As I sat down to watch United’s kids take on a virtually full strength Wolves side, I was a little sceptical about the outcome, yet I was excited to see what the future holds for United. It was a chance to see the youngsters Bebe, Obertan, Smalling, Amos, Fabio, and Macheda all in action together for the first time.
We don’t really know Bebe’s best position, but he has been seen playing as a striker and as a winger – the latter of which he played against Wolves. United as a whole didn’t have the best of first half’s, but Bebe seemed the likely man to make something happen. His team mates were trying to pick him out on the right wing whenever possible giving him a chance to run at Elokobi. Bebe was very direct and positive in his play, trying to get in behind as much as he could. What was also good to see were his defensive duties. He tracked back to help Wes Brown or Fabio depending which flank he was on to good effect. However there were a few times he lost the ball cheaply but he had the determination to redeem himself and win it back for the team. He is tall figure and has a decent frame for a winger and I think we could all see one of Bebe’s main attributes – his pace, which is always a good thing to have, especially in the Premier League.
The Portuguese youngster also managed to get himself on the score sheet, even if it was via a helping hand from a Wolves deflection, looping over Hennessy in the away side’s goal. A deserved reward for his first half efforts. This was the first real chance we got to see of young Bebe and I hope we get to see a lot more of him, because it was definitely a positive start to his United career.
We had recently seen Obertan in substitute appearances, but on Tuesday evening he was given a chance to shine after impressing in cameos this season. I’m not sure he fully took that chance though. He was given sort of a free role behind Macheda. The talented Frenchman showed glimpses of his quality, often using his blistering pace to run at the Wolves defence. He tried to link up with Macheda on numerous occasions, but the chemistry just didn’t seem to be there. Obertan was a little wasteful in possession and he doesn’t seem to have the confidence to show off the silky skills we know he can produce and has produced in the Reserves. I suppose that confidence will come with games. On the whole, this ‘boy’ (I say boy, but he looks about 30) will need time and plenty of patience and Fergie knows all too well that patience is the key to producing quality youngsters.
This was the lad I was most impressed with. He looks a real coup! In fact, in my view, he plays similar to that of Rio Ferdinand. Throughout the game on Tuesday, Smalling kept our defence together. Ex-United player Sylvan Ebanks-Blake was left silenced by the young Englishman for the majority of the game and on top of that, you can’t blame Chris for either of Wolves’ goals.
Smalling looked composed on the ball and seemed to have an excellent array of passing – always looking to go forward. He’s stands tall at 6ft 5inches and he has a decent burst of pace. The thing I most noticed when watching on Tuesday was the fact he reads the game so well. Not only that, already, he seems to have a knack of scoring goals when he’s given the chance from set piece situations. The 20 year old, signed from Fulham in the summer has already made nine U21 appearances for England and you can see why.
His incredible rise from non league Maidstone United to the heights of Manchester United is something to behold. Smalling looks like he has the makings of a perfect replacement for Rio Ferdinand both for United and possibly England.
Amos unfortunately conceded two goals in which he couldn’t necessary help. He looked reasonably solid, however if I’m being picky, he could have perhaps done better with Wolves’ equaliser. The only criticism I would have of him is that he should have been more dominant when dealing with crosses, where he seemed to flap and miss the ball completely. In reference to Wolves’ first goal he could have done a lot better position wise as well as dealing with David Jones’ corner.
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