Blackett must feel wanted at the moment, so hopefully he will sign up soon. As for the others, I have no idea, but would be a shame if they were moved on. How long is Lingard out for? He started the first game, so would of been interesting to see how highly LvG rates him. Hopefully rantcast is wrong
I listened to Sir Alex Ferguson’s team talks for my whole playing career – England aside – and I know that there was never a time that I went out on to the pitch unprepared or in any doubt as to the responsibility of playing for Manchester United.
When Rory McIlroy talks about being absorbed by what my old boss told Europe’s Ryder Cup team on Tuesday, I know what he means. For 19 years, the manager always surprised us. He always kept us on our toes.
On match days at Old Trafford, we would arrive at about 12.30pm. Between then and 1.30pm Sir Alex would see players individually in his office. Sometimes it was to tell them that they weren’t playing. Sometimes it was to tell them that he had a specific role in mind for them. Just before 1.30pm, the manager’s assistant, Mike Phelan in the later years, would come into the players’ lounge and tell us to go into the changing room for the team meeting.
We would watch some video clips. Nothing longer than 10 or so minutes because minds could wander. Then Sir Alex would talk. He had an ability to make even the smaller games – the early rounds of the FA Cup, the league games against lower-placed sides – feel like the World Cup final. He got inside your head. He got you going.
One of his themes was to talk about the group of players having come from all over the world – or, in my case, Middleton – to play for Manchester United. “Look around you,” he would say. “Look at the lad next to you. You know you can trust him. You know he won’t let you down.” It would have an effect on players. You could see them looking around at each other.
Sometimes he would get stuck into an individual before a game. It might be over something that had happened in a previous match. He would talk about the opposition. He always told you something new.
And then there were those very few occasions, not usually the big games, when we would be waiting for him and he would come in, looking angry. “Just go out there and beat this team,” he would bark – and walk out. One sentence, then gone. He would leave you wondering what it was that had got him angry. You thought: “He means business, we better not mess this one up.”
I always thought as a player, if you needed motivating to play for Manchester United then you had a problem. I am sure the Ryder Cup lads feel the same way. But after they listened to Sir Alex they will have a few useful extra things in their head for this week.
Another thing Sir Alex would often tell us before games against clubs lower down the division was that we first had to match them for running and energy, and only then would our superior ability take over.
“Work like a Third Division team would if they came to Old Trafford,” he would tell us, “we know you have got the ability, and if you win the battle with them all over the pitch, that ability will tell in the end.”
Last weekend showed that, for a number of our top clubs, nothing can be taken for granted. The quality of Leicester City, who beat Manchester United, as well as Southampton, West Ham and West Bromwich Albion – who beat Tottenham – was clear to see. Then there are Swansea, who beat Everton in the League Cup. These teams are fit and strong. But they have good quality too, and they never give up.
I have been critical of teams that have fallen short this season but this time I would like to give some credit to managers. Teams have outperformed bigger clubs on much bigger budgets. It is also true of Mark Hughes at Stoke City, whose team beat Manchester City at the Etihad this month.
Nigel Pearson set his Leicester team up to attack United. He chose three centre-forwards, which tells you that he wanted to score goals. Jamie Vardy and David Nugent covered a hell of a lot of ground that day. As a team, Leicester dealt with the influence of Daley Blind. Against Queen’s Park Rangers the previous week he had been able to dictate the game. Not this time.Most of all, Leicester just never gave up. At 3-1 down to United there might have been some teams who would have chucked it in. But that is less and less common in the modern Premier League. You cannot afford to coast when you have the lead. Every point is fought for right to the very end. It is what makes the league the best in the world.
So, what’s changed over the years? The fitness of players is different to when I started playing, and the pace is that bit more relentless. Look around the Premier League today. You don’t see many slow players. Footballers look after themselves much more these days. When I started out, the gym was not such a big part of daily life. Now they start them working on strength at the age of 10.
I was never one for the gym, although towards the end of my career that changed. I would work with Mike Clegg, then the club’s strength and conditioning coach, and it made me feel better. Were I starting out now, it would be a much more integral part of my daily routine.
For the bigger teams there is always the danger that if they are not quite up for it then they could lose, especially those who are coming off a tough European midweek game. The rest of the division is closing the gap on the top teams. They might not be able to challenge them over the course of a season, but on any given day it can be done.
It’s 20 years since my debut... how did I ever make it?!
I am told it was 20 years ago last Sunday that I made my debut for United against Port Vale in the second round of the League Cup. We won 2-1 at Vale Park and I scored the goals. I still find it difficult to convey just what that meant to me then, aged 19, playing for the club I supported. Nothing beats the feeling of scoring a goal, and those first two in professional football were a thrill I shall never forget.
Our manager was the first to rest his senior players in the League Cup and give the kids a chance. That night the only senior players who started were Denis Irwin, Roy Keane, David May and Brian McClair. For those of us in the youth team there was a chance for myself as well as Gary Neville, David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Simon Davies and Keith Gillespie.
For us it was an ideal opportunity, and the practice is much more widespread now. You saw it with Liverpool giving a chance to players like Jordan Rossiter against Middlesbrough on Tuesday night. Arsenal did the same, with less success, against Southampton. It is an opportunity for young players to compete at a big stadium in front of a proper crowd rather than just 100 people watching an Under-21s game.
Physically, it was always a struggle for me in those early days. I wasn’t big, I wasn’t quick and I wasn’t strong. I don’t know how the hell I ever made it! As I have mentioned before, there is a great emphasis on the power side of the game nowadays and one of the most common criticisms you hear of young players now is, “He can’t run”. But there will always be room for different kinds of players.
I always cite the example of Andrea Pirlo. He is a fit lad but he was never a box-to-box footballer. It was the same with me. Clearly, our youth-team manager, Eric Harrison, had a lot of faith in me and that made a difference. Once the chance comes along you have to take it.
Andreas Pereira has revealed Manchester United are yet to contact him over a new contract but Louis van Gaal has told him to remain calm.
The 18-year-old’s current contract with United expires soon leading to questions over his long term future at the club.
Pereira made his debut against MK Dons in the Capital One Cup and has been on the bench for United’s past two games after being fast tracked into the first-team by Van Gaal. Now, he has been told by the United boss to remain calm about his future.
“They haven’t contacted me yet, but Van Gaal told me to stay calm,” Pereira told Lancenet.
“He wants to give me a chance because I have plenty of talent. When he arrived at the club, I talked with him. He always does so.
“It’s not true that (he doesn’t like Brazilian players), he always treated me in a normal way.”
Pereira is no doubt one of the most individually talented youngsters in the academy but he lacks the consistency needed for first-team football.
Now that Van Gaal has accelerated his progression to senior football, it’s more than likely Pereira will be confident of signing a new deal at the club and given how spoilt United are for attacking talent, there’d be no better place for him to learn.
“They are very humble, normal people,” Pereira said of Rooney, Van Persie and Di Maria. “They talk with me, give me advice, they help a lot.
“They tell me what is better to do and not do. Anderson talks with me a lot and Darren Fletcher also helps.”
WhatsTheMata: sooooo some sort of indonesian wizard is cursing all of us
May 10, 2018 11:12:07 GMT
Deleted: 'indonesian wizard'
May 10, 2018 18:27:15 GMT
WhatsTheMata: Glad you think it's funny. When we get fucked around by the spells you just deleted you will take me seriously
May 19, 2018 11:57:48 GMT
No.7: Can this thread be unlocked or is it too early? not that i want Jose out now but i think were coming close to that time and want to hear peoples opinions on the subject.
Sept 20, 2018 10:15:25 GMT
cjjagzmoni: Pogba is a good lad minus the showboating..I think at Juventus he had Older players like Pirlo,Chiellini,Marchisio,Bonucci who shout and screams at him so he was more serious at Juve ,We dont have those type of leaders at United to caution him.
Nov 1, 2018 3:36:38 GMT
geo: Cardiff City - Huddersfield Town - Bournemouth - Newcastle United = 12 points. Back in the hunt. Come on.
Dec 19, 2018 17:55:18 GMT
geo: Job done as above - next step, stay unbeaten until we get to the PSG game.
Jan 3, 2019 23:17:42 GMT
theedge: Just discovered this forum. I live in Canada so don't get to many games, but I get to watch all the games live. Last 2 games attended in person: Europa League Final in Stockholm 2017, FA Cup Final 2016. Won the last 11 I've been to. I need to go more often
Apr 1, 2019 23:25:01 GMT
simes: Kazakhstan....well blow me down...been there many a time, not so bad a journey. FC Astana are not a bad outfit, gave Celtic a good run, and the National side beat Scotland. What do you reckon a walk over? BTW its easy to get to, I always use Air Astana.
Aug 30, 2019 14:11:59 GMT
snan1218: Hi,I'm very new member,the Red Devil from Malaysia.
Oct 10, 2019 9:16:40 GMT
shah: Hi i am shah been united fan from birec
Jan 24, 2020 8:33:02 GMT