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Who Should Be United’s Captain Next Season?

Three days have passed since the Euros got over. We haven’t signed anyone. Doom, gloom and hearts stopping left, right and centre. People are dying. Wayne Rooney is partying in Vegas with his newly married wife with the likes of Le Bron James in tow. Fergie’s giving interviews over a game of golf. Ronaldo is off to Sardinia with his bird. Queiroz is being linked to the Portugal job.

We are dead. That is all. End of the world. We’d be lucky to survive in the Premiership. So let’s talk about all that is left to talk about: the captaincy debate. [Doesn’t it worry you that, that is the only topic left to be discussed with more than a month to go before the season begins?]

Gary Neville has been a good captain for United without doubt. He has what it needs to be a United captain: determination, pride to wear the red shirt, leadership, seniority, respect in the dressing room, but more importantly he is a mad-passionate United fan at heart who wears it on his sleeve when he steps out on to the field; cue: the celebration in the Liverpool game in the 05/06 season, being the most recent and popular example.

But with age and injury resulting in him hardly making an appearance last season, there are serious question marks over his fitness. Will he be able to wrest the right back slot from Wes Brown who, to his credit, has stepped in magnificently? If he was fully fit, which one can discern from the pre-season preparations, Ferguson will no doubt give him a go and assess his worth. But considering captaincy is a decision to be made at the start of the season would it be unfair on Rio considering his role last season?

Which brings us to the next part: could Fergie opt for Rio instead? Looking at performances, purely over the course of last season, Rio Ferdinand was a man mountain at the back; rock solid in defence and showed so much desire for winning and topped it off by signing a five year contract with United — and at 29 that ought to keep him at United till his powers wane. Considering all this it is a no brainer to opt for Rio.

But we know Fergie’s loyalty towards the old guard at United. [Note: I am not saying this in a bad way.] He is known for backing those that have stayed loyal to him; which is why for all his greatness, Giggsy’s appointment as captain didn’t sit too well with many fans. To me he doesn’t have the leadership ability as he isn’t quite the vocal player on the pitch. And honestly I don’t expect him to be wearing the arm band, barring substitutions, next season.

Personally I would go with Rio Ferdinand and I’ve mentioned the reasons countless times before (here’s an instance). Some people may thing of Wayne Rooney as a possible option, but I think he still has some way to go.

Anyway, who would you go with?

* * *

And before someone brings this up let me tell you straightaway that it looks spurious to say the least. The report is from Marca, the media mouth piece of Madrid. Now I am not well versed in Spanish, but thanks to Google Translate, here’s the translated version; not perfect but gives an idea of how dubious it could be. On first impressions it sounds like Real want to assure its fans that Ronaldo will be signed — considering how quiet it’s gone on that front.

100 Comments

100 Comments

  1. WhiteY

    2 July 2008 at 15:10

    Because Rio had such a wonderful season, and at times when he captained really marshaled our team, I say Rio should be made captain no question. But still, I know there isn’t going to be any news as par United captaincy, the status quo will be maintained.

    The link to the Columbian kid is really romantic but unfortunately I am in the pragmatic market where players like Berbatov are for sale. Thing is, Fergie wants experience upfront and only Berbie fits that bill thus far. I’m happy about Ince’s unwillingness to sell Santa Cruz. People here seem to be bothered by the prices of our potential targets. I read comments like “let’s get Berbatov if only it’s for 25 mil or less”. Common mates, do we really intent to become auditors for United? I say get Berbatov for as much as he costs because we need Him. We are fans should we ultimately care about the petty details of every transfer especially when we know OUR club can AFFORD said transfer? I don’t even want to know the fee, Fergie please just sign Berbatov already and if You like leave the fee undisclosed.

    Read they are offering Ronaldo a bumper package to keep him at OT till he’s say 29.Well I’d say they are offering him far more. An opportunity to be a legend and possibly the best ever united player, a chance to be loved and adored et al. I hope the kid is smart enough. Madrid are users and losers, and there can be no glory beyond football with them.

  2. phoenix red

    2 July 2008 at 15:16

    @RedDevil:Fair point,(another name you didn’t mention is Diego Forlan) but he has form in South America, the question is will it translate into success in europe/premiership? He’s a regular starter for Columbia in the World Cup Qualifiers for 2010, he played a crucial part for River Plate in their recent success’ including pivitol role in getting River Plate to the semi’s of Copa Sudamerica(S American Champs Lge) aswell as league champions!
    @samphraim: Had we heard of messrs Ronaldo, Nani and Anderson? 🙄

  3. ebrahim

    2 July 2008 at 15:22

  4. RedDevil

    2 July 2008 at 15:23

    @phoenix red: I dont know about you, but I knew about Anderson and Nani way before they were sgned by us. Ronaldo is another thing. 😛

  5. RedDevil

    2 July 2008 at 15:26

    Podolski doesnt seem to be okey in his mind. He wants to move back to Cologne instead of joining either City, Spurs or Juventus. And what are the chanses of us getting Drogba. I hate him, but u gotta admit that he is a real good striker.

  6. RedDevil

    2 July 2008 at 15:29

    Here are the news about Podolski

  7. RedDevil

    2 July 2008 at 15:32

    I would like it if he joined us instead. I understand that Cologne is his home and its his childhood club, but if United made an offer he would be stupid to turn us down.

  8. phoenix red

    2 July 2008 at 15:36

    @ebrahim: Thanks Ebrahim, hadn’t actually checked the official site. So now its there,albeit on the what the papers say? section, are we going to take this transfer possibility seriously? Or is it just to give Spurs a shot accross the bow re Berba’s price?@WhiteY: I agree with you that Berba should be our No.1 target but anything can happen in the topsy turvey world of summer transfers as we already know! 😮

  9. samphraim

    2 July 2008 at 15:44

    PR: Yup, Anderson was constantly linked up with Chelsea and Nani was famous too. as RedDevil said, CR7 is a different thing, he proved what he is – in a pre-season friendly against us. On the way back from Lisbon, our players urged SAF to buy him. 😛

  10. RedDevil

    2 July 2008 at 15:44

    A reported United target, Dani Alves, was today represented as a Barca player. There goes that wish…

  11. RedDevil

    2 July 2008 at 15:45

    @samphraim: And thank God for that. Had they not done that we might not have been the club we are now.

  12. ebrahim

    2 July 2008 at 15:51

  13. AGP

    2 July 2008 at 15:51

    I would go for RIO :mrgreen: as captain simply because of game time I expect Rio to play every game he is available for and I believe he is a better leader than Nev or Giggsy.
    Giggsy is an example on the pitch and I would have no problems with him being chosen but in EPL games only I see him starting a maximum 20 and thats puching it not ideal for a captain.
    Neville he’s mr manchester utd he is a great captain but even when he was chosen I had hoped Rio or Edwin would have got the armband, plus I’m worried about his fitness I want him to come back strong but I don’t think he will feature that much.
    Fergie will go for Nev i feel with Rio as deputy.

    This Falcao business okay he’s from the Argentine league he has been a revelation. I’ve seen him on the odd occasion and he has vastly improved under Diego ‘dive’ Simeone. I am in two minds here he is really talented but like Tevez and Zarate may need time to settle in Europe. I beg everyone not to take this to seriously I doubt we will swoop in for him especially as River have been successful and may price him at £12m+, also don’t let YOUTUBE convince you he’s the 2nd coming I could look like Maradona in a 10 minute clip with dancehall in the background.
    He has a great scoring record and if Fergie goes for him i’ll be behind that, to clarify he is a forward but last year River played with 3 secondary forwards behind their target man so he fitted into the position Tevez played last year. The newspaper atticle suggested he’s another TEVEZ well he’s not really, Tevez Messi and past players like Ortega and Aimar all prefer playing behind a forward so they can find space Falcao is the same though I think he’s more like Aguero than the previous. >>If he can match his namesake the Brazilian player(1980s) then he will be a top player.

    Looks like Rio is the fan favourite, RR why not attach a poll to your article with all the candidates. Some fans have suggested Owen and Vida I think Owen would be a good choice going into are Next chapter 2010-

  14. Penguin

    2 July 2008 at 16:50

    I have little doubt that it will be the same as when the captaincy was being transferred from Robson to Bruce – Neville will be captain whenever he plays, and Rio will captain otherwise. The difference to last season is that Giggs should not be extended the same honour as Neville – I don’t think anyone outside the dressing room ever saw him as more than a stand-in leader anyway.

    As for Falcao, I think we need to sign proven talent. If we could sign him as well, then great – but he shouldn’t be our only striker signing.

  15. RedDevil

    2 July 2008 at 17:05

  16. Kurt

    2 July 2008 at 17:13

    The Flying Dutchman!

  17. Grognard

    2 July 2008 at 17:15

    Regarding the new flavor of the week, Radamel Falcao Garcia. I would not call myself an expert in assessing him as a player as I have watched 8 or 9 matches this year involving River Plate. I obviously did not get a great dose of Falcao because I remember him scoring one goal in all those matches and for most of them he was invisible. Watching YouTube one gets a skewed and very positive but small percentage of what the player is all about. He lead Argentina’ league with 19 goals in 38 matches. Sounds good but Argentina’s league is not up to par with England, Spain, Italy or Germany in terms of domestic quality. So for me 19 goals isn’t all that prolific. Secondly, he has a long history of injury and struggled for two years to recover from an injury that at first was considered career threatening. Credit to the lad for fighting through it but he basically wasted two years doing so. The fact that he has scored something like 29 goals in 58 matches doesn’t really float my boat when you consider that he scored 7 goals in his first 7 games. That makes it only 22 in 51 matches after that and when you consider he scored 19 of them just this year in 38, that means he has played a total of 20 games and scored 7 goals in the previous 3 years combined. Not terribly prolific and certainly halted by injury.

    The biggest question everyone should be asking is this. Why is there not a mad dash to snap him up from any of the clubs in Italy and especially Spain? I’m not seeing it. WHY? For me that is a major warning flag. I wouldn’t mind bringing him as a second purchase after a major striker is bought because I do believe we need four strikers to be rotated in order to keep our main two fresh for crunch time. I remember with fondness the late 90’s when we had Yorke and Cole and then Ole and Sheringham. That depth won us the European Cup and many EPL titles. Now back to Falcao. I’d like to be fair to the lad as he obviously has talent but other than the YouTube video I have watched
    over over ten hours of the lad play and witnessed one goal. For me it’s just not good enough. One name keeps popping up in my mind over and over and over again. DIEGO FORLAN. 😕

  18. Grognard

    2 July 2008 at 17:25

    CAPTAIN CAPTAIN, Who will be our captain? My first choice would be Cristiano Ronaldo. 🙂

    OK, I was just kidding but seriously, what better way to get the lad to commit to us long term and to show him the team has faith in him and honors his contribution and continued loyalty? Just a thought.

    My real choice in order would be

    1. Rio Ferdinand
    2. Owen Hargreaves
    3. Nemanja Vidic

    I think they all show tremendous leadership and set a positive and very professional example for all to follow. Hargreaves is the best of the bunch when it comes to on field leadership, directing the team and shouting at players. The problem is that he has not played for more than a year and even then, he missed a good portion of the season. Vidic is also a leader who I have noticed can be quite a leader and a leader by example. He is not afraid to express himself and to let teammates know what he’s thinking. But for right now Rio is the man. He has grown by leaps and bounds as a player, a leader and especially as a mature and focused man. He gets respect from his teammates as well as his opponents and he certainly leads by example not just by his play but his leadership in moments of turmoil. He also plays with injuries and sucks it up for the good of the team and that shows everyone the direction and attitude that is needed. Rio is a rock.

    Sorry folks, no Wayne Rooney. No questioning the boy’s work ethic and loyalty but he still has mind numbing moments of immaturity and stupidity that no captain should ever have. But then again it’s not like Keano or the King are innocent of stupidity in their careers either. Rooney will be captain…..one day. Just not yet. He’s too young. More mentally then in years.

  19. Stephen

    2 July 2008 at 17:33

    Grog, you have echo’d my views mate, don’t quite know why we should take a punt on a South American with no premiership history who probably will take time to settle, in a very important position which we urgently need filling. Especially as we are pos or likely only buying one plyer this summer. We need to get it right and the Hunter or Berba are our only logical options.

  20. Grognard

    2 July 2008 at 17:38

    @RedDevil: Why is everyone so trusting of Fergie buying the right player. Do you all remember, Forlan, Veron, Djemba Djemba, Kleberson, Poborsky, Blanc, and many others who were major busts at the club. And lets not forget Louis Saha who never lived up to his high price tag and potential. Fergie’s purchasing ability would only get a B- from me. Look at the group of useless goalkeepers we bought to replace God before we lucked out with EVDS. Fergie is not immune to making some bonehead moves and he is certainly not immune to criticism over many of those buys. Buying players is always a risk and it’s never been more true than now. None of us can say without a shadow of a doubt that the players we would like to play for United would be guaranteed triumphs. Check that, Huntelaaar would be. 😀

    Fortunately Fergie has done very well when it comes to young players and he has signed the odd coup. Ronaldo we owe to Ryan Giggs and a few others that begged Fergie to sign him and Fergie himself has admitted this. RVN, Keane, Cantona, Hughes, Stam, Evra, Vidic, Rio, and dozens more always leads us to believe that he can do no wrong. I think he can but I still have faith in him despite my occasional lapses.

  21. Grognard

    2 July 2008 at 17:43

    @Stephen: Touche. Totally agree although I have always said that I think EPL experience is very overrated. Experience in general is certainly not a bad thing. Berbatov or Huntelaar would be my choices too. Although I do have a real guilty pleasure and that is Pavlyuchenko of Russia. I think that lad was built for the Prem. Size, speed, aerial ability, goal poaching instinct and courage to really go at defenses. And he is 26 with loads of experience in internationals as well as in European cup competitions.

  22. Stephen

    2 July 2008 at 17:56

    Grog, I like the look of the lad too, 6’2 which is important as we need a number 9 type and probably would not be too expensive, but as we would bid for him probably worth 20m!

    We do need to stay away from Santa Cruz though, simply not good enough!!

  23. Grognard

    2 July 2008 at 18:03

    Regarding the possible and what looks like imminent departure of Carlos Queiroz. I have to say that if the reports are true (and we all know that IF is a big word when referring to the press) and Queiroz has agreed to a contract with Portugal, I have to say although understandable, I am very saddened and very disappointed in his possible decision to leave OT. I am also very upset with him personally. The reason for this upset is his complete and unbelievable hypocrisy. How can he challenge Ronaldo and beg him to spurn the advances of Real Madrid while accepting a role to be Portugal’s next man in charge? How can he be such an incredible hypocrite? If he indeed decides to take the new job he will be nothing but. And this is just the problem with today’s game and it’s unending greed and mercenary mentality. No matter what job you have, there is always one better and that pays more. In the end it’s all about stroking one’s personal ego and the bottom line, CASH.

    Losing Queiroz is not so bad but it is when there is less than month before the team starts playing games. He has been a technical and tactical influence on this team and his relationship and guidance of the Portuguese and Spanish speaking players on the team can never be underestimated. He was in many cases the glue that kept everything from falling apart when it comes to the ethnic differences on the team.
    How will Ronaldo, Nani, Anderson and Tevez cope without him? Nani and Anderson especially need his guidance and support because of their inexperience and still great discomfort with the English game, language and culture. Queiroz was a wise uncle figure to them and to Ronaldo as well. And what message would his departure send to Ronaldo?

    I don’t begrudge Queiroz for taking this position if indeed he has agreed to do so. He is qualified, tactically and technically savvy and he is a native Portugeezer. It’s a great opportunity an honor and a once in a lifetime opportunity. There are no guarantees that staying at United would ever garner him the position of manager once Fergie retires. And to be honest, he’s be a fool to think that he is even the front runner. I’m sure the Glazer’s have started to think that United’s policy to buy players who would rather play in Spain may be a mistake. Therefore, I see a Hughes, Keane, O’Neill or manager with loyalties to English football being a smarter choice. I honestly don’t think this is about money. It’s about an opportunity to get out from behind someone’s shadow and truly make a name and reputation for ones self. But it still is very hypocritical when you tell Ronaldo to stay put and then you move on as well.

  24. RedDevil

    2 July 2008 at 18:06

    Grog- Do you aslo remember Carrick, Anderson, Ronaldo and Rooney? Last year he showed that he has learnt from his mistakes in buying players and since he uses so much time to decide on ONE player, it must be good.

  25. Grognard

    2 July 2008 at 18:09

    @Stephen: If we were to go after Pavlyuchenko, we would probably have to fight Abramovich to get him. That in itself may make it a difficult thing although I did read just before the CL final that Pavlychenko and several other Russian players were big fans of United and were pulling for them to beat Chelski. So you never know. Red is their favorite color. Another player of theirs that I absolutely love is Yuri Zhirkov. For Russia he played a very advanced and offensive LWB position but he is usually a LMF/LW. He has great dribbling skill with many tricks and moves and he is a solid crosser and cuts in well. His passing is top notch as is his set pieces. I once read that he was 30 so I never ever considered him and then I found out he was only 24. A great talent but probably a player United don’t need because of Nani and Evra. Also, a major target for Abramovich in his and Scolari’s attempt to build a Braizilian/Portuguese/Russian hybrid of a team. Good luck to them……NOT. 😀

  26. Red Ranter

    2 July 2008 at 18:28

    @Grognard: I don’t think the accusation of hypocrisy holds water regarding Queiroz. Portugal is the job of his country, he takes pride managing his country. I see nothing ignoble about it.

    Secondly regarding long term future, can United guarantee him the successor to Ferguson? No. Is he THE boss at United, something being Portugal manager can be? No. I can feel for him and his situation is not a patch on that of Ronaldo. Although it would be harder for Queiroz to convince Ronaldo to stay.

    Remember the point is not of loyalty — we would be daft to expect loyalty from Queiroz and co.

    I know you addressed the above point, but you stated at the beginning of your comment that it’s about money and end it by saying it’s not about money. And you said you were disappointed in him personally but don’t begrudge him at the same time. Mercenary and pride of country. I’m a bit confused as to what you want to say.

    Anyway, if it’s devil’s advocate you’re playing here, please mention it. Otherwise I’ll find it hard to address/respond or even gauge your stand on Queiroz’s departure.

  27. Grognard

    2 July 2008 at 18:33

    @RedDevil: I did say “and DOZENS more”. If I was to sit down and write every name of players who Fergie signed that have done well it would take me an hour. He has had great success. But with all success, he has also had his fair share of failures. And like I said before, spending time on just one player does not guarantee us anything. Buying players is a crap shoot. You never are 100% sure of what you’ll get. South Americans are especially a real gamble when it comes to playing in England. They are either a major success or a major bust. look around, there’s not that many of them. Theres a reason for that. Spain, Italy, Portugal is more attractive for them as well as a better fit football wise as well as culturally and linguistically. Buying any player from South America is taking a big risk.

  28. Grognard

    2 July 2008 at 18:45

    @Red Ranter: You have missed my point entirely. I agree 100% with everything you say and I made those points. I totally understand why he would and should take the opportunity to manage Portugal. What is hypocritical is him opening his mouth to tell Ronaldo to not move to Real Madrid and to show more loyalty to United as well as honor his contract. You cannot be taken seriously if you tell me to stay and to convince me that moving to a club which offers me a great opportunity and options that I have not had up to now, and then up and leave yourself for the same reasons. That’s hypocrisy any way you cut it. Still, I cannot disagree with him if he took the opportunity. I just think it sends a negative message to Ronaldo.

    He like all foreign players or coaches in England is a mercenary and cash will always be a factor. However, he has shown loyalty over many years for United and he has also been patient as he waited and waited for Fergie to retire. In fairness to him, he was offered other jobs but none of them compared to being #2 at United. But even I cannot begrudge him for jumping at this opportunity. He has paid his dues and he deserves this opportunity to make his statement as a the head honcho. That does not mean that money did not play a role in this as it most certainly did. But I doubt seriously if the same money was offered by Serbia, Denmark, Belgium etc would have convinced him to leave.
    So managing his country and the privilege and honor that comes with that is very important. Also, it would be easier to soften the blow to Nani and Ronaldo of his move knowing that he will be managing them both for their national team.

    So I do think you are misunderstanding me a bit RR. I have no problem with his move other than the message it may send to Ronaldo after he tried hard to convince him to stay. if anything, it showed how bitter he is towards Real for sacking him.

  29. Grognard

    2 July 2008 at 18:56

    NEW FIFA RANKINGS
    1. (4) Spain
    2. (3) Italy
    3. (5) Germany
    4. (2) Brazil
    5. (10) Netherlands
    6. (1) Argentina
    7. (15) Croatia
    8. (6) Czech Republic
    9. (11) Portugal
    10. (7) France
    11. (24) Russia
    12. (12) Romania
    13. (13) Cameroon
    14. (20) Turkey
    15. (9) England
    16. (17) Scotland
    17. (18) Bulgaria
    18. (8) Greece
    19. (14) Mexico
    20. (16) Ghana

    My my how the overrated have fallen. England drops to #!5. Cameroon, Romania and the Czechs are even rated higher. Also, I find it hard to understand why Italy is rated higher than Germany, Portugal and Argentina. They won the WC two years ago. Since then under Dumbadoni they have been less than mediocre. Brazil deserves to drop because they have been crap for a year but Argentina certainly does not deserve such a drop. They were #1 not too long ago. As for England, who really cares? They are hopeless even with a cabbage head running the show.

  30. dan(u-ol)

    2 July 2008 at 19:00

    rio for captain, with nev and VDS as our vice.

  31. dan(u-ol)

    2 July 2008 at 19:04

    im pretty sure sepp blatter has something to do with england to 15th, i mean bloody cameroon? i hate, absolutely hate that man.

  32. Chris08

    2 July 2008 at 19:30

    Didn’t SAF say that Neville will be back as captain in that 7min interview?
    I personally would go for Rio for reasons that have been already stated

  33. Brian Lomax

    2 July 2008 at 19:57

    How is Mexico ranked above the United States? We beat them every time we play.

    As for Captain….#5 Rio Ferdinand is the man for me. He grew so much as a player last year, I think Fergie should show faith in him and let him captain the side. Rooney will follow him in say 4-5 years.

  34. WhiteY

    2 July 2008 at 20:07

    @ Grog
    Thanks for your sincere rating of Diego, Moutinho, and Silva etc. Thing is even before the champions league final, I have always been of the opinion that We need a successor to Paul Scholes, who frankly has been one of the best players of Fergie’s illustrious reign at OT. I agree with your assessment concerning our need for a LWB, however since Silvestre will be staying, next season maybe? What I think we are in desperate need of is an AMF. I am even beginning to think that its easier replacing Ronaldo if He left than finding a worthy replacement for Scholes. With Ronaldo, we would take the cash from his sale and get the likes of Ribery and Berbatov and we wouldn’t skip a beat. For Scholes, honestly I don’t know anymore.
    During the Spain vs. Russia match, I was involved in a heated argument with some unknown dudes at the public viewing center where I saw the game, about Man U’s need for a Fabregas type player in our squad. I was rebuffed, rebuked and vilified, and whilst still making my argument, Fabregas completely blew the game to pieces. I maintain that if we had say Fabregas on our bench in the CL final, the game wouldn’t have gone to extra time, not to talk of penalties.
    Unfortunately, I don’t think Anderson will fit the bill, at least not next season, bringing me to the conclusion that to defend our CL title, we need a world class striker and an attacking centre midfielder. I am a Berbatov fan and his name readily fills the striker void but for the AMC, I just don’t know. Is it me or is there a paucity of world class AMCs between 22 and 28 yrs of age? I even read somewhere that we are bidding for Xavi.
    I watched the just concluded Euros, scrutinizing every team’s midfield pairing for signs of an AMC I would hype on this blog. Van der Vaart had a great game against Italy, real sublime passing. But is his game, much like Anderson’s, too one sided and not evenly spread? I would be happy if we bought him but I know he is not IT really. I thought the better CMs in the tournament were, Deco (who is now Roman’s puppet), Xavi, Altintop, and FABREGAS. Frings totally sucked against Spain, joining his captain in ruining Germany’s chances with their combined lack of play.
    In summary, I think for us to dominate and retain our titles, and look invincible; we should retain Ronaldo, Buy Berbatov and get a world class talent to complement Carrick and Hargreaves. Do you have any insight on which that talent might be Other than Van Der Vaart?

    @ Red Ranter

    I hope I am not out of line here, but I think a potentially good topic to rant about will be,” Who should be Scholes’s Successor? Or something of that sort.

    @ Craig Mc
    You once made solid comments concerning our urgent need of an AMC. Please find time to contribute.

  35. dan(u-ol)

    2 July 2008 at 20:15

    whitey, craig isnt here….

  36. Grognard

    2 July 2008 at 20:35

    @Brian Lomax: They speak Spanish. 😀

  37. Grognard

    2 July 2008 at 21:08

    @WhiteY: There are two schools of thought thathave to be looked at before we say that United definitely need an AMFer and true heir to the Scholes throne. If United played the style that they did when RVN and Beckham were here I’s say definitely yes we need one. Back then Scholes was part of 4-4-2 or diamond formation where he played an advanced attacking midfield role just behind the two strikers. He has not played that role now for three years. Due to age and also due to the change in tactics that United have introduced in the last couple of years.

    After the bad loss to Milan two seasons ago I think it became very obvious to Fergie and Queiroz that in order to win the Champions League and in order to beat the top three in the EPL consistently, we needed to change our approach from the more traditional English brand of football to a more defensive yet continental/South American hybrid style that stressed defensive responsibility but not at the exclusion of speed and flair. All through the CL season United played a 4-2-3-1 formation with a few variations when injuries caused changes. Fergie became more and more comfortable with the idea of having two defensive holding midfielders. One who played like a Makelele (Hargreaves or Carrick) and the other who played a little more offensive like a Pirlo (Scholes or Anderson). This helped us have an incredibly strong defensive record in the CL and it didn’t hurt us that much offensively except that United was amongst the worst teams in the competition when it came to ball control/time of possession stats. In this setup there is not AMF player. The ball is brought up by the wingers and most of the attacking comes out of what Ronaldo, Nani and Giggs do. Our lack of goals by central midfielders shows just how far back they play and how little they get involved in the offensive aspects of the game once the ball reaches near to or inside the opponents 18 yard box. Is this a weakness? Yes and no. It’s nice to have one of those midfielders have the Ballack-like or Lampard-like ability to infiltrate the box and score, or the van der Vaart ability to pass and score, but none of these players is world renowned for their defensive holding abilities.

    As long as we have Ronaldo or a winger or set of wingers who can control a game and enforce their domination on it, the need for this AMFer is not necessary and in fact may hurt the team by leaving us more vulnerable at the back. However, if we were indeed going to lose Ronaldo, then changes in philosophy would have to happen as I think the team may be forced to look for an offensive minded midfielder who can assert himself in a game like Ronaldo. As there are few wingers with that ability, the next obvious choice would be an attacking midfielder. In that scenario my choices of preference would be 1. Arshavin, 2. Sneijder, 3. Ballack, 4. van der Vaart, 5. Moutinho. My guilty pleasure of course would always be Riquelme but I’m also realistic. Balalck is probably an impossibility unless Lampard stays. Ballack, Lampard, Essien and Deco can not all stay content on the same team. Ballack is 31 but he is my favorite player and he is a dominating offensive force in the box and on set pieces. He would be a fantasy for me for 2 or 3 years. Sneijder is not really an option because he doesn’t want to come here but if Ronaldo was to go toReal, he may not have a choice if Real say to him that they don’t want him and they trade him to us as part of the deal. Xavi will never leave Barcelona and neither will Iniesta (who I just don’t like). He looks 13 and so gay. 😀 Schweinsteiger is capable of playing anywhere in the midfield but he lacks pace. He is looked at as the heir to Ballack but truthfully that will be Toni Kroos of Bayern. Only 17 and the World is his oyster. A super talent but definitely not for sale. I honestly cannot think of any other AMFers off the top of my head that I think could be great for us and that are possibly available. Forget Gerrard, Fabregas and Modric. They aren’t going anywhere and who wants Gerrard anyway? One guy that I just remembered that I think is very underrated and could fit the bill Hamit Altintop of Bayern. He was great for Turkey and he has a lot of great tools. Diego is great too but he is slow and I just don’t think he suits our style.

  38. Liam

    2 July 2008 at 21:16

    @WhiteY: You may remember that the season before last Fabregas couldn´t buy a goal (that horrible miss from about 6 yards comes to mind) he scored something like 3 or 4 in the whole season but Wenger stuck with him a reaped the benefits this season with him becoming more experienced and confident in his all round game. I think a similar approach is needed with Anderson. I´ve heard things about him firing them in from all angles in training. I really think that it is only his decision making in front of goal that needs to improve because there were times this season when he was in great positions and I was just screaming SHOOT! at the tv but he would try some useless through ball and other times when I shouted PASS! and he would take a stupid off-balance shot. He just needs to become more confident in his shooting ability and he could come on leaps and bounds IMO

  39. Red Ranter

    2 July 2008 at 21:21

    @WhiteY: You are never out of line for suggesting topics to rant about — that’s the whole idea. Will make a note and hope to touch on it in the coming days.

  40. Red Ranter

    2 July 2008 at 21:22

    @dan(u-ol): I don’t know why England deserve to be any higher. They have been truly put in their place. Even if it’s below Cameroon, it’s time someone told England on paper that they are a terribly disjointed team that constantly fall for believing their own hype. Hopefully it gives them a kick on their backside. We’ll see…

  41. Krishnan

    2 July 2008 at 21:39

    Guys who do you think would or should be Fergie’s assistant if Queiroz decides to leave? I hope he doesn’t…. Looks like Ronaldo is leaving to Miami from Sardinia and is not going to meet SAF any time sooner….

  42. Red Ranter

    2 July 2008 at 21:46

    Regarding the Miami thing, look at how manipulative the press has been. It was announced that Ronaldo will be granted leave till the 7th owing to the Euros. So it will be another week before he returns to OT. So according to that he can go wherever he pleases. So I don’t see all the big deal being made out of all this. Wait for the 7th and then let’s see what happens. Here’s the link to that article on Goal.com (which sources it from AS)

  43. Grognard

    2 July 2008 at 22:11

    @Red Ranter: Sounds an awful lot like Spain up until the EUROS. A great manager who stops the BS and kicks out the malcontents can turn things around. Problem is that the country isn’t turning out excellent players at the pace that Spain and others have.

  44. RedDevil

    2 July 2008 at 22:49

    Since everyine is talking about a succesor for Scholes, I will too! I dont think we need to buy a new one. We have Rooney. He would work well in a role like that. He is strong, fast, good passing and ond great control of the ball. He can hit rocket shots from distance and works back when needed. He would be my favorite to take over for Scholes. If not him, then Arshavin or Van der Fart 😀 !

  45. Rd

    2 July 2008 at 23:50

    Rio would make a good captain..if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. He captained United well parts of last season and it’d be good if he continued, but Fergie said its going back to Neville, so i guess Rio just has to be patient for like two years and he’ll get it.

    On Berbatov: The only problems i have with us buying him are attitude(i guess Fergie can groom him and help him work on that) and also Price, 30mil or 23mil is ridiculous for him IMO and i don’t think he’s worth it one bit, he’s in the range of 15-20mil for me. If we can’t get Berbatov for below 20mil, then i think the money should be spent on Huntelaar instead.

  46. Grognard

    3 July 2008 at 01:02

    @RedDevil: I agree with your thought on Rooney succeeding Scholes. Therefore, we need to buy another striker next season as well as one this season.

  47. Grognard

    3 July 2008 at 03:53

    End of Euros +3 and all is quiet.

  48. scoop

    3 July 2008 at 09:22

    Hey Grognard left you a reply on the “wenger speaks sense as the french twat loses his mind”
    Kinda late but just so you know where Im coming from about RVN and an out and out striker.

  49. Grognard

    3 July 2008 at 16:41

    @scoop: Go back to that post for my reply.

  50. DcSISK

    5 July 2008 at 17:17

    Cristiano Ronaldo for sure

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