United: the next next generation



Amid all the talk of Manchester United’s youth this season it is easy to be drawn into the hyperbole. Phil Jones cast as Duncan Edwards; Chris Smalling the new Rio Ferdinand; Tom Cleverley as Paul Scholes’ protegé. Yet below the layer of hype and over-expectation those cast into Sir Alex Ferguson’s first team have consistently performed this season.

Then there are the stars of last campaign’s FA Youth Cup winning side, in particular Paul Pogba, Ravel Morrison and Ryan Tunnicliffe, of whom much is hoped in the coming years. United’s fixture with Leeds United in the Carling Cup on Tuesday offered a glimpse beyond the obvious, and confirmation that the Carrington well does indeed run deep.

In addition to French midfielder Pogba, who made his first team début as a second half substitute on Tuesday, a new star emerged as the Reds cruised to a comfortable win at Leeds United in the Carling Cup. Indeed, one man, defender Ezekiel Fryers, caught the eye with a performance of genuine composure that belied the 19-year-old’s immature status. Fryers, who has often appeared at left-back for United’s Academy and Reserve sides, commanded central defence alongside Michael Carrick. Fryers’ pace and distribution, although sometimes over-ambitious, offered a genuine touch of class that reserve and academy watchers will have recognised.

Fryers was a key member of the Academy side’s run in last season’s FA Youth Cup before injury robbed the defender of a place in the latter stages of the competition. But if personal disappointment market the end of a campaign, the 18-year-old has begun the new season in splendid form.

An England Under-19 international ‘Zeki’ has performed both in central defence and at left-back for United, with arguably even greater versatility with international age group teams. Indeed, the Manchester-born player has performed in a number of midfield positions at England Under-16, 17 and 19 levels.

But it is the youngster’s performance against Leeds – along with Pogba and fellow débutant Larnell Cole – that has brought Fryers to national attention, drawing praise from Ferguson in the process.

“I thought young Fryers did very well,” confirmed the United boss.

“He showed good composure, wasn’t fazed by it which is really good because you always want to see what their temperaments are like because the atmosphere here, as you know, is hostile and he coped with it very well. Paul got a good 45 and young Larnell Cole came on at the end – it’s good for them to get taste of the atmosphere and what the first team is like.”

Yet Fryers’ potential has long been recognised by Old Trafford insiders, with the teenager one of four name-checked by Rio Ferdinand – along with Josh McEachran, Ross Barkley and John Bostock – as England stars of the future. For now the youngster is simply enjoying the first step on what many hope is a long and successful United career.

“It was a massive night for me. It was quality and a massive step up, so I was happy to get 80 minutes in,” he told ManUtd.com.

“I had to come off with a bit of cramp so now it’s all about working hard with the reserves and getting fitter so that I’m ready for whenever these chances might come again. It was good to have Larnell and Pogba alongside me when they came on. We have been playing together for a long time, so this was massive for all of us.”

Meanwhile, the much-lauded Pogba enjoyed a 45 minute run out against Leeds, demonstrating the assurance on the ball that has become a hallmark of the teenager’s play. Yet there was also a conservatism in Pogba’s performance. Gone were the driving runs, long-range shots and silky skills that lit up United’s academy side last season. That matters little of course, with Ferguson keen to let the teenager develop both physically and mentally over the course of the season before allowing the Frenchman out on loan in 2012/13.

Cole’s talents are perhaps less obvious. The chalk-on-his-heels winger offers a genuine old-fashioned approach to the game, with real pace and balance. But the 18-year-old England Under-19 international’s rise has been steady, rather than spectacular, with reserves’ watchers noting the player’s growing consistency. And in the physically demanding English game Cole will suffer for his diminutive stature. Physical development is likely to hold the key to the Manchester-born midfielder’s destiny.

That is for the future. The right-now, flush in the glow of victory over local and often hated rivals, United supporters can feel confident that youth is not only leading the club to the top of this season’s Premier League table but those of the future too. It is the reason Manchester City is spending more than £100 million of Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth on transforming run-down Clayton in order to catch up.

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  • RobDiablo

    Is Fryers a left-footed Left Back? If so, that would be great; I think it’s time to start thinking about that position post-Evra, and I don’t think that Fabio is the answer. With their injury record, it will take both of the twins to cover the Right Back position.

  • RobDiablo

    The thing about United’s next next generation is that it will be built around Wayne Rooney, and, as he is much better suited to playing behind a strike partner than he is to playing as a lone striker, it follows that a 4-4-1-1 will, ultimately, be United’s ideal formation in both the Premiership and Champions League. Unfortunately, that formation utilizes only two central midfielders, and United do not currently have two players good enough to take on those roles against top domestic and European opponents. So, in the short term, domestic honors remain a possibility – though, increasingly difficult to win, but a European championship is out of the question.

    In my opinion, United ought to identify two, young, can’t miss (as much as anyone can predict these things) midfield talents and buy them in the January transfer window. The fact that they will almost certainly be cup-tied is not a consideration; it might even help to keep the prices down, but it is important to buy them now before their performances in Euro 2012 drive up the prices and bring them to the attention of City and Cheatski. Finance the purchases by selling Berbatov, Macheda, PIG, Gibson, and two or three from Carrick, Park, Anderson, and Fletcher. Supplement with money from the IPO if necessary.

    • Mongoletsi

      // In my opinion, United ought to identify two, young, can’t miss (as much as anyone can predict these things) midfield talents and buy them in the January transfer window. The fact that they will almost certainly be cup-tied is not a consideration; it might even help to keep the prices down, //

      Good points here.

    • DeadRevel

      What tosh. We have Cleverley and Anderson who have both been great this season (with the exception of one bad game against Chelsea for Ando) with Carrick, Giggs, Fletch as back up and 3 potential youngsters who could become world beaters.

      Absolutely no point buying a young midfielder.

      ad yes, Fabio has been fine at left back and will be Evra’s long term future. If he doesn’t turn out better than Evra I will be very surprised.

  • Wil

    What an irony….! The Carling Cup used to be played by 90% young players with one or two experienced ones but on Tuesday it was 90% experienced players with one or two young ones! How Fergie changed the concept!

    Interesting to see Fryers play Central Defense but in Manutd.com he was described as a left back. Absolutely agree with RobDiablo that we need a cover for left back as so far the Da Silva brothers haven’t impressed as left back. I’m backing Da Silva to play more games though and they may change my opinion if they can play left back with more consistency. Right back is definitely not an issue for Da Silva’s.

    Once again, cannot agree more that we need a BETTER midfield player. Chelsea killed us in midfield last Sunday and pressed us in our half just like the way Barcelona plays. If Torres was in form, we would have lost.

    However, I’m not sure if we should buy young-potential midfielders. We have quite a lot of them ourselves, Cleverley, Pogba, Morrison and Tunniclife! If we buy a midfield, please let it be a proven experience player. Sneijder or Swensteiger are my preference. I know some fans still think Fletcher is poor but if he finds his 2007-09 form, I believe we are good enough to challenge domestically and in Europe!

    • RobDiablo

      Sweinsteiger I’d buy, but not Sneijder (too expensive, too much damage to United’s wage structure). The midfielders I like to see brought in would cost around £60-70M for both, so they’d be more than young prospects; hopefully, they’d be good enough to allow Giggs to retire and Anderson, Carrick, and Park to be sold. Then, they wouldn’t be blocking the rise of United’s four prospects, they’d be creating a competition for places. Let’s face it, what is the likelihood of all four turning out to be the next Paul Scholes or Roy Keane?

      Two other benefits: snuffing out the threat from City before it can get going and leaving United with very little to do in the next three or four transfer windows except keep an eye open for speedy left-footed players – backup for Young and a replacement for Evra; United would already be set for strikers, wingers, midfielders, centre-backs, and keepers for some years to come.

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    left footed

    plays left back and centre back

    black

    new silvestre?

  • squigs

    After every win, people are calling for more players to be bought,

    This season we have actually shown squad depth and young players such as Cleverley have been mightily impressive once they have been given the chance.

    We have young midfield talents, Pogba is going to be an excellent player, and Ravel Morrison if he can get his head right is the finest player we have probably developed in the last 20 years (He is that good).

    We have spent £50 million and the squad is already so much better then last season. We are fine.

    • RobDiablo

      Perhaps because that last win (against Cheatski) could so easily have been a loss. If, in a month’s time, Rio and Vidic are still out, and United’s midfield is as porous as it was against Cheatski, Nasri, Villa, Dzeko, and Aguero will make life hell for De Gea, Evans, and Jones. City could easily score five or six goals.

      United have already ceased to be a real threat for the UCL title; it has taken very favorable draws in the knockout stages to advance as far as they did last year; now, they are in danger of falling into third place in the EPL.

    • http://damiangarside.com Damian Garside

      We will never be `fine’ if City are better. Could you really accept it if City win a major trophy this season and we don’t? We are strong everywhere except central midfield. And as you know, a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link: and here where we are weakest is perhaps where City are perhaps strongest, though in attack, with Aguero they have a player who, hiting the ground running like few players new to the Premier League has shown the ability to destroy the opposition, perhaps on his day being totally unplayable. United fans who think that City cannot win anything especially anything as big as the CL, because it is not in their nature (as `Ciddy’) to do so have to realise that their facile delusion-ridden thinking doesn’t help.

  • captainhormone

    NO WE ARE NOT sq…FOR THE MOST PART I AGREE…UP FRONT, DEFENCE AND GOALIE WE ARE GOOD…VERY HAPPY… BUT MIDFIELD WE CLEARLY AINT….

    the lads talked about aint ready yet Sq….so a bit of experience for 3 years or so will do just nicely, as in that time the liklihood is Giggs, Carrick etc will be gone too

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    starting to think cals got a point about needing a holding mid, we’re proper gung ho

    as long as he can pass tho

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    we’ve conceeded the most shots on goal of any team in the league

  • squigs

    captainhormone said:
    NO WE ARE NOT sq…FOR THE MOST PART I AGREE…UP FRONT, DEFENCE AND GOALIE WE ARE GOOD…VERY HAPPY… BUT MIDFIELD WE CLEARLY AINT….

    the lads talked about aint ready yet Sq….so a bit of experience for 3 years or so will do just nicely, as in that time the liklihood is Giggs, Carrick etc will be gone too

    Cap

    If we signed two £30 million midfielders as people are saying these boys wouldn’t get a kick in 10 years never mind 3 years. It won’t be 3 years either, if Morrison could get his head in the right place he could play tomorrow. He is every bit as good as Wilshire.

    1 okayish holding midfielder would be all we need tops. I’m happy with the likes of Cleverley.

    RodDiablo ‘United have already ceased to be a real threat for the UCL title; it has taken very favorable draws in the knockout stages to advance as far as they did last year; now, they are in danger of falling into third place in the EPL.’

    You think we are in danger of finishing 3rd in the league. There is a glass half empty mentality and their is just stupidity. We have made an unbelievable start and are playing some of the best football we have seen from United in about 10 years. I’ll put money on it that we walk the premier league this season. 8-10 pts at least. City will implode around Winter and Chelsea probably aren’t going to stay the course. We have got to three of the last european cup finals, it’s an incredible record.

    • http://damiangarside.com Damian Garside

      I would agree that it is likely that we will continue in the free-scoring mode we have started. But City are NOT going to implode (not with a player like Aguero in their team). So it will be neck and neck with them to the last day of the season, I fear. Actually, if we had Aguero, I think we could have been drooling at the prospect of taking on Barca in the CL and annihilating them. But we don’t.

    • RobDiablo

      An unbelievable start is exactly what United have made, and I’ve enjoyed every second of it, but I won’t let it blind me to the fact that United failed its first real test and were fortunate to come away with all three points against Cheatski.

      I’d hold off on putting money on the outcome of the race to the EPL title; England still have two chances to injure Rooney before the season ends. Where would United be then, especially with its collection of sub-standard central midfielders?

      Yes, United have been to three of the last four UCL finals, but we know what had to happen in order for United to win the first of those, and we also know how the other matches went, especially last year’s final. It was sadly amusing reading all the anguished posts claiming that Sir Alex had chosen the wrong formation, starting XI, and substitutions. When the cold, hard truth of the matter is that there was no formation and no possible configuration of starters and subs that would have allowed United to best Barcelona that day. The gulf in quality is that wide. I am talking about addressing that gap; you seem to be the one living in dreamland.

  • baloo

    uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    we’ve conceeded the most shots on goal of any team in the league

    TBF that’s one of those stats that shows how stats alone don’t tell you anything. The reason for the large number of ‘shots’ was that opposition managers at the start of the season clearly sent their players out to ‘test’ De Gea’s supposed weakness to the long range shot after the Charity Shield. They were taking ridiculous pot shots from everywhere.

    I suspect that for most of those shots there will have been a solid defensive configuration in front of the striker of the ball that wouldn’t particularly have benefited from a DM at all.

    It could also be that when you’ve conceded 3, 5 or 8 goals you shoot out of desperation.

  • http://twitter.com/dosdamt Ben Hulston

    I agree with Baloo – I suspect the reason we have conceded the most shots is because teams have clearly been instructed by their managers to shoot from anywhere….

    Bwahaha!

    Seriously I’d be happy for that to continue all season long. The only team with what I might consider to be a substantial threat from range would be the Bitters – with Aguero, Nasri, Silva, Tevez… et al they can shoot accurately from range, though I should hope De Gea will improve every day, and every game, and hence I’d let them do it.

    Seriously, if a team is convinced that they believe hollywood shooting from 25+ yards and conceding possession is the way to beat this current Manchester United side, then brilliant. I’ll watch them pepper the side lines, corner flags, all over other than the goal, all season, giving us possession back with a keeper with very good distribution and a midfield built to counter attack and counter quickly.

    Magical

  • sidney

    uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    we’ve conceeded the most shots on goal of any team in the league

    Some of that is to do with De Gea’s fuck ups. They spotted a weakness after the City game and have been peppering the goal with shots from distance in the hope he’ll make another mistake

    But yeah, Ando and Fletch both committed against Chelsea leaving us totally exposed. Like Fergie said, at times we had no midfield

    Dare I say it might be better to have Carrick sit in front of the defence so the rest can go off and play. He’s the best we have in that position, when he moves.

  • chocolatteballs

    We could always russel up any sort of pick ‘n mix team in any premier or league cup match.

    Our midfield is horribly exposed in europe where the tactic of getting the ball wide for 90mins isn’t even possible.

    A go-to man linking defence to mid to attack ala wilshire.

    Wilshire shits all over carrick. Carrick has gotten even worse and even more infuriating now than ever. Keep fletcher but please replace carrick with someone who’s idea of setting up an attack isn’t just tapping it back to smalling and saying ‘you do something with it’ whilst turning his back and jogging up the field to occupy a position where no one can find him.

    Waiting 2 years to hopefully get a player from last nights team to do carricks job – no.

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    its more likely their manager will bottle it than their team, he shat himself at 2-1 up against fulham and tried to shut up shop and failed, thatll keep happening, especially come the run in

    • RobDiablo

      This is exactly why I think United should pick up two quality midfielders, now! On paper, City are a better side, but what they don’t have is Sir Alex and a history of winning. Let’s keep it that way. Pip City to the title and knock them out of the cup competitions, and you will see the owners start to question Mancini as the manager; he will question himself and revert to the dull, negative football that neither pleases nor wins. Take advantage of the fact that City have two selfish, agitating c*nts in their locker room in Tevez and Balotelli, who are just waiting to undermine Mancini and help create a club full of factions and cliques rather than a team united in the pursuit of winning trophies.

  • squigs

    United failed its first real test, How? First half we were excellent and 3-0 flattered Chelsea.

    Games such as Arsenal at home were serious tests but with an 8-2 win we passed with flying colours.

    City always look like title winners in August, they have done for the last 4 seasons. Don’t worry about them.

  • Julian

    United now have a style of play which permeates throughout the club it seems. It’s one built on one touch passing and pace – epitomised by the first team. Inculcated into the youth it makes their transition from academy to reserves to first team all the more easier.

    Could anyone tell me what’s happening with Morrison who looks an incredible prospect? He doesn’t seem to be playing for the reserves. Are his off field problems still an issue and, if so, how long will it be before the club loses patience? Very sad if it comes to that.

  • RobDiablo

    squigs said:
    United failed its first real test, How? First half we were excellent and 3-0 flattered Chelsea.

    Games such as Arsenal at home were serious tests but with an 8-2 win we passed with flying colours.

    City always look like title winners in August, they have done for the last 4 seasons. Don’t worry about them.

    Did you even watch these games? Seriously. Arsenal was a test? Of what, our compassion? If a fit Dogbreath had started instead of Torres, it is highly probable that Cheatski would have scored earlier and more often in that match. United’s midfield was virtually non-existant on the day and an out-of-form Torres got behind Jones and Evans all too often.

    “City will fail because they always have,” is that your contention? In case you haven’t been paying attention, City’s position in the league table has been on an impressive, upward trajectory; they are legitimate contenders for the EPL crown and are much better placed to deal with the loss of Aguero than United are the loss of Rooney.

  • Bill

    Cant believe we are putting in performances like this and still people want United to buy more new players!!! Its not Football Manager! Its 1 in the winter window, 3 in the summer – get used to it!

  • squigs

    We won 3-1 the result was not in doubt after the first 15 minutes. Obviously we deserved to lose based on your assumptions.

    City are somehow contenders based on 6 games, we saw them last time out throw away a two goal lead. It really is convincing form. They have plenty of form for looking good in the first few games of the season.

    They will have no change, defensively they are still very ordinary.

    • http://damiangarside.com Damian Garside

      Have you not been watching Aguero? No team with a player like this can be classified ordinary.

      Before it is simply far too late: go to the local market and try and pick up a brain.

  • RobDiablo

    squigs said:
    We won 3-1 the result was not in doubt after the first 15 minutes. Obviously we deserved to lose based on your assumptions.

    City are somehow contenders based on 6 games, we saw them last time out throw away a two goal lead. It really is convincing form. They have plenty of form for looking good in the first few games of the season.

    They will have no change, defensively they are still very ordinary.

    You seem to be conveniently overlooking the fact that both of United’s first two goals should have been disallowed for offsides. Now, in matches against Cheatski, these kind of things usually go the other way, so I rejoice in the refreshing change, but I do not delude myself into believing that United put the game out of reach after 15 minutes and coasted to an easy victory.

    Also, I seem to remember United throwing away a lead at Fulham last year (one Nani should have made two goals) and, shortly afterwards, a two-goal lead at Everton evaporated in stoppage time, but United still won the league. Do you think this season will not produce a few disappointing efforts and results for United? Should we write them off when it happens? Of course not. I’m not saying that City will win the league, but I am saying that they are real contenders. Your position seems to be that they will fail because they always have. That sounds more like wishful thinking than reasoning to me.

    You know, I think Barcelona’s back four are pretty ordinary as well. Trouble is, teams seem to have a problem keeping the ball out of their net long enough to work it through the midfield and into the attacking third where they can get at that defense.

  • United4Eva

    What’s wrong with you people? Aren’t you ever satisfied? Be happy with the exeptional squad that we’ve assembled. What makes you think that 2 new signings for 60 mil are going to be better than what we’ve got? It’s very rare for seasoned stars to move from a system that’s built around them to a new system where they have to adapt. Only a handful of players seem to have that ability. And those players either wouldn’t want to move or would cost a fortune. I would rather keep the players who have been at united and are happy to rotate within the squad.

    And what’s with all the bashing of our players? Carrick does the donkey work in an unfamiliar position as per his managers command and gets slagged off for it? Fergie puts him in that position as he seems to be the most diciplined of the lot. Trust me, if he was playing along side a more diciplined CM like Hargreaves, then most of his passes would be with attacking intent. Currently Fergie wants him to shield the defence and protect the ball, so he does it. I remember the season when he was toe to toe with scholes in passes with attacking intent. Sadly, he’s been asked to do the donkey work and people jump on him.

    After all, I trust Fergie’s judgement and if he trusts Carrick to deliver, then so do I. Where have all the Nani bashers gone these days?

    Fergie will bring the right talent in at the right time. Until them back your players we got as it will provide rhme with much needed confidence…. Oh and in the mean time lay back and enjoy the football the team is producing this season

    Peace!

    • http://damiangarside.com Damian Garside

      I love the `if Fergie’ arguments that get posted here. Here’s another:

      If Fergie wipes his arse with sandpaper then so do I.

      Ferguson is an perplexing and sometimes infuriating combination of out of the box brilliance and stubborn stupidity. Make sure you know which side of him you are endorsing when you take his word as the infallible Gospel truth.

      For every 3 successes he has had at OT there is at least one failure (eg last year’s cup semi final). Trouble is, failures against Barcelona and Chelsea and Liverpool will be accepted if we believe we are starting to develop a powerful side for the near future. But we will not be able to accept failures against City (and they may have a devastating effect on Fergie and team morale, not to mention the United fans( on the thought that we might be able to beat them next year or in two years etc when they are stronger. City are already formidable and they will strengthen again in January. In Aguero they have a world class player, certainly in the top ten players in the world. In January they could well get at least one other.

  • Zombie Cucumber

    I’m so tired of commenters on this blog demanding that we acquire players that will be the “next” to someone that has retired.

    Watch a match or two. The team has changed it’s style radically. Trying to find a new player who’s ability closely matches a former one is baseless.

    SAF knows this. Watch and learn.

  • chocolatteballs

    oh shut up united4eva

    could you not at least call yourself united4evra ffs

    what donkey work does carrick do?
    He would play better alongside hargreaves? What you smoking

    your a sanctamonious spa mate.

    He’s shit and you know it.

    A decent midfielder DEMANDS the ball, he gets things moving and places himself in a position to recieve the ball .He also gets a tackle or 3 in.

    Carrick is a fairy . He’s a passenger. This isn’t always evident against Norwich or Bolton but fuck me its evident when we play a half decent team in europe.

  • RobDiablo

    Commenter said:
    Where have all the Nani bashers gone these days?

    I know you didn’t single me out, and I don’t consider myself a Nani-basher, but I have often been frustrated by his decision making and injury feigning antics after a tackle. I am quite happy to say that, although Nani did not replicate his form from the second half of the Community Shield in the first few matches, unlike Anderson, he did step up in the match against Cheatski. I would also like to acknowledge and applaud the way that he has refrained from diving and rolling on the floor clutching an ankle or a knee every time he gets knocked down. Nani continues to get better and better.

    I also feel for Carrick and Anderson – two midfielders who are playing out of position and away from their strengths, but that seems to make my desire to bring in a genuine DM and AM all the more reasonable.

  • bman

    Obviously I’m enjoying our exciting football and all the goals we’re scoring, but the fact is that we are far far too open and loose when the other team has the ball. Other teams are getting lots of opportunities to shoot, and we haven’t had too many clean sheets so far. It would be fun to think that we can go all season this way and win silverware by scoring more than opposition, but the last decade or so has proven that titles are only won with a great defensive foundation. We need to get this sorted — good teams like Chelsea will carve us open.

    Perhaps the return of Vida and Rio will improve things, but it looks to me like we do need a great defensive midfielder too. Perhaps Jones can be converted to the role, or else I like M’Vila…. I don’t think fat Ando is going to get it done.

    Another problem is that I’m starting to think that Evra is just past it, either psychologically or physically. He hasn’t been the same for over a year now, perhaps because we’ve run him into the ground making him play the whole match, every match, season after season. When we lose possession, he’s not getting back in time, I keep seeing the opposition break through on his side of the pitch.

  • dozer

    Scott Allan – apparently we’re tracking this midfielder

    http://www.skysports.com/story/0,,11667_7193672,00.html

    Skysports.com understands that Manchester United are hot on the trail of Dundee United starlet Scott Allan.

    The 19-year-old midfielder has made his breakthrough at Tannadice this season and a number of clubs are already queuing up to catch him in action.

    He is also a Scotland Under 21 international, with a series of excellent displays on the international scene leading to speculation back in August about his future, with Newcastle mentioned before deadline day.

    Now skysports.com understands that Manchester United are one of the clubs keeping tabs on him.

    Martin Ferguson attended Dundee United’s clash with Dunfermline last month with the purpose of catching Allan in action, but on the day he did not make it off the bench.

    But with Sir Alex dispatching his brother, and most trusted scout north of the border, it is a clear indication that Allan has made a big impact.

    It is also believed that Allan is yet to agree a new contract at Tannadice, with his current deal set to expire at the end of the season.

    Should Allan decide to leave and move to England then the Tangerines would only be due minimal compensation.

    Old Firm giants Rangers and Celtic are also well aware of Allan, but the chance of a move to the Premier League could be too much for any young Scot to turn down.

    United boss Peter Houston has already confirmed talks are on-going over a new deal, and they remain hopeful he could be persuaded that his short-term future is best served on Tayside.

  • Alfonso Bedoya

    RobDiablo said:
    Did you even watch these games? Seriously. Arsenal was a test? Of what, our compassion? If a fit Dogbreath had started instead of Torres, it is highly probable that Cheatski would have scored earlier and more often in that match. United’s midfield was virtually non-existant on the day and an out-of-form Torres got behind Jones and Evans all too often.
    “City will fail because they always have,” is that your contention? In case you haven’t been paying attention, City’s position in the league table has been on an impressive, upward trajectory; they are legitimate contenders for the EPL crown and are much better placed to deal with the loss of Aguero than United are the loss of Rooney.

    I’m agreeing with this…
    We’ve gotten off to a flyer, regarding points and goals scored… looks great on paper… but what’s really impressed everyone is our attack, and the impact of our young defenders… especially Jones.
    Cleverly has garnered a lot of praise, but I think that’s mostly a case of “impressed by association”, in a team that’s been kicking ass… he’s done well, but I wouldn’t say he’s been “responsible” for our great start, in the same way that say Rooney, Young or Nani have… he’s just held his own while others in the team have excelled.
    The reason people are getting so pissed off about our midfield, is because we’ve been grinding out titles with a midfield that, everyone concedes has been our weak spot for years… a strong and creative midfield is so important to an aspiring team, and yet Ferguson has ignored it year after year… this year we were seriously linked with several “TOP CLASS” names, and supposedly because of money, (which we’re told we have lots of), we came up short… again!
    Leaving us with the same central midfield we had last year…
    The only difference… Scholes, our best creative player, out!… Cleverly, an inadequate replacement… he may be good… but even if he plays till he’s 50… he’ll never be as good as Scholes.
    Pogba and Morrison may be better… but they’re not ready… so in the mean time… we once again have an ordinary midfield… maybe even better than ordinary… but by no means great… and United SHOULD have a great midfield.

    “Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching’ tu madre! Come out from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you.”

    • http://damiangarside.com Damian Garside

      Absolutely agree: how can we start to think of usurping Barcelona unless we strengthen in midfield? I take the point about our new style of play: but we need a brilliant midfield player who is tailor made to fit in with our new style. Then we can generate all sorts of interesting combinations/permuations that will allow us to chnage things when things are not working for us, and also make us far less predictable, and make it far more difficult for teams to prepare for us (work on plans to counteract our current attacking elan).

  • Lucas

    United has played some brilliant football this season…much better than last season when we won the title mainly due to the inadequacies of our rivals. But with City looking stronger and Chelsea gaining encouragement from their performance at OT, it will be much more difficult to win the 20th title. But I believe, with the strength in depth of our squad, we will win it. And in style.

    But in Europe, it’s an entirely different matter. We don’t have a strong midfield enforcer and it’ll be difficult to beat the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid who have become much stronger this year.

    Btw, what’s happened to Morrison…haven’t seen him at the reserve level this season at all!

  • RobDiablo

    Commenter said:
    Cant believe we are putting in performances like this and still people want United to buy more new players!!!

    There are two parts to this sentence that are worth examining – Rant is all about deconstructive analysis, after all.

    When you say “performances like this”, are you talking about the first four matches of the season or the one against Cheatski? In the first four games, United demonstrated the “never say die” attitude we love and scraped past a resolute West Brom before going on to blitz three sides who, for one reason or another, were not able to match the speed and skill of a United side running riot. Against Cheatski, however, United did not play particularly well and were fortunate to win. I think we can all agree that counting on the officials to get it wrong in United’s favor at crucial times while the opposition declines the opportunity to score from “cant miss” range, is not a title-winning strategy.

    The second point I’d like to make is that I am not so much advocating the purchase of more players as I am the purchase of the right players. The basis for this desire rests on the two-part premise I posted earlier: United’s best formation is a 4-4-1-1 with Rooney playing behind another striker, but United do not currently have two central midfielders good enough to play in that formation against top domestic and European sides.

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    the right players are wilshere and a holder who can pass

    even alongside a crap player like song facregas had free reign to stay forward last seasonbecause of how fucking brilliant wilshere is in a midfield two

    whereas for us rooney has to do the job of two men because our midfield is pathetic whoevers in there

    cleverley looks good mind, albeit I still don’t really know what his strengths are, like milner

    we won’t sign anyone til this barkley though

  • Andrew

    Another youth article

  • Wilson

    Was absolutely gutted and disappointed to read what Hargeaves wrote about Utd. I loved the player very much. I still remember I was so happy when Utd finally bought Hargeaves after a year plus of rumors and negotiations! The first season Hargreaves played first class football and helped us win ucl. Then his injury nightmare came and felt so bad when Utd had to move on with him after three years. I sincerely wished him to find a club and find his fitness again and I was sincerely glad for him that another top club like city signed him. But what a shock to hear him bash Utd’s medical staff! Very disappointed to hear it from him. Utd gave him every chance to find his fitness!

    Hargreaves, look at Roy Keane, Wes Brown, Alan Smith and Antonio Valencia!! All had disgusting injury but still came back and played for united like a warrior! Was glad manutd.com made a statement to respond to these ungrateful statements of Hargreaves!

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    tbf the fact this is a shite player we’re talking about means I couldn’t give a fuck

  • Andrew

    Is there anyone you rate?

  • captainhormone

    Commenter said:
    Is there anyone you rate?

    Ridiculous comment

    He rates loads

    LKHFHA

  • captainhormone

    i liked Hargreaves btw

  • RobDiablo

    Commenter said:
    What tosh. We have Cleverley and Anderson who have both been great this season (with the exception of one bad game against Chelsea for Ando) with Carrick, Giggs, Fletch as back up and 3 potential youngsters who could become world beaters.

    We will have to agree to disagree on this subject, although the fact that Ando went missing against Cheatski does seem to support my assertion that no pairing from our current collection of midfielders can do the job against top sides. If we replaced Anderson, Carrick, Park, and Fletcher with a quality DM/AM combo, we could be world-beaters right now.

    Commenter said:
    ad yes, Fabio has been fine at left back and will be Evra’s long term future. If he doesn’t turn out better than Evra I will be very surprised.

    I, on the other hand, will be surprised if Fabio is still playing Left Back for United three years from now. Don’t get me wrong, I like the lad, he’s fast and fearless and perfectly capable of proving me wrong, but I think United would be better served with a left-footed Left Back who can cross from the overlap position down the left side rather than having to cut inside to get the ball onto his right foot.

  • RobDiablo

    uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    the right players are wilshere and a holder who can pass
    even alongside a crap player like song facregas had free reign to stay forward last seasonbecause of how fucking brilliant wilshere is in a midfield two

    Perhaps, if Young and Rooney, while away with England, could trick Wilshere into being photographed in a United top and then, one by one, all the rest of our players could go to the media to explain how good it would be to have him in the side, we could sign him during the last week of the summer transfer window in a year or two.

  • ltel

    what a load of bollocks

  • ltel

    yawn

  • RobDiablo

    Bollocks? Isn’t that the appetizer course which proceeds your favorite meal – when it does kinda look like you’re yawning: head back, mouth wide open.

  • ltel

    his head forward and mouth is closed… whatever ya need to make it fit it suppose.

    just keep spouting your childish fantasy shite to you litte friends fs…

  • RobDiablo

    I was describing you, not Captain Picard. Nice try, though. How about refuting my “childish fantasies” with some well reasoned logic instead of posts utterly devoid of meaningful content.

  • ltel

    i have no interest in refuting the childish fantasies of yours…set up a formations thread

  • chocolatteballs

    I admit i’ve been a proper cunt in this thread not nearly as big a cunt as itel.

    I agree with 90 percent of what Diablo says apart from the small fact that he too thinks that carrick is being played out of position.

    I don’t think he is, nor has he ever been. He’s being played now in the same position he’s always played in which is the same position he played for at spurs. Unless you count him passing the ball 5 yards sideways to scholes as being a creative midfielder.

    To say that our midfield isn’t, wasn’t and won’t ever be good enough in its current format against the top teams dosn’t make you some sort of idealist spa, or pessimist and it don’t make you blind to see that there are some good young players to choose from.

    It just means that your not conviently choosing to ignore our performances in europe and the importance of something resembling ball retention.

    What we have will prob do rightly for challenging city for the prem but Jesus why can’t we buy just 1 quality midfieder to make us a top side.

    When we get humiliated by barca again with good old carrick in midfield whats the excuse gonna be this time?

    Money?

    I don’t so. The manager has the same blindspot towards our midfield as wenger has towards his defence. It just keeps rolling on.

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    he doesn’t have a blind spot, he probably doesn’t trust himself after a decade of signing midfield flops since veron, I don’t trust him either, who would when the last good midfielder he signed was 17 years ago

  • RobDiablo

    chocolatteballs said:
    I agree with 90 percent of what Diablo says apart from the small fact that he too thinks that carrick is being played out of position.

    My hand’s held up; I did say that and left it there without any explanation. As I have posted in the past (last season), I believe Carrick is not comfortable being the best United midfielder on the pitch (expectation-wise). He was useful while Scholes was still doing a job for United, but has faltered since Scholes became a part-time player.

  • Just1n

    RobDiablo said:
    Perhaps, if Young and Rooney, while away with England, could trick Wilshere into being photographed in a United top and then, one by one, all the rest of our players could go to the media to explain how good it would be to have him in the side, we could sign him during the last week of the summer transfer window in a year or two.

    naah if Fergie wants him he will probably send Neville over to have a chat with him like he did with Ramsey. No wonder the lad told us to fuck off