Manchester United: How Best to Use RVP, Rooney, Kagawa, Welbeck and Chicharito

« Prev
1 of 4
Next »
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse the slideshow
Manchester United: How Best to Use RVP, Rooney, Kagawa, Welbeck and Chicharito
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Any team in the Premier League would take one of Rooney, Welbeck and Chicharito. And yet when Manchester United played Fulham, they all started on the bench.

Of course, Sir Alex wants to bed in Robin Van Persie and Kagawa as a combination and not just because they cost £36 million between them.

Rooney and Van Persie are the highest paid players at Old Trafford and arguably the most potent combination. Surely they will start all the big matches together once Rooney is fit?

The manager has oozed delight at having the same striking set-up as he had in the Treble winning year of 1999, when he had four top strikers in Cole, Yorke, Sheringham and Solskjaer.

iThe current equivalents are Van Persie, Rooney, Welbeck and Chicharito. But, he's also got Kagawa, who is the nearest equivalent to how Paul Scholes played way back then.

Behind them, queuing up for a chance are Macheda, Henriquez, King, Keane (when fit) and even Nick Powell, who Crewe used as a striker or No. 10 last season.

Of course, this is the sort of headache Brendan Rodgers or Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto Di Matteo or Arsene Wenger would love to have. Let alone fourteen of the other fifteen Premier League managers, who would settle for just one of the first five.

And this highlights both the different economic states and the tactical approaches of United's nearest competitors. Only City are in a similar position with Aguero, Tevez, Dzeko and Balotelli.

Mancini can get away with benching two of these world class strikers through iron discipline that has taken two seasons and a collective belief to achieve.

Sir Alex has iron discipline of course, but he also has as much trust and respect from all his players as any manager in world football.

So he relishes the challenge of having 80 players to pick from for his first team, but he still has to come up with the winning combinations.

He is fastidious and meticulous in his detail, and so is the first team coach, Rene Meulensteen.

While the Dutchman has had a huge influence on coaching methods right through the Academy to the first team, he is the pre-eminent devotee of Will Coerver, known as the "Albert Einstein of Football".

Meulensteen rejoined United in 2007 and was appointed to his present position after the departure of Carlos Queiroz in July 2008. Since then, United have won eight major trophies.

The three key effects that he has had, have been: the transfer of attacking skills to defenders and vice-versa; the greater pace and fluid interchange of United as an attacking force; and the multi-skilling of every young player coming through, which is now bearing fruit.

The players are enthusiastically supportive of these changes and their two masters of implementation. Time and time again you will hear United players, young and old, saying there is no better place to be than Old Trafford.

Of the five discussed here, the one to have benefited most is Danny Welbeck, who has worked with Meulensteen since he was ten. Will Keane has had a similar experience. Rene has also been credited with making Cristiano Ronaldo a world class player.

Okay, so Pogba, Morrison and Fryers couldn't see that, but they are all impatient young men, apparently greedy for the rewards of the game before they have proved themselves worthy.

You won't see any of the five attacking players who are the subject of this article wanting to leave anytime soon. Even Wayne Rooney, about whom there has been much speculation, stated very clearly recently that he would like to play for United for another ten years.

And take Berbatov and Owen. It was very clear that neither of them wanted to leave. Owen was dispensable because of his injury record, especially with Welbeck ready to star and Macheda, Keane, King, and no doubt Henriquez, champing at the bit.

Berbatov simply wanted first team action, which he wasn't going to get much of as he clearly ranked fifth in the new pecking order, just ahead of Owen.

So, assuming that all five of the new attacking force are here for the duration, prepared to take their turn, how does Sir Alex utilise them best?

Begin Slideshow »

Follow Manchester United from B/R on Facebook

Follow Manchester United from B/R on Facebook and get the latest updates straight to your newsfeed!

Transfer News

Subscribe Now

By signing up for our newsletter, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

Thanks for signing up.