United’s wingers must grab their opportunity

Wide-men have the chance to show they have the wind beneath their wings

Antonio Valencia

So often the creative force down the flanks, Antonio Valencia will be sorely missed during what looks to be a lengthy absence on the sidelines, nursing his horrid ankle injury suffered against Rangers on Tuesday night. His will be a huge void to fill; but it is key, in order for United’s quest for silverware this season to go right, that someone steps up to the plate and fills that void left by the Ecuadorian.

Valencia was United’s catalyst last season, creating chances and, then of course, goals. He also created a formidable partnership with Wayne Rooney, and quite a few of the forward’s 32 goals in the 09/10 campaign came from those trademark skiddy crosses from the right wing. Indeed ‘Tony’, as he is often called nowadays, was undoubtedly United’s better and consistent performers last season although, tragically, it looks unlikely that the second chapter will involve as much success on the pitch, such is the seriousness of this injury, that he certainly will spend the duration on the treatment time.

It is important, for the likes of Park, Gabriel Obertan and even Bebe, that they sense the opportunity of having to play more regularly in Valencia’s absence and grab it with both hands. It also means that Nani has to be at the top of his game this campaign, with the feeling that he now has an extra workload put onto him but, in order to be an established member of the squad, he has to overcome such pressure. Plenty depends on him.

In Park, United have a rather frustratingly brilliant winger. Inconsistency has crept into his game of late, but as so happens when a team lose a key player, he must produce far more regularly. There’s no doubting his talent and Sir Alex will surely rotate between him and Ryan Giggs on the left-hand side. Giggs won’t play every game – another reason why these wingers need to submit their intent on the field in order to become a first team player rather than fringe.As for Obertan and Bebe, well time will only tell. Obertan has looked promising for a while now; he was fantastic for the reserves and in the few senior games he played last year and could be ready to make the step up. Having played at Bordeaux with Laurent Blanc, we must not underrate the player. He was fantastic for the French side although his transfer did come as a surprise to a few. His pace and technical abilities means he should be able to ‘handle’ the English game, as well as being suited to the European style of play.

As for Bebe, the jury is very much out for whatever reason. He’s played very little, so early (and frankly, blind) judgements are harsh – again, we must wait a little while and learn more about him. We never know – it could be a huge season for the Portuguese youngster, and chances may come on a regular basis. Sir Alex has been hit with a monumental blow, and now he must attempt to cope with what he has. Can these wide-men grab their opportunity and show that they do, as a matter of fact, have the winds beneath their wings?

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4 responses to “United’s wingers must grab their opportunity”

  1. Walter Mitty says :

    Of course the jury is out on Bebe! We’ve only seen him play in one game and that was a 1-4 thrashing of our reserve team by the Aston Villa Reserves. You seem to imply that we should be accepting of him even before we’ve seen him play. Heck – even Ferguson has barely seen him play! (He’s admitted as much.)

    Word is that Valencia may be back as early as February. Hope he recovers well and quickly.

    In other tangential news, Owen Hargreave’s surgeon – the same one which said a couple of years ago that Hargreave’s knees were the worst he’d seen in 35 years of treating knees – said that Hargreaves is well on the road to recovery.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/m/man_utd/9008416.stm

    • The Gaffer says :

      Should we be judgemental, though? I want to see him in action often enough in order to make a perception; it’s unfair to devalue a player we know so little of. Should the jury be out when frankly, there isn’t a reason for ‘it’ to be out (yet)? I realise we’re contradicting each other by making the same statement for opposite arguments…

      Think it’s key we be patient with Tony and not rush him back too soon. As for Hargreaves, I’ll try not to get my hopes up – even a true optimist like me can never be sure!

  2. ronny says :

    I think tom clevely is the future of man utd to be honest in midfield as the creative player and fletcher as the holding player.

    Not sure what it is about anderson but I find him frustrtaing cant put my finger on it – maybe he looks or is a bit lazy – he looks like he is not serious enough with that daft smile on his face all the time.

    when he is on his game he is good but I think it is his determination that is at fault.

    I like the look of the mexican kid and the italian striker cannot think of their names for some reason to many beers last night!

    Wingers nani is coming good but agin there is something about him that I cant put my finger on that I am not totally sure about.

    Anyway there are alot of kids coming up that are looking good especially like the look of progba for midfield and morrison as a winger for the future.

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