Despite critics writing off Manchester United’s recent signing Bebe as a failure within days of arriving at Carrington, the 20 year old was given a vote of confidence by Portugal with his inclusion in the Under 21 squad to face England in the European Championship match on Friday night. It should be an interesting clash for United fans as the striker may well be lining up against team mate Chris Smalling who will be in the centre of the English defence.
Manager Sir Alex Ferguson was quick to dismiss claims by some sections of the media that the youngster was out of his depth when he was left out of a United reserve side last week saying that he has been happy with the player’s level of performance since his arrival. Ferguson revealed that Bebe has in fact been undergoing specialist work at Old Trafford as he is fast tracked towards first team action.
“Ability wise he’s really good, a terrific finisher and we’ve been very impressed with that” he said “it’s just the right fitness levels he needs to get to. We have not done any serious work because we’re doing some tests on him. There were one or two areas we needed to work on in terms of his fitness and that’s what we’re looking at. It’s combining the physical work he’s doing with the sports science people and the football part.”
Ferguson did not pull any punches when commenting on Bebe’s critics “I think those attacks came from a bit of vengeance from two journalists who are banned from here” he said “they saw an opportunity to have a go at the club and I think it’s disgusting. The boy didn’t deserve that. He’s a young boy trying to make his way in football, they didn’t need to do that. I think it was a real bitter attack.”
No one should be surprised that Bebe needs to work on his fitness level given the breathtaking speed with which he went from playing street football a year ago to rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest names in football at Old Trafford.
The 6ft 3in giant can play as a striker or a winger and while still raw he has pace and power which makes him a formidable prospect. His heading is not yet up to Premier League standard but with his size he should be able to cope with the physical demands of the league.
Upon learning of his selection for Portugal Bebe said “I have realised a dream, I am very happy. Playing with the Under 21s will help my development. If I play against England it will be incredible.” He is now keeping his fingers crossed that he will get some game time when two countries meet later this week.
And as for those who doubt his ability to succeed at Old Trafford, Sir Alex has made it clear that he’s not one of them when he predicted that “Bebe will go from strength to strength at United”
Is Bebe likely to be given any game time in the Premier League this season?