Saturday, 9 July 2011

Scholes retired too soon

Scholes retired too soon

Gary Neville: Scholes retired too soon!!
Neville told the Manchester Evening News: “He’s gone too early for me because, as a fan, I would like to see him play every single game. He mesmerises me with the way he plays football. So simple and yet so brilliant.”

Manchester United' s New Men

Meet the new men

David De Gea joins Manchester United
It is July 2011 and Manchester United Football Club have been busy.  The transfer window has barely opened and the Old Trafford outfit have already made three signings, Ashley Young, Phil Jones and David De Gea.  Many column inches in newspapers have been given over to the speculation and confirmation surrounding these signings, yet how much do you really know about Manchester United’s new boys.
Well, Red Army is here to help as we delve into the past, and fantastic futures, of these young men:
Phil Jones:
The former Blackburn starlet was the first to join Manchester United this summer, putting pen to paper on 13th June for a fee reported to be around £17 million.  Jones’ favourite position is in central defence, although he has been known to fill in at right back or in a defensive midfield position on occasion.  The 19 year old made his professional football debut two seasons ago starting in a League Cup game versus Nottingham Forest and went on to make 40 assured appearances for Blackburn.  It was not just Sir Alex Ferguson who saw potential in the youngster as he was made captain for one of the England under 21’s games this summer, where he was also partnered alongside another Manchester United starlet in Chris Smalling.  It was widely reported that Kenny Dalglish was also sniffing around the young defender, before losing out to the Red Devils.  Jones is good on the ball and his tough tackling is sure to impress United’s fans; his no nonsense defending could turn him into a fan favourite.  Wayne Rooney stated that “Phil Jones is a good young English player, [one] of the toughest defenders I played against last season” before he even signed for Manchester United.  At just 19 years of age Jones has potentially another 15 years at the top and Sir Alex will be hoping that his impressive partnership with Chris Smalling at Under 21 level will soon reap rewards at club level too as Manchester United are looking to solidify their future as well as their present.
Ashley Young:
Young has received many plaudits this season for his performances for Aston Villa and England and he has proved to be adaptable too, moving from his favoured position on the wing to a more central position behind a striker and it is here that he has found his form with both goals and assists.  Young is the oldest of Manchester United’s signings so far, but at 25 years old he will just be coming into his prime as a midfielder.  Again, Manchester United had to part with roughly £17 million to get their man but it should be seen as a solid investment.  The former Aston Villa and Watford star has an impressive record on the pitch too.  He has averaged 36 Premier League games a season for the last 4 seasons and has provided 30 dead ball assists since joining Aston Villa.  He chips in with the goals too, scoring between 8 and 10 goals a season for Aston Villa in the last four years and is a proficient penalty taker, scoring four out of five penalties taken this season, giving him the same record as Wayne Rooney.  It seems that Ferguson has looked past the criticism of Ashley Young and seen a fast, strong winger with an eye for goal and a mean set piece.  Alongside his Aston Villa form Ashley Young has also come good for England, scoring his first and second goals for the Three Lions in 2011 and taking his England appearances to 15.  At first many thought that Young was the cheaper knock-off version of Alexis Sanchez, but the stats beg to differ.  Only time will tell if Ashley Young can raise his game at Manchester United as cement himself a place in United folklore.
David De Gea
Manchester United’s latest signing, 20 year old David De Gea put pen to paper on a five year contract.  De Gea became the second most expensive goalkeeper in the world when Ferguson forked out £18.3 million for him, only Buffon has commanded more of an outlay.  But it seems to be worth it for Ferguson, who sees De Gea (pronounced DE HEYA or DE HOOYAA depending on who you believe) as the perfect replacement for Edwin Van Der Sar.  Despite his young age, the Spaniard has already made 84 appearances for his old club Altletico Madrid, winning the Europa League with the Spanish club even playing in the final as Atletico Madrid beat Fulham 2-1 in 2010.  He also recently helped Spain win the Under 21 European Championships.  De Gea could follow Van Der Sar in having 20 years of top level football ahead of him, making the £18 million seem like a bargain.  There are some stumbling blocks in the short term however as De Gea cannot speak much English and questions may be asked about his ability to communicate with the United back four.  20 years old is a young age for a goalkeeper too any many goalkeepers who were labelled ‘world class’ at this age have fallen from grace, Chris Kirkland and Scott Carson to name but two.  But for now De Gea looks set to fill the number one shirt at Old Trafford and, with a little patience, he is sure to replicate the fantastic form that has seen him win major competitions already.

Written by Nathaniel Hobby
For more Manchester United news and opinion you can follow me on Twitter @nathanielhobby

MUFC 2010-2011 Season Player by Player Ratings

2010-2011 Season Player by Player Ratings

The 2010-2011 Season was one of the most unique seasons ever in which United finally, to quote SAF knocked Liverpool off their perch to gift us our 19th League Title and become the most successful League Club in England, and it will also be remembered for our desperate attempt to win a 4th European Cup against arguably the best team in the world at this current time Barcelona.
Although Wembley (the new one at least) has not gifted us our best days, Barcelona duely beat us and deservedly so. Having had time to reflect on such a record breaking season you cant really argue our defeat in that final, for our team, it was one game too far, especially after a season when our Away form was abysmal.
The form at Old Trafford really carried us over the finishing line, only 2 points dropped to WBA and with that title 19 came, and then the depatures of Edwin Van Der Saar and Gary Nevile and the shock retirement of Paul Scholes.
Here is my Review of the Players for the 2010-2011 Season, you may or may not agree, but thats football.
VAN DER SAAR – 8 – Edwin would have got a 10 by my book if he hadnt had that blip against WBA and we’d have collect 100% points at home, and if he wasnt so easily beaten by Messi for that second goal. A man that will be remembered as a great goal keeper, but in my view still second place to Peter Schmeichel. Maybe i’m being harsh, quality saves against Chelsea in Europe to get us to the Final, but again a keeper not as vocal as he should be. Arguably the best Keeper since Schmeichel and we’ve had a few, thanks for the memories especially THAT penalty save against Anelka. Enjoy your retirement Edwin, you deserve it.
KUSZCZAK – 3 – Yes thats a 3, this man causes me grief when hes named in the line up, he doesnt instill confidence, and despite his comments during the season of pushing to be number 1 he never will be. The performance against Blackburn where we clinched title 19 reflected that. I expect him to be sold, a goal keeper that reflects the worst we’ve ever had a combination of Leighton and Taibi.
LINDEGAARD – 5 – A couple of appearances in the FA Cup, but season blighted by injury, signing met with some reservation that he was kept out of his former clubs starting 11 by a certain Roy Carrol, and obviously comments made by our Great Dane suggesting hes not up to the mark. Whether Schmeichel is being harsh is yet to be seen, hopefully a good Pre Season should offer some Reds Hope, even if only a number 2 to De Gea. Definately more solid than his Polish adversary.
NEVILLE – 5 – (Sorry rating is generous but he hates scousers so I added 4) Not a great season for Gary, one to far, pretty much lucky to stay on the pitch at Stoke and WBA. But to be fair we said goodbye to the best right back England has ever had. Again as a season not his best, but Neville will be talked about more for his earlier efforts than this.
RAFAEL – 6 – Not a bad season, but not a great one. Started off the season very well but replaced second half of the season by Fabio (or was he?). Still gives the impression he’s one challenge away from being sent off, but hes young and hes developing better than I antticipated proving hes more than able to fill G NEV’S shoes by even being picked over JOS and Brown.
FABIO – 6 – Again like his twin not his greatest season, but like Rafael hes showing signs that we have some quality in the ranks.
BROWN – 5 – When played did well, shouldnt have had that alleged spat with SAF pre season. Such a shame really as back in 2008 he looked the player we all wanted him to be and the perfect replacement for Neville.
O’SHEA – 6 – Mr Dependable, fills in, does a job, gets winners medal, goes home – Stevie G take note.
VIDIC – 9 – The Serbinator, the man is indestructable. Commands games, one reason behind our Home record, and also chips in with goals ala Bruce and Pallister. Held the defence together, worthy Captain and hes got over being sent off when playing against Torres. Fantastic Season for our favourite Serb.
FERDINAND – 7 – Season blighted by injury, but when fit, he and Vidic are superb. A 9 would have been given but for absences. If he can stay fit next season the rest are gonna really have to improve to dislodge our Centre Backs, Needs to Score More from Corners as well.
SMALLING – 9 – Yes, thats a 9, why? Well hes filled in for Rio as though he’d been at United for years. Never looked out of place and on last seasons performances £10 million well spent.
EVANS – 5 – Not his best season, Confidence rocked, he’s going to have to improve especially with Smallings rise to prominance.
EVRA – 9 – The guy does not stop, more appearances than anyone, one player we cant afford to burn out, potty paddy is probably the best Left Back in the World, a few more goals would go a miss. Again another solid season.
GIGGS – 8 – Tearing You Apart Since 1991, continues to defy everyone, collects medals like a dog does fleas. A living legend who will never be surpassed, used when needed and has not really had a bad game. The question is what if we had played Giggs and developed him in a central role a lot sooner?
HARGREAVES – No score is being given, hes been unlucky, he’s tried his best to come back and by not rating him is being fair to him. Shame, as we’ve needed his quality, a talent lost. (Curse of winning the European Cup? Remember Blomqvist Wins it, gets injured never plays for us again)
CARRICK – 7 – The haters will be on this score but this guy does perform, the stats dont lie. A blunder together with VDS against citeh knocked his score down. Another season another Medal. The man obviously relies on confidence I just wish United fans would stop knocking him, 4 League Titles in 5 Years, if he wasnt any good SAF would have got rid much sooner. Just wish he’d score a few more.
FLETCHER – 7 – End of season fitness knocks his score, another Euro Final missed, and we surely missed him. Still divides opinion which is not justified, but overall a solid season, chipped in a few goals, hope he can stay fit for the new season.
ANDERSON – 5 – Okay the 5 rating maybe harsh or for some over rated but I dont think we have seen the best of him yet. 2011 -12 time to Shine Anders
SCHOLES – 8 – GENIUS, BEST EVER, would have got a higher rating but for a certain tackle at Wembley. All I can say is August 5th 2011 go pay your respects.
NANI – 10 – His best season in a United shirt, stepped up to the plate finally and has cut out some of his imputant displays. Still causes fury between some fans with play acting and going to ground to early. However a healthy assist and goal tally certainly helped sway opinions. Needs to push on next season and do it again.
VALENCIA – 8 – A superb season despite his injury, at times favoured ahead of Nani, the guy is a firm favourate with fans. Just needs to score more goals and step up the crossing.
OBERTAN – 3 – Doesnt look the United Player we hope for, but hes still young, impresses in the Reserves, time will tell.
GIBSON – 5 – Gets alot of grief, from fans at the ground and on twitter, hes probably closed his facebook account too. Dependable performances but at his age needs first team football and hes not better than what we already have so unless he wants to fight for his place and fill in when required a move is likely. Shame, the only player with a shot like Scholes.
BEBE – 3 – Again its hard to judge this player, I am secretly hoping this guy is going to be amazing, Bebe prove me right.
PARK – 7 – Three Lungs Park, under rated never over stated, plays in all the big games, did Chelsea over 60 seconds after Drogba thought they were back in with a shout.
Casual Racism in his song, needs tinkering with since the revelations that to build up his strength his father gave him boiled Frog Juice (substitute Dog for Frog). Again Ji Sung has proven he wasnt signed just to sell shirts in the far east.
OWEN – 3 – Won a league medal, signed a new contract, doesnt play much, chips in a few goals, hopefully hes coaching the little pea.
ROONEY – 7 – Didnt have a great World Cup but what England player did? Whores and Transfer to City didnt do his reputation on the or off the pitch any good. Will we ever feel the same about him, time will tell. Great Goal against the noisey neighbours, again to all you blue noses it didnt hit his shin, and no it wasnt a fluke.
Would have got a higher score but for that early season fiasco and poor performances.
Also is there anyone out there who thought when he scored at Wembley we were in with a chance?
BERBATOV – 9 – Top Scorer in the League, but dropped from Euro Final. Berba like Carrick divides opinion. He gets a 9 for finally scoring goals and he dragged us through the shit when Rooney couldnt score in a brothel.
Hat Trick against Liverpool, enough said.
However his body language is what causes most fans to hate him, he never looks bothered and thats really why he gets a bad time. Personally I think hes talented but not a United player. Hes Cantona without the charisma.
HERNANDEZ – 9 – The Little Pea was a sensation, hes scored with his face, back of head, right foot, left foot. Adored by Reds after one season, has the right attitude and if his debut season is anything to go by, the future is certainly going to be bright.
And for Next Season, lets hope that theres a few new names getting a mention, namely Morrison, Pogba and Keane from the Reserves
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The Youth Policy Conumdrum

The Youth Policy Conumdrum

The youth Policy at United has always brought in some notable and truely world class players Edwards, Charlton, Giggs, McIllroy,Beckham, Hughes, Whiteside, Gary Neville, Scholes, Butt even Phil Neville to name just a few.
The problem is that we have never really produced a Striker or Goal Keeper from our own ranks since the 80′s.
Take Mark Hughes for instance a top quality player and much adored by United fans the world over but not a man of many goals but a man of great goals, then you have the last of the strikers to define Fergies reign from the youth team in Mark Robbins, again not prolific but for people of my age he was a glimmering hope to reclaim the League Title.
When you look back at Goal Keepers the last youth product to cement his place as a first teamer was Gary Walsh who stepped in for Schmeichel during European Matches due to the Foreigners Rule employed at the time.
As a club United have produced great Defenders and Midfielders but never a Goal Keeper or Out and Out Striker and sometimes you have to think WHY?
Its true to think that other clubs have produced such talent which has then been taken by the big boys in football during the 80′s and 90′s examples such as Van Basten and Papin. The big thing is why have we never produced such talent?
Its fair to say truely great strikers come in dribs and drabs but weve never really produced one despite the likes of Hughes, Robbins, Ebanks Blake, Campbell, Wellbeck.
It seems im both Goal Keeping and the Striker department we have to spend money and in reason you can see why, both are very important positions more so than any other, stopping goals and scoring them.
I only hope that our Youth Policy proves me wrong in that Will Keane and notably Welbeck reach the hights of super stardom, my only fear is that these positions are posioned challis’ and we will never see one from our own ranks progress to what we hope for.

The Enigma Which Is Anderson

The Enigma Which Is Anderson

Anderson seems to flatter and decieve in equal amounts with Manchester United fans. The reality is, Anderson was tipped as a World Class player during the Copa America in 2007 where he put in some dazzling displays which prompted SAF to sign him.
Now hes often gifted the United fans glimpses of his ability, keeping Gerrard in his top pocket during a match with Liverpool early in his career and notable finishes against Schalke 04 in this seasons Champions League.
The underlying fact is where most fans are calling out for a creative midfielder to replace Paul Scholes in Modric, Sneider and Sanchez are we overlooking what we already have?
In a recent Four Four Two interview with Carlos Alberto he states United are not using him to his potential and that he isnt naturally suited to a holding/plain centre midfield role and needs to be pushed as an attacking midfielder.
While Carlos Alberto maybe right, Anderson has never been a prolific scorer at any club hes been with, but then again his assists at the club and international level have lead to others scoring and getting their names in the headlines.
The whole issue of replacing our Ginger Prince, to me, is not an issue, Scholes himself had not been a regular player for over 4 seasons, Rooney, Ronaldo and Tevez all took that mantra to effectively turn games around and score goals and create oppurtunities for others. It is also worth pointing out you cant replace Scholes, just in the same sense we never replaced Best or even Schmeichel (VDS did a good job a very close second but never filled the big mans boots)
Anderson himself has had his injury problems and maybe we have not seen the best of him, if by what Carlos Alberto says in a more attacking role.
The £18 million shelled out for such a young talent at the time wasnt just a panick buy, its only recently that weve seen the best of Nani. Everyone more so United fans, especially those accustomed to seeing trophy after trophy unlike the 80′s when I was growing up to be gratefull of a Cup Final Win, expect every young United player to be World Class at 18, 19, 20, 21. The reality is those players are few and far between and if you look at the example of the Brazilian Ronaldo they burn out before their time.
As fans we sometimes expect too much of some of the players, Fletcher for a good example, he got abuse for years then in 2009 fans alike are going mental that due to Fletchers absence in the European Cup Final we didnt have that certain something in the middle of the pitch (same could be said for 2011 Final).
I hope Anderson really makes a difference this season, maybe the retirement of Scholes will have the same effect on him as Cristiano Ronaldos departure had on Nani.
If that is the case then I think us United fans will be treated to something quite special, the guy has got talent and silky smooth moves and if hes as class with the ball as he is class with a brass to quote his song then were all in for a few more years of European Finals (Hopefully Winning Ones)
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MUFC and Nike’s £400 million deal

MUFC and Nike’s £400 million deal

Manchester United are set to begin talks with Nike for a £400m world record kit deal.
Man Utd’s owners want to see the club topping the tables as  the biggest earners once again in the Premier League, and hoping to have a lucrative newdeal in place by the middle of next year.
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Friday, 1 July 2011

Manchester United sign David De Gea

£19million on a five-year contract.

Following on from the article I wrote a few months ago looking at the possible goalkeeping options available to replace Van der Sar at Old Trafford, it is Spaniard David De Gea who has been chosen as the new number one for an estimated £19million on a five-year contract.

The signing ends numerous months of uncertainty over who Sir Alex would pick, even if lately it seemed probable it would be De Gea. The Spaniard did not want to enter into any negotiations until after the U21 European Championship, where he helped Spain lift the trophy in Denmark. So, it seemed sure to go through this week.
De Gea, 20 years old, has plenty of experience even for his youthful age. Last season he made 45 appearances for Atletico Madrid, keeping 24 clean sheets in total and helped the club finish seventh in La Liga and qualify for the Europa League. The previous season to that he won the Europa League beating Fulham in the final.
Numerous people have praised the ‘keeper on his abilities with former United striker Diego Forlan singing his praises. He however did state the few issues that could arise with De Gea not settling down in England and the language barrier.
However, I think that this is the best investment we could have made for a goalkeeper and expect him to settle quickly and be a fan favourite. His quality will show as he is a quick athletic player with a 6ft3 frame, with great reactions and good shot stopping and catching abilities. Furthermore, his distribution from the back is accurate with no fear of passing outwards to build the play.
This is Fergusons third signing of the summer so far along with new recruits Phil Jones and Ashley Young, as he looks to build a new squad for the future with fresh new youth ready to prosper in the Theatre of Dreams.  De Gea could well be a player that will be wearing a United shirt for many years to come.

This original article was posted by TWRowland for RED ARMY at http://redarmy.co.uk/index.php/2011/07/01/united-sign-de-gea/

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