Nine Young Players Looking to Break Into Manchester United's First Team
With Sir Alex Ferguson staying out of the transfer market Manchester United are looking to build their squad through their youth system. Several stars have come up through the ranks at Manchester United.
While veterans Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs continue to be brilliant, they are getting up there in age and it is soon going to be time for United to think about their replacements.
While Sir Alex Ferguson usually uses the Carling Cup as a chance to showcase his youngsters, these 8 players have shown enough in the past to be ready to be handed more Premier League responsibilities this season.
One of the more experienced on this list, many consider Gibson to be the successor to Scholes in the United Midfield.
The 22 year old Republic of Ireland international has already shown moments of brilliance to the Old Trafford faithful. Gibson's ability to shoot from far out have drawn several comparisons to Scholes. It seems that whenever Gibson touches the ball from within 30 yards the entire crowd begins urging him to shoot.
Gibson scored 4 Premier League goals last season, including 3 inside of one week. However the highlight of his season came in April when he was handed the start in the second leg of United's quarterfinal Champions League tie with Bayern Munich. In the third minute of the match Gibson took a pass from Wayne Rooney and promptly fired it into the back of the net for what has so far been the biggest goal of his career.
Gibson continued his improvement scoring on a great free kick in a friendly against the MLS All-Stars this summer. Gibson is becoming a quality midfielder for United and should be included in the starting XI several times this season.
"Chicharito" was originally an unknown signing with little fanfare. Coming from the club C.D. Guadalajara where he scored 26 goals in 64 appearances.
Chicharito impressed during the World Cup with Mexico causing many fans to start getting excited over their new player.
Hernandez has started off his United career with a bang, scoring on his debut against the MLS All-Stars and capping off the preseason with a goal against Chelsea in the Community Shield.
Sir Alex Ferguson has been raving about Chicharito since he arrived at Old Trafford and already the fans are expecting him to finish second on the team in goals behind Wayne Rooney.
Rafael Da Silva
The most experienced member of the group Rafael has seemed to have one the first choice Right Back role several times through his short United Career.
Rafael's debut came at the start of the 2008/2009 campaign and he impressed immediately. He was handed a starting place above both Gary Neville and Wes Brown in a Champions League match against Aalborg and dominated the game.
Rafael seemed to seize the first choice Right Back spot when he came on as a sub and scored a superb goal against Arsenal in November of 08. However injuries would derail most of his rookie campaign.
Rafael would add another goal to his tally last season and had many more impressive performances, including going up against countryman Ronaldinho of AC Milan in the Champions League. Rafael would fall out of favor after being sent off against Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals.
Unfortunately the first two years of Rafael's Man United career have been plagued with injury. If he stays healthy this season, he'll be the first choice right back in all the big games.
Macheda started his United career with nothing short of a bang, coming on as a substitute and scoring an injury time winner against Aston Villa which helped United retain the title in 2009. He would make another appearance off the bench the following week and score the winner once again after only being on the pitch for 46 seconds. In 2009 he proved once again capable of scoring in big games as he came off the bench to score a goal for United in the home fixture vs Chelsea.
Macheda's second season at United was plagued by injuries and lack of chances. Many people believe that Macheda was becoming too arrogant to earn a spot in Sir Alex's team.
Those rumors have been put to bed now as Fergie has recently come out and said the "cocky" Macheda will not be allowed to go out on loan this season and he will get his chances at Old Trafford this year.
Macheda scored twice in the friendly against the MLS All-Stars and with injury prone Michael Owen barely ahead of him in the pecking order, he should see several chances to shine this season.
Smalling signed from Fulham during January and joined United during the summer break. At the start of the season the 20 year old will be behind several of United's more experienced players for a place in the back 4.
Smalling made some appearances during United's pre-season North American tour, but at times looked like he still had a lot to learn.
Fergie rates Smalling very highly, but the reality is Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic are the first choice Center Backs. Behind them come Jonny Evans and Wes Brown, Smalling is unlikely to get the call in front of any of them.
Smalling has a very bright future ahead of him, but is unlikely to feature much this season unless United go through an injury crisis similar to that of last season.
Fabio Da Silva
While Rafael's Manchester United career started quickly the same could not be said for his twin brother Fabio.
While in the early stages of his United career many believed Fabio was to be the better of the two twins, Rafael has gotten the appearances, while appearances for Fabio have been few and far between.
His first two seasons at United have been marred by injuries as many first team call ups have ended abruptly due to injury.
Described by many including his twin brother Rafael as a left back who loves to get up the field and attack, Fabio is still waiting for his first goal in a United shirt.
Despite having impressive performances, Fabio remains behind one of the worlds best left backs in Patrice Evra, if Evra stays fit, Fabio will see a lot of time on the bench this season.
Bebe, who is that? That was the question on everyones minds when Manchester United announced the shock signing of the Portuguese winger.
Bebe was recommended to Fergie by former assistant and current Portugal boss Carlos Queiroz. United said they were looking at him and decided to act quick when they found that other clubs were looking at him as well. Perhaps moving a little too quickly as Sir Alex recently admitted he had never even seen the winger play.
Bebe is only 20 years old, and while Fergie dismissed rumors of him being sent out on loan so that he could settle into Old Trafford and learn English, he is not likely to feature much, if at all this season.
Ritchie Da Laet
The 2010/2011 campaign could very well be the final campaign for Da Laet to try to solidify a spot at Old Tafford. The Belgian has had chances to leave a mark on Fergie with first team appearances but has failed to impress in many of them.
Da Laet will likely be given more chances this season due to injury's but his time at United seems to be running out.
Tom Cleverley spent the 2009/2010 season on loan at Watford where he scored 11 times in 35 appearances and captured Watford's player of the season award.
Cleverley returned to United for the start of the 2010 season and traveled with the team on their North American tour. At the beginning of the tour Sir Alex said Cleverley would go out on loan to a team that would give him regular Premier League football. However after scoring twice and turning in some very impressive performances during the tour the Scot has now said Cleverley would remain at Old Trafford and be able to help the team this season.
Cleverley will stay at United this season in a move that puzzles me. Sir Alex Ferguson likes that he could play on each wing and in the center of midfield. However with players such as Giggs, Carrick, Fletcher, Scholes, Gibson, and the possible return of Anderson, as well as Nani, Valencia, Park and Obertan running down the wings, its hard to see how Cleverley is going to have the chance to make an impact at Old Trafford this season.