Last week was the longest in my memory of being a Manchester United fan.
From the shock announcement of long-serving manager Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement, to the speculation of who will replace him, to the appointment of Everton's David Moyes—never have seven days passed so slowly.
But with the summer fast approaching, the club is faced with plenty of uncertainty.
This article will look ahead to the first year of the Moyes era, and what fans of the Red Devils can realistically expect.
Promotion of British Youth
Moyes doesn't have a particularly noteworthy record of promoting young players quickly at Everton, but when the individual has been good enough, he has been willing to give them a chance.
In a recent speech at Cambridge University, the Scottish manager made some interesting points on this topic (via Daily Mail).
"Manchester United have always relied hugely on young players and my priority will always be to promote these talents. It is the right way to go," he said.
"We need to be producing better English players and we are working to find the solutions. My aim would be to develop these young English players and get more and more coming through."
Players like Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverley, Phil Jones, Wilfried Zaha, Chris Smalling and Nick Powell fall into the bracket of talented young British players at Old Trafford.
Then there is also the Belgian Adnan Januzaj and the Chilean Angelo Henriquez who will be knocking on the door soon.
Moyes will be spoilt for choice but will endeavor to give youth a chance.
No Seismic Shift in Tactics
Moyes' Everton side has long been one of the best-drilled teams in the Premier League.
This season, the Toffees have conceded 38 goals in 37 games, the same number as United. Last term they finished with the third-best defensive record behind the two Manchester clubs.
As a former defender, the coach believes strongly in the importance of a holding midfielder sitting in front of the back line offering protection.
At the moment, Michael Carrick effectively fills this role for the Red Devils. This is unlikely to change under Moyes, as the English midfielder's time is far from coming to an end.
The 4-5-1, or the more fluid 4-2-3-1, will likely remain the formation of choice. Robin van Persie will remain the side's lone striker, with opportunities also given to Javier Hernandez.
The side's full-backs will push up the field—Rafael on the right side and either Patrice Evra or Leighton Baines on the left.
Moyes' teams have a penchant for overloading the opposition penalty area with countless crosses during games. Though with van Persie not being at his strongest in the air, he may have to curb this habit.
He has also resisted from playing a more continental attacking playmaker—or "trequartista"—at Everton, though this may just have been as a result of a lack of personnel.
Shinji Kagawa can be the man for the job should Moyes deem him so worthy.
A Familiar Coaching Staff
If a recent exclusive on Goal.com is to be believed, Old Trafford may see the return of a few familiar faces when Moyes takes over.
The report claims that "Ryan Giggs, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt are in contention for a first-team role on Moyes' coaching staff."
It is unknown whether the manager's coaching staff at Goodison Park will join him at United, or if he'll assemble a new team to support him.
A blend of both seems most likely.
Many fans of the Red Devils would delight in seeing former players return, as well as someone like Giggs take on a new coaching role.
Moyes will need staff members around him who are loyal but also know and appreciate the tradition and meaning of the club.
Giggs' blood is Manchester United red. A player/coach dual role for him, at least for one season, would be an interesting prospect indeed.
A Strong Work Ethic
Moyes is known as one of the most rigorous managers in England in terms of maximizing the fitness levels of his players.
The Scottish manager delights in pushing his players to their limits.
According to Phil Neville in a report from The Sun, some of Moyes' training sessions "filled me with dread. His method is to push you to your limits in training and then the match is easy."
Everton have been traditionally slow to start but consistent through the second half of a season. This may account for that trend.
If Moyes is to succeed at Old Trafford, he will need to earn the respect of the United players.
He will be dealing with bigger egos than ever before—there will often be occasions when manager and player don't see eye-to-eye.
Sir Alex's aura will loom large over the club for many years to come, but as long as his replacement has players who are loyal to him, success is more likely.
After the Red Devils' game with West Brom this Sunday, fans will have to wait three tantalising months for the return of Premier League football.
There will be plenty of speculation surrounding Old Trafford, most of it in regards to Moyes' possible transfer targets.
But none of us can be sure what's going to happen until the 2013-14 season kicks off in August.
What do you think we can expect from Moyes' first season at United?
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