They say there’s no substitute for experience, and United’s side are currently in a process of transition. Last season it was Van Der Sar & Neville who were on their way out and in the next 18 months it is inevitable that Scholes, Giggs, and Ferdinand will be drafted out. A lack of investment has resulted in United only recruiting the young, talented players who will surely not be able to lead the club to glory until they have matured.
In terms of age. By that time, the only players in the United side with notable experience of winning things will be Evra, Vidic, Carrick, and Rooney. Nani will be approaching that age but doesn’t really hold the mentality of a leader. In every winning side there has to be the right balance of experience and talent, and United have the ability but will lack the know-how of how to win the big games when the modern faithful (Giggs, Scholes & Neville) have completely left. In addition to this, Sir Alex Ferguson may also have called it a day.
Should Jose Mourinho eventually become the United manager, as has been widely speculated in recent years, you would expect him to have taken on the role with assurances of money available to spend. However, should anyone come in without his charisma, United may be happy to continue spending relatively little. Of course, you shouldn’t have to spend large amounts of money, but players with winning experience come at a price. This leads to the fact that United probably will have to make one or two marquee signings this Summer, preferably in central midfield.
These cracks in the United side were exploited by Ajax a couple of weeks ago, who took advantage of the complacency that had crept into United. They gained an early lead thanks to a tidy finish from Javier Hernandez but a team with a defence of De Gea, Rafael, Jones, Smalling, and Rafael (average age of 21) became victims of naivety and decided to sit back and defend. This led to them losing 2-1 and nearly crashing out of Europe’s second competition. Phil Jones, showed his age at the weekend but not for the right reason. His performance was not bad but could have been sent off for repetitive fouls arguably worthy of yellows.
Ferguson has admitted these doubts in his team selections. Many have questioned the decision to play Jonny Evans so regularly but actually, except for his part in the disastrous 6-1 defeat to Manchester City has been fairly solid. Against Tottenham, he was probably the best player on the pitch. In terms of ability he is not as talented as fellow defenders Chris Smalling & Phil Jones, but his experience of playing in past seasons has more than made up for that. It has taken the Northern Irish born centre back a while to blossom but once again, Ferguson has been proved right in his decision to keep him.
Should Manchester United go on to win the league it would probably be one of the Scot’s greater achievements, given the squad and the absence of Vidic, but this Summer United must acquire several players to steady the ship. To add to this, United could probably do with a couple of more technical minded players to suit them to Europe, in which they struggled this season. This may not be necessary had Man City not emerged, but they have and United cannot afford to sit by and watch them turn Manchester from Red to light Blue.
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