Posted tagged ‘Sir Alex Ferguson’

Evans has more than earnt his new deal

May 5, 2010

Evans has become an integral part of the United back four this season.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has revelaed that defender Jonny Evans is close to signing a new long-term contract at the club.

In a season where Rio Ferdinand has spent more time thinking up new ways to ‘merk’ his team mates than play football, and Nemanja Vidic has continuously flirted with clubs abroad, Evans has been an impressive performer in United’s back four. And although confirmation of his new contract is yet to be announced, it is thought it will be confirmed in the coming days.

Neither Ferdinand nor Vidic have been ever-presents this term, meaning the 22-year-old has had to fill in when one, or both of United’s first-choice pairing have been absent, and despite not having a consistent centre-back partner, has excelled when called upon.

Although still prone to the occasional silly error, Evans has come along leaps and bounds this season, and has displayed the no-nonsense approach of Vidic, while also showing he can play a bit too, a la Ferdinand.

His displays have certainly earned him his new contract, and as Ferguson said: “Jonny has proved himself.” ‘Nuff said.

The news will be welcomed by United supporters, who may have had some doubts about next season, considering Ferdinand’s inabililty to recover from a chronic back injury, and doubts over Vidic’s future.

However, with Evans becoming an increasingly valuable member of the squad, and with John O’Shea and Wes Brown recovering from respective injuries, as well as the signing of Chris Smalling from Fulham, things look positive for the United defence. And while they have had their critics this season, it may be worth remembering still that United have the best defence in the Premier League, down in no small part to a Mr Evans.


United need to re-establish true wing play

October 29, 2009

Following Manchester United’s fairly dismal performance against Liverpool last Sunday, I have decided (over the course of the week, it didn’t just come to me in a dream) that what is lacking from their mostly mediocre performances so far this season is the absence of wingers that enjoy taking on defenders.

While this may seem obvious following the departure of a certain greasy-haired number seven, the problem dates back to before Cristiano Ronaldo, and he has merely covered up the problem for the past five seasons or so.

Yes, there is Nani who undoubtedly has the ability, but instead of harnessing this, he decides he is already as good as Ronaldo and wanders around the pitch rarely producing anything other than a pitiful scream every time he goes down when feeling any sort of contact. Sir Alex Ferguson’s lack of faith in Nani is shown by the amount of times he has started in a big game. Approximately never.

Summer arrival Antonio Valencia may yet prove to be the sort of dribbling winger every full-back fears, but just now he seems perfectly content with heading for the by-line every time he picks up the ball, so as to avoid any opposition player. He had the pace to beat Emiliano Insua on Sunday, but as has become his trademark, he would head for the dead ball line and aim to pull the ball back. Understandably this tactic becomes somewhat predictable for the opposing full-back.

Indeed, excluding Ronaldo, I don’t think United have had a truly fearless attacking winger since they won the treble in 1999. Back then it was Ryan Giggs, Jesper Blomqvist, and even David Beckham, who, contrary to popular belief, did used to have the pace to beat a player before whipping the ball in.

Since then they’ve relied on an ever ageing  pre=”ageing “>Giggs, Park Ji Sung, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and even Wayne Rooneyto fill the wide positions. For all of Ferguson’s claims that United are a club who believe in true, dribbling wingers, long gone are the days of the marauding Giggs or Andre Kanchelskis. Ronaldo but this to the back of everyone’s mind, because while he was making himself the best player in the world, there was effectively no need for two attacking wingers, as Ronaldo by himself was more than enough.

However, for all this doom and gloom, Tuesday night showed there was the potential for the dawn of a new age. Despite a few eyebrows (including my own) being raised when Gabriel Obertan was bought in the summer. a player who was shipped out on loan to Lorient when he couldn’t hold down a place at Bordeaux, many thought Ferguson had finally lost it, but following  following Obertan’s impressive debut against Barnsley in the Carling Cup, the doubters will have been hushed, if not all together silenced.

Pacey, and not afraid to take on a player or two, Obertan showed he had the make up of the Old Trafford wingers of old. Couple with this the signings of Zoran Tosic and Adam Ljajic, and the future of the Manchester United winger may be safe, after all.