Park and Carrick. Park is a player who will work his socks off for the team – one that is good to have when you need grafters and toilers. He’s essentially the Carlos Tevez of United’s midfield – a terrier who’ll chase down every ball, harry every opposition player. Fergie’s aim when he plays Park, I think, is to tire out opposition players and not give them time or space on the ball.
    To say Carrick is a replacement for either Keane or Scholes is also inaccurate. He’s better offensively than Keane was and better defensively than Scholes ever will be. He’s got great vision and reads the game well. The problem is that his game is based not so much on tackling, but intercepting balls – an art which is not as flashy as Keano’s no-nonsense tackling style.
    Anderson was bought with a view to the future. He was a regular scorer back in his Gremio days and I think Fergie is as concerned as any of us fans that he’s yet to find the net in open play in his 77 matches so far. And I agree about your analysis on his positioning. In most of the games, he runs around like a headless chicken. This, more than a lack of fitness, is what probably knackers him out so soon in games.
    None of these players will ever be in the pantheon of United’s greats. But I don’t think they – except for Anderson, maybe – will be cast off on the club’s junk pile just yet either.

  • venu

    @ManU? You should now BY now that’s not done!!!
    @Kari-Anne, I agree with most of your observations except that Carrick was playing at a time when we started trio of CR7, Rooney and Tevez. A lot of his role at that time was restricted near the half way line trying to pick out longish passes to one of the three. And a lot of theses were counter attacks. Now with that kind of pace gone he will have to get up front more and get goals too! It’s a question of getting used to it. Anderson has the pace and the “potential” to get goals but does not have the vision of carrick to pick out passes from deeper.
    Park will be doing the fletcheresque role on the wings, we cannot expect more than 4 goals a season from him.
    I think our midfield is good enough and we require a few games to get used to valencia and the strikers playing up!