Bastian Schweinsteiger. Need I say anymore? World Cup winner, Champions League winner and eight Bundesliga titles all tied to his name at just 31 years old, astonishing.
The man is an inspiration, not only does he focus on his own game but his team mates around him and the experience under his belt doesn’t just waste away but flourishes out on the pitch. The role he’s playing in our team is phenomenal if it’s noticed by it’s onlookers or not, the calmness in his play when the pressure is piled on, the leadership that’s benefiting the team and not to forget his footballing abilities. Before, during and after the 90minutes he comforts all of our young players in Martial and Memphis, almost acting as a father figure and it’s working. This year there isn’t one single player who believes he’s bigger than the club, the maturity level is incredible even from Anthony at just 19. They all want to keep their head down and play well, no comments about not settling in or this that and the other like we had with Di Maria last year, it effects the teams performance in the long run and with the team being so together, it could be the reason behind reason results.
Since the days of Scholes we’ve lacked a cool and calm midfielder who can get us out of trouble, not only a creator but a battler. Although few years left in him at the very highest level, Bastian can give us what Scholes gave us, without a minutes thought. It’s this impact United fans have been crying out for over the past few years and it has finally been delivered. With past midfield’s including the likes Cleverley and Anderson as first team players, it’s about time Man United brought in some world class talent. Basti is not the type of player to earn man of the match week after week but one that does so much without even being noticed with an attitude at the highest order. He is a Manchester United player through and through, he will fight to the end and put his heart and soul into his performance to please United fans.
In my opinion, the partnership of Schneiderlin and Bastian/Carrick is the best in the Premier League after the drop in form by Nemanja Matic and there hasn’t been a better midfield at Old Trafford since Fergie’s era. Bastian was brought in for a disclosed fee of £6.5million, possibly the best signing of the summer and at 31 he could possibly carry on until 34 in our midfield. Passing the armband to David De Gea was an unbelievable gesture, a chance to captain the biggest club in the world turned down in the most gentlemen like fashion and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. Bastian Schweinsteiger is the captain without an armband.
Since the days of the angry and malicious teenager who was frowned upon due to his poor discipline to being made the Manchester United and England captain, at the age of 29 has Wayne Rooney matured too much?
It may seem ridiculous criticising a player for being too mature, especially when he’s the captain of his club and country, but does acting like a role model ruin the free scoring Rooney that the world has known for many years? Since the grand honour of captaincy has been awarded to Wayne, his days of reckless challenges and attitude has slowly washed away and replaced with one that young children can look up to but it isn’t being a role model that contributes to titles, it’s goals. Although not far from thirty years old, Wayne is still a very quick player and still has the ability to beat any defender in world football so pace is certainly not the thing missing from his game in 2015. It’s the hunger, the determination in his eyes when he looses the ball, he doesn’t want anyone to remember that after the game, but instead his attitude to win the ball back. The captaincy in my opinion has changed his game whether Wayne admits it or not, if he made a bad challenge he would have been criticised but as the captain of Manchester United and England nowadays the press will not let him live it down. Wayne was so hungry he even turned on his best friend in Cristiano Ronaldo after the famous win, that’s the Rooney we need to see again, the man that will knock down everyone in his way to score a goal.
To explain my point, in 2007-2008 title winning season, Wayne missed ten games but still finished the season with 18 goals in all competitions, that’s incredible after missing 900 minutes of football in his most injury prone season with United. Now fast forward six years to July 2014 after the departure on Nemanja Vidic, Wayne was announced club captain at United and after playing most games in the season Rooney finished the campaign as the reds leading goal scorer with 14 goals, four less than in 2008. This turned out to be the lowest by a leading scorer since 1982. That’s four less goals than a season where he missed 10 games through injury and whether that boils down to age or the pressure of captaincy it certainly shows evidence for my point that after being announced captain, the goals and hunger have dropped from his game.
Wayne is and will forever be a Manchester United and England legend and a player that I admire, so I am not harshly criticising him because you also have to take in that van Gaal’s philosophy of passing may not fit and out and out striker, but one thing that you cannot deny is the Rooney we are watching now isn’t as hungry as the one in the Sir Alex Ferguson era.
Since the day of his questionable judgement in the World Cup, replacing Jasper Cillessen with Tim Krul that is, many have wondered what goes on in Mr van Gaal’s head and whether it’s pure genius or just a major ego.
Whether you love him or hate him, his experience speaks for itself, he is a strong and bold manager who makes sure no player believes they are bigger than the club. Over the years he has had many fall outs with players, Zlatan being one of them and many ex Barcelona players during van Gaal’s time there. Despite his great characteristics of a successful manager, there are still doubts around groups of fans who believe he should be challenging for the title with the sort of money the club is spending, not for fourth place. I, myself, am not against LVG and do not wish to see his dismissal, but the Manchester United way is slowly drifting away and although a new manager with his own philosophy, we are not city and should not buy the title. If the club replicates the doings of Manchester City and Chelsea, no British players will be brought through regularly and the Class Of 92 will soon be a distant thing never to be replicated again.
The club has been the best out of the top English teams in creating or signing home grown players that not only benefit the club, but also the national team. With the vast amount of money being spent its time to say goodbye to the great British players who quickly adjust to the Premier League, only to settle with the foreign players who 95% of the time take a year or two to adjust and settle down. Now many may say I’m being harsh because of the likes of Blackett and Mcnair, but young Reece James had a bright future ahead but was sold by Van Gaal. Wilfried Zaha, filled with bags of potential, was never given a chance under David Moyes, also sold by Van Gaal. Danny Welbeck who could have been vital for our lack of striking options or even Jesse Lingard, who has been placed on loan for the last few seasons. The point is that these players are being wasted out on loan or being sold to smaller clubs when they could be at the helm for the clubs future. To be raised at Manchester United’s academy and be brought through all the way to the senior squad, you have to have something special and it’s important this isn’t ruined by a new managers philosophy, because whatever their beliefs are, they manage Manchester United, the biggest club in the world and we have to keep the United way.
With just over a day to go until the transfer window slams shut, The Reds are still left with gaping holes in the squad as they head further into the season. This article will explore the three things United should have wrapped up before the yellow tie of Jim White is live on air.
David De Gea’s Future
With the future of United’s shot stopper still not resolved, De Gea has been left out of every single game this season with the boss saying he was not focused, although rumours from De Gea’s party suggest otherwise and the Spaniard was eager to play for United. With the International Break having started De Gea will be in Madrid meeting up with the Spain squad, which obviously eases the situation for Madrid’s negotiations to get under way. If United had have tied him down to a contract before the season there would be no unsettlement from United’s point of view, but if he refused a contract he should have been parted from Old Trafford before the season was underway. Doing so would have taken pressure off Romero, the fans wouldn’t be frustrated and there would be time left to recycle the De Gea funds on new investments.
The Gaping Gaps
Before the transfer window opened everyone who follows United understood the gaps that needed to be filled, with the departure of Vidic and Ferdinand there was a need for a strong, tall and no nonsense defender at the back to form a partnership with Smalling. We had lacked a Gary Neville esque full back and the midfield was very poor with no real experience and strength other than Carrick who wasn’t always fit. Then the departure of our number 20 Robin Van Persie and loanee Radamel Falcao left no world class back up for Wayne Rooney to team up with to fire the goals in. In this current transfer window only the midfield and right back position has been fixed with Darmian, Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger being brought in, but no additions to the Centre Half role or Striker. The goalkeeper role could have also been a gap but with Victor Valdes and De Gea still at the club they weren’t in too much of a panic. Now just hours from Deadline Day every valuable team in the footballing world will know how desperate Manchester United are and will seek to take advantage of that but charging a heck of a lot more for players that are young and unexperienced and the chances that United will fall for it are sky high. When Pedro joined Chelsea, Ed Woodward stated that we shouldn’t worry because they have bigger targets and the Pedro situation will ‘all blow over’ yet since his comment we have had no new additions or even look like being close to anyone of a bigger calibre than Pedro. Time to eat your words Ed?
Although it may seem like a harsh point and may be a problem for every team, Van Gaal still is unknown to his players best positions and if his philosophy fits his players style. For example take Juan Mata, one of if not the best number 10 in the league but has constantly been playing as a right sided winger. Mata is a fast player but he is a playmaker, he doesn’t want to run at players on the wing. The attitude of Mata is fantastic because playing out of position he still gives everything he’s got, but the likes of Ashley Young and Depay could probably both play on either wing, so why bench Ashley Young after he saved United last season with some performances and still gives everything he’s got. Wayne Rooney is a very small striker to be playing on his own, this season he’s been playing with his back to goal all the time and is easily shoved off of the ball to easy, he’s not a Christian Benteke type of player who can push into a giant centre half to relieve pressure of his team, he is not a lone striker and it has not been working against Premier League standard opposition, but Wayne in being blamed for it.
So the third round of the Capital One Cup has drawn Manchester United and Ipswich Town together which will e played at The Theatre Of Dreams, but it may not be as easy as it looks on paper.
If Manchester United were going to draw anyone outside of the Premier League in their cup run, Ipswich may be the least wanted team possible. Commonly known as the ‘Tractor Boys’ the blues are managed by Mick McCarthy and his assistant Terry Connor, who both have had a good career so far at Ipswich. Mick who usually plays a squad rotation in the cup has now suggested he may abandon that option and field his first team, who on there day are a very good side. So this article is going to explore the three things The Red Devils need to get right to win on the night.
At the age of 32 Daryl Murphy only looks to be doing the opposite of the usual football expectations and getting better with age. Last seasons Championship top scorer the Irishman is very good with his back to goal and could course havoc for Blind if he’s at his best. Not to mention his striking partner David Mcgoldrick who is also very good when he is without injury problems. With the partnership of Smalling and Blind growing as each game goes by, they should be ale to keep the Ipswich target man quiet, but if they don’t it could lead to embarrassment at home. The good news for United though is Murphy is still currently injured and may not have regained full fitness by the time the fixture occurs but he has been selected by Martin O’neill for Ireland in the International Break.
Cup Fever & Expectations
As everyone knows you usually can’t guarantee results in the cup, the attitude of the underdog is always sky high because they are playing with no pressure especially if they are away from home. However the expectations of United to win is incredible and if they do not pick up the result the footballing world as we know it will go into meltdown, piling huge pressure on the shoulders on every United player on that pitch, which is why this game might be for the experienced ones. For the Ipswich fans, if they become a walkover against the reds it will not be a huge issue for their campaign because they’d have travelled 6 hours and will have enjoyed their day out in Manchester.
The Team Selection
With Ipswich finishing in the Play-Offs in last seasons campaign and having a good start to this season they are not a team were United can field a team of youngsters, brining in Ryan Fraser on loan from Bournemouth and Niles on loan from Arsenal they have the pace if needed. To avoid embarrassment, LVG must play a regular first team with youngsters possibly on the bench, this isn’t the opposition to try players out. We really want to avoid another MK Dons.
At a club where so many legends have surpassed, writing history for themselves, there is nothing more exciting to see as a Man United fan then a player that will do anything in his power to create his own legacy at The Theatre Of Dreams.
Dream Chaser. The powerful words inked onto the chest of a young man who replicates that exact phrase, Memphis. We may only be a few games in and judging too early, but if we judge him by the story of his life, he will do anything to make it to the top, beating whoever challenges him.
At four years old Memphis’s father and mother split up while living in a rough village flooding with crime and when Memphis’s mother moved in with another man, Memphis became the 16th child of the house. Before to long his mother’s new boyfriend reportedly gained millions via the lottery and left Memphis and his mother. Left without a father figure, his closest male figure was his beloved grandfather who sadly passed away after Memphis turned 15, adding more emotions to the ones he had from past experiences. His teenage years were tough for people around him, not to mention himself, pushing aside anyone with major authority and it has been said that Memphis was very close to being released from PSV but the blinding talent that was spotted from him always kept him there. Memphis once said that football was a blessing for him, a type of refuge from the crime on the streets, he stated that he ‘did things you were not allowed to do, more than pranks’ but abruptly stopped himself and said he did not want to go into it.
At the age of 21, six years after the pain of his grandfathers passing, Memphis is beginning to start his legacy as Old Trafford’s new number 7 and there is no doubt in my mind that he can live up to the reputation of the historic shirt number. His ambition to be the best is sky high and his single minded approach can be seen that he only has one direction in sight, and that’s to be the best. He’s said to be a very hard trainer, hitting the gym very often much like Cristiano, he also wants to develop himself as a footballer daily, with no respite. His grandmother has said that she feels the sadness that came with the loss of his grandfather will only motivate his hunger to succeed. He also refuses to wear the Depay on the back of his shirt by simply saying his father has not earned it, who he is not in contact with.
With the attitude to want the shirt, the childhood that fuels him to chase his dream and to become an Old Trafford legend, there is no reason why Memphis cannot reach the heights of Ronaldo at Manchester United.