With the the 2012-2013 EPL season ending last Sunday vs. West Brom, it is time for Manchester United to look forward and prepare themselves for a new chapter without Sir Alex Ferguson.
While their world-class squad still remains, there will soon be a different man in the technical area, and how he will use that squad remains to be seen.
Though stalwarts such as Michael Carrick and Robin van Persie should be left in their roles, tampering to some degree should be expected from David Moyes. The manager's tactical style is far different from that of SAF, and he may feel urged to make changes to have the team feel like his own.
As I mentioned in a previous article, Moyes is known to have an affinity for strong, gritty players, unlike some of the more finesse-oriented players United have. While he will certainly need to play to some of the Reds' strengths, he will also want to play his brand of football, potentially leaving players like Shinji Kagawa out of the mix.
Kagawa, an extremely imposing threat on offense, will at the very least get a chance to prove himself to the new boss (some may think he shouldn't have to do so). However, as a complete defensive liability (only 0.9 tackles per game, via WhoScored), he will probably have a short leash, especially after already experiencing a year of English football.
Though Kagawa is one player that doesn't fit the mold of Moyes' system, the Scot, first and foremost, will be looking for consistency in his starting XI. While his former club Everton had no superstars, they had a lineup of unselfish and hardworking footballers, with Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini leading the way with continued excellence.
The fact that Moyes has little to no relationship with many of the United players means the manager will likely judge by what he sees at the club, and not a player's legacy or reputation. This means that some fringe starters and squad players could potentially be mulling their futures at United this summer.
Though players such as Van Persie, Carrick, David De Gea, and Rafael da Silva will have to prove themselves to the new gaffer, they will be expected to do so after impressive seasons at their respective positions.
However, players such as Anderson, Nani, and Antonio Valencia, who were heavily inconsistent this season, will not be given the same benefit of the doubt that Fergie gave them. Being players that SAF bought himself, they were given decent minutes and kept in his plans for the future.
With the same type of lackluster performances, however, Moyes will have no problem benching them, as his unfamiliarity with most of the players will help him make decisions based solely on what his head tells him rather than his heart.
Which of these players will struggle the most under David Moyes?
All in all, the hiring of David Moyes as United's first new manager in 26 years gives many players a clean slate to prove themselves as a worthy and important member of the squad.
At the same time, struggling players such as Nani and Valencia will no longer be able to live off their past reputations as skilled footballers—rather, they'll have to perform like them.
May the best men win.
(All information from ESPN FC)
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