Date:19th June 2011 at 5:26pm
Written by:

United celebrate

United in a typical pose

United’s time is coming to an end. That was the ludicrous claim from someone that dislikes Manchester United that prompted me to write this full analysis on the future of Manchester United.

The exact words that were used were:

“The teams at the top are getting stronger, football is cyclical, just think United’s time is coming to an end.”

I honestly don’t think that he could be more wrong. I concede that football is cyclical but that does not necessarily mean that United’s time is coming to an end. Sir Alex Ferguson can not have built 4 different teams in his time as the manager of Manchester United if the end of an era for one team means the end of an era altogether.

Sir Alex Ferguson has been a master of re-forming winning and successful teams over and over again. Manchester United will still be a force to be reckoned with when the next cycle comes round and the reason why is because Sir Alex Ferguson has already started to plan for the future. We have already signed players who will possibly be the future Manchester United and from where I sit, everything is looking rosy for the next 5-10 years.

The Goalkeeper

It is widely reported that David De Gea is a done deal and will be the next Manchester United goalkeeper. Too many things indicate that this deal is now done including his club team-mate Diego Forlan talking about his move to Manchester United. He is an extremely good goalkeeper and is very experienced despite only being 20 years old. He has already won the Europa league experiencing how it is like to play in a final of a tournament and has made some absolutely superb saves for Atletico Madrid. With his talent and age it is absolutely clear to see that he will be an outstanding choice of a goalkeeper for Manchester United.

The Centre Backs

Last season we signed Chris Smalling from Fulham. His rise since the days of playing for Maidstone United has been on a meteoric scale. He has shown his quality last season and he can only get better and better.

Chris Smalling made 33 appearances in total for Manchester United last term and excelled in his defensive role. He was superb for us every time he played and will surely be the mainstay of the Manchester United defence for many years to come. He “enjoys” defending and is quite skilful with the ball at his feet too. A natural replacement for Rio Ferdinand, a player whose heights he could one day exceed.

Phil Jones is Manchester United’s latest signing at a price thought to be in the region of £16.5million. Last term he made 28 appearances for Blackburn Rovers and was absolutely outstanding for them playing at centre back. He also has great composure on the ball highlighted by the fact that he can sometimes double up as a central midfielder.

Although I have only sparingly seen Jones play, his highlight appearance for me would have to be in the match where Manchester United wrapped up the 19th title at Ewood Park. He was a rock at the back all day and was my man of the match if I had to pick one for Blackburn. Everything indicate to me that the Jones/Smalling partnership will be a very long term one for both club and country in the future.

I have already seen the Jones/Smalling partnership in action, albeit for the England U21’s in the European U21’s Championships. So far England have played vs Spain and Ukraine conceeding just one goal and even then the goal was from a corner which depends on the whole team to defend, not just two players. They are probably the only two players who have played at the highest standard in both matches, Smalling edging Jones for my man of the match vs Spain and Jones edging Smalling for my man of the match vs Ukraine. It is clear to see that this will one day develop into a “world class” partnership. Our two current first choice centre backs have been the most major part of Manchester United’s success over the past 5 years and I feel that this will be the case with this pair also.

The Full Backs

It goes without saying that both Rafael and Fabio Da Silva will succeed at Manchester United. The twins have so far been fighting it out for the right back spot due to the immovable object that is Patrice Evra at left back with Fabio edging out Rafael to appear in the final of the Champions League. Both of them have been pure quality for Manchester United and despite some questions over Rafael’s temperament which can surely improve as time goes by, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that both will be future Manchester United players for many seasons to come.

You are now probably thinking that I have forgotten about Jonny Evans yes? Well if not I guess you have already forgotten about him too. Since making his debut in Manchester United’s 2-0 defeat to Coventry City in the League Cup in 2007, Jonny Evans has gone on to make 85 appearances, being linked with a transfer to both Real Madrid and Barcelona at one time. With the signing of Phil Jones it was thought by quite a lot of fans that this marks the end of Jonny Evans, but does it really?

In Manchester United’s league game against Chelsea at Old Trafford Jonny Evans came on as a half time substitute for John O’Shea and played the whole second half as a left back. He played an absolute blinder at left back vs Chelsea, very assured in his passing and very definite in his tackling and I feel that he could eventually be moulded as a left back. Some suggestions is that he may become Manchester United’s next utility man after it appeared that John O’Shea may be on his way. Whatever happens though, I feel there is still a future for Jonny Evans at Manchester United.

The Midfielders

Anderson is a centre midfielder that I shall put a lot of focus on. Since joining from FC Porto he has only impressed sparingly. He has been unable to put a consistent assault onto a first team place since arriving due to various different injuries here and there as well as being out of form and favour at times. Having said this there were times last season when it felt like the penny had finally dropped for Anderson. I think that pre-season this summer will be most important for 23 year old Anderson. This may be the first time since joining us that he may have a full pre-season and if he manages to stay clear of injuries I feel that he could be an important first team player for years to come.