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Have United Replaced Keane and Scholes With Anderson?

When Anderson first joined United, I was expected a flair player, who’d be great on the attack, but whose work rate may suffer. He was billed as the replacement for Paul Scholes, which was incredibly exciting, considering the thought of finding someone to fill Scholes’ shoes should have been a worry for all United fans over the past five years or so.

Then we saw him play and I didn’t see a Paul Scholes replica (for one, Scholes is naturally gifted at striking the ball, something we’ve still yet to see many signs of encouragement where Anderson) is concerned, but someone more similar to Roy Keane. He was gutsy and got stuck in, chasing the ball over the park and throwing his weight around. He got the better of both Cesc Fabregas and Steven Gerrard, by which point he had already caught the attention of our fans and had become very popular.

It was only as last season continued that we saw more of the Scholesy elements in the lad, with his long range passing coming in to play. No one can pass the ball like Paul Scholes, so the idea of him getting too old to play before finding a half decent fill in was scary. Whilst Anderson is still no Scholes, he’s getting closer, which is more than comforting when you consider he’s only 20-years-old and played Premiership football for a season!

When United beat Aston Villa 4-0, Rooney had time to applaud a 50-yard inch perfect ball before it reached his feet, Anderson the one to deliver.

The Times wrote: In the closing stages of this master-class, as the rain lashed down on Old Trafford and thousands of spectators opted to make an early getaway, something remarkable happened. Anderson, Manchester United’s wonderfully talented Brazilian substitute, struck one of his characteristic cross-field passes and, far away on the right-hand touchline, Wayne Rooney applauded as the ball flew 50 yards towards his right boot, with which he brought it down, before proceeding goalwards.

Anderson’s compatriot, Rafael Da Silva, has all but wrapped up Gary Neville’s position in the team and it seems as though Anderson will the one to replace another former United ‘kid’, Scholes.

“Anderson is a different type of player altogether to Roy Keane, but when you are looking for that central midfield player – we’ve got Scholes who is coming to the end of his career, Roy Keane has left us to try his hand at management – you say, ‘who is going to function for Manchester United?’” said Ferguson. “Then a 19-year-old lad comes in and you see his performance level. You know he is going to become a terrific player and life moves on. United move on, it’s inevitable.”

Whenever any big player leaves United, there will always be questions over who can replace them. It is important to remember that these big players can’t be replaced. There is no new Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, Peter Schmeichel, David Beckham etc., rather different teams that revolve around different people, to the greatest benefit of the team.  

“Our style has changed over the last few years,” added Ferguson. “We’ve got different types of players to ten years ago, so you cannot replicate every team with identical players. When I first came here they used to say Bryan Robson was king and you cannot win a game without him. I began to believe it as well because we didn’t operate as well without him. We had to change the mentality – change the mental toughness. They thought you could never find another Robson, but then Roy Keane came along and filled the breach marvellously. Then they thought you would never get another Keane, but then someone like Anderson steps through the door and the cycle just keeps going.”

In my mind, Anderson isn’t Keane and he isn’t Scholes, but he’s starting to look like a nice mixture of the two. His style and spirit on the pitch are things to be admired, and I can only imagine how good he will be by the time he reaches 25-years-old!

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. izzy says:

    I think Ando is going to be one of Red Devil’s best!! He has the ability, courage and composure. Not to mention the vision. He lacks the scoring ability though, and i am confident the time when he scores strings of goals will come, sooner or later..

  2. jhunt says:

    now can he start getting into the right positions to score some goals!

  3. pedronocomment says:

    For sure he is a great player, i am waiting his 1st goal…When it happen more will come, and it will make him stronger than now, and for sure he must b one of our first options in midfield

  4. MK Red says:

    Daft though this statement would have seemed just over a year ago, the way Fletcher has been playing lately is reminiscent of Keane in many ways.

    OK, Fletch is not the in-yer-face type like Keano, but the way he is always ready to for a pass and then lays it off in an uncomplicated way is very much like the maestro himself.

    We certainly missed him on Saturday. Fletch and Anderson in midfield is a pretty good pairing……..and get ready for Possebon and Gibson next: just as well as Hargreaves is threatening to be a latter-day Saha.

  5. Drew Vader says:

    Am I the only one who finds myself screaming at Anderson occasionally when the opposition has the ball? There are times when he is jogging around, barely above a walk when the other side is passing the ball around and I find myself infuriated that he isn’t trying harder to get about the pitch and fuck shit up like I know he can do. This isn’t just because of the second goal on saturday either, although that is a glaring example of what I mean, but it happens far too often. I know the lad is quick as shit but man he just looks a tad lazy defensively sometimes.

  6. North Stand,Tier 3,Back Row says:

    I know what you mean Drew Vader, he has a tendancy to drift through a game. Thats why I’ll wait a little longer before I say either that he will become a great midfielder, or a great pretender.
    He did ok at Arsenal, just. Im not sure where a lot of the hype is coming from on here since Saturday to be honest.
    If he was that exceptional on Saturday, I doubt Fergie would of taken him off for Giggs. In patches, he looks world class, no doubt about it, but he can go missing sometimes. I do like the look of him, and with Fergie as his mentor, Id definitely think he will become a complete midfielder, potentially world class, but he’s not there yet.
    He isnt back to the level he was at this time last year, but he’s young, its only his second season, so i’ll give him more time to develop, before any of us can really be sure what exactly we have our hands on with him.
    That said, I do like him, and like to see him in the starting eleven.

  7. Sam says:

    i think he works alright, when hull stepped it up last week he was more than ready to match their work rate and was tackling all over the place. He’s getting praise after saturday because he won all of his individual confrontations with fabregas. His shooting needs practice, had a running joke with my mate saying he’ll never score. Now it’s costing me a fortune everytime he misses. But hey, he still stuck the penalty that mattered away and i can see him scoring for fun when he gets off the mark

  8. Stephen says:

    He does go missing I must say in games, but when he is on his game he really is a top player. I agree with the boys that he is a prospect but desperately needs a goal, it looks like it could be affecting his game a bit and maybe trying too hard. Once he gets off the mark that may relax him a bit and things will come more natural, but he is young and with youth you get inconsistency.

  9. denton davey says:

    I still don’t understand why he was taken out Saturday and replaced with Giggs.

  10. Stephen says:

    Fuck knows, pos as Anderson couldn’t score with Gerrard’s Mrs, and Giggsy scored on Wednesday thats the only conclusion I could come up with.

  11. Giant Powerful Man says:

    Does anyone know where I can see a video of this pass that Rooney applauded? I tried looking it up on youtube but couldn’t find it.

  12. RedDevil says:

    He is a complete midfielder! He can pass, tackle, run with the ball, he has great dribbling and vision, hard shot but needs to get them on target and he is a hard working machine. He will become great and I catn wait for his first goal I will go crazy when he does! :razz:

  13. OMelhorDoMundo says:

    He’s incredibly strong, very fast and as you say, passes really well. Sometimes I wish he’d run with the ball a bit more though. And he really needs to start using his right foot a bit more. But other than that, he’s got the talent to play against anyone.

  14. AlexOfMancunia says:

    Before the games, he’s there rifling left foot cannons into the top corner, but he must take those shooting boots off before the game starts because after that whistle blows to signify the start of the game he couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat!

    I think he’s trying too hard to score. He just needs to keep it simple and just try to get it on target and make the keeper do all the work. Or just follow up on some of Ronaldo’s shots and try and get a rebound to tap in.

  15. OTRed says:

    I’d say Fletcher is the Scholes replacement and Anderson replaces Keane.

  16. whiteknight03 says:

    He was an attacking player in Brasil and Portugal…I’d love to see him finally score. I understand the disciplined role given to him by Fergie, but every time he shoots I think he went to the Nani school of finishing. Crikey…just get a Vidic style goal from a corner or a Forlan-esque fluke or something.

  17. Tevratov says:

    Innit, I’m dying for him to get his first goal.

  18. Jig says:

    The kid has undoubted talent but I too would be a little worried about his work-rate; it comes in fits and bursts. I want to see huge desire in a young player and a genuine thirst for action, a cool head is great but can be worrying when it starts edging toward indifference.

    I hope he doesn’t head down the Gerrard route of showing up when he feels like it and drifting around to suit himself on other occasions. I’d be optimistic that Ferg can get the most out of him.

    I’d be far more worried about the aforementioned Nani, he hasn’t come on at all since he arrived. Some players take longer to come into their own though so hopefully he steps up to the plate by next year.

  19. ManU says:

    Wake up Sir Alex its time to retire Gary N and ship out JOHN Oshea from the team. Its second half of the season and talented youngsters Johnny Evens,Possebon,Da Silva brothers and Manuchi to be in the first team.Giggs and Scolees are good only for 45 mins and they should also retire by next season.The youngsters are hungry for glory and its time for them to achieve
    their potentials.Ferdinand must take over the captain role and either Ronnie or Ronaldo the vise captain.

  20. SULLY [South Africa] says:

    Anderson is just about an average player. You lot are makin it like he’s probably in contention of winning the Ballon d’Or or sumthing. Watch him against Villarreal, EVERY fuckin pass of his went wayward. And please dont even talk about he’s shooting, because it’s as awful as ever. For fuck’s sake stop fooling yourselves. Give me my Scholesy any day of the week!

  21. denton davey says:

    Sully – you don’t have a clue.

  22. badger says:

    I hope to christ you are wrong OTRed – Fletcher hasn’t got a creative bone in his body!

  23. SteRDLK says:

    Anderson seems to play a good game once in a blue moon

    He is way too inconsistent, but to be fair to the boy he doesnt play regularly. Now Scholes is out he HAS to show how good he is or we might be fucked.

  24. TonyBee says:

    Anderson, when he wants to, seems a half decent player, but needs a bit more bite in his tackling to be compared to Keano, even Scholesy has a bit o’bite in him. Anderson needs to step up his workrate and practice kicking the ball into the fucking net instead of wide or over the bar….
    as for Fletcher the Jock joke….. he is too much like Carrick… an almost man…. not quite up to it sort of player…. too slow.

  25. pdm says:

    why do people give fletcher any respect… he looks good cos he runs after the ball he is responsible for losing. he is crap and completely ruins the team.. as does g neville, o shea, giggs (now) and of course park. i’d love it if we shot them or sold them to title rivals like we did with silvester and heinze. then give all these young players a chance like the arses do. like come on how many youth players have u seen come on since they were in the squad.. raphel excepted?


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