All our strikers have a point to prove this season and all will be vying to be our superstar.
Wayne Rooney – Is our most important player. The general consensus is if Rooney has a good season, United will win the league. If Rooney gets injured or doesn’t do well, United won’t win the league. Now, that’s a lot of pressure to put on one person’s shoulders but Rooney will relish it. This really is his time to make himself known as the superstar he’s always promised to be. It shouldn’t just be the medals he wins with the team in his possession next year but he should be in the running for the best player in Europe and the World too. That’s how well his season could go but it’s down to him to see it through.
Only five players scored more goals than Rooney last season and all but one of them played more games than him. In the 30 league games he played in last season he scored and assisted a total of 19 goals. Playing in his desired central role he should bag even more. No more excuses, it’s his time to step up to the plate now, and our season hinges on it!
Dimitar Berbatov – Is a player who I’ve appreciated more and more as time has gone by. Whilst an unpopular character with some sections of our support, I think he’s bloody brilliant. I love watching him play. He was done a disservice by his price tag, which piled the pressure and expectation on the player who ‘dreamed’ of playing for our club. Whilst we should expect more goals from him next season, something I’m sure he will manage, I’m of the belief he had a good first season with the club and will only get better. The potential for goals with him playing behind Rooney is massive, particularly now that they have a greater understanding of how the other plays. It’s a big year for him and I am confident he will come up with the goods.
Michael Owen – Was the last player I would have thought I’d have been writing a preview for this summer. I was gutted when we signed him but the idea has certainly grown on me since. He hasn’t come here for the money, oddly for him, he’s here for the football. He knows he has to play well to get in the team and he knows he has to score goals to get taken to the World Cup.
It’s been so far so good for him though, if the pre-season is anything to go by. He’s scored goals and he’s got himself in to good positions. His pace isn’t what it used to be but he just needs to be in the right place at the right time, something his experience will allow him to do. The thought of him lifting that all important 19th title for us in May is so exciting and he has every motivation to achieve that.
Federico Macheda – Has been hailed as the player who won us the title. Whatever he goes on to achieve with the club or elsewhere, people will talk about his winning goal against Aston Villa forever. On the morning of the Villa game, I asked whether today would be the day for us to see our highly rated youngster in action. Our striking options were limited and on the back of two defeats, we really needed to get the win. He came off the bench, scored a superb injury time winner, and on the walk back from the ground the fans were asking who the bloody hell he was!
The following week he scored a late winner against Sunderland and his status in United folklore was cemented. United went on to win the league by four points with a worse goal difference, meaning the points earned from Kiko’s goals could be directly attributed to our title win.
He hasn’t had the best pre-season and has struggled to form a partnership with any of the other strikers, but at 17-years-old, there’s plenty of opportunity for him to do well for us.
Danny Welbeck – Could have been a hero for United last season and had his debut year remembered as fondly as Federico Macheda. As he broke past the Everton back line and rounded the keeper in the FA Cup semi-final, he should have scored the winning goal for us. Phil Jagielka brought him down, the ref waved play on, and United went on to lose the penalty shoot-out.
Still, he did score that screamer against Stoke in front of the Stretford End and grabbed a couple of goals in the cup competitions. He’s probably below Macheda in pecking order but should be a regular for the cup games.