Friday, April 18, 2008

United: Triple re-signing

Manchester United announced today the triple re-signing of defenders Rio Ferdinand and Wes Brown, and mid-fielder Michael Carrick to long-term deals.

I'm a little ambivalent, to be fair. Tying up Ferdinand is great. Although, his effect on the United back-line is regularly overstated at the expense of Nemanja Vidic, who's eastern-European style contributes more to United's balance than does Ferdinand's. However, Ferdinand compliments Vidic's bloody-nosed defending with his class on the ball and savvy distribution. Together they form a great partnership, I only warn against exaggerating Ferdinand's quality as an individual defender.

Wesley Brown, though. He hasn't shown any inclination all year to re-sign. Disputes between his agent and manager Alex Ferguson were publicized throughout the year, and the general feeling seemed to be that Brown would leave in the summer. That's a notion I got used to. Where are his virtues? He's a decent header of the ball. Otherwise, he's slow, unable to attack with any vim, gets stood up by quicker, trickier attackers, and simply isn't consistent or reliable.

Why not let him go his own way and pickup Glen Johnson, England and Portsmouth's attacking right-back, as a replacement to the elder Neville, with youngster Danny Simpson deputizing?


I was hoping Carrick would find the exit too. The last week or two he's played well, against Roma particularly, but even Giggs played well in that game. Carrick can't shoot, can't dribble past anyone, and lacks the ability to run games like little Scholesy can through passing. Perhaps his worst attribute is his tendency of being brushed off the ball worse than Darren Fletcher. At least Fletch can get stuck in. Carrick spends matches on his toes, and plays like he's afraid. He simply isn't United quality.

In the coming years I hope to see Hargreaves and Anderson bossing games, with Carrick, begrudgingly, coming off the bench.

Sir Alex Ferguson is regarded as one of the greatest managers in World football, rightfully, but if I were to criticize him at all (a tall order for a noob like me) I'd say he is, at times, too sentimental to his expensive signings and long-time servants, as evidenced by Carrick's new contract, and Giggs' continued undeserved spot on the team-sheet.

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