Manchester United: England Performances Should Give United Hope for Next Season

Simon EdmondsCorrespondent IJune 2, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 02:  Danny Welbeck of England celebrates with Ashley Young after scoring the first goal of the match during the international friendly match between England and Belgium at Wembley Stadium on June 2, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

England failed to carve out many chances in Saturday's 1-0 defeat of Belgium.

Truth be told, the game itself was rather dull for the first 70 minutes of play, with neither side seemingly able to muster a genuine effort on goal—bar Danny Welbeck's delightful chip over Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

What was extremely promising for all United fans watching the game, however, was the fact that for a second consecutive week, it was a Red Devil who netted to bring victory to Roy Hodgson and his men.

The United players are showing their importance within the international setup, making for the possibility of an all United front three come England's final group game in Kiev against the Ukraine.

With Wayne Rooney available after a two-match suspension that will see him miss the games against France and Sweden, Hodgson will be very tempted to start Rooney, Welbeck and Young together in attack.

In addition to all but cementing their places within the starting XI, the pairing of Ashley Young and Welbeck also showed the kind of quality and understanding that will set United in great favour for the start of the 2012/13 Premier League campaign.

The goal itself came about as a result of a beautifully worked and perfectly timed one-two play from the two United front men.

There were times last season when Young looked a little out of place in a United shirt. Don't get me wrong—his overall play and skill was on most occasions unquestionable.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 02:  Ashley Young of England in action during the international friendly match between England and Belgium at Wembley Stadium on June 2, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Ian Walton/Getty Images

But there were games where he seemed to have absolutely no understanding of the way in which Danny Welbeck or Javier Hernandez were going about trying to score.

This problem seems to be a thing of the past, as in the closing stages of the league, as well as emphatically shown tonight, Young and Welbeck's understanding of each other carved out the only real chance of an otherwise stalemated match.

Remember also, all this occurred without the inclusion of Rooney on the pitch.

Rooney later came on to replace Welbeck, which could hint that Hodgson may not be looking to start the two United front men at the same time.

Still, Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson knows how well the two strikers can hook up together, and will be encouraged by the addition of Young to this triumvirate.

Interestingly, there was another and perhaps less obvious aspect of tonight's game that really shone through for me in regards to good news again for the Red Devils.

James Milner is a terrific player, and shares very similar qualities to the No. 1 transfer target on United's books.

Shinji Kagawa plays a similar, although not identical, type of role to that which Milner carried out in today's game.

Making darting runs both down the flanks to cross and through the centre to find a striker on the edge of the area is what Kagawa is all about.

KAKEGAWA, JAPAN - MAY 23:  (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Shinji Kagawa of Japan controls the ball during the international friendly match between Japan and Azerbaijan at Ecopa Stadium on May 23, 2012 in Kakegawa, Japan.  (Photo by Kaz Photography/Getty Images)
Kaz Photography/Getty Images

Milner executed this position brilliantly today, and on more than one occasion was able to get a decent cross into the Belgian defence.

In fact, Milner, Young and Welbeck were three of England's best players.

This is brilliant news for England, and its even better news for United.

OK, maybe this is an odd time to be writing about United's hopes for next season, when we are just days away from the start of a major European Championship that England have actually managed to qualify for.

But there was just something about the manner of this game that gave me the impression Sir Alex would be watching on, very pleased with what he was seeing.