Maybe Manchester United have got a new centre half after all?– his name is Mike Smalling!!!!!!! For those who are not aware this is what manager, Louis Van Gaal, accidently called Chris Smalling at a press conference on their pre-season tour and maybe just maybe, ‘Mike’ as he is now known by his teammates has decided it is time he stood up to the plate with a run of consistent performances – especially taking into account his commanding performances in United’s two league matches so far this season. To be fair to Smalling he had a good end to the last campaign (which earned him a new long term contract) – and he became LVGs centre back of choice, having a prolonged run in the team.
It surprises some people to learn that he has just entered his 6th season at Old Trafford and when he was bought for 10 million by Sir Alex Ferguson he was seen as a natural successor to Rio Ferdinand with his tall muscular physique and ball playing abilities. However after a promising couple of campaigns he has struggled to progress to the leader that so many expected. When Phil Jones was bought the following season it was expected that these two would form the backbone of the Red Devils defence for years to come – natural successors to the Vidic-Ferdinand axis (some even said that they would establish themselves as the central defensive partnership for England). Unfortunately due to injury and form this has not been the case – Jones is currently out injured as I write this.
So Mike – sorry Chris has shown this kind of form before, but then injury or a shockingly bad performance has set him back (Man City – away when he was stupidly sent off last season is one that comes to mind). The signs, at the moment, especially following on from the end of the previous campaign are looking good. If he stays fit there are four more matches until the first international break and a continuation of his current performances will keep the doubters away and maybe just maybe all that promise will become fulfilled over the season and into the future.
ROO NEEDS TO GET GOING NOW
Wayne Rooney has had a, lets say, slow start to the season and no matter what some sycophantic so called expert pundits think (you are allowed to criticise him) – he was awful against Aston Villa, in my opinion United’s worst player on the day, this happens – top players do have off days. However, this is not something new in regards to Roo, he is known to need a few games to get up to speed. I think he will improve in due course as he is a quality front man and is now the Red Devils third highest goal scorer in their history and is chasing down the record of 249 held by Bobby Charlton (he will also break Charlton’s England goal scoring record as he currently stands just one goal behind on 48). The main issue that Rooney has to be very wary of is complacency, as we stand Man United lack quality proven options up front – Hernandez and Wilson are the back up to the Liverpool born striker as we stand, though newcomer Memphis Depay can also play in that position. Resting on his laurels will not be tolerated by manager Louis Van Gaal, even as captain, ask Mark Van Bommel and Robin Van Persie – people who he had fantastic relationships with as his captains at club and country respectively but when their performances dipped he had no issues with discarding them. If no further striking options are added during the summer, Rooney will need to get up to speed quickly – he is clearly capable of this and it would not surprise me at all if he is banging in the goals on a regular basis very soon. If not LVG will not hesitate too much (if at all) to replace him – captain or not.
Let me know what you think
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