Youth and Young Manhood, United's New Crop

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Youth and Young Manhood, United's New Crop
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Over the coming weeks, we will find out the true pedigree of Manchester United's latest batch, this time, not a set of British academy products, but a blend of international talents, all of whom are expected to grow quickly as their club's financial clout means it is no longer the premier destination for pricey players.

However, if one considers United's spending pattern in recent years, and their supposed matching of Barcelona's offer for David Villa,  there appears more to United's unwillingness to fork out than just debt.

The recent spate of friendlies, albeit against weak opposition, still provide a decent indication of how the red devils will enter the new season, which in a World Cup year, seemss to be on us just days after the streamers were taken down at Stamford Bridge.

Youth and young manhood, the virgin album of the Kings of Leon, is an apt way to describe just where many of United's players will be emerging from next season.  Boyish looking Jonny Evans is likely to start the season aside Nemanja Vidic, while the towering Chris Smalling will most likely deputise in their absence. The swashbuckling Rafael will no doubt continue to maraud down the right, while twin Fabio will be clipping Patrice Evra's heels, eager to do the same.

Anderson and Nani, the ones for whom it perhaps it was all too much too soon. Since tucking away penalties in Moscow, both have flattered, yet this season more than ever will have to stop deceiving. Talent - yes, physique yes - delivery? not quite...

Finally the strikers, Chicarito and Kiko, two very talented forwards, with a glinting eye for goal, and the pace and technique to challenge United's more established front men. Macheda and in particular Hernandez have looked lively in pre-season, and will look to give United that attacking bounce that has so far been missing since Tevez and Ronaldo departed.

What sets these players apart in their quest for legacy, is United's current legacy. Their youngsters are under the tutelage of Scholes, Giggs, Van De Sar and Ferdinand, all world XI starters at their peak. Much will also depend on United's highest current peaks, Vidic, Fletcher and Rooney, which is a welcome thought for manager Ferguson. When was the last time one of them endured a bad run of form...?

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