Make or Break Season For Some Manchester United Players
Written by Jason Mathias.
With every season that comes along, the same excitement and expectations follow for football fans. Which trophies have we got a chance in? Can we stay up? Or in Blackpool’s case, can we get a point in the Premier League? But there are the same expectations about players. And at Manchester United, scrutiny is waiting round the corner to bite your head off. After disappointing seasons last time around, or finding troubles in proving worthy of wearing the shirt, there are a few United players who may well have to prove themselves this campaign or face being shown the door by Sir Alex.
Everybody knows that this fella has got all the talent in the world. The question mark against him is his determination to show everyone that talent. He’s a very different type to the usual Manchester United player; his talent isn’t matched by his spirit, and a lot of United fans are fed up with it. While this isn’t fair, after 2 seasons he hasn’t really shown that he fits into the United mould. Goals are not flowing and in combination with his languid style, when that happens he puts himself in the frame for strong criticism.
I believe this season could be a danger for him not just because of himself, but because of what we have in reserve. One new thoroughbred and three young strikers who are a year older, a year wiser and a year better. Javier Hernandez has come in and looked like he’s tailor-made for games, Danny Welbeck has shown real progression during pre-season, Mame Biram Diouf is raw but has unbound energy and fight, while Kiko Macheda has won glowing praise from the boss in the past year as the best young striking talent he’s ever worked with. Yes, it seems that Diouf and Welbeck will be heading out on loan, but should they have rip-roaring seasons at their Premier League clubs, Berbatov may not seem as appealing as he might do now to Ferguson. And with the prospect of collecting a fair sum of money for him (although nowhere near the £30m he was bought for), it may be tempting to sell while he still has value and make way for one of the youngsters.
The Brazilian’s first season at United showed us all why Fergie had shelled out £18m on him – he was dynamic, effective and showed high levels of creativity and energy. But he has strangely never replicated that form in the following two years. Last season was mainly blighted by injury, but also by rumours of a bust-up with Fergie and a transfer out of the club. He has always seemed like a fun-loving bloke, but maybe he has been divulging a little too much in the nightlife and the women-folk. But let’s not forget, he’s still only 22. Nonetheless, should he continue to not progress and work hard doing so, it’s not unfathomable to see him heading out the exit door.
Carrick suffers sometimes in a similar way to Berbatov. For a midfielder, he likes drive and tenacity. But the whole point of Michael Carrick is that he makes up for that with his excellent defensive positioning and distribution. Last season, that didn’t happen. He was at fault for goals and gave the ball away a lot more than we expect. Some say he lost all his confidence when he was viciously overran for 90 minutes against Barcelona in the Champions League final. Maybe so, but would that last for a whole season? From being one of the main reasons we won the title back in 2007, he was reduced to not even being involved towards the end of the season. With the progression of Darren Fletcher, the constant brilliance of Paul Scholes and the possible comeback of Owen Hargreaves, Carrick may struggle to win back his first team place if he doesn’t return to his brilliant old days.
The reaction of fans to Darron Gibson is basically the same as it was for Darren Fletcher when he started getting games for United – not good enough, what’s he doing playing for Manchester United etc. Much like Carrick, he lacks pace, but ‘Gibbo’s’ way of making up for it is blasting one in from outside the box on a semi-regular basis. Is that enough to play for Manchester United? No, but Fergie sure appreciates it. And he is a very good passer, but lacks defensive instincts and the ability to control a game. It could be make or break for him because he needs to step up other areas of his game or risk being a one-trick pony, an accusation not far off at the moment. With Tom Cleverley snooping around this season as well, Gibson’s role as young midfielder could be under threat. Competition is rich in the centre of United’s midfield, but genuine world class ability is relatively short. If Fergie desires a player to fix this, it could be Gibson that is one of the first casualties.
There may also be question marks over the likes of Michael Owen and Gabriel Obertan, but I see these four players as being the main big-name candidates for a transfer should they not improve upon their previous season’s performances.
Do you think these players are under threat? Is this season their last chance? Please leave your thoughts below…
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