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Anderson’s six years of waste

May 6, 2013 Tags: Reads 107 comments
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There was a moment, somewhere around 15 minutes into Manchester United’s insipid performance against Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday, when Brazilian midfielder Anderson lofted a 50 yard pass forward. With space to turn on to his favoured left foot, and under no discernible pressure, the player had time to assess the situation before striking the ball a full 30 yards beyond the nearest United forward. After six years at Old Trafford, the only surprise in the moment was Anderson’s fitness to play yet another wasteful pass.

Deployed against Chelsea as the most forward of United’s curious midfield triumvirate, Anderson received the ball 46 times, made 36 passes – 32 successful – and lost possession on eight other occasions. He created no chances, took no shots and scored no goals. Plus ça change.

Impudence aside, Sunday’s wasn’t Anderson’s most slipshod performance in a United shirt. There have been plenty of those. On the day others – notably Ryan Giggs, Antonio Valencia, Tom Cleverley – were just as injurious, but after six years of increasing mediocrity few can remember when Anderson reached his current low.

This season is the player’s career in a microcosm: just seven starts in the Premier League, 15 in all competitions. Sir Alex Ferguson is increasingly loathe to trust the former international, even on the sporadic occasions when the player is fit.

There have been two goals and five assists – three in a single Carling Cup match against Chelsea – and he has taken just seven shots all season. The numbers have rarely stacked up. In 168 appearances in all competitions Anderson has produced just nine goals and 21 assists – eight of those in the Carling Cup.

That Anderson has never started more than 30 games for United in a campaign says much about how little Ferguson can or does reply on the midfielder. That the player has started and finished just 18 matches in those 168 appearances for the club affirms the observation. In keeping with history, Anderson was substituted after 69 minutes of United’s defeat to Chelsea at the weekend.

Now aged 25, it is impossible to argue that Anderson is a better than the player United acquired for €30 million (£20.3 million) in June 2007. He has certainly regressed from the exciting attacking talent that secured the Golden Ball as best player at the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship.

And whatever the blame for Anderson’s misadventure – the player’s bankrupt attitude to professionalism, Sir Alex’ tactical misuse, and rank bad luck – failure it most certainly is. In the years of waiting the only wonder left is Sir Alex’ enduring patience.

Indeed, the player will surely be shipped out in the summer should United find a suitable buyer, although the club will have to write off a substantial percentage of the player’s original purchase price. Rumours of a return to Porto may represent the best bet for both player and United.

In fact there is no guarantee that a more suitable buyer will come forward to claim the player at a price that United is willing to accept, although with two years left on the midfielder’s contract the coming summer represents the best return the club will ever achieve.

And the player has little argument to brook when United move him on; not after claiming that the campaign now drawing to a close was a defining moment in his career. It should be.

Anderson’s probable exit represents a significant about face, especially for Sir Alex who has been unswerving in his public support for the former Grêmio player. After all here is a manager with a peerless reputation for developing youth who has, through some significant fault of his own, failed to get the best out of an expensive youthful acquisition.

“We are delighted,” said Ferguson when Anderson signed a new five-year £80,000-per-week contract in summer 2010. “Anderson has developed tremendously since joining us; he is going to be a really top player.”

Similar plaudits have followed each return from injury and every subsequent false start. Ferguson’s support is buttressed each time by any morsel of evidence that Anderson might one-day become the player that United’s management and massed support always wanted.

But there have been just 49 starts since that lucrative new contract was inked. Almost £12 million committed in wages since 2010 at around £250,000 per start. By the time Anderson leaves this summer, United will have paid out around £50 million in transfer fee, bonuses and wages for the player. As Ferguson was once so fond of saying, there really is no value in the market.

Should the player move on it will surely benefit all parties; a return to Portugal or Brazil, where economic growth now enables local clubs to finance players on European wages, will proffer the player game-time in a lower profile environment. And while Anderson will almost certainly never become the player that Golden Ball once promised, the talent remains to forge a career elsewhere.

Moreover, removing Anderson from Ferguson’s roster will create the space and incentive for the Scot to acquire a new central midfielder for the first time since the Brazilian’s capture six years ago.

The strategy comes at a risk of course: Darren Fletcher’s chronic illness, and Paul Scholes’ retirement will leave United two further central midfielders down, while Ryan Giggs will turn 40 shortly into the new season. But United’s goals have moved on too. Returning the Premier League to trophy to Old Trafford this season affords the club a new incentive next year – Europe, where the genuine benchmark of quality surely lies.

Indeed, United’s ability to dismiss domestic mediocrity has masked weaknesses in Ferguson’s first team – a fact recorded in the Reds’ mixed record of 11 points from 24 against other members of the ‘top five’: City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. The team hasn’t beaten a European opponent of genuine note since a 1-0 victory in Valencia, September 2010.

That record is unlikely to change before Ferguson’s strengthens at United’s point of greatest fragility in central midfield. Anderson’s departure is now central to that goal.

Anderson illness puts United future in doubt

April 1, 2013 Tags: Just for fun 16 comments
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Brazilian Anderson has been struck down with a secret long-term illness according to sources close to United Rant, provoking new questions over the midfielder’s future at Old Trafford. Suffering another disappointing campaign, Anderson has been earmarked for a summer exit from Manchester United according to newspaper speculation in recent weeks, with Sir Alex Ferguson planning to freshen up his squad next season.

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Anderson out, faces tough choices

March 14, 2012 Tags: Just for fun 56 comments

Big-boned Manchester United midfielder Anderson Luís de Abreu Oliveira is set to miss at least five weeks of the Premier League run-in with a torn hamstring, confirmed manager Sir Alex Ferguson on Wednesday. The fresh injury, which adds to a growing list of malevolence suffered by the midfielder in his time at Old Trafford, comes barely days after the Brazilian returned to Manchester United’s squad for matches against Athletic Bilbao and West Bromwich Albion.

“Ando could be out for four or five weeks due to his hamstring,” said Ferguson ahead of United’s Europa League second leg tie with Athletic.

“Some hamstrings are relatively straightforward but we have to wait and see how he is in the next week or so to get a better idea of where we stand with him.”

Anderson’s injury is the latest in a calamitous series of absences over the past four and a half years following a €30 million transfer from Porto. The midfielder has subsequently appeared in barely 30 per cent of United’s games during his time with the club. Critics of a far crueller persuasion than United Rant might be thankful given the 23-year-old’s inconsistencies.

But could frequent injuries be something to do with Brazilian’s hard-living lifestyle? After all, during previous absences the 23-year-old has been caught partying on the Algarve, been involved in a high-speed car crash, and seemingly piled on far too much weight. Little needs said about Anderson’s less salubrious habits.

It has Rant wondering whether the burger eating Brazilian might face a tough choice or four during his latest period of recuperation …


Anderson and on and on

September 13, 2011 Tags: Reads 99 comments

Much criticised, yet often lauded, Brazilian midfielder Anderson has truly become Manchester United’s Marmite in four years at Old Trafford. The talent to fulfil every hope; the failure of sustained application to dash every aspiration. Anderson has reached his potential on so few occasions that many have come to believe, with some justification, that United overspent when lavishing €30 million on the teenager in 2007.

Anderson’s positive start to the current campaign has not rid the player of his doubters but it certainly points to a more positive future for the 22-year-old. Indeed, with Tom Cleverley now missing for the next month his Brazilian colleague becomes United’s premier central midfielder. It is a true test of Anderson’s new value.

Both creator and destroyer, Anderson’s dynamic start to the season arguably reached a peak in United’s 5-0 destruction of Bolton Wanderers last weekend. Effervescent, creative and energetic, Anderson was almost everything hoped for from the player who dominated in games against both Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard and Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas in his opening season for the club. That the player completed 85 per cent of his passes at the Reebok – a far superior performance away from home than last season – is one statistic underlining the player’s improvement.

“He’s been tremendous, the boy,” manager Sir Alex Ferguson told Inside United ahead of the Reds’ clash with Bolton.

“He’s had a couple of long-term injuries which haven’t helped him, but in the last year or so, he’s steered clear of injury. That means he’s training every day so his fitness levels are much better. And he’s maturing so you can see the consistency in his game.”

Evidence of that new maturity came in the impressive way Anderson dictated the tempo of United’s play against Owen Coyle’s near-neighbours. The Brazilian’s ability to pass, move and pass again demonstrated all the qualities that so excited four years ago. Agility, physicality and penetration have always been part of the player’s game; now, perhaps, Anderson has added consistency to a potent mix. The player’s change of pace and energy was far too much for Bolton.

Yet, the midfielder is far from perfect. As in earlier games this season, Anderson’s passing broke down at the crucial moment on Saturday. The pass completion ratio of just 60 per cent in the final third against Bolton and two chances created for his team-mates evidence of the failing. This is a key weakness in Anderson’s armoury, especially in Cleverley’s absence. Paired with Michael Carrick or Darren Fletcher, for example, the Brazilian will be asked to take on more of United’s creative burden. History says the Brazilian will fail.

Little wonder that Ferguson warned on Tuesday against over-expectation of his young squad, including Anderson, who may well step aside in favour of both Carrick and Fletcher against Benfica in the Champions League.

“We’ve only played four games,” said Ferguson.

“The quality of our play has been superb, but it’s a young squad. Obviously there’ll be a time when their form tapers off, so I hope the experienced players will then step in and add to the great start to the season we have had. You can’t judge a team after four games. But hopefully they’ll become one our best teams.

“The season really starts when the Champions League comes around. You have games on Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday all the time. We’re coming to a period where we have a game tomorrow and then Chelsea on Sunday, then Leeds on the Tuesday and then Stoke away on the Saturday. The squad will obviously be used.”

The true test of Anderson’s new maturity will come in matches to come, not least United’s fixture with Chelsea at the weekend, which the home side is favourite to win. Anderson’s form against much criticised Chelsea stalwart Frank Lampard, along side new recruit Raul Meireles will come under severe test nonetheless.

And with hope that Anderson will become the €30 million player that Ferguson paid for there is also a warning; the player’s total failure in the 2009 Champions League final against Barcelona. That the Brazilian was overlooked in favour of 37-year-old part-time central midfielder for the 2011 final said much for the lack of influence Anderson has so often brought to bear during his 134 game Old Trafford tenure.

Ferguson must hope, as Anderson takes on a more attacking mantle over the next month, that the player can add both goals and creativity to his bow. One goal has come in five appearances this season, which admittedly is a far superior strike-rate compared to the to the six in 134 overall. Neither is the 15 assists in more than a century of games impressive either.

Yet there is also genuine hope that Ferguson’s almost limitless patience is finally paying dividends. History dictates that judgement is reserved but the player’s ability to continue improving is central to United’s success without Cleverley. In that there is a greater belief that just weeks ago.

On occasion patience has no virtue

January 30, 2011 Tags: , , , Reads 54 comments

Of Sir Alex Ferguson’s many faults, lack of patience is not among them. The great Scot has, according to recent analysis, the most stable squad in European football, with players remaining at Old Trafford almost six years on average. That lengthy tenure is aided no doubt by Paul Scholes’, Ryan Giggs’ and Gary Neville’s longevity but the point remains – when it comes to some players, Ferguson has almost limitless patience.

In many ways Ferguson’s approach is anathema to the modern game, where high annual turnover of players and coaches is commonplace at many leading clubs. Yet, the flip side of this undoubtedly virtuous coin is the Scot’s seemingly unwavering loyalty to players that many supporters find insufferably frustrating.

Ferguson’s faith in Darron Gibson, Anderson and Gabriel Obertan, as three midfield examples, is based not on an aggregate of excellence but faith that each will come good in time. That they may, even if the evidence is scant to date.

Discounting any player as not fit for purpose comes with risk of course. The oft-repeated example of Darren Fletcher’s rise from fan pariah, cruelly dubbed ‘the Scottish player’, to an essential cog in the Red machine is now something of an Old Trafford cliché. Yet the 26-year-old Scot’s story is instructive – even those that do not posses natural talent in abundance can carve out a niche if Ferguson’s patience and the player’s will are in sync.

Expectation plays a hefty part in supporters’ reaction of course. Fletcher cost the club little, with the player not commanding a transfer fee and serving United on eminently reasonable wages until the Scot signed a new four-year contract in 2008. The same can be said of Gibson, who graduated through United’s academy, and even Obertan, whose £3.5 million fee made little impression on the club’s mammoth debt.

Anderson, by contrast, attracts a different level of expectation – and therefore criticism – having joined the club as Brazil’s ‘next Ronaldinho’ for more than £19 million in summer 2007.

But in each Ferguson has shown faith beyond concrete evidence; perhaps even beyond reason. While Anderson’s undoubted natural talent comes to the fore only sporadically, it is hard to recall any occasion on which Gibson or Obertan have truly impressed. Certainly against the highest level of opponent.

Anderson’s pace with the ball is a boon but the Brazilian’s impact is continually limited by horrendous passing statistics that in aggregate over three seasons barely reach 70 per cent successful completion. That the player neither scores nor creates goals has led to some fans to acerbically labelling the former Porto midfielder as United’s “fake Brazilian.”

Meanwhile, Obertan continues to run into blind alleys on the rare occasion he is selected for United’s first team. The French under-21 international appears to have little to no knowledge of the game’s mechanics. That nothing is left to chance at United, with players drilled in every small detail of gameplay and tactics, makes the wingers progress over the past 18 months – or lack thereof – all the more frustrating.

Then there is Gibson, who sank to new depths this week with two performances of such casual ineptitude as to call into question the very sanity of his selection. The Irishman, who lacks pace, touch, skill, vision or seemingly the ability to pick out a teammate with the simplest of passes, can at least shoot. Whether the Derry Dynamo’s long-range efforts actually work the goalkeeper is another point altogether.

Ferguson though is unlikely to give up on the trio with any speed. Indeed, the 69-year-old United manager believes that Anderson is the long-term successor to Scholes, despite the Brazilian lacking almost all the attributes that have made the flame-haired midfielder one of the finest midfielders of his or any generation. Time will presumably tell whether Anderson inflicts damage to United’s ambitions or aids them.

Whether Obertan and Gibson face a different fate is as yet unknown. The Frenchman is no closer to a first team berth than when he arrived at the club the summer before last. That Obertan has seen so little first team football, even with Giggs ageing, Antonio Valencia injured and Park Ji-Sung having an inconspicuous season, is relevant. Gibson’s one Champions and three Premier League starts this season tell the tale of a player who has seemingly progressed not one iota in five seasons on the fringe of United’s first team squad.

Each is tied to the club in the long-term though. Anderson signed a new four-and-a-half year contract in December that will keep the 22-year-old at Old Trafford until 2015. Meanwhile, Gibson is tied to the club until summer 2012, as is Obertan.

On current evidence Anderson will continue to frustrate until the penny finally drops. If it ever does. Obertan has natural talent if not the know-how to use it. Yet, with the least natural talent of the trio there seems little prospect, even from the most blinkered of supporters, of Gibson ever making a success of his time at Old Trafford.

If Fletcher’s rise to Old Trafford stardom was hugely surprising from those who followed the Scot with increasing frustration from 2003 to 2006, then a similar path taken by Gibson will be little short of miraculous. More talented players than the Irishman have left United, as Giuseppe Rossi and Ryan Shawcross might attest.

Fortunately for the 23-year-old Ferguson is of a more patient bent than most.

Anderson inks deal; must now prove worth

December 17, 2010 Tags: Reads 16 comments

Anderson signed a new four-and-a-half-year contract extension this week that will keep the Manchester United midfielder at Old Trafford until at least June 2015. It’s a remarkable turnaround for the 22-year-old midfielder who, many suspected, faced a bleak future at Old Trafford after injury and temperamental problems stunted his progress.

The question is: can the Brazilian justify the hefty pay rise and lengthy contract?

The new deal is reward both for the player’s improved recent form and recognition that with just 18 months left on his current deal, the Anderson’s value could potentially erode. Indeed, after a cruciate knee injury last February, a spat with manager Sir Alex Ferguson and a rehabilitation programme that involved drinking and crashing cars at high-speed, few backed Anderson to finally come good.

But the player has turned this perception around – at least in part – following several positive performances in the past month. It is a reminder of the talent and energy that the former Porto player possesses, if only he can apply it with more consistency.

Despite seemingly going backwards since bursting onto the English scene three years ago, Anderson will now spearhead United’s midfield for the next five years. It’s a long way from the poor form and dreadful attitude that seemed to infect the player’s time at Old Trafford for the best part of the last 18 months.

Yet outstanding displays in key matches during the player’s first season pointed to a bright future. Perhaps not the creative Ronaldonho-esque Brazilian many United supporters thought they had acquired but huge potential nonetheless.

Yet an exit though was close. In fact had Ferguson not intervened Anderson could have left Old Trafford last winter, with the player absconding to Brazil without permission seemingly in search of a new club and a rash of European teams apparently enquiring about the player.

Ferguson’s now seems vindicated though, assuming the Brazilian can maintain or improve his form of the last few weeks.

“We are delighted he has signed a new contract,” Ferguson told ManUtd.com this week.

“Anderson has developed tremendously since joining us and he has fantastic potential at only 22; he is going to be a really top player.”

Performances of power, energy and some invention have come recently, especially against Arsenal on Monday night, although the old tendency to give away possession still remains. The question now is whether the Brazilian can finally justify both the £17 million fee United paid Porto in 2007 and the £80,000 per week contract that will earn Anderson more than £18 million before it ends.

Certainly the player is now more liberated, with Ferguson deploying the midfielder with less defensive duties than previously – although the oft-aired argument that Anderson is United’s answer to an attacking playmaker is as yet totally unproven. After all, the player has just two goals in a more than 100 appearances for the club and less than a dozen assists in three years.

Still, the player made all the right noises this week, professing commitment where it has not always been forthcoming. Moreover effort on the training field has apparently doubled since returning from injury in September. Proof in Ferguson’s eyes at least that Anderson is central to United’s future.

“This is the best club to be at and I would like to thank everyone for the great support I have received over the years,” said Anderson this week.

“I am looking forward to winning many more trophies with United and I am so pleased to have signed a new contract.”

Empty platitudes perhaps but also a sign, however small, that Anderson is now committed to the long-term regeneration of United’s midfield post Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs even if a question remains over his role.

The player’s recent good form has come with fewer defensive responsibilities even if there is little evidence that Anderson can suddenly become a world-class creative midfielder the misguided hubris of some fans points to.

Yet there is reason to be positive in what Anderson can genuinely provide: pace, power, energy. In an age of false-nines and trequartistas, the Brazilian has all the attributes of an old-fashioned box-to-box midfielder.

Of course, goals remain missing from the player’s repertoire. Just two in more than 100 games for United and a record that does not read any better at international level or with previous clubs.

“He is strong, he can beat a man and has great acceleration from a standing position. He is electric in that sense.

“The area he has to improve is goalscoring,” admits Ferguson.

“He recognises that and all the players tell him. That is his weakness, he doesn’t score enough goals.

“But he is still only 22. He is an emerging player and hopefully in three or four years’ time we will be looking back and saying he has given us goals because he has the ability to do it.”

It might be the difference between justifying United’s £40 million total outlay in five years – or not.

Yet, alongside a couple of high-quality midfield acquisitions come summer 2011 – assuming the club still possesses the “ambition” claimed during Wayne Rooney’s contract negotiations – Anderson could form a pivotal part of United’s midfield for a decade.

Rio returns to rally Reds

September 2, 2010 Tags: , , Shorts 13 comments

Rio Ferdinand completed 45 minutes in Manchester United Reserves’ 2-1 victory over Oldham Athletic last night as the England captain returns from a knee injury sustained at the World Cup. Ferdinand, 31, played in a strong reserves outfit that also included the returning Anderson, Wes Brown and Federico Macheda.

Reserves coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says that Ferdinand is already ready for a recall to the first team, after completing the first half in the Manchester Senior Cup clash at Bower Fold, Stalybridge.

“Today was about distances and getting tighter to the ball. He is available for selection again,” said Solskjaer.

“Rio is always the same player. It is a while since he has played but he was still calm.

“He has got through an important 45 minutes, straight after two very hard training sessions yesterday and the day before so we are delighted with him.”

“It was always planned that he would play 45 minutes. I am not sure he needs any more games. Rio is a naturally fit lad.”

Sir Alex Ferguson can now select the defender for United’s visit to Everton on 11 September, before his side faces Rangers and Liverpool at Old Trafford. Midfielder Anderson and defender Brown could also be available for the fixtures as United’s injury list shortens.

Defender Brown played 90 minutes as he returns from yet another injury. The 30-year-old also completed a lifelong dream, partnering his brother Reese in defence, with the younger sibling replacing Ferdinand at half time.

Second half goals from Nicky Ajose and Kiko Macheda secured a 2-1 win for United.

Anderson returns but in what shape?

August 18, 2010 Tags: Reads 29 comments

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.

Anderson ruptures cruciate to end season

February 25, 2010 Tags: Shorts No comments

Anderson, Manchester United’s 21-year-old Brazilian midfielder, has ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and will miss the rest of the season. The player, who started against West Ham United at Old Trafford on Tuesday night, left the field in the 18th minute, with the club confirming the injury today.

“I think I need more tests but I am fearful. I heard a crack as I turned. I am having no luck this season,” said Anderson after the West Ham match.

The player, whose full name is Anderson Luís de Abreu Oliveira, underwent further tests on Wednesday and the injury will keep the former-Gremio player on the sidelines for several months.

The anterior cruciate is one of four such ligaments in the knee joint and a tears often occur in footballers. The injury is similar those suffered by Roy Keane and Ruud van Nistelrooy, with a typical rehabilitation period of six to nine months depending on the severity of the rupture or tear.

The club confirmed that Anderson will undergo an operation in two weeks time in Portugal when swelling in the joint has subsided.

£18 million Anderson has suffered a mixed season at the club. Starting the campaign on the sidelines, the Brazilian forced his way back into the team during the autumn only to be singled out for criticism following United’s Carling Cup semi final first leg defeat to Manchester City.

Ando dumped in the reserves

February 5, 2010 Tags: Shorts No comments

Anderson, dumped in the reserve squad, would have played against Manchester City Thursday night had a frozen pitch not put paid to the game. The Brazilian, caught returning home without permission recently, has reportedly sought an exit from the club while United turned down loan January moves to Lyon and Paris Saint Germain.

Midfielder Anderson, 21, has suffered a severe dip in form in recent weeks and fell out with manager Sir Alex Ferguson after the Brazilian’s poor display against Manchester City in the first leg of the Carling Cup final. He is unlikely to make United’s squad for the weekend match against Portsmouth.

So humiliating has the midfielder’s fall from grace been that even the club’s mouthpiece ManUtd.com featured his selection for the reserve squad fixture yesterday. Anderson would have played alongside Gabriel Obertan, Mame Biram Diouf, Fabio da Silva and Ben Foster in the Moss Lane fixture.

With Darron Gibson’s emergence this season and Tom Cleverley due to return from Watford in the summer, many predict that Anderson has just four months to save his United career and a potential spot in the Brazil 2010 World Cup squad.

There is hope for Anderson though, with Nani’s excellent recent form proving that players can come in from the cold. If the attitude is right.