Manchester United Should Have Faith in Their Youngsters
It's not often I get to watch Manchester United's reserves play, mostly due to the fact that it's very hard to get access to coverage of the games. However, last night, I just happened to barge my way into a friend's house who happened to have a subscription to MUTV, and so I sat down to watch the Peterborough vs. Manchester United game held at London Road.
And after watching this game and some of the other preseason games that had taken place in the Vodacom tournament in South Africa, I started to wonder if these young starlets will be playing next season. Because, quite simply, they are wondrous.
Manchester United are a club which have a tradition of promoting youth through the ranks and developing them into world stars who, more often than not, spend their best years at Old Trafford.
However, in recent years Sir Alex seems happier to delve into the transfer kitty and battle it out with the world's elite to sign the best players around.
Is it because it's easier just to buy a player, who, although he may cost the club millions, will slot straight into the team and provide instant success?
Or maybe it's because we basically don't have the talent in our academy and it would be a waste to try and promote them into the first team?
To be honest, my opinion is that the current United team is so hard to break apart and is filled with so much quality that it is quite hard to receive any game time with the first team.
How can you separate Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinhand? Or Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez?
But I really think, after watching all the preseason games of late, that the current youngsters waiting in the reserves and academy are future stars in the making. You need only watch them to see why.
And that's why I believe that Fergie should shock everyone this season and stay quiet in the transfer market.
Why spend £20-30 million on 27-year-old Dimitar Berbatov, whose attitude stinks, when we have the hungry and vibrant Frazier Campbell? Why purchase cover for the solid duo of Vidic and Ferdinhand when Craig Cathcart looks set to match their talents in future years?
Here's a quick look at the top five most promising players currently at Manchester United who impressed during the preseason.
He played extremely well against Kaizer Chiefs in the Vodacom Tournament in South Africa and bagged himself a fine goal in the process. He can play in defence or in central midfield and has a strong physical presence to match his never-ending stamina.
Cleverley was nominated for the Reserve Player of the Year award last season at age 18. This guy has a promising future ahead of him if he can keep up the impressive performances.
Man United's first team midfield is notoriously hard to break into (just ask Darren Fletcher), but with the winding down of Paul Scholes' career and Darren Fletcher growing more impatient by the day, Cleverley may find himself receiving chances to break into the first team if he gets a few games in the Carling Cup.
Cathcart played a confident game against Peterborough last night following up on stellar performances in South Africa. A confident central defender, he can produce the goods in the air with a strong heading ability.
With the guts to go into 50-50 tackles, he looks like one of the stronger candidates to break into the United defence sooner rather than later.
He was made captain of the reserve side in the 06-07 season. He also made his way into the senior squad during that season because of the Red Devils' infamous defensive crisis which affected us so badly toward the end of that season.
Although he was an unused substitute, his inclusion speaks volumes about his talent. Definitely one to watch.
Here's another standout player. Anyone who knows their stuff about United must know his name.
Possebon is one of the brightest stars around. The Brazilian is energetic and aggressive and has played quite a few preseason games already. You need only watch him a few times to realise how good this guy could possibly be.
Strong and composed on the ball, he is constantly looking for the killer pass, but also boasts a wicked shot from long range. That was evident in last night's friendly vs. Peterborough, when he looked to drive their keeper into the net from 30 yards out.
Your typical box to box player with a twist of skill and physical presence, he needs only add goalscoring to his repertoire to become an instant choice for the first team in future years. And at only 19, time is on his side.
Rafael and Fabio Silva
Oh, how I got excited over these two. Not many knew their names (often referred to before their debut as "the Brazilian twins"), but after last night I'm sure that our eyes will now be firmly fixed on the Cafu and Carlos-like duo who caused problems for Peterborough with their blistering pace and silky skills and, extremely surprisingly, their aggressiveness in a tackle.
Neither of the brothers, who play at left and right back, are very tall or built. But just like their fellow countryman Anderson, they seem to posses an incredible strength.
I count these two as a single entity as I just don't want to imagine one playing without the other across the pitch.
Hopefully they will get more playing time against the "Old Lady" Juventus tomorrow night, where they will no doubt receive a sterner test.
Long-term replacements for Patrice Evra and Gary Neville, don't bet against these two being in the squad before long. If you don't believe me, just see Fergie's star-struck interview after last night's game where Rafael stole the show.
Another young lad who needs no introduction, Campbell looks set to join Rooney, Tevez, and Ronaldo this season after Fergie confirmed the Huddersfield-born striker has earned his place in the team.
His stellar performances for Hull last season, finishing as the club's top scorer with 15 goals, has shown the Old Trafford faithful that Campbell does indeed have the talent to battle Rooney and Co. for a starting place.
Lightning quick and aggressive, he has also beefed up from his earlier years. And as we all know this is so important in the EPL, one of the most physical leagues around.
Not afraid to run at a player, he is exciting to watch and his confidence is evident after his recent goals in South Africa and in Ole Gunner's testimonial where he scored the only goal of the game.
Hopefully he will take his chances when they are put in front of him this season. He might just see his name on the team sheet more and more.
So hopefully these great talents, along with others such as Danny Welbeck and Sam Hewson, can make more of an impact on Fergie and show that you don't always need to purchase the Berbatovs and Huntellars of the football world to achieve success.
I know I'm not alone in these thoughts as the promotion of youth through the ranks of any football club, not just Manchester United, is very much a good thing, for football and for the spiraling-out-of-control transfer market.
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