United Youth – How will they fare next season?

Phil Jones

Another new acquisition and one which has encountered a fair bit of debate as to where he will feature and what impact he will be expected to have next season.

To be honest it is difficult to see him having an immediate impact especially in the defensive positions due to the level of competition in those areas. In my opinion he’ll be used more as a utility man, coming off the bench for tiring legs and filling in against lesser opposition, injuries etc whilst he acclimatises to life at United. As for potentially filling in at defensive midfield, its one thing to do this for Blackburn Rovers where the technical level demanded from that level is not particularly high but for him to displace Carrick as the defensive mid or even complement him in a midfield trio (with a more creative player ahead) is asking possibly too much. He will definitely be given a chance to make a name for himself in that role and it probably is his best chance of finding an immediate route into the United first team but its placing a heavy burden on him to expect him to excel.

If he could give us something akin to Hargreaves in that role, that would be awesome though, we can all agree on that.

Areas of Improvement: Weight of pass, Movement off the ball, General standard of his technical game.

Daniel Welbeck

I’ll confess that I find it hard to envisage Welbeck making an immediate impact on this United team and have doubts as to whether he can make it for this club in the long term. That said, the role of Striker is one which is very difficult and especially as Welbeck seems to be more of a potential ’9? rather than a ’10?, his development will more likely take longer as his game will be built on strength, great hold up play and ability to score goals in the box.

This lad has a knack for goal-scoring, it can’t be denied and as long as he continues to do this, I couldn’t care less if his general play is not particularly lively or eye-catching but what does concern me is his languid style. Not that I have a dislike for this style, far from it but as we’ve seen with Berbatov, its a style that doesn’t perhaps suit United especially for when we wish to play at our best. Hernandez’ immediate impact for the first team has made that all too clear and its a shame that Macheda who possesses the fiery nature/swashbuckling style doesn’t have the same level of natural talent as Danny. There are signs that Welbeck can track back and put in a shift when needed, he can get across the pitch well, one hopes once he matures, his aggression will come to the fore and he can be a big player for us in the future. Next season, he will just seek to keep his name in Ferguson’s thoughts and score some important goals when called upon.

Areas of Improvement: Movement off the ball, Aggression, More purpose on the ball, Crossing (for when he’s employed out wide)

Tom Cleverley

He wasn’t very good at the recent Under 21?s, which was a shame considering what a joy he’s been to watch for Wigan on loan. In my opinion he was hampered at international level, not down to a lack of talent but moronic management from ‘Geeet Staaack EEIN’ Three Lions on your Shirt Pschyo Stu. Played on the right, his lack of pace was exploited and he couldn’t really get forward and take players on, as we know he can at premiership level. His ability to come off the flank and strike with his right was also curtailed by this disastrous tactical move.

Cleverley next season will hope that in the limited time he is given, it is in the right positions (Left Mid or AM) and then he will have to make the most of it, as I fear Fergie’s patience with regards to the likes of him, Evans, Anderson and Welbeck isn’t likely to be as much as the new signings and Smalling.

Can he make an impact? I hope so, there’s little glimpes of him where he just looks the part whenever he’s passing and moving in tight areas and he can pull out audiacious passes under pressure but then there are many games where he can just come across as pretty limited and the fact that he can’t even hold on to a first team place in the U21 team does beg the question of whether or not he’s United quality.

I wish him the best, as I do like his style of play and can see something in him.

Areas of Improvement: Aggression, Dribbling (with tricks), Crossing/Shooting with both feet, Heading, Positional Play (if he wants to make an impact centrally).


In conclusion, expect the twins to continue to make a strong impact on the first team, expect a big debut season from De Gea (as he’ll either fly or die), expect Jones to steadily find his own ‘niche’ role within the United first team set up without really troubling the back line, Smalling to put Ferdinands position under threat.

As for Welbeck, I expect a few goals here and there but don’t see him breaking into the first team set up as a regular and as for Cleverley, he’ll either make a strong impact in terms of either goals or controlling the game sort of performances, showing everyone what he is made of, or he’ll struggle to get games and leave the club in search of regular first team football.

Finally I reckon Anderson, if fit for the entire season will finally lay the foundations to excel for the season after and if not (remains injury prone), I can’t see him staying at the club for much longer.

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