Two wins and a draw have been the outcomes thus far in Manchester United’s preseason friendly. Besides the obvious results, we have learned a few things from the Red Devils' preseason so far.
Of course, it is too early, on preseason performances alone, to pass verdict on players like Anderson. Antonio Valencia, too, has had magical moments, but also some dreadful ones where he lacked sharpness that won over so many fans last season.
However, we can safely conclude that:
Youths Are the Future
Forget the tales of Paul Pogba and Ravel Morrison.
If the preseason friendlies are anything to go by, United can depend on their youths.
Davide Petrucci was sensational in China. In the first half, he terrorized opposition with his excellent vision and passing abilities. He split the defence on more than one occasion with lovely balls, and it was a shame that Nick Powell did not convert one of them in the 22nd minute.
Tyler Blackett showed real potential against Ajax.
Nick Powell might very well be the new Michael Carrick.
Players like Ryan Tuncliffe and Jesse Lingard too have world-class potential written all over them. Robert Brady (whose linkup with Dimitar Berbatov was nothing short of telepathic) and Scott Wooten, likewise, have been not too shabby either.
Clearly, United can rest assured that despite experiencing a mild exodus, they can put their faith on the youth system to provide them with quality players over the upcoming years.
The Enigma That Is Bebe
Bebe has cut a forlorn figure at United.
For quite some time he has been considered an utter flop, and signs were already there that the much overhyped teenager might go down in the history books as one of Sir Alex’s worst signings.
Yet, Bebe might still prove his critics wrong.
Against Ajax Cape Town, he emerged as the hero after grabbing a late equalizer in “Fergie-time.” But it was against Shanghai that the Portuguese winger really shone through. After being introduced in the second half, Bebe was mesmeric, completely owning the left-wing.
If he can replicate such performances, undoubtedly, he will prove to be a key member in Sir Alex’s core squad.
Shinji Kagawa Is a Star
Shinji Kagawa has always been a star player. At Borussia Dortmund, he lighted up the Bundesliga with his intricate plays as an attacking midfielder, combining well with Robert Lewandowski and helping his team win back-to-back Bundesliga titles.
There were a few questions raised as to how the Japanese maestro would fit in to the United mix of things, considering that United predominantly play a 4-4-2 formation, and he is terrible at his defensive duties.
However, things might not be as problematic as they sound.
Against Ajax Cape Town, Kagawa operated alongside Javier Hernandez, either sitting right behind him or moving more towards the center. His linkup play was particularly impressive, and he looked his best whilst sitting just behind the lone striker and orchestrating the attack.
Likewise, against Shangai Shenhua, his playmaking skills shone out; his through-ball to Federico Macheda was particularly sublime.
Kagawa’s lone goal was the decider against the Chinese club, as United won by 1-0, and he racked up yet another man-of-the-match performance.
The ingredients are already there. Exposure by being an integral player at one of the premier clubs in the world can only mean one thing—Kagawa’s reputation will skyrocket. Under the tutelage of Sir Alex Ferguson, Kagawa will only improve.
Sir Alex has even gone on record to state that (per the team's official website):
The thing that's impressed me is that every exercise we do on the training ground, he's never needed it to be explained. After one demonstration he joins in, as if he's known the language forever. We know he doesn't speak the language, but it isn't a problem. It just goes to show that a good footballer can pick up exactly what's needed. He's been fantastic in that respect.
To read more about Shinji Kagawa, please read:
And to read which areas that United need to bolster and why Lucas Moura would simply be a superfluous signing read:
Follow me on Twitter: @BrenGoetze
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!