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Old Ferguson plots a young future for United

The 2010-11 season is barely past the half way stage but you may want to note Wednesday January 5 in your diary. Manchester United did not even play that night yet it’s a date that could turn out to be THE pivotal day of the season. Arsenal and Manchester City both dropped two points in a scoreless draw at the Emirates while Chelsea and Tottenham were defeated at Wolves and Everton respectively.

The 2-1 defeat of Stoke City at Old Trafford the previous night left United holding a two point advantage over the rest of the challengers with a game in hand and two on City. Could Sir Alex Ferguson have possibly wished for a better set of results? Apart from that injury time equaliser conceded  at Birmingham, the holiday period gave United the perfect set of results to turbo charge them into the second half of the season.

But Sir Alex is aiming at much further than this season. He is looking at the long term future of the club which indicates that retirement on turning 70 a year from now is the furthest thing from his mind. As the Daily Telegraph’s Mark Ogden explained this week “No fewer than six senior players are expected to leave United at the end of the season, with Edwin van der Sar, Gary Neville, Owen Hargreaves, Tomasz Kuszczak, Michael Owen and Wes Brown all likely to move on, either through retirement or a lack of first-team opportunities.

With doubts also hovering over the Old Trafford futures of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, the United squad which starts the 2011-12 campaign could be the most youthful since Ferguson replaced Paul Ince, Mark Hughes and Andrei Kanchelskis with emerging stars such as Neville, Scholes, David Beckham and Nicky Butt in the summer of 1995.

While Giggs, who will mark the 20th anniversary of his United debut in March, and Scholes are expected to be offered one year contracts to keep them at the club next season, Ferguson now believes his emerging players, supported by the likes of Nemanja Vidic, Wayne Rooney and Darren Fletcher, are ready to make the breakthrough.

The United manager has admitted that his loyalty to those players who have served him for lengthy periods tests his ruthlessness, but that admission came with the concession that time is a commodity he cannot afford to waste – a reality which leaves Neville, Van der Sar, Owen, Brown and the injury-ravaged Hargreaves exposed.

Ferguson said: “When players grow old, their performance level drops, but we have to maintain a level of success at the top end of the game, at all the time. We can’t afford bad years or breaking-in years. We have had periods like that, but we don’t want it and we need to be successful all the time. Sometimes, when a player grows old, you have to recognise it and they have to move on.”

With 21 year old midfielder Tom Cleverley due to return from his loan at Wigan in the summer and Danny Welbeck, 20, set to be elevated to first team contention following his impressive campaign on loan at Sunderland, new signings are likely to limited to players no older than their mid 20s. Eve

rton’s Jack Rodwell and Sunderland’s England midfielder Jordan Henderson are thought to be the long term targets.

The emergence this season, however, of Anderson and Rafael has led Ferguson to pinpoint the pair as replacements for Scholes and Neville. Having warned Anderson at the outset of the campaign that he faced a make-or-break season after failing to realise his potential since his £19 million arrival from Porto in May 2007, Ferguson has been sufficiently impressed by the 22-year-old to have sanctioned a new five-year contract for the midfielder last month.

And with Ferguson identifying Anderson as a replacement for Scholes four years ago, he believes he is now finally at the stage of being able to rise to that challenge. “Long term, I hope he can prove to be Paul’s successor” Ferguson said. “It’s a big ask to reach that level and the challenge will test his confidence, but someone will have to step up to the plate one day.”

Neville, meanwhile, has made just four appearances in all competitions this season and his loss of pace was exposed at West Brom last Saturday, with the 35 year old fortunate not to be sent off and concede a penalty following a badly time challenge on Graham Dorrans.

Rafael, in contrast, has emerged as first choice right-back with Ferguson admitting that the 20 year-old has made impressive progress in recent months. “Injury opens doors and the succession of setbacks suffered by Gary Neville has provided Rafael with more opportunities than he perhaps expected at this stage of his career” Ferguson said.

“He is one of several players who have moved their careers forward when they have been brought into the team.” Chelsea’s struggle to reduce the age of their squad this season has led to accusations that too many of their younger players lack experience, yet many of United’s have already figured prominently at senior level.

Ferguson has already earmarked Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling as long term replacements for Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, while he claimed last week that Bebe, the Portuguese winger, is now being moulded into a central striker to provide competition for Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov alongside Welbeck, Javier Hernandez and Federico Macheda.

The acquisition of Danish goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard, 26, is likely to be followed by the arrival of a more experienced replacement for Van der Sar, while teenagers Paul Pogba and Ravel Morrison can expect to be given opportunities to press their claims in the Carling Cup next season.

Putting the ‘young’ in Old Trafford

Out: Edwin van der Sar (40), Tomasz Kuszczak (28)
In: Anders Lindegaard (26), Ben Amos (20)
Targets: Manuel Neuer (24), David de Gea (20)

Out: Gary Neville (35), Wes Brown (31), John O’Shea (30)
In: Rafael (20), Fabio (20), Jonny Evans (23), Chris Smalling (21)

Out: Paul Scholes (36), Owen Hargreaves (29), Michael Carrick (29)
In: Anderson (22), Darron Gibson (23), Tom Cleverley (21), Corry Evans (20) Ravell Morrison (18), Magnus Eikrem (20), Paul Pogba (18)

Out: Michael Owen (31)
In: Danny Welbeck (20), Javier Hernández (22), Bebe (20), Gabriel Obertan (21) Federico Macheda (19), Mame Diouf (23)

There are those who will scoff at some of these youngsters yet Ferguson appears to have plenty of faith in them. The man has been re energising his teams at Old Trafford for 24 years and I for one am not prepared to question his judgement.

How do you see a typical United line up three years from now?


No Responses to “Old Ferguson plots a young future for United”

  1. pedmachine says:

    Could it be Ferguson is taking the Arsene Wenger route to “success”, whilst you have to sit and watch City buy the world?

  2. bruce thomas says:


    £100 million sitting on the Citeh bench last night — and another £200 million on the field — and they’re still too scared to venture out of their own half.

    Manchester City have parked the most expensive bus in the world, nothing more. Wouldn’t it be easier if Mancini just blocked up the goal mouth with piles of cash and cut out the middle man? Spend another billion and you still won’t win anything.

    How the f*** a Citeh supporter can even spell the word success is beyond me. I’m afraid there’s nothing but pain ahead for you pedmachine as SAF takes his fifth great team into United’s 19th 20th and 21st PL title wins.

  3. cockney red says:

    We shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking that SAF is building another great team.

    This is a fire sale, so we can meet UEFA’s new financial rules, and keep Ocean Finance happy for another year.

    And why are we giving Sh*tty supporters grief for not getting beaten by Arsenal at the Emerites? City have the best away record in the league. Accusing them of “parking the bus” implies that they are better than arsenal.

  4. Jebba says:

    City could buy the world twice over and they still would be in our shadow. SAF is doing what comes natural too him, winning. Greatness is once again on the horizon.

  5. Old Trafford King says:

    last time i check pogba was a cm/cdm…

  6. dave@shepton says:

    He is getting rid of the dead wood. Probably a bit too late to be thinking about building another great team. Why was he not doing this anyway. After all, is that not what his reputation is built on: Giggs, Beckham, Scholes, Nevilles et al.

  7. CollyhurstRedArmy says:

    Your not fooling anyone “cockney red”. Best away record in the league means nothing if your shite at home. Also dzeko is not the messiah by any means, just another mercenary, adebeyor is a better player just with a shitter attitude.

    If city cant beat us this year then what hope have they got next year when we improve to the next level.

  8. Danny Salford Red says:

    @ Cockney red, Far too negative pal, don’t believe everything the media will have you believe. If Wenger had our youths in his side they would be lining up to pay homage to him for nurturing such talent. We will come good even with the Glazer weight around our necks

  9. CollyhurstRedArmy says:

    Your not fooling anyone “cockney red”. Best away record in the league means nothing if your shite at home. Also dzeko is not the messiah by any means, just another mercenary, adebeyor is a better player just with a shitter attitude.

    If city cant beat us this year then what hope have they got next year when we improve to the next level. United will always be great, dont forget well never die!

  10. Frank Scicluna says:

    @ Old Trafford King – You are absolutely right mate. The error has now been fixed

  11. Redscot says:

    Evening Boss! lol. early enough for you jaysus its only 9ish In Bonnie Scotland! 🙂
    On your head line “Old Ferguson plots a young future for United”
    I think this has always been the United way of going about things and planning for the future.Sir alex as you know was hugely influenced by Sir Matt who started the revoloution in playing youngster’s and giving them their chance to play for United.
    Nothing has changed it is the way he plans ahead. Giggs, Scholes, Beckham,G.Neville, Butt, P.Neville.
    It was a brilliant night on Tuesday, played ok, but nothing to write home about, a job done.When we open up the throttle beware all the teams below us in the Premiership!

    Manchester Uniteds advantage that the great man has carefully plotted is the youth players.I personally dont see him managing them in their prime he is preparing the master plan for his successor.
    Chelsea have no real youth coming through(Although invested heavily in this) there ranks and have blooded few youngsters in there vain quest for the Premiership.liverpool long ago ditched there “Boot Room” policy and went for fast returns with ready made journeymen, which ultimately has come back to bite them in the backside.
    City well we know about them and there short term policy of buying success to no avail as yet and not looking likely for another season.I hope they get to the Europa league final for obvious reasons and are handsomely beaten.
    Arsenal on youngsters simply dont get the balance correct, regards a blend of youth and experience and it shows repeatedly on the “Big” games.

    It was a brilliant night last night truley pivotal and almost a season defining night.

    I like reading Mark Ogden he is normally very balanced and a realist, I wish he were wrong in his thoughts regards Edwin moving on but time will tell.
    I agree with the departures of Gary while he has still some self esteem and save him from further humilation and abuse.I would prefer to remember him for his “Red Nev” performances and his Unitedness attitude, not the slating I have read on many “United” forums.
    Owen Hargreaves agreed, or this player is not going to be able to walk in his laters years.
    Micheal Owen sad but yes. A model professional and a sweet talker but not fit as often is necessary.I picture a swan song from Micheal on Sunday against his former club, 90th minute Stretford end scores the winner, its good to be an optimist though!
    Wes Brown, yes agreed thanks and good luck Wes.
    Tomasz Kuszczak, not sure on this one there is a domino effect here something is in the offing having sold Ben Foster also last Summer to Birmingham.
    I think our youngsters are great I truely do Rafael is a top right back and going to be a World class right back with Brazil.
    Chris Smalling just grows and grows learning from Rio and Nemanja,Jonny Evans has had one or two poor games and been muscled out of duels but he is just a youngster yet like Chris, has time to rectify his weaknesses and work on them.
    Fans i guess dont watch Fabio as closely as they should to be an ideal replacement for Patrice Evra he is more than capable and to me displays not dissimilar attributes to his brother at driving forward and a tough wee Devil.

    The midfield as you list is fine and will be superb in three years time if they all grow as they have shown in their early years at United.
    I am an adamant supporter of we need a midfield general a dominator I dont see that at United nor in the future as it stands.Like Roy Keane, Bryan Robson,Eric Cantona, to command the middle of the field a big presence.
    Our forwards look fantastic for the future utterly brilliant the good old days will be back.Exciting fast flowing and hairs on the back of your neck standing with excitement with those forwards.
    The Goal keeper selection for me, is a puzzle I cant disagree with any names that Mr Ogden puts forward that’s all subjective, I like Maarten Stekelenburg the Dutch International goal keeper.Mature experienced and would not cost the moon.
    I have not done a typical line up in three years as I dont play Football Manager nor do I have “Crystal Balls” Well sometimes I do. 🙂

  12. Cunty says:

    Copy and paste from the telegraph if I’m not
    Mistaken. Shite

  13. CiTyBlUe says:

    That squad of average youth is not going to winning much in the future, The only reason your where you are in the league now is because of Vidic and Berbatov and you know it.

    Once you loose Neville, Giggs, Scholes, Van Der Sar and Alex Ferguson, your club are going to crumble and nothing, not even money is going to save you.

  14. Frank Scicluna says:

    Spoken like a typical Bitter Blue – Well Done

  15. Redscot says:

    2006 – 2011 Purchased Gross Sold Nett Per Season

    2006 – 2011 Purchased Gross Sold Nett Per Season

    1 Manchester City £428,670,000 £55,050,000 £373,620,000 £74,724,000
    2 Tottenham £225,800,000 £135,100,000 £90,700,000 £18,140,000
    3 Sunderland £116,850,000 £46,725,000 £70,125,000 £14,025,000
    4 Aston Villa £124,850,000 £62,650,000 £62,200,000 £12,440,000
    5 Liverpool £195,240,000 £149,480,000 £45,760,000 £9,152,000

    I dont know the point you are trying to make?
    Are we crumbling to this point in time.”Parking the Bus at the Emirates?
    You have Mancini we have Sir Alex

  16. Frank Scicluna says:

    Correct Cunty – what a brilliantly appropriate name for someone who makes such a banal comment by the way. What you failed to mention is that it’s a fact which was clearly identified as early as the third paragraph.

  17. Redscot says:

    @ Frank. I told you i will be a writer for the big newspapers.I just got upgraded from United forums.! lol
    Cundy is a twat, tha sits on SKY sorts with a open chested shirt and havers drivvle disnae know his facts.Jason cunty is also on that other meduim called Talk shite” which he does with marvelous aplmomb and generaly a ABU.
    Most are in denial!



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