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The difference between Reserve and First Team football

Tunnicliffe3I often get asked on Twitter, why such and such a Reserve or Youth player isn’t playing for the first team as they are playing well at the level they play at.

My answer to virtually all the questions is that the player in question is simply not good enough to be involved in the first team.

Names that spring to mind over recent seasons include Magnus Eikrem, David Petrucci, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Matty James and several others. I try to explain the enormous difference between Reserve and First team football and the deficiencies of the player in question.

Take the example of Magnus Wolf Eikrem. I was getting swamped with Twitter followers demanding he be in the first team and I told every one of them that he would never make the grade at United. Just because he was man of the match in several Reserve games, it counts for nothing when it comes to getting the ultimate promotion to the first team squad.

Eikrem was a decent player who is now doing well in his native Norway but, for me, he wouldn’t make the step up because he lacked consistency, he drifted in and out of games, he was too easily knocked off the ball and several other reasons. These reasons led to his release from United that surprised many but it was what I expected and wrote about it often.

Most people are forced to watch Reserve and Youth games either via MUTV or streams on their computers. I’m lucky in that I’ve been in a position that means I’ve been able to watch live the Reserves since the mid ‘80s and the Youth team since about 1990. This has the benefit that I can watch the whole pitch, not just where a camera is pointing so am able to watch players off the ball, their movement, do they talk to team mates, do they follow the instructions shouted at them from the bench, do they make runs to make space for a team mate or are they happy to sit back and watch others put in the work? This makes it so much easier to judge a player than for those not lucky enough to be able to attend. It’s not that I have a great eye for a player, simply that I get to see them for the full 90 minutes rather than only when they are on the ball.

Ryan Tunnicliffe was mentioned a hell of a lot last season as his Roy Keane like performances for the Reserves caught the eye of many United fans. After every game he played well in, I would get more questions as to why he was being overlooked. My view on Tunnicliffe is that his game is based on power and bursts of speed when on the ball. It’s also my opinion that his power will be easily matched by the giants that populate the Premier League and his pace wouldn’t be enough to get him picked regularly. As his loan spells haven’t exactly been brilliant, it seems that indeed that has proved to be the case.

Players need to be exceptional talents to get in the squad in front of players brought in from all corners of the world, players like Januzaj who has stood out since the very first game I saw him in about three seasons ago. Quite simply, the boy is a brilliant talent who could save United a fortune in the transfer market in years to come, assuming we can keep hold of him!
I suppose the bottom line is that is a world of difference between a very good Reserve player and even an average first team player and very few will ever make that giant step up.

About ManUtdReserves

ManUtdReserves writes for the United We Stand fanzine. Follow @manutdreserves on Twitter.

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  1. Stretfordend ryda says:

    Eikrem plays in holland now and i still don’t think you can make that judgement without giving them a fair crack at the first team

  2. KVN says:

    Look at Bayern Munich against City. Look at Robben and
    Ribery. How HARD they worked. Then look at how the WHOLE
    team pressed them as a team. In their half. Moyes needs to
    look at this and let the United players study this video.
    In fact he needs to let the youth team see this. That’s how you
    play and play in Europe.

  3. ClaytonBlackmoresTan says:

    Pogba though-I have nightmares about him.

  4. pgkhairule says:

    Have you guys heard abt the zaha’s rumours??? Is it true or is it a bollocks???

  5. RedEric says:

    The author of this post claims to be privileged to watch our reserve team for full 90 min since 80s and all he can file for millions of fans who don’t get a glimpse of our reserve side is a shallow post with only two players to equate about?

  6. mjcRED says:

    The work and effort Bayern put into their play is a huge reason for their success. It seems that we are neither matching the fitness or skill that they’re putting into their play. I realise that you can’t just match the skill level and that you can only work with the materials you have, but surely it can’t be that difficult to train the players to match the fitness levels that will see us being able to press and put the opponents under far more pressure that we currently doing?

  7. parryheid says:

    Regards Eikrem,gets not one minute of first team football yet was on the bench for some games and the cripple Hargreaves gets subbed on rather than him.No wonder fans say we squander our long nurtured talented youth.And it’s Heerenveen he now plays for and highly rated he is too.

  8. blacksocks says:

    Interestingly I live in East Anglia and have a number of friends who watch Ipswich Town. There player of the season so far is Tunnicliffe who in their opinion is premier league standard. Maybe some of these players just need a run in the first team at championship level at least before a full judgement can be made.

    Regarding BM, this is a golden time for them no doubt. Big powerful players with bags of skill they are one hell of a team. And that for me is the key – they don’t have one stand out player ala’ Messi or Ronaldo. Instead they work and play for each other like no team I think I’ve ever seen. If I had to pick one player it would be Muller. Doesn’t get any where near the recognition he deserves – his movement around the pitch and ability to get in behind defenders is second to none at the moment.

  9. blacksocks says:

    Would also like to add that after reading the comments atributed to the agent of Januzaj and what Moyes had to say on the issue the liklihood of him signing for another club has just gone up a notch or two. Not good.

  10. RedEric says:

    The author of this post claims to be privileged to watch our reserve team for full 90 min since 80s and all he can file for millions of fans who don’t get a glimpse of our reserve side is a shallow post with only two players to equate about?
    Talk about waste of space.
    Off topic:
    Fellaini, a waste of space too.
    Even if I discount him for his goal assist yesterday, I still know a better player than he is, can produce much better result by assisting more and scoring too.
    He was deployed to lead the attack, instead he was loosing the ball if not slowing the tempo.
    Then he was positioned @ No. 10 and became even lazier.
    I just can’t see him improving his play, never the club too. Time to accept he’s a bad business and move on, replace him and at some point drop him.
    The club should as from now focus on acquiring two quality central midfielder by January if we really need to win a silver ware this season.
    The immobility in our play can severely harm the progress of our next generation of players.
    Zaha, Jenusaj, Lingard, Powell, Will kean, Larnel Cole {spl} are fast attacking players and a midfield combo of Fellaini and M Carrick cannot improve their progress.

  11. WeAreUnited says:

    @thetruth this is for your comment to me on the other thread and I don’t know why I am answering to you, a man who betted against his club and glows when we lose. BUT

    Sugarcoding? naaah mate, it’s supporting, I see the positives more than the negatives and I try to point them out in a good manner and not in a gloom and doom way, so naaah mate, no sugarcoding, it’s called supporting.



  12. MumbaiRed says:

    Sir Alex on Rooney, Moyes, Beckham, Neville, Chelsea approach, rebuilding teams, late minute goals…

    Wonderful Read

  13. xyz says:

    @KVN – completely agree about how hard the Bayern wingers work. It’s no coincidence that successful teams are the ones that work hard (of course a bit of talent helps too!). It’s also been a trait of successful United wingers over the years – cover back to help fullbacks, then tearing forward on the counter. High fitness levels and work ethic required. Even Ronaldo learnt that at United – I remember Keano bollocking him on the pitch about not tracking back. And I think the United supporters make a big point to applaud wingers/forwards who work back hard for the team. It’s something Kagawa is going to have to learn, something Wellbeck does well, something Nani has already learnt but something Valencia seems to have forgotten this year which is disappointing…..

  14. samuel - united WE stand says:

    The only way you’ll know if they’re good enough is by seeing step up into first team football, some players may take a longer route to being top players, you can’t judge players at that level as “not good enough” because they haven’t developed strength, most players at that level are still not still not that strong . The key here is technical ability and temprament, the physique and tactical awareness can be worked on as they get first team experience, it will only improve. You can’t coach talent however, you either have it or you don’t. I think united have some quality younger players coming through and they should be given the opportunity to prove their capability. Looking at some of the players united have on loan like powell, henriquez and lingard added to januzaj, larnell cole, will&michael keane, varela added to the ones behind them like andreas perriera, james wilson etc, you have technical players that might bring a big shift away from a stale and straight-in-a-line football, it’s important to have the right system to integrate them. I think ultimately, the test for these younger players won’t be purely and only based on their ability, it will be their work ethic, commitment and ability to embrace the highest level. The step up is never easy and only the special players make it up quickly, we will see where they end up, hopefully it will be as first team players for united.

    Regarding tunnicliffe, he had all the brute force but lacked the finesse, he has the engine to be a good defensive mid but needed to be less agriculture and more clever, his passing and awareness also needed to improve, let’s put it this way, he isn’t the strongest technically but we’ve seen players of that breed still become key players at the highest level, they bring a balance in terms of their ability to break up play and read the game, I think if tunni wants to make it and he does have a long way to go then he needs to improve aspects of his game, charging around won’t cut it these days. I heard mick mccarthy has been getting the best out on loan at ipswich, he’s been deployed on the left.

    Davide petrucci is one that still baffles me. All that technique and yet only a few games in pre season for united, perhaps he still hasn’t developed enough, at his age, he should be knocking down the first team door, I hope he’ll get better at antwerp.

  15. ahjs says:

    Different footballing cultures. Look at guys like Lahm – played in three positions in his career. Muller countless positions. Alaba has switched to left-back. Intelligent, gifted, disciplined.

    But guys like Lahm, Ozil, Muller – would they have made it in England? Possibly not. Too short. Not strong enough for the Premier League. How would they do against Stoke? As if the measure of a great footballer is to get your leg broken by some thug and come back in two years and prove yourself. Backwards.

    You think Rooney’s indiscipline, weight issues, smoking would have been tolerated in Germany? Not for a second. But he’s worshipped here. It’s not a case of emulating the Germans – we’re not intelligent enough, from our players, coaches, FA, media. The Premier League is a monster.

    You want Moyes to somehow do it? It was beyond Ferguson to match Barcelona, please don’t expect Moyes to emulate Bayern. If we were to play them we can only hope they have an off day and we scrape a result.

  16. Keane16 says:

    @RedEric says:
    The author of this post claims to be privileged to watch our reserve team for full 90 min since 80s and all he can file for millions of fans who don’t get a glimpse of our reserve side is a shallow post with only two players to equate about?

    His column in UWS a great read EVERY issue and hes spot on the majority of the time about players

  17. Voice of Reason says:

    Heres a thought – for the last 4 years we have played dull uninspiring football – we still competed and won 2 titles but we have not been entertained – last year there were probably 3 or 4 exciting halves of football at old Trafford. Because of Fergie’s achievements there was no backlash over this directed at him.. and we kep winning stuff which pacified people. But as a matchgoer of over 40 years I have always valued entertainment and excitement above all else. Can I suggest that people are angry with Moyes not because of a couple of poor results but because he has not tried to change the dull dull football we have played. This is what many were secretly hoping for when Fergie retired. We had some glimpses on Saturday through Adnan and Nani of what is possible but last night was as tedious as I have seen. Add to that fact that Ozil a United player if ever there was one passes us by while we get Felliani not a United player in a million years and the sense of frustration grows – its been 4 years in the building (ever since Ronaldo left) not 3 months

  18. iced earth says:

    assured performence yesterday as i sais before moyes style and approach of the games work well in european football
    clearly moyes need time he must learn from his mistakes still room for improvment
    i think fellaini was ok he Completed 87% of his passes Won 4 aerial duels.Made 2 successful defensive clearancesand was good with his pressing role, high-up the pitch.
    i dont know why some fans hate him
    your beloved toure was outclassed by kroos

  19. In David We Trust says:

    Really, some of these players we cannot trust because they are too young, yet moyes and the club are quiet willing to think valencia young fellaini can be trusted, who the club were dumb enough to pay 27 million for. If the club had payed money for some of these players, they would be put in the first team in a heart beat. What really gets under my skin, with the glazers holding the club back financially, Moyes should be giving youth a chance, but what is a grave concern to everyone, with Moyes I feel his conservative style, the money he is given, will be spent on players not better than what we have got, and not really giving youth a chance. Because I have no idea how guys like zaha are not given a chance, he cannot be worse than ashley young, can he?

  20. samuel - united WE stand says:

    As I say, technical ability and temprament is the two keys things that should be focused on. Size or strenghth isn’t the be all and end all, certainly the latter can be worked on and I think there’s a lot more to do with why a player couldn’t make the step up than just purely based on them not having the build of a brickhouse. There is a greater emphasis by some on what a player cannot do than what they can in the view of some, this is an issue that needs to be eradicated

  21. Al4Christ says:

    @samuel. I agree with everything you said. I saw Petrucci play only once and I just could tell given the chance the kid would be a gem. He will particualrly excel in the 3-man midfield we deployed yesterday. With all due respect, this article is poorly written. Not enough research and scant data. Eikrem plays for Heereven now and is shining. Muelesteen recommended him to Fergie. He could have been our own Modric. That brings me to the question; why cant Kagawa be our Modric in a 3-man midfield? Tunnicliffe is also excelling at Ipswich. As the saying goes “A prophet is not appreciated in his hometown.’ Hope we place more priority on technique and overall talent than physique. Tunni’s mobility and aggressiveness a la Cattermole can be a real asset for us now.

  22. The Truth says:

    “i think fellaini was ok he Completed 87% of his passes Won 4 aerial duels.Made 2 successful defensive clearances”

    Fucking hell a guy who talks in stats.

  23. KidAAlbum says:

    When I make my assessment of reserve players, I look for technique. Then I look for another outstanding quality such as finishing, vision, ability to get past players, etc.. depending on their position. After that I look for consistency in EVERY aspect of their game. The reason being? If a player is scoring a good amount, but their overall play is lacking it doesn’t mean they’ll produce those goals at first team level because defenders will be bigger, better, and more organized. I also look for the reason why they’re looking good in the reserves. Is it because of their physicality or their talent? Physicality matters a lot at that level. Bigger players will have it much easier going against small/skinny kids. It doesn’t mean they’ll turn out the better player as those small/skinny kids will eventually physically mature as they get older. Finally, I look at their age. If they’re 17 or 18 and dominating the reserves you know they’re more special than the players that are 20.

    @Al4Christ: Sorry, but I don’t think Petrucci will make it. He lacks the consistency that Januzaj has. Lingard must continue to do well on his current loan if he wants to make it at United as well. I think his potential is that of a squad player, which is still a success as almost every player misses out on becoming a United first team player. His general play is not consistent enough, but he’s become a quality finisher lately (in reserves and on his loan). I’m not sure about Will Keane. He just came back from the nasty injury, and he’s done well scoring 4 in 3 matches. I need to watch more of his games before deciding what will become of him. Making the first team as a striker is probably the hardest step up as United will always buy a proven goal scorer. The rest of the reserves I don’t see making it. There’s an outside chance with Cole, and Varela will be given a chance due to being bought. James Wilson, Pereira, and Pearson have the most potential from their age group. We’ll see how they respond playing for the reserves this season. I watch every reserve game and most academy games.

    Januzaj is the one talent I’m sure will make it at United. He’s dominating at age 18. He’s extremely consistent and always stands out game after game. He has very good technique, vision, and plays very mature for his age. He’s skinny, but is unbelievable at shielding the ball, and protecting the ball from physical challenges and big defenders. He’s dominating because of his talent, not because of his physicality. He will eventually get bigger as he gets older. United must pay him whatever he wants. He’s a rare talent. Pogba left United because United didn’t want to pay him 15-20k a week. Zaha is on 35k a week and was bought for 15 million. United don’t have to pay a large fee for Januzaj as he was bought for 500k in 2011, and his potential is through the roof. He’s surely worth 40k a week if Zaha is on that much and Ashley Young is on 120k a week.

  24. samuel - united WE stand says:

    IDWT – let’s put it this way, I think this transition are embarking and a drop in standards would be easier to take if the younger players are in the team on a more regular basis and are improving. United dropped a level within 2003-2006 (and when I say drop a level under fergie then I mean finishing 3rd or 2nd at best, he was that fantastic of a manager), united had two brilliant younger players in rooney and ronaldo, they were developing and getting stronger all the time, you knew that eventually, they would take united to the level it aspires to be.

    My point here is, most would take a drop in standards on a chin if the younger players are gaining experience regularly within united’s first team, it’s better for united than some so called experienced players who aren’t going to cut it, maximising the potential of zaha etc is more important for the progress of united. Of course the pressure to maintain standards is there for moyes but you hope he continues to develop those younger players, he is already doing that with januzaj and for now, an indifference and inconsistence will occur but in the long run, united will benefit from the exposure of the potential of these players.

  25. kimblim says:

    Would love to hear your opinion on Mads Timm. Us danes had high hopes for him, but while I think he had the talent and the physical attributes to make it, his mentality just wasn’t that of a professional footballer. Also, his time in jail scarred him mentally.

  26. trf says:

    i follow Eikrem’s performance since Molde and i agree with the author that he didnt have a quality to be a Man United (first team) player in that moment. But right now, he grew up so well and i think he can do something in Man United midfield rather than Cleverley/Anderson did.

  27. samuel - united WE stand says:

    United have a truck load of superb younger players and if moyes can integrate them in more often, finding that right system of balance and when I say balance, I.mean younger players with their potential, mixed with quality purchases, experience and giving the right calibre of players more who aren’t necessarily regulars as of now, motivating them to push further and become key players. This balance is not easy, it’s a longer term approach and I don’t think moyes can do it all at once, he needs time and needs backing from the stingy glazers and he also has to adapt his method in order to flourish, I think the platform is there for moyes, it all depends on how he utilises it

  28. kanchelskis says:

    Fellaini gave the ball away a fair few times, but we know from his Everton performances that that’s not a a general characteristic of his play. Once he’s gelled with his teammates and overcome any early nerves, I’m sure the problem will be ironed out.

    His very presence in the middle offers us something we haven’t had in a while. He really helped to break things up in there, and the game became a lot more open when he was removed, which you could say led to their goal.

    Also, there’s nobody from last year’s squad who could have rolled the Shahktar defender the way he did for the goal. Turned the throw-in into a half-chance from nothing really.

    Still a fair bit of work for him to do, but I still think he could develop into a very important player for us.

  29. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Kanchelskis – if giving the ball away is a characteristics of his at the highest level then united will be punished morr often, it is as simple as that. Before his arrival, I highlighted several aspects of his game that he needed to smooth over in ordrr to be an efficient defensive mid, just having a presence isn’t enough, his touch and didtribution has to be good and accurate, he has to be disciplined and he needs to read the game well. Long way to go for him, he should be given time but how long, he is an experienced premier league player and at 27mill, he needed to be a major improvement, so far… I’m not writing him off but personally knew from his everton days that he wasn’t going to be, more investment need to be made and more players that fit into the mode of united’s style need to keep getting promoted from the youth team, it would unrealistic to expect fellaini, even at an overblown 27mill to come in and transform a central mid.

  30. dannysoya LOVES USAIN BOLT says:

    I’d agree with samuel in saying that the ultimate determinant for me of whether someone can make the first team at United or not from the lower levels is first and most importantly, TECHNICAL ABILITY. A player with supreme technical ability will be able to handle ANY form of football regardless of where it played. Strength is something that will be worked on later but if by 18 years old you are not technically proficient then I don’t think it can be drilled into you any longer. And if you are not a defender and you lack technical ability, it is going to be infinitely harder for you to make the grade at ANY big club. This is why I am not surprised that not many youngsters make the first team grade here. I watch a fair few lower level games and there’s only maybe two or three standout footballers, the rest are still growing.
    This is alsonwhy it is absolutely critical that we keep Januzaj. His technical ability is far far above youth level and i’d say that in the Unite first team, he is already in the top 7 when it comes to players with technical ability. All this for a boy who is 18 years old.

    I know there’s always the “value for money” crusade but there are times we need to make exceptions. Just like we made an exception for Van Persie, paying a 29 year old 200,000 pounds a week, we need to make the exception for Januzaj. I have absolutely no problems with giving players WHO DESERVE IT money. 45k for Januzaj is totally different from 130k for Ashley Young.

  31. In David We Trust says:

    samuel – my concern like I have brought up from day 1, this regime does not really cater for the technical side of the game. During Moyes years at everton, when was the last time we ever saw everton truly play 1 touch football? so if the club are to develop young players, who are comfortable on the ball, the buck starts at the top. But like you say if standards are to be dropped, its got to benefit players who I feel will get better, like I say a transition must be with players who I think could get better, if we not seeing potential come into the team like fergies last great side back in 06-08, then its not really transition, just another extension of what I call regression, not a transition. But if we are to improve holding onto the ball, then I am sorry there must be an extraction of waist, or we are not going to see the transition, and guys like young valencia are not going to help our transition, and thats the problem

  32. mjcRED says:

    @Voice of Reason

    I think you’re spot on with your post. Over the last few years, it’s been a strange feeling supprting the club. On the one hand, we’ve remained successful and sustained an impressive haul of domestic success, yet somehow there’s a feeling of being cheated, as if we’ve won while compromising how we’ve achieved it. We’ve traded excitement in exchange for consistency. It’s as if Fergie found the formula for maintaing the status quo for the Premier league and became content to concede the challenge of Europe.

    Looking back to the reputed ‘golden years’ of our ultimate side, that of Keane, Scholes, Giggs and Beckham, I always felt that Europe has been a missed opportunity where we never really imposed or dominated an absolute top drawer team in the way a Barca or now Bayern are doing on a regular basis. Don’t get me wrong,

    I know there were some incredible performances and victories through this period, the heroics of Juventus in 99 was incredible and can never be under estimated. the 99 and 2008 cup wins though were won through grit and no short amount of good fortune for different reasons rather than absolute quality or sustained dominance.

    Given the early signs are that Moyes will follow his instinct of trusting in certainty and grit while resisting unpredictability of flair and the fear of failure it might bring. I worry that we’ll not be seeing a turnaround from this direction any time soon. The nonsense bandied about with the reasons why we didn’t need Özil because we have Rooney by many on here were laughable. When a player offers the vision and ability he has and has already demonstrated with the impact he’s made at Arsenal, you find a way of getting him in the team. It’s funny how the same argument doesn’t seem to hold true given the purchase of Fellaini, as we seem to find no problem in finding a berth for yet another player who seems to get in the team by virtue of excelling in mediocrity.

    The over indulgence of these players is strangling and nullifying any sort of creativity of the more creative and adventurous individuals as they have to slow the pace and dumb down to a more agricultural level of football.

  33. xyz says:

    @AI4Christ – I agree about turning Kagawa into a central midfielder. I think he has a far more suitable skill set to play there than on the wing in the Premiership. He’ll be more involved, have a bit less defensive responsibilities and could link amazingly well with RVP and Rooney. Would love to see him given a run there.

  34. mara says:

    Scott, Pogba keys shows what is happening when you need 100 years to realize that you have great player, but you just dont see that. Sometimes when you looking for perfectness, you ovelook already priven talents.
    But you think like many fans, that PL is hard and that players need few years to get into the first team…wich is wrong.
    Michael Jordan was shit when he played in the basketball camp, and became the best

  35. mjcRED says:

    Rather than trying to reach the standards of Munich and Bayern, the difficult task. We seem to be content to follow the cosiness of being king of our own back yard like a Celtic, convincing ourselves that because we’re invariably winning title after title and filling the stadium week after week, we can’t be going to far wrong. Europe I feel is seen as a bonus rather than something to really take seriously.

    I would love it but I’m not sure we’ve got the stomach for the the real challenge of climbing up to the level Europe’s elite. I’m not even sure how high on the priorities this is, the transfer debacle and lack of willingness to give our more creative players a regular run out as well as a complete fear of a more expansive style of play only seems to confirm this. I think as long as we maintain our progression out of the group stages, the money men will identify this as being a successful return.

  36. mjcRED says:

    Sorry mistake, it should read Munich and Barca….

  37. kanchelskis says:

    Ahahahaha Kagawa in central midfield. That’d be fucking disaster.

    The fact is, if we truly wanted to get the very best out of Kagawa, we’d have sold Rooney in the summer. That said, Shinji needs to start grabbing the chances he’s given playing from the left. He’s good enough to adapt his game and offer a lot from the inside-left position. People calling for his constant inclusion are conveniently ignoring the fact that when he has played, he’s been on the margins of games.

  38. matty says:

    Voice of Reason says:
    Heres a thought – for the last 4 years we have
    played dull uninspiring football – we still competed
    and won 2 titles but we have not been entertained –
    last year there were probably 3 or 4 exciting halves
    of football at old Trafford. Because of Fergie’s
    achievements there was no backlash over this
    directed at him.. and we kep winning stuff which
    pacified people. But as a matchgoer of over 40
    years I have always valued entertainment and
    excitement above all else. Can I suggest that
    people are angry with Moyes not because of a
    couple of poor results but because he has not tried
    to change the dull dull football we have played. This
    is what many were secretly hoping for when Fergie
    retired. We had some glimpses on Saturday through
    Adnan and Nani of what is possible but last night
    was as tedious as I have seen. Add to that fact that
    Ozil a United player if ever there was one passes us
    by while we get Felliani not a United player in a
    million years and the sense of frustration grows –
    its been 4 years in the building (ever since Ronaldo
    left) not 3 months

    I too despise the moyes-out brigade, but fear to imagine what he’s going to do with our treasured upcoming gems of technically gifted talents. I shudder at the thought of james wilson and perriera hugging the touchlines, running in straightlines and whipping in cross after cross for a static will keane.

  39. Joered says:

    Tunnicliffe’s doing well at Ipswich – (I’ve seen him play here a few times) don’t write him off too quickly!

  40. Al4Christ says:

    watching our game against Shakthar now. Its 30mins in and Fellaini is not doing bad at all. I guess some fans on here were exaggerating how bad he was. @kanchelkis. I agree with you. Anyway, from the little I am seeing, we would have won this match with good substitutions, or with Nani getting the nod ahead of Valencia. @Kidd thanks for the update. Don’t you think Petrucci’s inconsistency might have resulted from his injuries? Some players are late bloomers so not ruling him out.

  41. FletchTHEMAN says:

    TOP TOP Read. Needed to be said. Resie football is just that. The quality is not the same and the size is not the same. Still have 5 years of growing in most cases.

    Of the current squad, Zaha, Januzaj and Powell, Henriquez look the business. Will Keane, Michael Keane, Larnell Cole, David Petrucci and Andreas Pereira still have some way to go.

    One of the things that you don’t see if you don’t go to the games is the overall size and movement of the players. These 18 year olds are literally fingerlings compared to 24yo premier league regulars.

    Look at the weight and size that Evans, Smalling Cleaverley and Danny Welbeck have put on as they jump from 22 to 23 years old. It’s a massive step up.

    I have said it before, and I’ll say it again, you can count on the fingers of one hand the youngsters who have left United that we probably should have kept. That is from 40+ years of watching United. Not talking about the Nicky Butts and Beckhams who had their run in the 1st team. Very very few indeed.

    The average telly watching football fan just won’t have the depth of view to see the difference.
    The number of 20yo’s who develop like Rooney did are extraordinarily few and far between.

  42. FletchTHEMAN says:

    That said, England and United is severely limited by the reserves system. We need a B team system like Barca B. Rumors that City will sponsor a US MLS team in New York may be a partial answer. United need a b team that gives the 20+ yougsters regular football. There is no doubt that Loads just are not to be counted on, with only a small percentage giving the number of games needed.

    Cleaverely to Wigan
    Fabio to QPR
    Zaha to CP

    The best recent successes.

  43. FletchTHEMAN says:

    *** loans are not the answer****

  44. spidey says:

    Moyes if given a long run will improve the fitness of the players… His training sessions are supposed to be very intense.. The discipline will improve.. Maybe energy levels can be a bit higher

  45. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Ashley Young dropped from England?

    Hodgson: “He’s not in form”

    Fair enough Roy….. About right ….. honestly

  46. UTD1999 says:

    Junuzaj & Zaha would walk in to the UTD first team if I was the person picking the team.

  47. Dayus D red says:

    This article lacks facts and the author is guilty of not doing a proper researsh . To start with Elkrem now plays in holland and was one of the best players in the Norwaygian team that beat England in the Euro U-23. Young players need to play consistently for them to gain confidence and improve. United have lost a host of youth/reserve players because of lack of oppotunity and those players have gone ahead to be sucessful elsewhere. players such as G Pique,, G. Rossi, P Pogbo, S. Tosic, R Showcross, D Plat to mention but a few. In as much as i agree that not all youth/reserve players will make the grade at United, that does not make those who left less talented. It can be argued that Pique is more talented than Evans yet he left. Pogba is better than cleverly yet he left. G Rossi is more talented than Obatan we bought from Boudoux. Sometimes its down to the coach and for how long the player in question is prepare to hang around. Experience has shown that the good ones do not hang around.

  48. trf says:

    Dayus D red: Eikrem’s performance right now is different level with Eikrem’s past. He did well in his first season with Molde, but it’s only Norway League, maybe it’s level with championship or maybe even league 1 in england. So if Eikrem play for United in the past moment, i think it’s not the best option.

    and he played in Euro U21 (not U23) against England who majority content of championship division player (cmiiw).

    United have a buy back clause on his contract, but Moyes didn’t use it (because maybe he didn’t need him). Maybe, someday if Ole become Man United manager, he will bring back Eikrem, Pogba, and Daehli. hahaha

  49. FOR5FOR5 says:

    I agree with everything UTD1999 says, give players like Januzaj and Zaha more game time because you can bet your bottom dollar they will be hungry for it and want it more. Moyes does need to be brutal and honest with some players, i.e. Young, Anderson and Valencia spring to mind, and drop them until they buck their ideas up. In fact, I would be seriously offer out Young and Anderson to nearest bidder to take them off our hands, they’re just not ‘United’ players for me.Cleverley needs to make the step up now too, he’s being given the chances so needs to up his game big time.

    If I was Moyes I would be fighting all the way to get Januzaj to sign a new contract, we can’t let this kid go. As for the rumours today that Dortmund will be back in for Kagawa in January, we would be mad to let him go, Dortmund would be the winners out of that no doubt about it.


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