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Does he? I didn't know he did. Maybe it was just a matter of the person making the highlight reel deciding stupid decision making for the sake of a fancy dribble is what is considered a highlight. For me, the video gave me a worse impression of him than I had before lol. It's true about his age, and I actually thought he was a bit older TBH, something like 23. It helps his case with me that he's still young, though I generally don't like the type of player he is. Januzaj, for example, is capable of tricky dribbling and fooling players, but his decision making is much better and much more in line with what I want in a player.
Honestly, I think Young used to belong to that category of players, but I haven't seen him be tricky in years, or at least not tricky in the same way Ronaldo and Nani are. He barely tries to beat his man, and most often chooses to pass instead. The main difference I see between Young and the others is that Young doesn't try to do it alone. This is something I admire in his game now. He's much more team oriented in the way he plays, be it direct 1-2 interplay, laying the ball off for the player on the overlap, or covering for an advancing teammate. The archetypal tricky winger, IMO, usually uses the 1-2 pass option or the overlapping player to draw a defender away from him so that he can beat his man and create space for a shot, and they generally tend to be poor FB cover. Whereas Ronaldo, Nani and co are wingers, I consider Young to be more of an AM, CF/F9 kind of player with the way he plays now.
Oh don't worry I also love Kagawa, and he's certainly one of my favourites, so I am pretty much as biased towards him as I am Young lol. Welbeck is actually very near to that level for me too, and if I were to categorise how much I like players into tiers, he would be in the second highest just under the others. Rooney on the other hand, well.. let's just say I wish he'd leave.
But, looking at it strictly objectively, you prefer Rooney in the starting 11 for his ability to pretty much do anything. RvP is not the same though. He's an elite goal scorer, and he's decent at facilitating good play, but beyond that there isn't really all that much more to him. Plus he's lately had a tendency of having dry spells in front of the net. I will concede that I can't convince you to prefer RvP + a niche forward over RvP + Rooney, but how would you feel about Rooney + a niche a forward over Rooney + RvP? In other words, what if Rooney was the main man and RvP was categorised as a niche forward (elite goal scorer) and LvG rotated him depending on what was needed? Now, I know you said before that you want as many game changers on the pitch as possible, so if that would still be true then feel free to keep the response to this part really short, but if you think it's a rather interesting proposition then I'd be keen to hear your thoughts on the matter. If I were to put away all my feelings towards the players, then this option looks better to me than the other one (RvP + a niche player) and I like it more than Rooney and RvP together.
It may be true that at top speed Rooney is faster (but Welbeck is still one of the faster players I've seen, and definitely not far behind if at all), Welbeck is more athletic and hits his top speed quicker and more often in a match, which is really important in a match. Valencia is the same in that sense, as he's not only fast but he accelerates like a rocket and does it throughout the 90 minutes. I think that aspect of it has to be considered when discussing which player is the pacier one.
I can agree with the point about tenacity though. They both do their bit in a different style, and both can be equally important depending on what kind of team you're playing. Since I've changed my mind about what I consider the ideal forward partnership, I'll just leave this there.
Fair point about the big games, and I'll have to agree with that. What I meant to convey was actually quite similar to what you said though, in the sense that we should use the niche forwards to exploit a weakness if it exists. If there is none, then Rooney/RvP would be the better choices. For example, Bayern is weak against pressing their CBs and countering with pace, so Welbeck would have to be included there. Chelsea doesn't really have a weakness so in that case R&R would make more sense.
I know that Rooney and RvP get their work done by different means, and I didn't mean to imply they were the same player on the pitch, but the end product and impact they offer on the pitch is quite a bit similar IMO. Both are incredibly potent goal threats at pretty much any range (Rooney more long distance though as you said), both are only decent in the air, both can volley and do one-touch play, both can help with the build-up play, neither of them presses, both make their own space, neither relies on pace, etc. They have a very similar skill-set, for lack of a better word, and differ greatly from other elite strikers, such as Mandzukic or Lewa for example. Mandzukic is elite at pressing, dominant in the air, elite at holding up play, quick to accelerate, decent at passing, great at creating space for others and taking up good positions, good at finishing but not elite. Lewandowski is an elite finisher around the penalty box, elite at holding up play, he's pacey, elite at interplay and build-up play, etc. These are also world class strikers but their impact on the pitch and on the team is much different to what Rooney/RvP offer. Of course the two players still have their differences and certain different strengths, but ultimately I feel what they offer is similar enough to be more of a like-for-like-ish replacement compared to other strikers who operate much differently. I consider Ibra to be more of a striker in their vein too, while someone like Drogba or Suarez would be much different. I hope that helps explain what I meant with having practically the same player on the pitch in regards to Rooney and RvP.
I'm hoping we'll rotate well and everyone get's a chance. I don't like to see players rotting on the bench. If the manager isn't planning on using them, he should just ship them out. And I feel players should never be kept as strictly backup because that's a bit disrespectful. All players should be rotated for freshness IMO, and it's better to make due with a lower quality player from time to time than to overwork your starter.
Fair point about game changers in Real, but I don't really agree on Barcelona. Barcelona haven't looked good at all recently, and we have no idea how they'll actually perform with Suarez in the lineup. I can't argue against Real though since they just won the CL, but I do want to point out that it took years upon years of stocking up on Galacticos and game changers before they found something that actually works.
To counter that point though, Bayern just recently won the treble and at the time of doing so they didn't have many players you would consider real game changers in the forward line. Ribery was there, Robben only shone in the latter end of one of the competitions (and shone is a difficult word to use since he could have ended the CL final with 3 goals and 3 assists with harder work and better decision making), and Mueller before he switched to the middle where he wasn't that effective anymore. They had 2 game changers in their forward line at any point in time, in Ribery and RW Mueller and Ribery and Robben. Kroos wasn't considered a game changer and neither was Mandzukic. That's part of the reason why I'm so adamant that 2 game changers (Rooney/RvP and Mata) are enough at any one time.
Second Comment / Post-Game:
I didn't really love the game so much. Inter were too content with sitting back and defending, and we didn't really try to attack all that much. Neither side wanted to lose, and I wasn't too happy about that.
The positives were that the passing was neat and the interplay was good. The back line looked solid and our WBs are starting to get a better grasp of their role.
I thought Young had a game of 2 halves. In the first he offered nothing going forward and only back-passed. He didn't lose the ball really, but he also didn't do anything positive with it either. His defending was better though. In the second half he was on his crossing (right) side and could impact the attacking play a bit more without neglecting his role, which suits him better. The problem with this though is that we have 2 RWBs and only 1 LWB and would ideally want him to be able to cover there. James seems the far better bet though and I think Young should only be used there in case of an emergency.
BTW, am I crazy or did Young not have a borderline great performance up front? Why hasn't he had another opportunity to prove his worth up there when Nani has now had his 3rd chance? It's kind of driving me mad.
Mata, Rooney, Welbeck, Fletcher, Herrera, Kagawa and Cleverley were all looking good in terms of one-touch passing and moving the ball quickly. I'm glad for Cleverley because I know he can do it, and he started to show some of what he can do with the comfort of having Fletcher behind him to stabilise the midfield. This is the role I envisioned for him in the team. Before you said you don't really see him being able to do it, but was this performance enough to make you think that it might be possible for him? I think he will continue to build on this, and he will keep improving. His confidence is getting back up there and he was getting forward more and trying different things, and I'm excited for him.
Blackett is looking like he's ready to step up into the first team picture, together with Michael Keane and Reece James. Zaha also looked impressive this game, and with more refining and moulding he can be more than Nani ever was.
On the note of Nani, I'll disagree with you and say he had a complete stinker of a performance. I was unimpressed by practically anything he did and it's a curiosity for me why he keeps getting chances. LvG will not be enticing any other clubs to bid for him by continuing to put him on display, so he should really be just sitting his ass on the bench for the rest of the tour.
Herrera was underwhelming again. Hopefully he turns it around next time, because I want to see that player that tore Galaxy apart again.
Chicharito looked decent. Nothing too great or too bad about his performance. I think he should get a full 45 minutes once to show what he can do.
I like how the 3 man back line gives Jones and Evans the freedom to push forward. Evans is good on the ball (and can get better) and Jones is naturally inclined to surge forward from time to time.
The WBs are getting better at their role, but they still need to get much more involved going forward. I don't think Young has the energy to play this role effectively, which is another problem I have with him at WB. Valencia, Shaw and Rafael on the other hand (and James apparently) are work horses and can run up and down the pitch all game. They are more capable of providing width in the attack, then quickly getting back to defend over and over again.
Don't think there was anything else to take away from it really, besides the amazing penalties our boys took.
Well this will probably be a long one lol. I've got a headache ATM so if something is spelled completely wrong or comes out totally nonsensical, then excuse me please.
The conditions were very poor for playing, and with Clevs being in a CM role it could be that he was taken off for his own health and fitness. I hope that is the case because I too want to see him succeed.
To tell you the truth I couldn't even get through that video of Depay. IMO he would need some serious on-pitch discipline and decision-making training (basically LvG hammering it into him) before he'd be someone I want on the team. You say he's a bit like Young, but to me he looks more like Nani truthfully. There were too many instances for my liking where he decided to go by himself rather than to play in a teammate, when he took too long on the ball (most likely) to decide how to best dribble his way through to shoot, he shot when he could have passed (even if the angle is very unfavourable to him), and when he was just completely rash. He is also way too inclined to shoot, and while we do suffer from having too many players who are scared to shoot at all I don't like that quality in a player. These are the types of attributes that make for an extremely exciting player when in top form, but an equally frustrating one when playing poorly.
Now on to the positives. He has good feet and dribbles well, he's very pacey, and he does have a wicked shot. He's got a good natural balance of a powerful physique and great technical skills, but unfortunately that isn't a unique phenomenon amongst players like him. What sets the greats apart from the decent players is the ability to couple those skills with a disciplined mindset and good decision making. The ultimate examples of this, for me, are Ribery and Robben (towards the end of the treble winning season). They were always great players individually, but it never quite translated that well towards actually making a huge difference. But they both, towards their 30's, got it hammered into them by Jupp Heynckes that they needed to play for the team and when they started playing smarter all of a sudden they were considered among the true elites of the game. Nani is a good example of a player who hasn't been able to make that step, and, while definitely talented, he isn't considered anywhere near the top bracket of talent.
Depay is a gamble for me. The entire transfer would hinge upon LvG's ability to make a team player out of him. He didn't look quite so individualistic at the WC, so perhaps it's possible he already had a strong impact on his game in such short a time. If he were to sign for us though, he'd still be signing as a bit of a negative type of player for me and he'd have to prove his worth before I'd be excited about him.
Okay agree to disagree on Young lol. I definitely agree he needs to add more to his game though, but if he's given more opportunities to play up top then maybe he could build up some of those skills.
I can agree that you want game-changers on the pitch, but for me Mata and RvP/Rooney (more on this later) would be enough of a game-changer for me. Herrera also looks like he can certainly be that kind of player too, so that's another one there potentially. With all these attacking game-changers guaranteed to start already (maybe Vidal too if the dream becomes a reality!) then I still think it would be better to use our other player to fill a specific niche or counter a specific strategy.
I'll use the example you mentioned of a team slowing down play around their own box. Rooney and RvP are good at getting around that, but if that's the way I expect the opponent to play then I'd rather pair one of them with Kagawa, who is even better at picking apart a stubborn defense. If I'm expecting a more open, end-to-end game I'd opt for Young or Januzaj, and if I'm expecting more of a sit-back and counter-attack approach I'd go with Welbeck for his insane stamina and pace.
Now back to my point before with Rooney/RvP. I think that ideally Rooney and RvP should be fighting for the same spot. Their attacking partner can provide the niche ability for what's needed in a game-by-game basis, but the two of them should rotate so that we always have that world-class game-changer on the field. I was under the assumption before that RvP would always be the better option compared to Rooney up top, but if he can play the way he did then that might not be true. As you've said before, they both practically accomplish the same thing but in a different way, which sounds perfect for 2 players vying for the same position IMO. The big problem of course is that they will probably not want to rotate, but it would be in the best interests of the team if they did so screw them.
We could also then still make use of Rooney's ability to drop back and bolster the defense, which was a good point you brought up, and then have his partner stay up, making the formation a 5-4-1 or 3-4-2-1.
Yup Nani and Anderson should go. Who do you feel is most likely to be the player that doesn't fit? I'm thinking it'll be between Chicharito and Fellaini, which is unfortunate because I like both players. Fellaini for me is a hit or bust, in the sense that he will either surprise everyone and become a really important player for us or he'll be utterly useless in LvG's system. In Chicharito's case, he just doesn't bring enough to the table IMO. He's a gifted poacher, but Rooney and RvP are the same. If we have them, and have Kagawa and Mata to play the playmaking forward if we need one of them in the box, then I really don't see the need to keep Hernandez. The others do what he does pretty much just as well, and he doesn't really bring anything else to the table, so I don't see a future here for him. You might be thinking that that sounds awfully close to your evaluation of Young, so I just want to say that I believe that what he brings to the table aside from his strength (interplay and making runs), such as drifting from wing to wing and being a long range threat, is enough to justify me thinking that Chicharito and him are in a slightly different situation. I wouldn't be surprised if you disagreed though lol.
It's one of my biggest hopes that LvG will restore Kagawa to his best days, and maybe even improve him on top of that. If we can then throw Rooney out because of it I'd be one happy little boy!
You make a very fair point in the Welbeck to Rooney comparison. First of all I want to correct myself and say that I should never have included consistency in that list, because Welbeck is definitely not more consistent than Rooney. In terms of the other qualities, you don't think Welbeck is pacier, stronger in the air, more tenacious (in terms of chasing the ball, not in terms of kicking players lol), and a harder worker? For me Welbeck is the clear winner here compared to Rooney. And, in addition to that, Welbeck is actually a pretty accomplished goal threat when he does play up front. Last season he scored consistently when he played as our striker, and he's had a goal, an assist, and a penalty won in 90 minutes of preseason so far playing up top. He's not the same threat that Rooney is, but he doesn't have bad productivity up top.
And that kind of brings me back to my previous point. If Rooney can be the same goal threat that RvP is, why not put RvP on the bench and play Rooney instead? Rooney does the same thing he can inside and outside the box, they are both just about equal in interplay and playing intelligently, neither is really better than everyone else in anything but scoring, and both of them can drop deeper, Rooney especially so. That way we would have a consistency between our A-team/B-team lineups, because both would have the same world class presence up top who provides the goal threat from any distance. There would be very little drop-off when we rotate players. I think that looking at this way, this option appeals to me the most. We wouldn't run into the Barca problem (what to do when Messi isn't there) and we'd have a more Bayern-esque style squad in the sense that we can replace one 8-9/10 player with another seamlessly. Thoughts?
Okay part 2, Roma game:
First of all, DISAPPOINTING! Wow that was some underwhelming way to follow up on the dominant performance against Galaxy. We had almost no control of the game and pretty much scored against the run of play.
I was busy during the first half of the game with people over, so I didn't get to watch too closely. We lost he ball far too often and our passing was sloppy as hell. Cleverley looked okay, I agree, but I'm not happy with how he's being used as a 6. For me he doesn't fit that role at all.
The defense looked terrible. Both the goalies failed to impress me. I think the best option for us would be to, assuming we sign no one else, play Evans in the middle of the CBs so that he can be a bit of a leader. He's the only one of them who has previously barked out orders and chewed others out for being poor, so it makes sense to me for him to be in the middle. I think that would help stabilise the back line a bit a least. I also want to see our 3 first choice CBs play together as much as possible. They need to build an understanding with each other first and foremost, and once they've wrapped their heads around the situation then we can introduce the youngsters, who will then have someone to guide them.
Nothing really to add to the paragraph about Welbeck, Mata and Rooney. I think you've summed it up perfectly.
I already covered the game changer bit earlier. Mata is definitely another game changer like them, so would you feel that the two of them are sufficient so that we can have a better squad consistency, or would you rather have an all-in first choice team with 3 game changers and nobody for the alternative selections? I'm trying to stay away a bit from labelling them 1st choice, 2nd choice or A-team/B-team to avoid the idea that one is better than the other but it's hard. Basically I would want to have a squad where one selection of players isn't necessarily better than the other but just different instead. That should be one of our long term goals I think, and then we could couple it with good rotation to keep everyone happy (or at least equally sad, law of compromise: nobody wins).
Young had already had his assist 17 minutes in though :D Not quite as slow a start, and with inferior (for the most part) teammates! I will always find an excuse for Young lol.
Ditto about Kagawa, I really wish he would finally find his best form and just be a beast of a player for us. It's getting frustrating waiting for it to happen because we know he's capable of it, he just has to show it. Step 1 should probably be for LvG to play him in his position though lol.
Didn't really see too much of James. When I got a chance to look at the screen he wasn't really on it lol.
The second half nearly put me to sleep. We were just terrible. The players were young, but why, oh why, were they coupled with Nani up top? He has, so far in preseason, been the least effective and least impressive forward. He's also someone who still needs to be kept in check and who needs to work on his discipline and decision-making, so why was he the one to lead the youngsters? Baffling decision to say the least.
Lingard didn't impress me. He tried too much IMO, and often looked to be overly-complicating matters when he could have done a more simple play. It was hard to see in the low-quality stream I had though so maybe I just mistook him for someone else lol.
Chicharito looks like a player low on confidence who is too eager to impress. He needs to sit back, and he needs to just start focusing on doing his basics again. If he does that the goals will come, and then the confidence will follow.
Shaw looked average again for me. He really needs to step it up some time this season to justify his price tag. We definitely need some experienced cover for the left side because the way it looks right now, he might not cut it against the better teams.
I was flabbergasted to see Young at RWB. He had, statistically in terms of output, the most effective performance from our forward players, so what train of logic would make one follow that up by playing him as a defender? I was hoping he'd be given an opportunity to build on that good performance, to show some consistency, and to grow more accustomed to the role. Instead he was put in a position he doesn't really fit into and he was borderline terrible. He made a few decent contributions going forward, but I really didn't like him in that role. Hopefully (for me) LvG was so impressed by him in the forward role that he didn't need to see him play it again, and just wanted to check if he could cover at RWB if needed.
The game didn't feel like a preseason game to me, and it isn't really with a cup at stake, so I was unimpressed by LvG playing so many players out of position. By the end of the game I wasn't even sure who was supposed to be where anymore. It looked like our lineup, from the midfield forward, was something like:
What good is it to play the players like that? If he wanted to accommodate Chicharito, why not bring him on for Nani or Keane and keep roles intact? This seemed like a waste of time to me because Lingard and Kagawa should never be playing DM and Nani should never be the CAM. Why give players practice in roles they will never fill?
Anyway, I found the performance really frustrating both from the players and from LvG. Hopefully a lot of it had to do with the poor playing conditions (and the field looked like crap too) rather than a loss of fire, because that would be way too soon. Can't wait for Tuesday, but it looks like I might be home too late to catch all of it. I hope not though.
Good arguments for Fletcher, Carrick and Valencia. Nothing really to add there except that I believe in Cleverley and I think with LvG guiding him he can be a solid player. He'll probably never be considered world class, but he can be an important player for us I think.
That's a fair expectation of Young. I wouldn't want him included just to satisfy my desire to see him play, and I would also be adamant he earns his place. To be completely honest, and there is absolutely no fanboy-ism involved here, I think Young can do exactly what you're asking for in that list of requirements. I felt that in the last few seasons the wide position did not suit his playing style, and that he was shackled a bit by having to cover for Evra. If you were to consider the games where he showed more of his attacking side, he was good at interplay around the box, he was fantastic at finding space for incisive runs, and his decision making was generally quite good too. I think it was against Crystal Palace that he first played similarly last season, and he managed to make 3 excellent runs through on goal, one of which he somewhat blundered his and another which resulted in a deserved penalty.
I believe that he can be consistent for us in this role and setup. He's a smart player judging from the evidence I have seen, and he gets along great with his teammates (both of which I feel are important for good interplay). I think I understand exactly what you want to see in him for it to be worth it for LvG to keep him around, and I am optimistic he will deliver in that regard if given the opportunity.
Great point about needing to cut players. Young is on some fairly high wages so it would also make sense to cut him if he doesn't perform. Personally though, I would probably want to still see one of Rooney and RvP leave because they are on high wages, they are advance in the years, and I don't necessarily think the pairing of them will be *significantly* better than other potential pairings. I want them to be given a chance to prove me wrong, but if they are only slightly better than other forward partnerships then I would want to see one of them shipped out.
That's another fair point about the number of players vying for the same spot. If it were completely up to me, I would trim the forwards down by selling Rooney and Nani though. Nani often is rash in his decision making and is the most wildly inconsistent player I've ever seen. I don't think he suits the quick passing LvG style of play better than the others. I would get rid of Rooney because he's too jack-of-all trades and not enough of a master at anything. If you need a terrific work rate you go with Welbeck. If you need a world class goal scorer you go with RvP. If you need a dribbler you go with Januzaj. If you need a playmaker you go with Kagawa. (Hopefully) If you need someone to make runs you go with Young. Chicharito is the go-to man if you need a "fox-in-the-box". Rooney does a bit of everything, but excels nowhere, and I don't feel that such a player (which to me is effectively the greatest bench player you can ever get your hands on since he can cover anywhere) is worth the amount of money we're spending on his wages.
If this were to come to pass, then we'd be left with a good number of forward players, especially when with Kagawa being primarily a midfielder. They would also all be unique types of players and we could mix and match to get the qualities we'd need on a game-by-game basis. Let me know if you agree with this assessment.
In regards to the Depay links, I would venture to say yes if, and only if, Young ends up playing the role like how I expect him to. For me Young is the kind of player you want ahead of a playmaker like Mata/Kagawa/Herrera because he understands what kinds of passes they want to send and he knows how to make the run to get him on the end of those passes. If this is true and he ends up filling this role for us, then I see Depay more so competing with Januzaj and Nani for a spot. He seems to me to more of the direct, running and dribbling and shooting kind of player. I have only seen very little of him so I can't be certain, but stylistically he reminds me most of a Nani/Robben type player. If you've seen more of him and think differently please tell me though, because like I said, I've only seen very little of him.
Now, I've already touched on how I feel about Rooney, but I will go on and add to that a bit. I agree that CF is his best role, and that his complete package is something the others can't bring to the table. I don't think he'd be poor for us there at all and he would be a great "go-to" option as you alluded to. My main concern though is that he doesn't do anything well enough that RvP can't do to warrant a place in the team. RvP knows how to make a perfect run too, and he's also a predator inside and outside the box, and he's probably even better as a finisher. Rooney has the better work rate, better pace, better consistency, better tenacity, and he's funnily enough a better aerial threat. But who's better than Rooney in each of those aspects? Welbeck IMO. For my own opinion, the only real benefits Rooney brings to the table that RvP can't possibly match Welbeck does even better than him. Of course Rooney is a much more accomplished goal threat and a better all-around talent, but I prefer to have specialists on the pitch in a setup like the one we're using. In a 4-4-2 it would make more sense to have Rooney on the pitch because we need our CF to pretty much do everything, but when you have a most roles filled in a formation like 3-5-2 I prefer to have another specialist playing.
That being said I'm not against what you're proposing. Rooney would definitely be a solid first-choice option with the others being substituted in depending on what we need. I don't personally want to go that route, but I can certainly see the sense in it and how it could be quite effective. Since I said I prefer something else I should expand on that point. What I would rather see is LvG identifying the weaknesses in the other team first, then playing the "niche" forward he believes will be able to abuse that weakness right from the start, rather than throwing Rooney on and then waiting to see what could work better.
No problem, and thanks for the compliment. It's always great to talk to people like you who can and will be objective about all things, and I try my best to be the same. I sometimes fail when it comes to certain players, but I do try to at least have a decent argument to back my opinion up lol.
Wow that's crazy about watching the game so much. Can you share the link because I would also like to get a second viewing TBH, and if have the time for it I certainly will. I'm also really glad to have some United games to talk about too. Summer is always way too slow a period for football :(
That was impressive by Vlaar. I really liked that he was man enough to step up and take that kick. Like you said, regardless of it missing it was the leadership and bravery that made it such a great moment for him. The more I think about it the more I think that maybe he's the player for us.
Assuming we get the players we want though, none of the other 3 I mentioned will be starters. Fletcher will be backup to our new DM and possibly Herrera, Carrick will be backup to our new DM and possibly in CB, and Valencia is backup RWB behind Rafael. It's fair though to say that they will be more important in their roles than Young, because he plays in a position we have much more depth in. But that then brings it back to my original question though, which has sort of been lost in the debate: how much of an impact do you feel he needs to make to have a place in the squad? For me, if he can pitch in with 9-11 goals (assuming he plays only, or at least primarily, as a forward in the front 2) then I would be entirely happy with having him as an option off the bench. If he can consistently score/assist when he does play, would that be enough for you to reconsider your stance on him?
I feel like we'll see a more consistent side of him if he continues to play up font TBH. For England, his best form came when he played behind the striker. For us, some of his best displays these past 2 seasons have come when he's been more of an attacking player and has cut in more. His ability to make runs and his solid interplay were on display in that friendly, and that is what I've felt his biggest strengths are for a while now. So if he's used in a role which makes best use of his abilities, and he delivers the goods, would you consider him a valuable enough player to have in the squad despite his age, much like Fletcher, Carrick and Valencia?
In regards to the point about the others being better in his role, that has been true but may or may not be going forward. In the friendly, despite it being one game, Young looked very good up front and it seemed like a natural fit. His style suited what we needed quite well, and he could end up being a better fit then the others. I wouldn't say it's for certain just yet that he won't be one of the better options to have for the position just yet, because based on the admittedly limited evidence we have he's actually looked more than just decent. We'll have to wait and see because he's now playing under a new manager in a new system in a new position, and that can completely turn a player's fortunes around.
To further extrapolate on that point, you mentioned the others are better choices. I would argue that they were better choices up until now, but if we're judging them all on top form they would rather be different options rather than better, aside from perhaps Kagawa. Welbeck is a more physical style of player with better strength, stamina and pace, but lacks behind Young in interplay, making runs and shooting. Januzaj is a better dribbler and arguably a more consistent shooter and passer, but again I think Young beats him in finding the space to make an incisive run, which is especially important when you factor in the kinds of CAMs we have. I think Young probably also has a better burst of pace. Kagawa on top form is the only one who, for me, is clearly better than the rest. When on the top of his game he's truly world class, and that isn't something the others can say for themselves. That being said, he still is more the playmaking type of forward and doesn't have the same physicality and directness the others can bring.
So to summarize that, I would say Welbeck is the more physical and direct option, Januzaj is the dribbler and well-rounded talent, Kagawa is the playmaking forward, and Young is the forward who makes incisive runs. Again, this is considering how they are when they are in top form, but my whole argument was predicated upon the assumption that Young would be in top form and consistent in his new role so I think it's fair to take this for granted in this comparison.
BTW, if at any time you feel this debate has run it's course and you don't want to talk about Young anymore then please just say so. I am beyond stubborn when it comes to one of "my players" and will go on forever if I'm not stopped lol
Onto the rest of the reply!
Now I feel dirty about your orgasmic dream... I think it's now gone a step too far lol
Hmmm I like your points about Rooney in the Robben role. We definitely don't need him to be that one-man army type of deal that Robben was for Netherlands. To be honest though, and I can see what you mean about Rooney filling the role, wouldn't it be better to then have just the one traditional style striker who can hold up play with his strength, and then another dynamic forward who can move from side to side, overload areas of the pitch, be pacey, and be more of a roamer? I find it to be a bit of a waste to have 2 identical players in forward positions, and I prefer it if each provides their own strengths and brings a different skill set to the table. Granted, RvP and Rooney aren't identical forwards at all, but when you compare the different forward duos we can put together (choosing 2 out of RvP, Rooney, Welbeck, Januzaj, Kagawa, Mata, Young and Nani) I think it would be best not to combine RvP+Rooney, 2 of Januzaj+Young+Nani, or Mata+Kagawa.
I also wouldn't be too fond of the lack of pace between RvP and Rooney as a duo. LvG probably had this formation in mind to accommodate Rooney and RvP together in particular, but their lack of pace, relative to the other options, doesn't appeal to me as a duo. I would rotate the two and instead partner them with someone else. I can see though how Rooney would be able to make the role his own, I fully agree with you on that part and it was a really good point, I only think that a different pairing of forwards would be more dynamic and better overall, despite this pair having the most talent on paper.
I could definitely be wrong though, and Rooney is a talented enough player to make the role his own, and LvG is a talented enough manager to work around the relative lack of pace, so maybe it'll end up working out very well with the two as a pair. I could see Rooney being more of a brute-force type forward who bullies the back line, presses when off the ball, and makes off-the-ball runs to free up space for RvP, while RvP provides the target man type approach. Both are deadly from longer ranges, and deadly in the box, and we'd have 2 bona-fide world class finishers from any distance.
So in regards to turning the role into the Rooney role, I agree that it can happen and would probably be quite good, but I personally prefer the dynamic-nature and pace of the Robben role instead, especially when you factor in the lack of wingers. It would make sense though, as you said, to alternate between having a Rooney role and a Robben role depending on who we use and how we play.
That's a good point about Keane and Smalling, and I guess that preseason is the best time to perform these little tests. I really don't think either one of them can do it (Smalling because he's never really shown it and Keane because he's young) but this is as good a time as any to give them the chance.
I'm splitting this into two parts, one for the first reply and the other for the second.
I wasn't really thinking about the CB trio's injury problems, which is weird since it's what I've brought up on numerous occasions before. There will most likely come a point this season when at least 2, maybe all 3 of them are injured at the same time, which would be disastrous. Not sure De Vrij is exactly what we're looking for though. If we got him together with another CB then yes, because he does look quality, but I'd rather we went after someone with experience. I'd be looking for a leader who can marshal the back line, and De Vrij isn't that person. Vlaar might just be the best budget option if LvG thinks he can maintain his WC form, because we don't need someone for the long term. If we can get 2-3 seasons out of Vlaar then the others will be ready to take over from that point on. It'll also be a problem if we overstock on CBs because we might not keep playing the 3-5-2 long term, so a short term option might be best.
Yeah we haven't been linked with Lars Bender, but then again we weren't really linked too much with Herrera before it happened this transfer window either. It just sort of popped up and a few days later we signed him. I'm not saying we are interested in him of course, but just that if we were to be interested we might only find out shortly before the deal is finalised.
Anyway, since the Vidal link isn't dead for now we can revisit this if and when it does happen. For now, the Vidal dream lives on!
In regards to your Young point, I can understand the sentiment but I think you're being unfair to Young in particular. You've kind of singled him out, but you're okay with Carrick, Fletcher, and Valencia being around (by virtue of having not complained about them), which, if true, is a bit of a double standard. For me, I think it's good to have a mix of different ages in your squad players, because sometimes you need a more experienced head to come in.
For example, let's say your starter is out for an extended period of time and you have some bit matches coming up. Would you rather throw in the young guy who still needs to reach his potential in, or the mature player who has been through these situations? I would be more willing to give the time to the experienced player who will not be swallowed up by the occasion then the youngster, because it's the less risky move. It's entirely subjective, of course, but that's how I feel about it, but I can understand if you tend to go the other way on the matter.
Now Bayern, they are simply a freak show. There is no other club with their insane mix of world class ability and potential with experience at every level in a 24 and under year old package. You look at the players they have and everyone is practically a veteran, like Mueller, Goetze, Shaqiri, etc. Even so, before this past season when Lahm was converted into a midfielder they still had DvB, Pizarro, and Rafinha as backups, while last season Mandzukic was practically a squad player as well. Mandzukic is arguably world class (for me he definitely is but not for everyone), but the rest of the 3 are nowhere near that mark.
So in the end it's a bit of a grey area. If there were players like Bayern has available to complete our squad then I would love to build the squad that way, but even so experience is still required. As long as the older player can pull his own weight and help the team off the bench then I'd prefer to have a few around to call upon when the situation calls for them.
Park Ji Sung is an absolute legend in my eyes. I completely agree with you on him. There haven't been many more loveable players than he was at the club. There was just something about him which drew you in and made you root for him. I don't know anyone who didn't like 3-Lung Park lol.
Trust me, your wee heart will be able to handle 2 high quality CM players lol. You'll find room to fit the joy!
I'm assuming that Vidal was boarding a plane to go back to Juve, so perhaps we'll know his decision shortly. I just can't wait anymore, this transfer has taken on an air of inevitability!
But wait, will you not... share your orgasmic midfield dream with me? Okay that came out a little gross... I'm sorry lol
I like the look of your first lineup, except in one position. If we're running the Robben-RvP style forward duo then we'd need one runner and one striker, but both Rooney and Hernandez are more suited to playing like RvP while neither is really a Robben-role filling player. I'd instead replace one of them with either Welbeck or Young because both were impressive in the first game. Their more dynamic movement outside the box gives us a more well-rounded front line IMO. I like the idea of playing Jones in midfield, and fully support the justification.
One other change I'd make is to play Valencia at RWB to get him more accustomed to the role. The change from RB to RWB isn't so significant, but switching from more of a RM/RW to RWB has a bit of a steeper learning curve.
So my first half lineup would like this:
Keane Smalling Evans
Valencia Jones Herrera Shaw
In the second half I'd also be happy to see a big substitution. I like your justification for switching to 4-3-3 and it makes a lot of sense. But I would make a few changes to the personnel.
First off, I wouldn't trust Smalling and Keane together in the back line. I would keep Evans on and take out one of the others, because they'll need Evans' leadership. I would assume LvG would take off Keane to give Smalling more time to get back to full match fitness. Rafael coming in at RB makes sense because he's a natural RB and fits the role much better than Valencia. On the left hand side I would stick with Shaw to get him more time with the team. As our first choice LB/LWB we need him to gel with the others as fast as possible.
The midfield looks solid, I like it and wouldn't change it.
In the front 3 I would use Rooney instead of Welbeck through the middle to give the forward line more of a leader and experienced head. I think that it would be more beneficial for Zaha and Lingard to play with someone who can actively lead and guide them on the pitch rather than another sort-of youngster. Rooney is also the more accomplished finisher which might be needed with this combination of players.
So my second half lineup would look like this:
Rafael Smalling Evans James
Lingard Rooney Zaha
I doubt either of our lineups will be right, but it was interesting to see who you would play and why. Any thoughts on mine?
If you get back to me before the Roma game tomorrow, what lineup do you want to see? I think it's too difficult to really put out an expected 11 since it's preseason and since LvG still needs to assess the squad, so just let me know who you want to see play.
Ok I found out this morning that the Vidal quote was taken completely out of context. He was boarding a plane and told the reporter in a joking manner, "No I'm not boarding a plane to Manchester". It had nothing to do with the deal. The orgasmic midfield dream remains alive and kicking!
Indeed, the States has some dreadful coverage. There was one instance I'll never forget, it was during the Olympics a little while back when one of the players showed a bit of dribbling skill and the commentator remarked "Oh, SWEET move!" in the most American way possible. It sounded like it just didn't belong in a football match, and thinking about it cracks me up to this day lol.
I've heard from people who watch the academy boys play more than I (I never actually watch them lol) that Thorpe looks the most ready of the bunch, and seeing as how I've heard it from several people I would hope he is also ready to make the step up. If it's just he and M Keane that do so we would still have 5 recognised CBs with 2 makeshift CBs, making the numbers not so bad. And Keane has had a game against Chelsea as well where he certainly didn't look out of his depth, so I would be comfortable with him playing PL teams. What I'm trying to get at with this is not that I disagree with you, but rather that we're not so desperate for a CB allowing us to pick and choose the right one. I don't think it'd be catastrophic to play out the season with just the bunch we have, though it'd be ideal to sign one that can lead and that has a presence, as you said.
We won't need to get panicky and overspend on a defender now I think, which is really the main pro I can think of and was trying to (rather poorly) convey. We can wait for the right player at the right price, even if it isn't right this summer IMO.
In regards to Carrick at CB, it's a fair enough point that you raise. I feel like with 2 partners it's okay for him to not be the greatest defender because he has teammates to cover for him, and that his distribution skills would be of great help in our build-up play. We'd have to actually see how he performs in the role though to know for certain.
Before the WC I suggested Hoewedes for CB, and at first he didn't look impressive, but after seeing the WC to the end what do you think now? He's convinced me that he could be the right man for the job if we can land him. He was quite solid in the later rounds and would only look better playing his natural position.
That's a good point about the lack of balance. It could certainly be that he is just waiting for the squad to look more like he wants it to look, but honestly I'm not sure if we'd peak at the same level as Juve. I do believe there is quite a bit of potential in this style of formation. Bayern right now are toying with something similar, though they have a different style of CB line. Whereas our CB line has more of a no-holds barred defender in the middle, they use more of a sweeper/deep-lying-playmaker in the middle with Martinez. Bayern's formation is a bit more 3-4-3 compared to our 3-5-2, but there are quite a few similarities and they just beat BVB with it last season.
Another good point about De Jong and the Dutch NT. We definitely didn't use an anchor, which is why I labelled Fletcher as a mobile pivot. He was always the furthest back and the team kind of turned around him, but he wasn't really an anchor, just a starting point for the attack. From our squad, the only players who can physically play the LvG anchor role (which is basically uncompromising and physical defending) are Jones and Fellaini. Jones doesn't have the technical skills to play in midfield, and we need him in the back if we run with 3 CBs, and Fellaini hasn't impressed as a 6. If LvG can pull a Ron Vlaar on Fellaini then we'd have our anchor right there, but I don't think that'll happen.
So with Vidal gone for sure, I'd go all out for Lars Bender. He suits the style we want to play, he's extremely solid defensively, he's a warrior, and he's no slouch with the ball at his feet. He can be the archetypal modern 6 for us, but he can also play as an 8 if we need him to, and he's filled in at RB for the NT quite well so he could also be emergency cover there. If we can't get him, I'd want us to sign an experienced player, rather than a youngster, to take up the role. Someone like De Jong who can make an impact now and will then be happy with a squad role later. We need more of an immediate impact and I don't think a youngster will be able to be the highly important midfield anchor for us when the whole team is adapting to a new formation.
Another option is that we can pass up on Strootman and go for Luis Gustavo instead. He isn't the greatest all-rounder and isn't as good as Strootman, but if you deploy him as a pure 6 you get a really good player. I'm not sure how willing his club would be to let him go, but after having played at Bayern for a while I'm sure he'd be happy to join another big club.
Fair point about Young. I just wish that the fanbase would be as quick to praise him for what he does right as they are with crucifying him for every mistake he makes. I don't agree with you that he isn't good enough, and while I do think he won't be a starter I'm of the opinion he would make a good squad player when used well. Out of curiosity, what kind of a season would you need to see from him to change your mind about him? Assuming we keep this formation and he continues to play as a forward and is used somewhat regularly, how would you feel about him chipping in with 6-8 goals from a rotational role? 9-11 goals? 12+ goals? Which is more in line with what you expect from a United calibre squad player?
In regards to Herrera starting every PL game, I'm not so sure about that. Even without CL games, the winter schedule, for example, is just a mess. Not to mention that we'll also be participating in both the FA Cup and the Capital One Cup (unless the name changed again...). In the second half of the season the CL plays a more prominent role and the domestic games become more of a 1-week type deal, so from January on I could see Herrera playing nearly every game, but until December I think he will have to be rotated fairly regularly to keep him fresh and fit. Not to mention that he will have to adapt to the way more physical, and faster, Premier League as opposed to La Liga.
That last paragraph literally brought tears to my eyes LMAO!
I actually just started watching right at kickoff time, so if there was any pre-game formation visualisation I didn't see it. It took me a while to figure out what was going on too lol.
I think I'll agree that we could use another CB, but it's not as much of a priority as it was before I think. Between Evans, Smalling, Jones and Carrick we have 4 first team CBs (I think Carrick will be used in CB because he isn't suited to the mobile style of midfield we're using now), and Fletcher can drop in too. We then have M. Keane, Thorpe and Blackett from the youngsters looking like they'll step into the first team picture, giving us good depth. All we're really missing at this point is someone to be that brick wall kind of defender, like Vidic was and, oddly enough, Vlaar was for the Dutch NT. Jones can do that, but he isn't mature enough and makes too many bad decisions, not to mention he has lapses in concentration.
I'm going to disagree with you on the 4-3-3 vs 3-5-2. I think the 3-5-2 is here to stay and if Rooney doesn't perform he'll be out. LvG used it as his primary formation throughout the WC and has said it's here to stay. I don't mean to imply we'll never use a 4-3-3, but I think the 3-5-2 is a better fit for all our players. We lack a true anchor in the midfield, and the 3 CBs give us the protection not to really need one. Our FBs are all attack-minded, making the WB role a better fit with, again, the extra protection. Our CBs aren't the most solid with each having a bit of a weakness, though arguably Evans is the exception here, and with an extra man in the CB partnership it helps to overcome those weaknesses.
It also allows us to play 3 mobile CM players, which ties in with what I said before. Many of our CMs are more natural 8s and 10s than 6s, and without the need for an anchor it suits the players better. The solidity, mobility and fluidity, as well as the extra space from having fewer attackers, allows our front 2 to be free of a more defined role. The attackers were free to change between providing a wide or central threat, and whether or not to drop back and carry the ball forward or be a target man. It wasn't shown as much in the Galaxy game, but if you look at the way Netherlands played it's a better example. RvP provided the more traditional target man role, while Robben had more of a mobile, free-form role. Welbeck and Young so far have looked good in the Robben role, and RvP will surely do very well in the RvP role, as would Chicharito I'd assume and Rooney to an extent.
Januzaj I think would slot right into the Robben role without any issues. I've had a similar conversation with Abz before where we discussed what Januzaj's best role would be, because I didn't feel he was actually all that suited to being a 10. He's more of a playmaking forward than a playmaker in my eyes, and the freedom of movement afforded him by the Robben role would allow him to use every weapon in his arsenal to deadly effect. I thought his best role would be as a false-9 or as a forward, and this formation allows him to play exactly that. So for me I think this formation will suit Januzaj extremely well.
On occasion he could also slot into the 10 role, but Mata, Herrera and Kagawa are all superior playmakers to him. He always looked a bit more like an opportunity taker rather than an opportunity creator, so I think this suits his natural game more anyway (playing as a forward). What do you think?
I'm always over-zealous about Young! Although I have to say, I was disappointed that there was practically no mention of him in the articles, almost as if people are trying to avoid publishing something positive about him. That's what really bothers me and why I push so hard in the opposite direction. I was practically jumping for joy when he scored his first goal!
In regards to Cleverley, Herrera won't be able to play every game so I'm sure he would be able to slot into his favoured role fairly regularly, especially in the first half of the season when the schedule is more hectic with the cups. I think he'll get enough chances and it will be up to him whether or not he makes something of them. I actually think that if we bring in Vidal Clevs will get more opportunities to play the 8 role because then Fletch and Vidal would be the ones playing the 6 role, freeing Cleverley up to be second choice in the 8 role after Herrera. We'll have to wait and see how it turns out though.
Yeah the excitement generated by Herrera is through the roof. It was only against Galaxy, but the way he moved, the way he pressed, and he way he passed are all indicative of a player on the cusp of greatness. Even in tight spaces he made the right decisions and executed his moves well. I don't think he'll have any trouble replicating these displays against better sides, because he was already, from what I've heard, playing at a similar level in La Liga anyway.
A sexy midfield indeed :D
Okay my response will also be split again
I agree on the first bit you said, but disagree on the formation. Smalling-Jones-Evans was a clear 3 man CB line for me, with Shaw and Valencia playing WB. Fletcher was a mobile pivot, Herrera box-to-box, Mata in the 10, and then Rooney and Welbeck were the 9 and a half's up top. Who did you see as being in the front 3 of the 4-3-3? Valencia? I guess I could see that, but I think it was the same 5-3-2/3-5-2 as the second half. Smalling stayed far back and Valencia was about level Shaw throughout the half IMO.
It's not that I think Rooney was entirely poor in this showing, it's rather that I thought he didn't really fit in or impact the game too much. He scored a penalty, then got on the end of a cross after a horrendous defensive error and still needed a lucky bounce off the keeper to score his second goal. Aside from those 2 moments in the game, I honestly can't remember seeing him do anything impactful or even too positive. He wasn't holding us back, but he also wasn't driving us forward. He was just kind of there for me, and if he doesn't improve that he won't be starting IMO.
If you compare his performance with Welbeck's, as his forward partner, there was a clear difference in their involvement levels. Welbeck was energetic, pressed all over the pitch, but more importantly as a forward he helped the midfielders bring the ball forward and made good runs. His interplay was solid, he popped up in decent areas, and he made himself a threat. Rooney on the other hand was rather stationary by comparison, and wasn't even a solid 1-2 passing option because he didn't free himself up too often either. When he did get involved he wasn't necessarily bad, he just wasn't involved enough for me.
I think the team just needed a bit of time to properly click into gear. It's not just that the goal threat got better as the game moved forward, but we also were bossing the midfield more even before the massive substitution. It looked more like the players just needed a bit of time to adjust to their new roles and new way of playing, as well as playing with new teammates for the first time, but either justification for the later dominance could be valid. Like you said, it could just be that Galaxy made too many changes.
All due respect, 2 goals and 1 assist, as well as the shot that lead to the other goal, in 45 minutes is a phenomenal return. Even if he'd simply stood there for the rest of the time, that return is so great that you have to at least give him an 8/10 rating on the night. The passing from midfield was sublime, no question about it, but unlike Nani, his forward partner, it was Young who had the vision and spacial awareness to make the runs to latch onto those passes. He definitely started the half slow, and didn't look nearly as involved as Nani, but once he found his rhythm he was a stand-out performer. His interplay was also fantastic. 2 instances come to mind immediately, the quick release on the right wing to free up Rafael, who's cross was deflected towards Herrera, and the 1-2 with Herrera when he immediately made the forward run into space and Herrera put too much weight on his pass. I don't think it's fair to say he wasn't "that good" when he had so many positive involvements in the span of 45 minutes, and that being in his first match of the preseason tour.
I know I'm probably being over-zealous now, but I also want to point out that every other United player was also up against the relatively weak Galaxy team, but Young was amongst the stand-out performers, and definitely the best amongst our forwards (Rooney, Welbeck, Nani, himself, and Valencia arguably). It definitely was a little funny to see him play the Robben role though. At first it seemed that Nani was taking that role on, but he faded away and then Young stepped into it.
I think that it has to be taken into consideration, when judging his performance, that Cleverley effectively played out of position. He is most natural in the kind of role Herrera was allowed to play, but he had a far less free role as the midfield pivot. He played the deepest of the midfielders, which isn't really where he belongs. I'm definitely not trying to imply he'd be as good as Herrera, but I don't think he'd look bad playing in a role further forward. As second choice in the 8 role after Herrera I think he'd be a decent member of the squad, and if both are on the pitch then I think they might do well together with Herrera playing the 10 role and Clevs the 8 role.
Herrera will practically become an immediate hero at OT lol. Monster performance. It would make sense to give him Scholes' shirt, but to be honest I'm not a fan of pushing players out of their shirt numbers. It's not just that it's Young, even if it was about the 10 shirt which Rooney occupies (who I pretty much can't stand) I also wouldn't want Herrera to take it. I'd rather he just crafts his own legacy with the 21 rather than "stealing" another player's number. He can definitely be our new Scholes though. I am through the roof with excitement after seeing that performance. The rest of the BPL better watch out, because we're here for blood this season.
Vidal+Herrera+Mata in the midfield would be nothing short of orgasmic (sorry for the rather crude adjective, but I couldn't really think of another to truly encapsulate the level of positive it'd be). It has to be done. IT HAS TO BE DONE!