The criticism of David de Gea at the start of this season was as predictable as it was frustrating. A new country, a new language, a new team, a new life—de Gea was going through so many changes on a personal level that it's no surprise his football would suffer somewhat.
Yet now that we are reaching the end of the season, de Gea is starting to make certain critics eat their words with save after save after world-class save. De Gea has proven to be a world class shot-stopper when called upon, even if other areas of his game have needed time to nurture. His game-saving stop at the end of the match at Stamford Bridge remains the highlight of his season.
The only way is up for the Spaniard. We could be looking at one of the very best elite keepers in the world in the not-too-distant future. How can that not be an exciting prospect?
And he's not alone. Back in March, Bleacher Report columnist Kyle Diller wrote a great article on young Jonny Evans and how he is United's most improved player this season. That is a hard fact to argue.
In the absence of Nemanja Vidić, Evans has raised his game and forged an immense partnership with Rio Ferdinand. His composure, his intelligence and his general leadership have all markedly improved this year. Could he have an outside chance of being one of the three over-21 players for Great Britain at this summer's Olympics? I wouldn't bet against it.
Add Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Rafael, Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley to this list, and we are seeing quite a remarkable number of youngsters edge their way into major first-team positions. Always great to see.