United have flourished since coming back from the summer break and have added a further trophy – the Charity Shield to the pile. The players who have been brought in look like becoming real United players, and the lads who have remained from last season look as hungry as ever. Add to this the emergence of the youngsters back from various loan spells, and we look like being more than ready for the start of a long hard season.
Pre-season has shown us that new signings Phil Jones and Ashley Young have more than what it takes to wear the red shirt, with Jones looking assured and confident when playing, along with versatile and a great reader of the game. Ashley Young has shown flashes of brilliance, and has just the right amount of self-confidence/arrogance to be a United player. Young particularly impressed when coming up against Micah Richards, who can only be described as ‘Hulk’ like with the amount of muscle he carries these days, yet Young continually went back for more – unwilling to be bullied out of the game and eventually he reaped the rewards.
Young keeper David De Gea himself admitted that he did not have the best first half of his life during the Community Shield, being at fault for at least Dzeko’s goal, and leaving some fans with questions. However, as a testament to the player, he held his head up high and came back in the second half to have an assured 45 minutes and pull off a couple of great saves. That for me is the true indicator of his pre-season and one that shows in fact he is a United player.
Our spine from seasons previous looks as strong, committed and willing as ever. The fact they are still hungry from trophies and success after having so much of it already is a testament to their character and the man management of Fergie. Rio, Vidic and Evra look as tight and compact at the back as ever before, Rooney looks back on top form and formidable to say the least. Hernandez, once back from his recent concussion will no doubt continue with his fine form and get back to doing what our mini Mexican does best- scoring and terrorising defences.
The younger members of the squad as well as those recently returned from loan are doing their chances no harm, Smalling has been doing a great impression of recently retired Garry Neville, looking confident and assured with the ball at his feet and good going forward too. Tom Cleverly can only be described as a revelation, with many impressed with his performances, especially against Barca and City. He has clearly benefited from going out on loan, but also from the club’s continued faith in him and the chances offered by Fergie, which he has fully grasped. Our young forwards who have returned to Old Trafford have each had varying levels of success pre-season, and Welbeck even earned himself a start at Wembley. All three of Diouf, Macheda and Welbeck will be fighting for a chance to make an impact and it is not hard to fathom one of them scoring a vital goal and it appears Welbeck is a good shout to work his way on to the bench on a regular occasion at the very least.
With all the competition for places, Fergie will have the headache all managers’ love and far more players than are mentioned above could easily feature against West Brom on Sunday. The fact that the United side is a mixture of youth and experience, with quality throughout and still possesses that never say die attitude means that they are most people’s pick for title winners come May, and not a bad bet for the Champions League either.
With all of this talent at their disposal, no matter what the score or who the opponents, write United off at your peril.