When Antonio Valencia suffered the horrific injury against Glasgow Rangers the immediate thought was to his wellbeing and wishing him a speedy recovery. Later, questions were starting to be asked on how the team would line up in his absence. The positive view is Nani will be allowed to ply his trade on the favoured right wing role, the big question is – who will play on the left wing? The options: Ryan Giggs; Ji Sung Park, Gabriel Obertan, Bebé or even Wayne Rooney?
For over twenty years the left wing spot has been owned by Giggs, however at his age we all know he is unlikely to play week in week out, especially on the left wing. Sir Alex Ferguson has stated in the past he believes Giggs is quite capable of playing on the wing during the first half season, but as the season progresses he will be switched into a central role. Giggs will be able to play there for the odd game, but not on a consistent basis.
In recent years Sir Alex Ferguson has preferred to select Ji Sung Park for big games – last season he started against AC Milan home & away and was asked to play a specific central role limiting the influence of Pirlo – he was superb and fulfilled the role excellently. Park is the unsung hero, he is loved by the fans for efforts and deservedly so. His energy, work rate and harassing of the opposition is to be admired. His best work is done when the opposition have the ball. At times however I feel he lacks the cutting edge in attack to break down teams regularly, highlighted in the fixture against Rangers. His future may lie in central midfield, rather than a winger?
Obertan signed for Manchester United in the summer of 2009 from French club Bordeaux for a reported fee of £3m – his first season can be described as acclimatisation. Unfortunately he arrived with a slight back injury which required a three month layoff. He eventually made his reserve debut against Oldham Athletic in October. My impressions of Obertan that night were of someone with natural ability – a player armed with flair & skills, a very good passer of the ball and a player that will be a good impact substitute that season. During the 2009-10 season we saw glimpses of the Frenchman’s ability, notably the assist in Wolfsburg and the cracker scored against Liverpool during a reserve match. However, we witnessed other performances, which highlighted his inexperience and raw talent. He was poor during the FA Cup fixture against Leeds United – as a consequence his appearances were limited for the remainder of the season. Is Obertan the answer?
Since the announcement of his signing, Bebé through no fault of his own has received plenty of criticism. He was even being criticised before he had kicked a ball in anger for Man United – ridiculous if you ask me. Anyway, we were able to gather our first impressions in the recent reserve game against Aston Villa – his performance highlighted his pace, power and crossing ability – he whipped in several dangerous crosses into the penalty area. He is by no means the finished article; the description of him being raw is a fair one, he definitely has the basic tools to make him a real asset for the cub. Bebé is unlikely to be the answer, not this season.
Rooney? I suggest his name reluctantly. He has fulfilled the role on several occasions to accommodate Ronaldo. Late on against Liverpool he switched to left and looked more confident to my eyes – is this fair? However, after his record breaking season in 2009-10 should we be messing about with Rooney? If he rediscovers the same form of last year his partnership with Berbatov could be full of goals. I’m against the idea, what do you think?
Patrice Evra or Fabio? Not for me. I’d prefer a player accustomed to role – I don’t like the idea of square pegs in round holes. Both are good attacking full backs offering support to a winger. What do you think?
My preferred choice is Obertan – the attacking option. He won’t have a better opportunity to launch his United career.
If you wish to discuss this issue further with myself or other members of the Stretford End Arising community, you can do so in the Stretford End Arising Forum