The midfield problem is something that we’ve been complaining about for years. Ever since Keano left you may say that was when it began, but let me tell you that it’s been needed since before late 2005.
At this stage Roy Keane was 34 years old at this stage with his legs gone and a dodgy hip, yet the gaffer refused to buy or else bought naively? Djemba – Djemba? I’ll let him away with the Kleberson buy because in fairness the guy was a star performer and World Champion at the time, but was it a half – hearted attempt, I wonder? And if I’m honest I’d have Roy in that condition in this United team no doubt. Would we have conceded six against City with Roy in the side? No chance.
Ok so Carrick came in for 18 million and did a job, I suppose. He hasn’t set the world alight and although he can pass the ball, he can’t do it under pressure and prefers to pass it to Vidic or one of the lads at the back. Much too cautious to shine at the theatre of Dreams. His best season was his first when he was more composed, scored a couple and played a bit further up the park. Last season he performed well in the Champions League, where he was used by the boss in a sweeping role – his energy levels and lack of responsibility however prevent him from doing it against a top side such as Barca or Madrid. Alex Ferguson is much too intelligent to not have noticed this and thus should have replaced him again. Fergie knows this now and as you can see by Carrick’s bit part role this year that he is very much out of favour. I don’t believe he was Keane’s replacement though. He came in to replace Scholes and failed.
Darren Fletcher – a man for the big games. I have great respect for Fletcher and love his energy. Once his fitness levels come back he will perform again. Incredibly underated and was most definitely a loss in both Champions League final defeats, but still nowhere near Roy Keane. These two guys don’t show for the ball enough. Fletcher although he does try has not got the natural ability to pass and tries a spectacular too often. The great thing about Keane was that he quite simply almost always found a red shirt, the same with Scholes. Although the latter had a greater range.
Tom Cleverley is the shining light at Old Trafford at the moment. His positivity encapsulates our team. The boy leads by example and is a great hope for United at the moment, however its early days yet and we can’t just rely on him. First and foremost we need somebody in there beside him that can sit and let him do the creating. He continuously shows for the ball and there’s none of what I’d call a ‘Carrick pass’ if he can help it. He always wants to go forward with the football and his quick thinking and ability to play in tight spaces can have him shine in the red shirt for years to come. I really do hope so anyway. It’s in the clubs history to bring through home-grown players and long may it continue, which bring me onto my next point…
Is this elusive midfielder with power and energy within our very own ranks? Well that’s what Sir Alex led us to believe during the summer. As United fans were distraught about not signing a central midfielder, we were reassured. “The young boy Pogba is showing great promise,” Ferguson said. “We are quite positive about him. If we hold him back, what is going to happen? He will leave in a couple of years’ time when his contract has finished. Now fair enough I’ve seen Pogba on MUTV and there’s no doubt he has great potential, but why does Fergie talk about his potential and start him as a sub in both Carling Cup games. Instead playing Park Ji Sung centre Midfield?
Alex Ferguson is God in my mind and I presume every United supporters. He normally is always right, but I firmly believe this was a major cock-up, with Owen Hargreaves the only world class midfielder signed and we all know how that worked out. Give the boy Pogba a chance or else go out and buy somebody with talent, skill and big match temperament who can be of help to Mr Cleverley rather than be a hindrance (Anderson springs to mind). Tiote is a possibility, Parker might have been a short term answer, but I think youth could be the answer and Ferguson should act on his seeming beliefs of the Summer. There’s only one Keano but that doesn’t mean we cannot have a strong midfield. As Roy said recently, there is nobody that can really play his box-to-box style, but a club can evolve and replace with a different style of player and have similar success.
PS: If you are wondering why Anderson has not been mentioned in detail, it’s because after last weekend, I have washed my hands with him and cannot ever see him as being the answer.