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If Nani Doesn't Start, He Can Start Packing

OK, Sir Alex assured everyone that Nani was not for sale and any club coming in for him in January would be rejected right on the spot. Thing is, the winger is yet to play a minute since his latest complaints about lack of opportunities and shattered confidence got out.

And now Fergie promised that the same players who started last Wednesday, against Besiktas, would play tonight against Tottenham Hotspur in the Carling Cup. What does that mean? Well, we lined up thus: Foster - Gary Neville, Brown, Vidic, Rafael - Obertan, Gibson, Anderson, Park - Welbeck, Macheda.

Yes, no place for Nani though he was on the bench. Giggs is preferred for the big games, for league games; Obertan, Park and even Welbeck is preferred for Carling Cup and Champions League games. Where does that leave Nani who, after a good first season, has been steadily disappointing? On the brink of an exit from United, that's where.

I voiced my opinion many times here: Nani is a huge talent but his lack of intelligence is a major handicap. He just does not seem to possess the mental attributes required at the very top so he'll probably end up back in Portugal real soon... More optimist Reds would say he's gonna grab his chance, no reason to worry.

But there is because one question must be asked: where is that chance? Nani got his chance at the start of the season (remember, he started at the Community Shield and against Arsenal!) but after some initial promise he was soon back to square one with all the frustration he usually makes us endure when he's on the pitch. And he's been moving down the pecking order ever since: at Anfield Fergie threw him on to try and save the game; at Stamford Bridge Obertan and Owen were preferred.

He did not play a minute against Besiktas even though we were behind from minute 22 and he's supposed to be one of our more experienced and more penetrative players and it looks like he's not gonna start tonight. When will he, then? It's the Carling Cup after all, there isn't a competition that we could care less about but it looks like Fergie deems him unworthy of selection even for this one.

If Nani does not start tonight, he might as well start packing - because that would clearly mean that Valencia, Giggs, Park and Obertan are all ahead of him in the pecking order. A fifth winger for two places? We do not need that, especially when said winger is unable to produce quality performances when, admittedly rarely, called upon.

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The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday December 1 2009

Time: 12:08PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Its very tuff for the lad but thats the way it is at the highest level,u just have to take your chances when u get them.The point is that after having a pretty decent first season,one would expect him to climb the next step,instead he has taken a couple of steps back.
Antriksh (abmtd)
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01/12/2009 12:53:00

Plus one cannot ignore the progress shown by Z.Tosic.I hope to see him tonight but most likely it won't happen.
Antriksh (abmtd)
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01/12/2009 12:55:00

What line up do you boys expect to see tonight. i expect us(Spurs) to make plenty of changes i.e the likes of Keane, Jenas, Bale, Hutton, Pavlyuchenco etc getting a game. It will be a great game, really looking forward to it.
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01/12/2009 13:01:00

do you think Nani is a player who would improve greatly of given a run of games?
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01/12/2009 17:58:00

It will be the same team that faced besiktas if we believe what Sir Alex said.
Antriksh (abmtd)
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01/12/2009 18:12:00

The thing is that Nani has to give Sir Alex some hope that he is getting better and better but its always the opposite and the situation that we find ourselves in,its very tuff to experiment but I guess tonight he may get a chance and for his and the team's sake I hope he takes it.There is no doubt that he has the potential but he has to show it on the pitch.
Antriksh (abmtd)
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01/12/2009 18:17:00

Probably be a few changes from Besiktas but I pretty much the same team. I think Owen may start ahead of Macheda.
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01/12/2009 18:18:00

Thank u both for your questions.Its always good talking about the beautiful game.
Antriksh (abmtd)
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01/12/2009 18:22:00

Macheda, Welbeck, Obertan and Gibson are definite starters in my opinion, and Rafael is also likely. I would play Nani ahead of Park, simply because he's got more to offer in terms of quality but I think Fergie will go for the safe option. If he does, it's the end of Nani's United career, really.
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01/12/2009 18:25:00

It's the end of Nanny's career at the swamp then!
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01/12/2009 20:24:00

I think Nani is the kind of player who cannot muster his own confidence. He needs manager, team mates and fans to rally round him and show belief in his ability. I think if he was given a run of 10 starts and told that no matter how bad he played he wouldnt be dropped, he might improve - unfortunately that isnt a realistic expectation for a player at man utd. I agree with Zae that Nani is as technically gifted as any other winger out there - but to say that he borders on sufferfing from some kind of footballing retardation wouldn't be overstating his problem. If you could litterally pick the exact opposite of what you would want a footballer to do in any given situation, you go some way to understanding Nani's decision making on the pitch. I think he has it in him to be a good player - and generally when he does play he tends to get an assist or a goal - which is fine if we win one nil - but the stupidity he displays for the rest of the game means you can't afford to keep him on the pitch as he will cost you chances. Its no coincidence that whenever he is substituted we go on to win without him. I'd love it if he could prove me wrong though! I think Fergie might just be hoping him and Tosic have good world cups so he can get a better price for them - as neither seem to be making much of an impact on the first team (although that might change for tosic soon).
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01/12/2009 20:42:00

You just get the feeling with Nani he'll go abroad and be a star a la Forlan and Pique. He hasn't taken his oppotunities for us but we do have a lot of games over the Xmas/New Year period especially now we've qualified for the semis of the Carling Cup. When he next plays as I'm sure he will over this period he has to play so well so Fergie don't drop him.
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01/12/2009 22:57:00

He was Portugal's best player in the 2 WC playoff games. He doesn't lack confidence he just feels that Ferguson lacks confidence in him. He'll certainly want to leave in January, probably on loan to play before the World Cup. I feel that he's lost his way somewhat since Quiroz left - let's face it Carlos was the de-facto manager when he was at Old Trafford, taking training etc - maybe Mike Phelan doesn't rate him.
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02/12/2009 19:08:00

I agree that maybe we've lost something off our training procedurs with Queroz gone...but you do need big players to shine on their own a bit. Not everyone is a Fletcher (mental strength) to get out of the laughing stock into stardom. On the other hand like leopard said, fergie always backed up fletch. and its paid off.
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04/12/2009 11:39:00

The way he's been handled at the moment his failure will be a self-fulfilling prophecy. I was at the game when he made his Sporting CP debut in the CL against Udinese and was immediately impressed. If fergie doesn't want him move him on now no point keeping him and not playing him, he's the finished article already in terms of being able to play in the CL etc, if United don't think he's good enough for them move him now, they'll be plenty of takers.
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04/12/2009 12:52:00


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