Posted on Tuesday, 22nd February 2011 by Chudi
The terrible jokes and rubbish blogs and articles criticising United’s performance are finally dying down but whilst the fans of other teams turn their attention back to their own teams and the journalists find something else to jump on we as United fans are stuck with the performance still in mind.
Nobody would have expected the game to be as tight as it was and whilst United were clear winners it was hardly a comfortable victory.
Whilst the whole team laboured to victory two players in particular are coming in for some serious stick.
Gabriel Obertan and Bebe along with Darron Gibson have fast become the club’s whipping boys and whilst Gibbo showed glimpses of talent with sone excellently weighted passes and the cross that lead to our solitary goal, Bebe and Obertan on the other hand did very little to show that they could go on and be United players.
Years from now no matter which way his career goes, Bebe’s case will be looked at in wonder. Never has there been a case of non United fans wanting a player to fail so badly and the reception he gets from his own fans isn’t much better as I have seen him continually referred to as the player who we bought instead of Rafael Van Der Vaart.
Bebe’s story is one that has been told many times thus the circumstances around his signing are already a massive hindrance. Plucked from obscurity, a big fee and most significantly the fact Sir Alex admitted he had never seen him play means Bebe is being set up to fail. It’s not everyday you get a chance to laugh at Manchester United and Sir Alex so the vultures have been circling.
Sir Alex admittance that he hadn’t seen Bebe play is the one that will affect him the most (it’s debatable whether admitting that he had seen him play and still decided to sign him would have hurt his reputation even more!), he has shown glimpse of ability and looking at him you can see the very raw materials to make a good player. He is big and fast which is a start and whilst his technical ability may not be up to scratch, you will hope that he can be taught. But it is the fact that he isn’t brilliant as every youngster let alone an unknown one that we spent £7.4m is expected to be is what will continue to make him a figure of ridicule. Hopefully in years to come we will have the last laugh and simply look on it as a period of settling.
Realistically for a player so raw he shouldn’t be anywhere near the first team. On paper a return of 2 goals in 7 appearances maybe sound decent if not slightly misleading if you’ve seen him play. He will evidently need LOTS of work if he is to make it here and even then that may not be enough. A long spell in the reserves will do him no harm where he can not only learn the English game but his own out of the harsh spotlight. At just 20 he has loads of time to develop it’s just a matter of moulding him into a player that can function as Manchester United player.
Whilst Bebe’s problems appear to be technical, Gabriel Obertan is the exact opposite.
Obertan has the ability, it’s there to be seen as he displayed against Wolfsburg in the Champions League last season as well as his cameo against Aston Villa earlier this season. Whilst the skills are there to get the job done his problem is one that no amount of coaching can help, they are all in his own head.
At times Obertan can look like the prospect that had us excited when he signed, he showed a flicker of this on Saturday when he left a defender with spaghetti legs after a series of step overs before firing a shot at goal that Crawley keeper Kuipers just about got his body behind but at other times ie the rest of the match he lets his head drop and thus had people asking ‘who the hell is this guy that’s managed to get on field?’
When we signed him Laurent Blanc gave warnings of the type of player Obertan is,
“He has the potential, but he must overcome psychological and mental challenges so he can express his true value.”
I remember there being a few raised eyebrows when this comment was made but now we are seeing exactly what Blanc meant. It is easy to be over awed by a club like Manchester United and that’s just for teams playing against us. Imagine the shock of being 20 and told that we wanted to sign you?
We have to accept that all players are different and not all can stand up to the immense pressure that being a Manchester United player brings, Obertan would not be the first case with Micky Thomas previously stating that it was too much for him but what is disappointing is that he hasn’t given himself the chance.
When the story of him handing in a transfer request at the end of January was quashed by his agent I believed but realistically looking at it, I wouldn’t put it past him. The reason cited was that he didn’t think he had what it took to make it as a United player and you can imagine him thinking like that. His body language suggests that he doesn’t feel like he fits in or that he is worthy of being at the club, with his shoulders haunched over skulking around he can often cut a confused and forlorn figure.
I remember when he scored on the US tour and he did that funny dance, whilst most were interested in what he was doing, for me as he danced with Welbeck it was one of the few times he has really looked at ease and whilst he was at ease he seemed a different player so perhaps that was why there were high expectation for him this season after a decent spell on tour.
Obertan needs to realise not everyone gets a chance to play for Manchester United and if you are lucky enough to be selected, regardless of what the papers and the fans say, it is because the people that count ie the coaches, scouts and managers have seen something that says you have got ‘it’.
French players usually have a bit of a spark about them we don’t have to look any further than Cantona, Barthez and Evra for examples and whilst Obertan has shown a hint of charisma here and there, there has been nothing sustained. I hate the word with a passion but you feel once Obertan plays with a bit of ‘swagger’ we will see something decent from him. Perhaps he can develop this away from Old Trafford with a loan spell or less likely it is something that will just come.
However he plans on bringing out the beast he better do it quick, the inclusion of King, Pogba and Tunnicliffe on the bench will act as a stark reminder that if both aren’t ready to perform there is a steady stream of players anxious for the chance. Whilst neither of the two have by any means ‘made it’ Obertan will remember a time when he was the one waiting chances in games like the one on Saturday.
So as harsh or as knee jerk as it may sound they, and Obertan in particular, may not have as much time as they think or we as fans may wish to afford them.