United’s defeat to Wigan is far from the end of the world, in fact it’s debatable as to whether it’s really reopened the title race. With a five point cushion you’d still fancy the Reds to prevail, despite a trip to Eastlands at the end of the month.
Almost every fan who saw Wednesday night’s debacle, arguably our worst performance since Newcastle away, was adamant the absence of Scholes led to United’s downfall. While I agree the Ginger One could well have made the difference had he been in the side, looking towards the future, we simply cannot allow ourselves to rely upon Scholes past the end of the season. Yes, I fully expect him to play next season, but surely only as bit-part player as we finally focus on life after the “most gifted midfielder in the history of association football TM.”
Names such as Hazard, Gaitan, Martinez, Cabaye amongst others have all been thrown around as possible replacements but surely the answer to the biggest dilemma Sir Alex has faced since a certain Frenchman decided he’d had enough of football, lies a lot closer to home.
Two of the most talented young midfielders in Europe currently wear the Red of Manchester, the only questions are can they make the step up to fill the void Scholes will leave- and will one of them even want to. Tom Cleverley has been touted as a future United star by many Reds, myself included, ever since he emerged from the ranks to prove despite his size he was more than capable of mixing it with the big boys. Since the second half of the Community Shield, Cleverley has become the small white hope for many fans, who see him as the ideal man to move United forward to almost Barcelona-esque levels. While that may be a tad ambitious, there’s no doubt that should Cleverley stay fit and focus on his football rather than his eye-rolling Clev23 brand nonsense then the Reds may just have a player who can make the loss of Scholes seem almost bearable.
The second player seemingly capable of continuing United on a winning trajectory is the most talked about midfielder in recent memory- no not Wesley Sneijder, the other google favourite Paul Pogba. Why do I think Pogba could be the answer? Because Sir Alex Ferguson has practically said so. I can’t recall the United boss praising a young player as much as he has with Pogba, claiming that the Frenchman will be a ‘great United player’ if that’s not a sterling endorsement I don’t know what is.
The fact is the chances of getting a player of Scholes’s ability are practically nil, but using two young talented central midfielders to fill the void, makes a lot more sense. Both Cleverley and Pogba are supremely gifted and if the Englishman can stay fit and the Frenchman can just, well, stay at United, then the biggest worry United fans have could be eased without spending millions.