But now the legendary midfield maestro Paul Scholes has hung up his boots, isn’t the time right for another bright, young talent to step forward into the limelight at Old Trafford?
When you partner the loss of Paul Scholes with recent departures of Wes Brown, John O’Shea and more likely than not, Darron Gibson in the not too distant future, the current squad of the Premiership champions is looking rather thin of home grown players.
With the introduction of Ashley Young, Phil Jones and a more responsible role for Chris Smalling this season likely, Sir Alex Ferguson has brought in some promising English talent to bolster his squad. Especially when you consider the advantages of a possible future English international central defensive partnership being forged in Jones and Smalling, there is potential for real mental understanding and a strong communicative bond that could prove effective, long term, for both club and country. These introductions do not only show promise for the future English international set up but also allow positive adherence to the FA regulations regarding players trained in England from youth level.
Not that United have ever had a problem with this rule. Even though it has only recently been enforced within the Premier League Ferguson has always attained a strong influence of British/Irish players within his squads. He has brought in, managed and given the all important career break trough to many of arguably the best British/Irish footballers within his managerial generation. Players like Giggs, Keane, Sheringham, Irwin and the graduates of the famous ‘class of ‘92’ have all seen action within United’s first team a long time before the home grown regulations came into play, as well as Rooney, Fletcher, Ferdinand and Owen more recently.
However not too many players have made the all important transition from the youth set up at Carrington to the first team at Old Trafford. Making an impact in the first team at United is understandably difficult when considering the quality within the squad currently and the availability to bring in world class players. Never the less, many of the back room staff, fans and ex-players, who are still very much involved at the club, have voiced their confidence in the talent and potential coming through the youth ranks currently.
Players like Tom Cleverley, who impressed a great deal during last seasons campaign on loan at Wigan, and, the constantly touted for greatness, Ravel Morrison, both seem to possess bags of ability and potential, as well as playing in creative midfield positions very much like that of Paul Scholes during his time at Old Trafford. Paul Pogba too, although French in nationality, could be labelled as ‘home grown’ due to the age at which he joined the academy at United. He too has received a strong backing from youth staff and is tipped to develop into a quality player. Allowing potential talents like these to develop fully, including vital experience with the first team, may prove to generate the continuity of quality and football mentality of ‘team performance’ over ‘individual performance’ that may one day rival that of the Catalan giants Barcelona.
Nobody could ever doubt Scholes’ commitment or drive, nor his lasting energy and passion, to occupy a key position within the team when playing for United during the close season of his career but with his departure comes an opportunity for some of these much talked about talents to be given a chance within the first team.
Ferguson could choose to send many of the future prospective stars out on loan again this year, allowing them to probably gain more first team experience than they would at Old Trafford, however giving them a chance to train and play with the first team, learn how each other play from a young age, develop in the company of strong, and experienced, British footballing role models and ultimately offering them an incentive to commit, perform and be a significant part of the club could lead to the next David Beckham, the next Ryan Giggs or even the next Paul Scholes.