The Potential of Manchester United’s Team
They may not be at their best right now, but the future of the current Manchester United team could be incredible.
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Sir Alex Ferguson has dismissed his impending retirement on a number of occasions, saying that he will only leave Manchester United when it begins to affect his health, but the state of the team he leaves behind will definitely be a deciding factor.
United have always had a strong focus on youth development, but since “Fergie’s Fledglings” of the early 1990’s, John O’Shea and Wes Brown are the only players to really rise through the ranks at United to maintain a place in and around the first team. Until this season that is. With players like Tom Cleverley, Danny Welbeck, Fabio and Rafael Da Silva, David De Gea, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling all breaking through to the first team, and an array of talented prospects just waiting for their chance like Paul Pogba among others, United look as though they have a supply of players to last them for years to come.
After a summer of speculation about which central midfielder United would bring in, they didn’t, as Ferguson chose to stick with his current midfield and promote Tom Cleverley to the first team after a couple of successful loan spells at Watford and Wigan. They started this season playing absolutely breathtaking football with a first choice midfield partnership of Anderson and Cleverley who seemed to complement each other perfectly. After looking like they would run away with the league, a series of injuries to key players saw United maybe regretting the decision to hold back on investment in the summer.
Most of their missing players are now returning to fitness though, and Cleverley I’m sure will form an integral part in the rest of United’s season. The 22 year old appeared on the substitute’s bench at home to Liverpool, and then made his first start since October in United’s 2-0 win away to Ajax. He didn’t look like he had ever been away and brought a sense of purpose to United’s midfield in an otherwise lacklustre display from the Manchester side. As Carrick is often criticised for playing the “easy ball” (which I don’t agree with), Cleverley seems to always be looking to go forward, and his one-two’s with Rooney and Welbeck at the beginning of the season were mightily impressive. With Wilshere seemingly a doubt for Euro 2012, I’m sure there will be calls for the new England manager to include Cleverley in the England squad, providing he can get a significant amount of football under his belt between now and the end of the season.