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What’s Wes Done To Upset Fergie?

Wes Brown’s performance against Liverpool wasn’t any worse or better than his team mates, although unfortunately had an own goal to his name after an Edwin Van der Sar mistake. Yet for some reason, Brown has been entirely overlooked since this match.

I understand why the manager would want to give Gary Neville as much time on the park as possible, to speed up his return to fitness after such a long time out injured, but does it have to be at the exclusion of Brown?

Now Rafael Da Silva is ahead of him in the pecking order, so you have to wonder, what is going on?

“I need to work out whether I go with Evans’ ability but lack of experience or whether I opt for Wes’ experience,” Fergie said before the Chelsea game a couple of weeks ago. So what, Jonny Evans has superior ability but inferior experience, whilst Wes just has the latter in his favour? Not exactly the kindest of comments.

Against Bolton, Wes wasn’t even on the bench, with Evans and John O’Shea taking up the defensive spots available.

“I opted to leave Wes Brown out but he’ll be involved on Tuesday,” said Ferguson. Opted to leave him out? Why? There is no talk of an injury or a reason. Why would you ‘opt’ to leave out the player who played more games for us than anyone else last season?

In last night’s match against Aalborg, Wes Brown was back in the squad, but again demoted to the bench. It wasn’t Neville taking up his place on the pitch, but Rafael Da Silva.

Now, whilst I have a lot of time for this young lad, who so far, has been given more chance to shine that his twin brother, I don’t think we should be playing him at the expense of Wes. When you consider Neville is now our first choice right back again, with Wes being used as cover for the central or right-sided defensive positions, then Champions League matches are a great opportunity to give him the match time he deserves. There’s plenty of time for Da Silva to get a run in the team, but for now, Wes should be ahead of him in the pecking order.

“Some people might have been a bit surprised I picked him over Wes Brown but I feel the boy has something special,” said Ferguson after the 3-0 win the Champions League. “Rafael has no fear of playing and has great belief in himself. He is only 18 but he has started very well.”

What’s going on?

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. Stephen says:

    Spot on Scott seems really odd especially if Fergie was annoyed with Wes, it should have been last season with the contract issues, GRed was a liability against Chelsea, and was lucky to see the afternoon out, persoanlly would have Wes playing week in week out.

  2. UnitedOnFire says:

    I think that the performance of Rafael last night had been shown in training and reserve/youth matches and he was good enough for a game against a relatively poor European opponent.

    As we well know, if you’re good enough, you’re old enough and Fergie will have seen how good Rafael has been and thought that he deserved his chance.

    Quite frankly, when Wes did come on, the difference between his performance and Rafael’s was plain to see. Fantastic game from the young brazil boy.

  3. TinManUnited says:

    Well it’s good to see the old gaffer is still ruthless. He’ll feel no way about putting in somebody who is better in that position. This will only push Brown to play a little harder. Fergie needs to shake up the squad constantly, there will now only be three positions which will be gauranteed for the rest of the season and thats Rio, Vidic, and Ronaldo. Everyone else will be fighting.

  4. firestarter says:

    We have not been having any luck with injuries early in the season.
    Fortunately, Rio has been free from one.

    Fergie wants Neville and Rafael on the flanks and Wesley as a back up now that Pique has left and O’Shea is being used in the middle.

    I guess its more for reassurance than Brown doing anything.

    Usually, the midfield and attackers’ names made me happy but this year along with that the defense looks immense and two world class defenders in Brown and Evans as back up.

  5. Mic says:

    When Wes came on he was suffering a massive lack of confidence, this was evident in that “back pass” that he did for no reason whatsoever, Rafael was massively impressive last night but when it comes to defending he’s got alot to prove, attacking wise, well, he’s up there with the best.

  6. Kings says:

    EVS was to blame for the first goal against the dippers not Wes, assuming that is what Fergie’s beef with him is about?!

  7. astoo says:

    i think fergie knows well what he’s doing. judging from the game i think rafael is very good and not just good. there are a handful of good right backs in the world and rafael has the potential to be the best not just one of the best. i really dont think wes is a natural full back and may be fergie has better plans for the lad.with rafael being prepared to be the replacement for the aged gary.

  8. austin says:

    i expect wes will play at blackburn. youve got to give people of the ability of gary an rafael a game and last night proved to be a good game to play the latter. i was assuming wes had a nock b4 the chelsea game and thats why he werent playing, but i dont know.
    its great that weve got such a good squad so we have to make the most of it. if we dont keep our reserves fit and sharp they wont be as good when needed. plus it will keep players on their toes and im sure wes will be even more pumped up and determined if and when he plays at the weekend. expect to see one of his commited early slides in on gamst within the first 5mins!

  9. casandra says:

    I don’t know if Fergie was referring to his forwards but he did say that he would rotate is squad and this would not be down just to performance, ( with the arrival of Berbatov) may be Fergie has seen a attitude problem with Wes when Garry started in front of him, remember last seasons contract dispute, if the medias anything to go by he was about to leave. We have a big squad and Fergie is no respecter of reputations and it could just be that he sees Raphael has a better choice.

  10. Ben Dover says:

    Rafael showed a lot of promise, – thats for sure!

    I am one of those who always have liked Wesley Brown. His attitude and approach has been magnificent. however, I don’t think he should worry too much, as there is a lot of games coming up this season. Wesley will definitely play enough games :-) .

  11. denton davey says:

    It’s still very, very early in the season – so SAF is “experimenting”.

    I don’t think that Wesley has been downgraded (or displaced) so much as that the circumstances have required TheBoss to see if GNev can still play at this level – the jury is out on that one ! – and if Rafael is as good in a game as he is in practice: no question about the kid’s offensive game but defensively he relies on quickness/speed rather than positioning so I think you have to categorize him as a work-in-progress. I think that if what we saw last night is any indication of Rafael’s ability then he will possibly be the first-choice next year and probably be the first-choice the year after that.

    My guesstimate is that when the season is over in May (late May, I hope) that Wesley will have had the majority of games playing at right back but I don’t imagine that he will ever get the “respect” that is handed out to Rio/Vidic/Evra in being named on almost every team sheet.

    That said, it will be interesting to see how SAF juggles Evra’s playing time when Fabio returns from his shoulder injury.

  12. Drew Vader says:

    If Gary starts at RB against BBurn, which at this moment I would put my house on, I would be livid if I was Wes….I know he has grown up with United but wouldnt you consider a move immediately in Jan? I mean, he has his england spot to think about and has been given starts there every time by Capello I think and with the world cup on the horizon, and Wes getting closer to 30, he isn’t going to have too many more big time tournaments left for him….Very very strange shit from Fergie…

  13. manukid says:

    make that Rio, Vidic,evera and Ronaldo

  14. Anant says:

    Drew i dont think SAF gives a rats fart about the england national team . thats not his job . having said that it is bemusing , browns absence of late , although the ‘experimentation’ theory seems to make sense .

  15. ScottTheScot says:

    I think Fergie knows he has a good ‘un and is looking for ways to bring him on quickly and safely. Why not away at Aalborg? They were never likely to threaten so he had a chance to get forward and do his thing…

    Wes will likely play on Saturday if there is any doubt of Gary’s thigh…

  16. wjb says:

    i’m very confused in why gary neville is still considered the number 1 right back,he’s slow, alot of miss timed tackles and in attack has he put over one decent cross all year? wes brown at this point in time is a better full back than neville and should be playing

  17. Fuglis says:

    My take on this: Gary is our captain and will play at least one game per week. Yesterdays´ opponent was fitting to see how Rafael performed in an important match. Gary is first choice, Wes will get his fair share of games and Rafael will play in select matches, brooding him to be a superstar in the years to come.

  18. john ferry says:

    Wes is a better natural back defender that can attack, and Rafael is a naturally gifted attacking defender. I hope that makes sense. Different teams require different players to take them appart. I just hope Fergie doesn’t have an axe to grind with Wes.

  19. ManU says:

    Get over it Sir Alex, senior players Gary,Giggs,Scholes and John Oshea should be left out from the team. MU have enough young talents to merge with the rest of the players and the time is now.The team have enough experience and fast pace to win championship this season and this young talented players are ready to take over from those

  20. TonyBee says:

    Jusus why all the fucking whinging…. Brown is a decent pro not the best fullback but decent when Neville gets up to speed SAF will use Brown again when and if he is needed. Better to have competion for places, makes them keen to shoe what they can do ….note Rafiels performance against Aalborg in a perfect game to bring him on.

  21. Tom F says:

    Wesley is our best performing right back, on that basis alone he should be our regular with the other lads fighting for a place.

    It is good to see the twins, well.. Rafael getting games as I know they’re going to be big hits here. Yet, right now it is Wes who deserves his starting position.

  22. tnt says:

    Gary has been a great servant to the club, but if he doesn’t improve now,then he should retire. I hope he stays with the club for a long long time. Rafael and Patrice attacking lifts us to the top. Wes is good for defending, but has ALWAYS been best at central…

  23. PeeJay says:

    Rafael is a fantastic young player who could be a star for years to come, Brown’s greatest attribute is the fact that he’d rather win things playing a small part of the team than win nothing while being a key player. In essence, he knows that if he’s not happy with being Gary Neville’s deputy [and Rafael's aswell], then he can fuck off to Everton or whoever wants him. He stays, knowing that he can get a few games a year or more, he’s not a great talent but he didn’t muck up that much last year. Rafael may already have superior ability to Brown and plays better with our type of football. All I can say about Wes Brown is that he crosses a decent ball. It’s no surprise that Fergie was nowhere near offering him a raise last year.

    I think it’s time we offer Wes Brown the Reserve captain’s armband, he’d do a good job. Gary Neville is a United legend and is naturally ahead of Brown in terms of ability and pecking order, Rafael is a legend in the making.

    It’s time we give the youth some space, we’ve seen what Rodrigo’s made of, we’ve seen what Nani, Ronaldo and Anderson are made of. Let the twins play a bit more, we know they can do it.

  24. denton davey says:

    While I am in general agreement with PeeJay, I am surprised at the vehemence of the disrespect he directs towards Wesley:

    “In essence, he knows that if he’s not happy with being Gary Neville’s deputy [and Rafael's aswell], then he can fuck off to Everton or whoever wants him.”

    Let’s not forget so soon that it was Wesley who served that ball up on a platter for Ronaldo to head home in Moscow. Let’s not forget that Wesley is a hard-nosed professional defender who has worked to become a more-than-adequate crosser. And, let’s not forget that Wesley will soon be the only Mancunian on the team !

    Obviously, if the cameo by Rafael is any indication of his upside talent then Wesley isn’t going to be in his job for long but in the meantime let’s recognize that he is going to be in his job this year (and probably next year, too) so that if the team wants to win another EPL/CL double then he will be an important part of the team. And if there is an unforeseen, long-term injury to Rio/Vidic then who do you think is going to get the nod as a full-time replacement – not Jonny Evans and surely not John O’Shea, but Wesley.

    Wesley might not be a “star” but he’s a damned-good player and very few teams are successful without a few water-carriers.

  25. IVOR says:

    Wes is crying all the way to the bank. I don’t think you need to be too concerned for him. Both Jonny Evans and Rafa De Silva are clearly more talented and endowed with much more positional moxy than Our Wes. I think it’s less about a mistake or two and more about his inability to cross the ball and the fact that he is forced commit tactically disastrous fouls after repeatedly being caught out of position. Still, this season we’re taking a lot of injuries, so I’m sure he’ll still get his share of games. It’ll be interesting to see if he wants out come May.

  26. Marquiz says:

    I do not in any respect, underestimate Wes Brown’s contribution, he plays with his heart and goes in full blooded for any 50-50 balls. But there were a few comments made by some of you that he puts in a decent cross, which I beg to differ. Wes Brown has never been a good crosser of the ball and the whole of last season, I think I can only remember 2-3 good crosses from Wes that lead to goals, the rest were no where near the danger zone. Gary Neville on the other hand, can put in a great cross most of the time. I think thou most of us are Man U fans, there are still alot of us who underestimate Gary’s ability in delivery of a cross

  27. sittingbison says:

    perfect time to give Rafael some big game experience. And it keeps the pressure on Wes and everyone else to keep performing, a commodity which is in short supply with the English national team.

  28. corea says:

    Marquiz Said

    i remember one good cross. in the champions league final.

    wes is better in defence. wes should play.
    gary did nothing to replace Wes as the first choise. as simple as that.

  29. Cancaseiro says:

    I think that Fergie has seen how good Rafael is in the training and to be fair Brown is not world class player, yes he had very good last year but I still wouldn’t regard him as world class but Rafael seems to be a really good talent so maybe Fergie though that against AAB would be a perfect place to give him some experience as we were real favorites in that match.

    I agree to some extent that Brown is better than Neville but on form Neville is much better that Brown and You can’t get back into form if You don’t play so that’s why Brown has been overlooked. I am sure if Neville’s performances won’t take turn to better than they have been in next few games then Brown will be back in first team. I think his absence has has been blown out of all proportions and there is nothing sinister in it.

  30. suhayl says:

    Canceseiro = SPOT ON.

    Rafa = best game to bleed him in…see what he’s got…against a team that wasnt going to pose many problems at the back. Great attacking play…defensively will take year 2 years to get upto required standard positioning, tackling wise

    NEVO = best right back in the world last 10 years, dependable relaible, consistent, top RB…top Cb an all when required, club captain,loyal, die hard..defending his best job…invalauble experience. He will get sharper and fitter and better. Needs game time after 18 months out. He is our FIRST CHOICE. However if in a few months he doesnt come upto speed…then SAF will make the big call.

    BROWN = rather see nevo as RB. As wesley isnt a RB…but has done a sterling job. Number 2 to NEVS..if nevo doesnt perform..its wes to take the place. Or play half the games depending on Nevilles injury situation

  31. PeeJay says:

    “best right back in the world last 10 years”

    I should punch you in the head.

  32. Tom F says:

    Agree 100% with Denton Davey’s last comment. It really annoys me when people write off Wesley so quickly, just because it’s what they are used to doing. Nevermind the fact that he played more games than any other United player last season, helping to keep the best defensive record in the Premier League and winning two big competitions. Not bad eh?

    We’ve got Wesley Brown, We’ve got John O’Shea..
    Manchester is dreaming, of silverware in May!

  33. PeeJay says:

    What does it matter that he played more games than anybody last year? Of course he did, he was never injured and the only other RB in the team was. It’s not a great achievement.

  34. Liad says:

    I have kept my quiet until now because I have often expressed a strong opinion when it comes to any issue dealing with Wes Brown. I havent read all of the above quotes because after reading one or two stupid comments I decided that its not worth getting upset at people’s poor attempt at understanding football.

    Many of you here have written in support of Rafa and Nev, great. We must support all of our players, but at the same time I feel that too many “fans” are interested in players on their names, images and status. Neville is indeed a great captain, a good crosser of the ball, a United lad through and through and Rafa is a great potential and flashy looking player that would excite most people. However, Wes Brown has been rock solid for us last year.

    I feel that the fans that call United “Man U” and all that jazz simply overlook the more technical aspect of the game and realise that Wes is a straight forward, hard tackling right (centre) back who puts everything he has into a game in order to win. Im not for a second doubting that Nev or Rafa dont but Wes beats them both in abundance. PEEJAY’s last comment is a real joke, he asks “so what if he played more games than anyone last year”, “its not a great achievement”

    I dont know you but it seems to me like you just simply dont understand football. Firstly its a fucking amazing feat to play more games than any of the other United players, ESPECIALLY in such a successful season. A winning team requires stability in the form of consistency and Wes gave us that. I understand that some fans are fickle and prefer a player with a few flashy stepovers, an amazing cross or three and some really amazing runs down the line that make you want to piss your pants. Wes doesnt do all of that, but you can be sure that no winger is going to get an easy game against him.

    I think we have to start understanding that defending is an art, marking, heading, positional play, tackling and the attacking aspects of it is a pure bonus. A lot of you fans applaude great crosses and attacks from the right back position but do you sit and applaude a great interception, a crucial header and a breakaway ending tackle?

    Start realising that defenders first and foremost defend and stop the other team from scoring and I dont think that for one second you will doubt Wes’ important role in our team. His record last year speaks for itself and he can easily do just as well if not better this season.

    We’ve Got Wesley Brown, We’ve Got Wesley Brown!

  35. PeeJay says:

    If every player was fit every week, every game was vital and nobody got injured then playing the highest number of games would be a real achievement. Sadly, we live in a time and age where injuries and fitness are serious problems, which essentially means that all Wes Brown did last year is stay fit and not get injured. That’s all, it’s no surprise that we were looking at Bosingwa this summer. Fergie knows it, Brown is a mediocre player. He will never do anything exceptional and, unlike a seriously classy player like Rio Ferdinand who will dribble his way out of trouble and kick the ball up the field, will only ever kick the ball out of play, allowing the team to regroup.

  36. blindkat says:

    Can I hear some more about how much Wes sucks now ? I’m no expert but a lot of these comments don’t make a lick of fuckin sense to me. How is playing the most games, not being hurt all year and being an integral part of the best d in the game, on the best squad in the world make you a chump? Gary missed the whole year, Owen’s always hurt but everybody loves them, Wes never being hurt is not because of being in great shape or being a hard ass and playing hurt isn’t worth a toss, interesting. By the way how many games aren’t vital? I seem to remember being super pissed after the cup loss last year, the supercup this year etc. I’m not saying da Silva shouldn’t play, he looks great, but I do think right now Wes playing makes us better than Gary starting and deserves the nod imho. Then again,I don’t live in england so I don’t know all the shit you guys hear about off field stuff and whatnot so I can only go by games I see and from what I see Wes is a bad man.

  37. Liad says:

    Peejay, “fergie knows it, brown is a mediocre player” are you on drugs mate?
    Do you know what fergie thinks all the time, thats an amazing ability you got there! Can you tell me if fergie thinks/knows if Huntelaar wouldve been good for us, or if he regrets letting Rossi go? Can you tell me what fergie knows about the economic meltdown in America?

    You should use your talent of reading/knowing fergie’s thoughts to make millions.

    Wes Brown once again showed why he should be playing, after being dropped for a few games he came into the side confidentally and professionally. I know that the more fickle fans will just highlight his goal as a positive but in my mind his rock solid performance and crunching tackles made his performance so good.


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