While the pressure mounts on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following a less than convincing start to the season, there are calls for the Norwegian to place an even greater emphasis on youth, in what is already being viewed as another transitional period at Old Trafford.
United sit just two points above the relegation zone following their latest loss at Newcastle United on Sunday evening, with the likes of Fred, Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford being among the players who continue to struggle in making an impact. With a place in the top six, let alone top four, appearing unlikely, even at this early stage of the campaign, it may well be more worthwhile in the long run for Solskjaer to turn to his crop of promising youngsters.
Angel Gomes and Brandon Williams were both unused substitutes at St. James’ Park, while Mason Greenwood and Tahith Chong were given little time to make an impact in the second half. With players such as Nemanja Matic and Marcos Rojo unlikely to be in Solskjaer’s long-term plans, fans at Old Trafford would be happier seeing more youth players introduced at first team level, with midfielder James Garner having been on top form for the Under-23 side over recent weeks.
Solskjaer has come in for criticism this week due to his failure to replace either Romelu Lukaku or Alexis Sanchez over the summer, with an injury to Anthony Martial have left the team severely lacking in attacking options. In a time where the attack has its issues, fitness problems and a lack of form mean that Rashford has failed to find the back of the net in the last six matches, with the England international having taken to social media following their trip to Newcastle in order to vent his frustration about United’s struggles.
The international break has perhaps come at a good time for United and Solskjaer, with the former hoping that he will be given more time to address the issues facing his side. On the market leading Betfair betting app, current Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is now at odds of 5/2 to be the next permanent manager at Old Trafford. However, it is doubtful that Ed Woodward would sack Solskjaer just seven months after appointing him as permanent boss, with away supporters having vented their frustration at the Glazier family at St. James’ Park on Sunday, rather than the former forward.
While the “Fergie’s way” of using the youngsters while better veteran players arrive over time is an option, with the January transfer window being notoriously difficult to operate in, fans at Old Trafford are likely to need greater amounts of patience than normal, with some of the names that have been linked with future moves to United perhaps having second thoughts given their current state.