5 Things We Already Know About David Moyes at Manchester United
In the three weeks since, United fans have begun to gain some insight into how Moyes works and what his priorities will be for Manchester United as they prepare for the start of the new Premier League season.
Moyes is still a work in progress. He has taken charge of only three preseason games and given only a few interviews so far.
However, here are five of the most relevant developments we have learned about Moyes during his brief time as United manager, which offer ample evidence he has started well at Old Trafford.
He knows the midfield needs strengthening
The last established central midfielder to sign for Manchester United was Owen Hargreaves in the summer of 2007.
Each summer since then, United supporters have desperately sought reinforcements for this position without any joy.
Now David Moyes has succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson, he has immediately realised he needs a better midfield.
We know this through first the unsuccessful pursuit of Thiago Alcantara, and now the ongoing attempts to sign Cesc Fabregas.
With the exception of Michael Carrick, United’s central midfielders are either not good enough (Tom Cleverley and Anderson), on the brink of retirement (Ryan Giggs), still too young (Nick Powell), suffering long-term illnesses (Darren Fletcher) or should actually be playing in defence (Phil Jones).
David Moyes knows he needs an experienced and dominant central midfielder to help him launch his era at the club.
He won’t be bullied into selling Wayne Rooney
David Moyes knows all about Wayne Rooney.
He gave him his professional debut in 2002 aged 16 years old, and reluctantly sold him to Manchester Untied two years later.
Now he is Rooney’s manager again, but he arrives with the player having told his predecessor, Sir Alex Ferguson, that he wants to leave the club.
Rooney is agitating for a move and allowed it to be known through sources, as reported by Ben Smith of the BBC, he was “angered and confused” at Moyes’ statement that he would have to earn his place in the side.
Chelsea have sought to exploit the situation by lodging a bid that has been turned down by United.
David Moyes would ultimately like to work with Rooney and get the best out of him again at United.
But if Rooney is determined to leave, it will only be on United’s terms. Moyes will not be forced into selling him.
Selling Rooney without an adequate replacement would weaken United, and so Moyes will take his time this summer and only sell him if it will ultimately help United this season.
He will turn Shinji Kagawa in to a major player at United
This week David Moyes spoke with clear enthusiasm about working with United’s Japanese playmaker, Shinji Kagawa. This Daily Mirror report by David McDonnell quotes the new United manager as saying:
I'm looking forward to working with him.
Sir Alex told me lots of good things about Shinji. It was his first season in the Premier League last year.
He's a young player, so we hope his development continues, and I look forward to personally working with him.
Hopefully he has a really good season coming up.
I know a little bit about him as a player. Sir Alex spoke in glowing terms about Shinji and how good a player he is.
Of course, he was in the player’s native Japan at the time, but this was more than just managerial politeness.
Moyes knows he has a player of real class in Kagawa, who is ready for a regular and influential role at Old Trafford after spending his first season settling in to life in the Premier League.
Kagawa could form a prolific and dynamic partnership with Robin van Persie by playing behind him in the No. 10 position.
Ferguson signed Kagawa, but Moyes could be the one to really benefit from him in the coming years.
He will continue the club’s tradition of using young players
From the Busby Babes to the Class of 1992, Manchester United have long prided themselves on nurturing young talent.
David Moyes will continue this tradition this season.
“Manchester United have always relied hugely on young players and my priority will always be to promote these talents,” he said recently, as reported in Metro.
On the current preseason tour, he has been keeping to his word and given crucial playing time to Jesse Lingard and Adnan Januzaj.
So far Lingard has responded with three goals, including two against the A-League All Stars in Sydney at the weekend.
"His performance was very good and he set up Robin [van Persie] with a nicely weighted pass for his goal,” Moyes said, as reported by ESPN. “He worked really hard and showed a lot of maturity."
Moyes knows that the manager of Manchester United will always be able to spend in the transfer market, but the manager will be judged also on how many young players he can bring in to the first team as well.
He isn’t afraid to ask for help
David Moyes has brought the majority of his backroom staff with him from Everton, but the appointment of Ryan Giggs as a new player-coach was an astute move.
Can you imagine Sir Alex Ferguson uttering that sentence? It would not happen.
These are new times at United and in the same Daily Mail interview, Moyes admits, “I’ve got to make sure I learn from them.”
It takes a brave man in Moyes’ position to admit he doesn’t know it all and can learn from some of his new players.
That honesty, and that willingness to embrace and learn from the experience already at United, and not stride in and try to bluff his way through his first weeks, ultimately bodes well for United.