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Can Chris Eagles be everything Kieran Richardson is not?

After last night’s draw with Chelsea, Alex Ferguson praised Chris Eagles and Kieran Lee for their contributions. Personally, I think it was a bit troubling that Lee was beaten by Sinclair and he’ll need more time (preferably on loan) before we can pass any serious judgement on him. He looks decent enough.

Eagles though, is a different case. He’s had his loan periods, and he’s had his time playing in the reserves. It’s time for him to stand up and be counted, and on recent (albeit scant) evidence, he’s doing a much better job than Kieran Richardson.

It’s been a strange sort of season for Eagles. The pre-season saw him being maligned by fans and he was one of the few (the others being Fletcher, Silvestre and O’Shea) who were constantly talked about as the ‘cruft’ in the United squad.

Later on, with Manchester United flying high, Eagles for forgotten and he only came into the limelight with United’s injury crisis in April.

One goal against Everton (as a late sub) and the best Manchester United player (well, the best after Wes Brown) on the pitch on Stamford Bridge, and now he’s completely changed his impressions from that we had at the start of the season.

It’s unfair to judge (or ball-bust) a player based on 2 performances. From what little I’ve seen, his goal was well taken (especially for a reserve teamer who has no first team experience at Old Trafford) and overall he was quite good against Chelsea.

Hopefully Ferguson will play Eagles against West Ham on Sunday. It would be interesting to see how he plays when Rooney and Ronaldo are on the pitch. He wasn’t overawed by John Terry, Essien or SWP, I doubt he’ll be intimidated by the likes of Anton Ferdinand.

And in Chris Eagles we see everything that Kieran Richardson promised a couple of years ago. Richardson lacks the football intelligence and perhaps the poise to succeed with United, and I think he will need a full season in the Prem out on loan before we can make a final decision on him (he can be a good backup winger).

With Eagles, I hope he gets the same chances next season that Richardson got.

Ferguson puts it best when he says:

“Chris Eagles was one of our best players tonight. He provided a great deal of variety in his match, his work-rate was terrific.

I think Chris has shown he’s got the temperament to play. He does work very hard at his game. He’s one of the lads who goes out and practises in the afternoons.

You get the rewards of that, and there are great dividends. The dividend for Chris Eagles tonight is that I wouldn’t be afraid to play him any time.”

You know what? I wouldn’t mind Eagles playing for United against most of United’s Prem opponents. That’s about as much as we can say for Park Ji-Sung or Alan Smith, right?

What are the chances that Eagles can be the ‘next big thing’ to come out of United’s academy? It’s too early to make any predictions, but we can always hope.



  1. Red Ranter

    10 May 2007 at 21:00

    I don’t know if you heard it, but during the match the commentators referred to him as the new Beckham! He had a couple of decent crosses. (Well the comparison has to be for his general play, he doesn’t look as glamorous as Becks) 🙂

  2. Ahmed Bilal

    10 May 2007 at 21:22

    Becks changed a lot as he grew into a star, there’s hope for Eagles yet 🙂

  3. RedDevil

    10 May 2007 at 22:04

    If United does sign Nani (as speculated), I don’t think Eagles has much chance of being a regular at United.

    Against Chelsea I saw that he was quite fast, but his passing was a bit sloppy (which I’m sure he’ll imporove if he gets more matches). But the problem with him is his physique.. he’s a bit skinny, don’t u think?

  4. Rylie

    10 May 2007 at 23:28

    Let’s hope so Ahmed, Let’s hope so. I am a fan af giving the youth a go and have thoroughly enjoyed Eagles’ outings this year. But cannot say the same for Richardson.

    I have read that next year will be Richarson’s make or break. I thought it was this year, and he broke it. He had a couple of decent performances late lat season and I was hoping he would carry through and improve over this year. Sadly it was not so. Out of all of the players this year I felt he was the weakest link.

    Eagles has a bit of that winning drive that Ronnie has (and that is probably one readson why SAF rates him as you can’t ‘train’ that into a player). But that is where the comparison should end. 🙂 He is fun to watch and I hope he features a bit next season.

  5. abood

    11 May 2007 at 03:05

    has anyone noticed how bloody RED his neck is?
    poor guy looked like he was about to pop.

  6. Shyam

    14 June 2007 at 21:08

    If i am not wrong he is just 18 or 19…he still have time to grow some muscles as beckham did

  7. sarah

    16 June 2007 at 17:16

    can’t beat our no 7 (ronnie)
    x x x x

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