United Youngsters: Not Good Enough?
With United knocked out of the League Cup at Old Trafford by Coventry, we have a look at the youngsters we had on the pitch.
Ferige made no less than eleven changes to the team that beat Chelsea on Sunday and it was apparent. To be honest, United looked out of their depth from the very first moment and just could not cope with Coventry neither technically nor physically, tactically... So it was a complete nightmare.
Anderson, starting in midfield showed some nice touches and encouraging things and I'm still confident he'll be a success for the club, along with Nani whose passing and vision badly let him down yesterday night. In those areas both have a lot to learn but they've been in English football for only a few months and need more time. And in the case of Anderson, he's still got the effects of last year's terrible fracture.
Dong, up front was disappointing but I expected no more. Let's face it: he lacks genuine talent to succeed at a club like this. Half-time substitute Frazier Campbell is not skilled enough and his physical condition and stature looks insufficient for the Premier League.
Lee Martin is a typical winger, and typically inconsistent, too; yesterday he's shown his worst face, making pointless runs and delivering terrible crosses. He could still have a good future though. Just like Chris Eagles who started brighttly in an unfamiliar position and remained active throughout the game.
John O'Shea is half-fit and not a midfielder so he did reasonably well and my main concern is about our defensive players. Of the current crop of home-grown youngsters, Jonny Evans is supposed to the most talented; well, yesterday night suggested anything but. Of course it would be knee-jerk in the extreme to dismiss him as a no-hoper along with Piqué, they were no match for Michael Mifsud, a Maltese international who could have scored four goals...
They both have serious senior experience under their belt and judging by their performances at Zaragoza and Sunderland, respectively, I expected much more though I understand that Evans at least might have been awed by the surroundings. But I was looking for a performance that could have raised his profile; instead his senior debut raised questions about his talent.
Danny Simpson's insipid performance is forgiveable, as he's not a left-back but Phil Bardsley who's got a lot of experience should have done a lot better. He had been taken off at half-time: Danny Simpson took his place and looked much more assured than on the left. Subsequently, Jonny Evans was switched to the left and looked even more shaky, if that's possible...
Up front, we created little, mainly due to bad decisions in the final third, highlighting the fact that we have never played in this line-up before and that our youngsters need to learn very, very much.
I might have been harsh here of course. And I still think the guys did have a very bad day at the office but could have beat Coventry easily on their day. I still think that Anderson, Nani and Evans are huge talents, regardless of what I have written here. But it would have shown their mettle if they had risen to this challenge the way Scholes and co. had done in their days. Let's hope this nightmarish debut won't ruin Evans' confidence, let's hope that Anderson will continue improving and let's hope Frazier Campbell will simply prove me wrong.
But what I think is that in the 21st century, possibly none of our own home-grown players will ever become key players. Fergie will be able to continue his policy of filling the squad with products of our own academy, like in the case of Brown, Fletcher and O'Shea - but will have to buy his stars from abroad or from other English clubs.