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United’s own Moussa Dembele

Last night Anderson produced a performance to make people sit up and believe once again that the young Brazilian midfielder is possibly ready to take his chance at Old Trafford and work his way into the thoughts of Sir Alex Ferguson.

United take on Spurs in the evening kickoff at Old Trafford this Saturday and Anderson must now stand a chance of starting after his powerful, all action display against Newcastle United in the Capital One Cup saw United advance to the next round where they’ll face Chelsea.

Looking fitter and leaner than ever, and looking hungry to get on the ball and run through the heart of midfield and defence, Anderson displayed the sort of attacking talent that convinced United to purchase him from Porto in 2007  in a rumoured £20M deal, at a mere 19yrs old.

Anderson began his United career in decent form and soon won the adoration of the Old Trafford faithful after a wonderful performance against Liverpool saw him boss the middle of midfield and keep Steven Gerrard tucked nicely away in his pocket.

But, as a flamboyant attacking midfielder previously, why did Sir Alex attempt to redesign Anderson as a defensive style central midfielder? In my opinion Anderson is one of a list of players who have paid the price for their ability and willingness to adapt to a new role and accept the manager’s decision rather than stick to their guns and become the best man for their job in their professionally preferred and practiced position. Unfortunately for Anderson (and for others), it’s a decision that backfired and took until now to shake off.

Anderson loves nothing more than to receive the ball at his feet, get his head up and look to attack. For me Anderson has vision and craft and, along with Tom Cleverley, the ability and natural instinct to think two to three passes ahead, hence their almost telepathic link play at the beginning of last season.

Anderson’s reputation has plummeted over the last couple of years thanks to what appears to be a penchant for a pie or seven, the lure of a party and thus a lack of apparent fitness leading to below par performances when given the opportunity. Could it be he lost his confidence too? I think so.

Perhaps, after last night Sir Alex will hesitate before removing Anderson from the starting line-up and we’ll get to compare him with a player many courted as the solution to United’s problems over the summer in Moussa Dembele.

Anderson and Dembele are similar players, they both play a direct running game from deep and have the touch to unlock defences in the final third or, as Anderson proved last night, the ability to smash one from distance when the chance presents itself.

Too many players over the last few years have found their chances at Old Trafford scuppered by being played out of position or by being asked to do their job in a way that was previously alien to them. Michael Carrick for one, Valencia another and Dimitar Berbatov’s treatment is a total travesty. Rafael utilised in midfield (which signalled the final nail in Paul Pogba’s coffin at United) on Boxing Day last year in a costly 4-2 defeat at home to Blackburn, John O’Shea, Phil Neville and now look at Phil Jones.

It’s great players have an understanding (in fact it’s crucial) of how to play different positions and what responsibilities playing those positions entail, but at this level and with the availability of cash and big wages, I’d prefer to see round pegs used in round holes, the right horse for the right course, a dedicated player in a dedicated position to fulfil a dedicated role… that too much to ask?

I really hope Anderson gets a start on Saturday and hope more he doesn’t let himself down. Well done Ando, good luck son.



  1. Stephen

    27 September 2012 at 15:17

    Please leave Anderson, you are a useless fat lump who has been at our club now 5 years and have been a total waste of space.

    • Ian

      27 September 2012 at 15:23

      @Stephen: I might moderate that comment!! 😡

      • Stephen

        27 September 2012 at 15:50

        @Ian: Sorry, he has so much potential……. 🙄 What has he done in 5 yrs?

        • Ian

          27 September 2012 at 16:19

          @Stephen: He’s been pissed about for a start. Is he a ‘holding’ midfielder? No, but he’s been used that way to the detriment of his game.

          Different people see different things when they watch matches/players etc, in Anderson I see a clever player who always looks for a forward pass first and sees runners and tries a variety of ways to find them, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t but, all it will take is for the lad to knuckle down and start to concentrate on his game, a bit like I’d like to see Nani do but on that front I’ve almost given up.

          Anderson CAN be a top midfielder, he just needs to put the work in to make it happen.

        • Moscow

          27 September 2012 at 20:26

          @Ian: Few players are more stupid on the ball than Anderson. Of all the Brazilian attacking midfielders out there we went and bought him. Unbelievable.

        • Ian

          27 September 2012 at 21:11

          @Moscow: mate, that comment makes me worry about your intelligence!

        • Quis

          27 September 2012 at 23:36

          @Ian: Why would you worry about something that doesn’t exist?

        • Moscow

          29 September 2012 at 00:06

          @Quis: WOW, that really hurt mate, coming from someone who lacks the class for a simple enough debate as football.

        • Moscow

          29 September 2012 at 00:10

          @Ian: I’ve only just seen this, perhaps you would try to argue rather than throw such a cheap punch and let loose on all the embeciles (who are clearly butthurt by all the Ando criticism) to join in. Responsible admin stuff there Ian 🙄

        • Stephen

          28 September 2012 at 09:23

          @Ian: I hear all the arguments with regards to Anderson mate, but he scores one goal in the Capitol one cup and now he is Bryan Robson? You say he is an attacking player, but he has scored 8 goals in 5 years? He has had weight and attitude issues and has the mental strength of George Best in a Guinness factory. I am fed up with people blaming Fergie for Anderson, he has 148 games and and are you telling me he has been mis-used by the greatest manager in the clubs history?
          I guarentee you Anderson will not be a top midfield player, he hasn’t got it mentally or the ability.

        • Ian

          28 September 2012 at 12:27

          Guarante is a big word mate.

        • Stephen

          28 September 2012 at 12:37

          @Ian: He is 25 in April, if he were going to get there he would be there by now.
          Trust me I hope I am wrong, but he isn’t United quality.

        • Ian

          28 September 2012 at 14:50

          Hang on! He’s 25 in April? Shouldn’t that read he’s only just turned 24? Come on Steve, the glass is half full not half empty, think positive! 🙂

        • Stephen

          28 September 2012 at 16:10

          @Ian: I will bow down to your superior knowledge my friend, if he becomes a success I will run naked around the Trafford centre.. 😀 😀

        • Ian

          28 September 2012 at 17:16

          @Stephen: 😆

        • nozey

          30 September 2012 at 04:57

          @Stephen: Iwant everyone look at Ando history. He is name as the best player at the under 17 world cup (correct me if i am wrong). Where his position is? He is playing in a country rich with talent and he is one of them. People who know him in Brazil know him only as an attacking midfielder even at Porto. I don’t want to create debate abaout Ando at United. But i want Ando go to other club in January and find a manager who can use his talent and capture his promise in those under 17 world cup.

        • Essigreb

          28 September 2012 at 12:11

          I think we have seen the last two years that it is injuries and not talent thats holding him back. Last year he and Cleverley ruled in every game – I am sure it can happen again.

    • lucas

      27 September 2012 at 21:35

      @Stephen: he is quicker and stroger then any of our other midfeilders..the reason for us losing to city with fletch and ando is bcoz city had 3 in midfeild ,so when they pressed ,we were outnumbered in the 442 against 433 of city..all the big clubs including barca,real madrid,bayern munchen ,ac and inter milan and even dortmund play 433.and they all usually have world class or very good midfeilders or when united play any of them and end up losing or winning but played very badly,,i am not suprised coz whoever our 2 central midfeilders are they are always gonna be outrun and you cant really blame the since its difficult to manmark when its 2 against 3,,or for the fans to know who meant to mark who in midfeild..when united play 3 in midfeild against anyside and they mark man for man ..i feel our players are usually much better then our opponents..ando played well in his 1st season at united against chelsea ,arsenel,liverpool and the rest ,coz we played 3 in midfeild ..ando left carrick middle fletcher right..when all is fit ,i beleive noone can beat us when this 3 play,,probably why we lost to barca as well..coz all three still have the legs to cover for on another unlike when scholes play with them,coz he will always be beaten for pace and u cant trust him to do better in defending the two defenders then carrick really.coz carick rarley gets card when making interceptions witch is a big reason why alex ferg. really likes to play carrick..i like him to,but when united play 3 in midfeild then u can see his class..thats also why england is struggling to put a good performance when gerrard and lampard play or when carrick and lampard or gerard play,,coz they should try playing all three at the same time with carrick in the middle just in front of the defence with 2 other midfeilders supporting him left and sure england can win the world cup if they gave it a thought..beside i dont really think england has that many prolific strikers to choos from anyway,,,so why not give it a go

      • Moscow

        28 September 2012 at 13:41

        @lucas: City left our midfield completely open, they tripled up on our flanks because that was our sole attacking threat leaving Anderson and Fletcher the freedom of the pitch. They knew Anderson couldn’t be a threat because even they know he is SHIT mate.

  2. swapnil

    27 September 2012 at 15:37

    although I sincerely hope that Anderson reaches his full potential,I do not want to compare him to dembele.yes he has a good physical presence,but he still has some way to go before he starts controlling the games like dembele.also the less we talk about his shooting the better.I would not get carried away just after one good performance…

    • Ian

      27 September 2012 at 15:39

      @swapnil: I wouldn’t get carried away about me getting carried away, I’ve been getting carried away every time he’s put in a performance to get carried away about!

      • Stephen

        28 September 2012 at 09:24

        @Ian: You are getting “carried away” but a League Cup game?

        • Ian

          28 September 2012 at 12:26

          It’s impossible to know that now, lets see what happens over the next month and meet back here to see if you’re right.

        • Stephen

          28 September 2012 at 12:28

          @Ian: Time will tell, but he has been with us for 5 years, cost nearly £20m and hasn’t done anything yet, lets hope 😉 😀

    • RMJ

      27 September 2012 at 16:40

      @swapnil: Starts controlling the game like Dembele? People overate Dembele for too much..he is a physically imposing attacking midfielder very much like Yaya Toure but he is nowhere near a good playmaker as he is or as people sound him out to be.

      As for Anderson, he does not play as an attacking midfielder like he did at Porto but Fergie has been trying to make into a pure central midfielder as he likes to have all his midfielders in our squad to be.
      And that’s where in lies our midfield problems and Fergie’s reluctance to buy central midfielders as too many in the game are specialists(attacking or defensive) and we cant really play our game style with that(we are the last top team who plays a classic 442).

  3. Opti

    27 September 2012 at 15:41

    Agree he looked fitter and he did well with his physique. BUT, this was not a “real” game… just a league cup game against a weakened Newcastle team at Old Trafford. Start Scholes, then sub if needed or vice versa.

    Did anyone notice that Rooney looked fitter and slimmer too from opening week? Maybe he was reading RedRants 😉

  4. Robbie

    27 September 2012 at 16:18

    Thing is Anderson could get fit and start to play well but if he picks up a knee injury or something after a handful of games that sets him back 3 months,its all for nothing, which is why i hope the lad has some luck and stays injury free even if its till january. because lets face it even though hes quite a heavy chap i bet hes our quicker than all of scholes, carrick, giggs,cleverley and fletcher when he gets into stride. Sometimes the little bursts he makes past a player make moves flow. Great to have fletch back and a slimmer wazz 😛

  5. lununcle

    27 September 2012 at 17:01

    Well, the goal that Ando scored yesterday was a brilliant one…let’s see if he can maintain this kind of good form…

  6. Sean

    27 September 2012 at 18:03

    I agree with everything wirtten in this article and am pleased to find out that am not alone with these kinda thoughts. it always been evident to me that ando comes alive when he’s in and around our opposition box not when he’s chassing people around or picking up a ball around our box to start things up. I really don’t understand why would you spend up to £18 on a forward minded player then try to make him defensive when you could have spent the same amount on a player who specialise in that role. you’ve noted the misuse of berba Tony Carrick and others, the reason why pogba decided to leave and all that, the new one is Powell, everytime I see that boy I can’t help but to see all his striker/second striker attributes I don’t see no central mid in him which brings me to the analysis of the current united midfield, if you look at it only kagawa Fletcher and scholes play at their natural position, the rest of them doesn’t, ando attacking mid transformed into central/defensive, cleverly attacking mid/winger now playing central mid, giggs the same and Powell a forward as a central mid, so whenever you see a united midfield being overrun don’t wonder why because if Fletcher is not playing then there’s not any defensive bone in the rest of them even though they try

    • Moscow

      27 September 2012 at 20:15

      @Sean: Anderson and Fletcher started in midfield against City and we were handed the thrashing of our lives.

      • RMJ

        27 September 2012 at 22:05

        @Sean: @Moscow: and we crushed them in the charity sheild…

        • Moscow

          28 September 2012 at 13:08

          @RMJ: Yes, we showed them who’s boss then they did the league double over us 🙄

      • Redrich

        28 September 2012 at 02:06

        @Moscow: I think we have a different Anderson and a different Fletcher now – both in terms of form and fitness.
        That was then, this is now! 😉

        • Moscow

          28 September 2012 at 13:35

          @Redrich: Different? What gives you that idea?

  7. Moscow

    27 September 2012 at 20:20

    Anderson scores a goal in the 3rd round of the Capital One Cup and suddenly he is the answer to the midfield problem? WOW. Anderson is quite possibly the worst midfielder I have seen put on a United jersey. His touch is heavy, his dribbling is poor and his passing even worse, just because he is fat doesn’t make him a physical presence. He did play in his ‘optimal’ attacking role against Barca and was disgraced and humiliated.

    I remember last season we were playing Chelsea, and he seemed on a one man mission to lose us the game, he is terrible.

    • Jonny

      28 September 2012 at 00:11

      @Moscow: how much did kleberson pay you?

      • Moscow

        28 September 2012 at 13:34

        @Jonny: At least he played in a World Cup final for Brazil mate, I doubt the current Brazil setup would let Anderson into their training ground.

    • Stephen

      28 September 2012 at 09:59

      @Moscow: If I remember he air kicked the ball, which was embarrassing…. 😕

  8. Moscow

    27 September 2012 at 20:24

    What kind of a flamboyant attacking midfielder scores 5 goals in 5 years? Or be unable to displace a 38 year old winger in midfield? To think he earns that much money for eating pies, going to orgy parties and having car accidents in the middle of the season… goodness me. What a waste of space.

    • Ian

      27 September 2012 at 21:22

      @Moscow: if you were a trained carpenter and got a job as one, would you be happy if your boss tried to use you as a bricklayer then sent you home and criticised your bricklaying work after 5yrs of trying? Would you be pissed off that the rest of the gang and everyone with any interest watching thought you were shite but yet they hadn’t seen you as a carpenter? In Ando’s case that’s 100’s of millions of people!

      I hope he does get his head down and proves the doubters like you wrong, heavy touch my arse!

      • lucas

        27 September 2012 at 21:47

        @Ian: i agree ando is fantastic for us,,sign him up for anothr 8 years and fire the coaches that keeps getting him and our other players, mostly our defenders injured..i strongly beleave that our players didnt lose us the title but the stupid coaching witch got them side-lined..funny thing is why evra is never injured during training??must have diffrent training methods for some players i guesse…

      • Redrich

        27 September 2012 at 23:16

        @Ian: Ferguson wants all CMF’er to play both forward and defensive positions and so Anderson was probably well aware of that when he signed.
        I don’t buy the idea that he was played out of position as the reason for his failings – it’s more like he was/is immature and just couldn’t buckle down to doing what was asked of him.
        Hopefully he’s grown up somewhat now, and if he can avoid injuries, we should see a new and improved model.

        As an aside, I think Fergusons insistence on flexible CMF’ers, has hurt as in attracting European talent to te club.

        • Opti

          28 September 2012 at 03:53

          @Redrich: Along with immaturity, I think winning the Double in his first season hampered the growth of both Anderson and Nani. What’s the motivation to improve??

        • Moscow

          28 September 2012 at 13:18

          @Opti: You shouldn’t be putting Nani and Anderson into the same bracket, at least talent wise.

        • Opti

          28 September 2012 at 13:53

          @Moscow: but both players are failing to achieve their potential, and I think that problem stems from too-early success hampering motivation to succeed. More so in Anderson than Nani, who still has Ronaldo as a motivating force (something to aspire towards)

        • Moscow

          28 September 2012 at 14:01

          @Opti: Nani was one of our 3 best players in our 19th league winning season, and has produced notable match winning performances. Even if he can frustrate, what the fuck has Anderson done so far?

        • Moscow

          28 September 2012 at 14:03

          @Opti: If Anderson could aspire to the level of Niko Kranjcar, he could be a better player. Is that really the latest excuse for a player who has failed to deliver for 5 years?

        • Redrich

          29 September 2012 at 04:17

          @Opti: 1 championship doesn’t make career! I doubt thats a factor.

          But why are you lumping these 2 together? Chalk and cheese, mate. 🙂

      • Moscow

        28 September 2012 at 13:39

        @Ian: I remember City tripling up on our flanks and leaving the midfield completely open because they knew Anderson couldn’t be a threat to them.

  9. Taxi for Anderson

    27 September 2012 at 22:36

    @Ian: Are you smoking crack? Anderson is about as useful as Anne Frank’s drum kit.

  10. Aussiehopper

    27 September 2012 at 23:45

    Not long back i remember one of Brazils best coaches or football commentaters in Brazil talking about Anderson regarding this very topic, he said Anderson was being utilised totaly wrong by Man United, restricting his natural flair to play his best football, i can fully understand Sir Alec wanting to give his players experience
    in other positions, but if it is not working, then play him where you get the most value, attacking midfield.
    😆 😆

    • Stephen

      28 September 2012 at 12:54

      @Aussiehopper: Is that why he has the grand total of 8 caps for Brazil then, all in 2008?

      • Moscow

        28 September 2012 at 13:32

        @Stephen: I guess Anderson’s optimal position is too sophisticated for Brazil’s line-up. Or maybe because he is fat and has proven nothing at the age of 24.

  11. colver

    28 September 2012 at 13:36

    My main problem with Anderson is FITNESS. He occasionally has a run of good form but then gets injured and loses his place in the team.

    His first season he was good for us because he was getting regular games. But subsequent seasons his progress was held back by injuries.

    I dont think he is all that. But I rate him MUCH MUCH MUCH higher than Cleverley. And yeah he should be played as a box to box midfielder with holding midfielder role left to Carrick and ideally another defensive midfielder (who we keep neglecting to sign).

  12. Robbie

    28 September 2012 at 16:09

    I dont really think Anderson has no talent…injuries and not playing have messed up his career with us.Many forget the quality he showed in his first season when he was quite FIT. Now he comes back gets slim and gets injured, he shouldnt eat as much cakes but if he is benched after one bad game(or even a good one, with fergie) it doesnt help things.

    Right now we have such an extreme rotation policy and hierarchy that makes it difficult or takes ages for a young player to step up to the main squad.Young players need to play consistently to actually learn something. Thats what scholes and giggs did at 17 18!!!We act like the Premier league is such a tough league for a young lad, when young lads can easily grow.I guess this is the job of the smaller clubs these days. Look at raheem sterling, looks like hes already one of Liverpools best players and hasnt even played 10 games. I feel even Nick Powell would have progressed much faster playing for Crewe week in week out than what he will for us considering hes probably 5,6 or 7th choice.

  13. RMJ

    28 September 2012 at 16:26

    I just wanted to note that on every united board or blog, Scott Wootton gets all the ratings ahead of Micheal Keane and I just dont understand why? Wootton struggled and got caught in the Newcastle game whereby leading to Cisse scoring(watch teh replays and he was struggling to find his marker while Keane was couple of steps ahead in his man and was for most of the game). Keane had an excellent preseason tour at both right back and center back and was the pick of the defenders in the game against Newcastle. If anything the lad deserves a look in to the first team soon especially with how bare thread our central Defense is.

    • Robbie

      28 September 2012 at 21:01

      @RMJ: They both made rookie errors…Keane at one point allowed his man to turn him in the box with relative ease and have a shot.

  14. Traverse

    28 September 2012 at 18:27

    I think a certain RVP turning up seems to have kicked Rooney up the arse about taking this football thing seriously. We haven’t missed Rooney when he hasn’t played, even slightly. And he’ll have noticed. This can only be good for the team as a whole.

    • Redrich

      29 September 2012 at 04:21

      @Traverse: Tis the season of competition, mate. I think they’re all taking things a tad more seriously. 😉

    • Redrich

      29 September 2012 at 06:03

      @AndyCR7: Looks like Kagawa is our next left winger.
      So much for the best laid plans. 😥 😥

  15. Redrich

    29 September 2012 at 05:50

    Apparently Nani has had a training pitch meltdown and by all accounts Ferguson has had it with him!

    I do think Nani is doing a Tevez. Hope not, but this seems more than just self destruction, it’s almost like plain and simple sabotage. 👿 👿

    • jos

      29 September 2012 at 07:33

      @Redrich: thats nothing more than dailymail bullshit. there must be hundreds of such incidents in a season at every club.

  16. godzilla

    29 September 2012 at 06:30

    thinking of a wild setup. worth trying for the Spurs game to counter 4-3-3 or 4-5-1?


    • godzilla

      29 September 2012 at 06:30

      @godzilla: i know its a home game but still

    • Opti

      29 September 2012 at 15:07

      @godzilla: Giggs??????? Really?!?!?!?

  17. Jay wire

    29 September 2012 at 08:47

    There are a few things that I realised cause us to pass judgement unfairly. One of them is expectation. We expected Anderson to be “the new Ronaldinho”. That’s what they called him in Brazil. He did well in a “kind of” Ronaldinho role at Gremio and at Porto. This is what we expected from him. Attacking midfielder. Goals, defence splitting passes,wonderful assists etc. We expect the same from Kagawa and it’s only fair to do so. But let’s pause a minute. Kagawa actually plays an attacking midfielder’s role at United. When has Anderson ever played that role at United? When he came, I distinctly remember Sir Alex talking about him being there to replace Scholes. Then as soon as he got here, he was converted into a CMF proper. At around 18 years of age. New country. New language. New culture. New style of football. Completely new role. I don’t know, but maybe to some of you superhumans, those are immaterial things, but I totally felt that Anderson did not have the best platform a young attacking midfielder would wish to start on. Given the circumstances, I’d say he did really well in his first season. But our expectations and the reality were polar opposites. We still expected Ronaldinho performances from a player learning a new, totally unrelated role. That’s not unfair. It’s stupid and quite illogical.

    To summarise or group all his roles at United, I’d call it, an attempt at a Scholes-Keane hybrid. His job here is to maintain possession and control games,to provide a physical presence. Thing is, Anderson has an attacker’s instincts and does his job with so much energy and urgency. Look at Kagawa’s mannerisms and movements. He’s almost looking impatient and wants things to happen quickly. He’s an attacker first. It’s hard to tame that, even in a new role that requires a little more patience and strategy. You look at converted attackers and how they play. It’s all the same. Modric was trained as an attacking midfielder but was gradually centralized and withdrawn or pushed back from his second season at Spurs onwards. He now plays a CMF role, but it’s hard to tell with the speed and energy he keeps playing at. You look at Iniesta and Xavi. The former certainly does not play with the line of patience the latter plays with. It’s instinctive. It’s hard to tame. The problem with that is,those attacker’s instincts can result in catastrophic consequences that Giggs is famous for. Misplaced passes due to lack of patience. Always looking to go forward is not a good trait for central midfielders and is one of the reasons I feel Giggs should never play that role again. It works if your main role is to attack not to control.

    I’m just painting a picture of the Anderson complex. Now to have to tame your attacking instincts when they are still raw at a young age, can have serious consequences. Here he was, still raw, and trying to refine his trade amidst the pressure of huge expectation in Brazil. Suddenly he comes to United and he’s instructed to do something quite alien as controlling the game which means putting those, still unrefined skills and techniques in shackles. It took some time before Fabregas was able to refine his skills in passing, ball control and shooting to become the player he is today. If Wenger had been careless and decided to turn him into the next Vieira in his second season, how many believe he’d be half the player he is today? I think its fair and sensible to assume that besides the negative psychological effects, this must definitely result in certain technical consequences.

    1. Anderson had to cut short or trade off his shooting,final 3rd passing and movement and other attacking skills, to make way for,strategic passing,defensive positioning,ball retention and other “control” based skills. The problem is he had to do that when he was still raw. Imagine for a minute and really consider this. C Ronaldo at age 18 or 19. He was still very raw and frustrating. I remember him being doomed by some analysts and journalists as a show pony with very little end product. The problem is people don’t appreciate the universal and basic concept of education. The kid was still raw. He was learning. But imagine, at that stage in his second season he was converted, for arguement’s sake,into a wing back. Or even a CAM. He hasn’t even refined his dribbling techniques, crossing, cutting in etc and he’s asked to start creating goal scoring opportunities for the forwards, link up with midfield, drift into the temporarily unattended pockets of spaces left by midfielders and defenders,which naturally demands a complete paradigm shift and excellent ball control and passing. How do you think Ronaldo would have fared in this alternate reality, as the new Kaka. At 18 years of age. It can have irreversible consequences that can completely ruin a young player’s career permanently. Players like Pirlo were converted after they had gained some serious experience and had really developed technically. Players like Phil Jones are being groomed to fail because of this carelessness at a critical stage in their development.

    If you knew just how much patience and care was taken to make Messi the player he is now, you’d understand. He showcased great dribbling potential at a young age and was very fast with amazing ball control. They kept playing him wide right, to allow his dribbling to be refined at a time when the likes of Robben were seen as better dribblers. They also played him wide, to master the use of speed and acceleration. They gradually began moving him centrally, as his skills got refined until he was ready in 2009 to take that false 9 role. With Ronaldo I also think we did well. He was definitely not one of the best shooters around but we let him keep doing it. Miss after miss, would yield a goal. We kept him wide, and hungry for goals and because in that position, goal scoring chances are not that often, he had to fine tune his shooting. And credit to him for working hard on that. It took close to 4 years before he was a real threat. But we kept giving him freedom and more attacking responsibility. Gradually. If Messi and Ronaldo are not grateful for that early development and nurturing then they’re delusional, because regardless of their potential, in the hands of careless custodians, they’d be nowhere.

    I think it’s fair to say, Anderson’s development has been very far from these examples. There has been no “gradual” anything about his development. There was a clear rush to replace Scholes and an unnecessary panic as well about it. Anderson was just a victim and he suffered. You see the problem today, is this is the reality, but it is being measured against an alternate reality and the discrepancies are being regarded as the failures. The alternate reality of an attacking midfielder is not our earthly reality. It exists in the planets of our subconscious and we ought to get rid of it. Anderson, WAS an attacking midfielder elsewhere but NOT at Manchester United. Let’s stop measuring him by that scale.

    • Opti

      29 September 2012 at 15:36

      @Jay wire: how do you see role of Yaya Toure compared with Anderson?

  18. Jay wire

    29 September 2012 at 09:07

    1. What role does Anderson play for Manchester United?

    Answer- Central midfielder. At United this role is mainly centred on tempo control, ball retention,maintaining possession,defensive positioning and linking defence and attack.

    2. How have others performing similar roles done at United?

    Answer- Carrick,pass completion average 86%, Scholes 92%, Anderson 83%, Cleverley N/A. Tackling and other stats can’t verify, but I’d assume Anderson to be better than Scholes. Goals. All I know of the top of my head, is Carrick has a total of 20 goals in all competitions and has played way more games than Anderson. I think last season they ended up with same goals. Scholes seems to fare better here. Assists,are very low for all the central midfielders and high for wide players for obvious reasons. The stat I found is Carrick generally creates a goal scoring opportunity every 81 minutes. Just about once a game. I’m not sure about Fletcher’s goal record, but he’s hardly what we call a goal threat from midfield.

    3. How have others performing similar roles at other clubs done?

    Answer-Besides Xavi,most others are below 90% pass rate, with Modric 87%. I’ll base most of the stats on Modric who creates a chance every 34min, roughly almost 3 times a game. I think he has about 10 or so goals for Spurs overall. I could be mistaken. Those who can find stats for Essien could also be in for a surprise. You’d also be suprised with Xavi’s goals stats particularly before last season. Or Mikel Arteta given his prominence and freekick ability, hardly screams Gerrard or Lampard.

    My point is, given all the things Anderson has had to deal with, compounded by ill timed injuries, he has done well. He has not been majestic, or consistent, but he has been competent as per requirements. His Champions League performances particularly, are easily overlooked by his critics, but he was an integral part of how we reached the final in Rome, via eliminating Mourinho’s Inter. That season,him, Fletcher and Carrick formed a well oiled 3 man mid in the knockout stages and that’s how he found himself starting in Rome. His performances early last season were definitely more exciting than any midfield performance we’ve seen since then, right up to Wednesday night. It’s obvious bias to deny that. Anderson and Cleverley have definitely provided the best midfield performances since last season. The main rivals in terms of exciting, has been the Scholes-Carrick, and the Carrick-Anderson combinations. What I’ve come to notice with Anderson critics is they only talk about his lack of goals. So he scores rarely. So what? Modric doesn’t score or assist often. His role is not based on that. Alonso doesn’t score or assist often. Again, his role means he has other concerns. Let’s accept one thing. Central midfielders in the modern game are not required to be goal threats. Even worse, at United, the CMF role is almost solely based on possession. Recovery and distribution. We leave the creation of chances, mainly to forwards and wingers. At Spurs,Modric was less about assists and goals because there were others like Bale, Adebayor,Kranjcar,VdV, Lennon, Pienaar who had these objectives. Football like anything in life, is a give and take. A deep lying playmaker who makes it his objective to attack simply exposes his defence to relentless waves of attack as we’ve been discovering at United. That’s why you hear players like Cleverley talking about restricting his attacking urges and becoming more aware and active defensively because of the presence of Kagawa. Naturally that means even less chances to score, but don’t expect cynics not to point out his low goals end of season. I think it’ll be a long time before midfielders at United become any sort of goal threat. Other critics of Anderson,say, he runs around like a headless chicken and can’t pass a football. Obviously wrong,because anything above 80% is at least competent for a central midfielder. And besides Carrick and Scholes, he has the best range of passing. And if he can complete most of his passes, I’d say the job of maintaining possession is one he is doing well. Anyone who talks about lack of goals with regards to Anderson or any of our central midfielders for that matter, I’m sorry to say, has very little comprehension of football and it’s mechanics. If not, I’d really love to know beyond “I expect at least 10 goals from a midfielder”, how on earth you expect a central midfielder to score regularly at United. Not an alternate United, based on Bryan Robson or Roy Keane. This current United and the way they play. After that, explain how many goals you expect from strikers and why. And how many from wingers and why. And how the total team goals will stand end of season and how practical that is. Also I think it’s fair to say Anderson has definitely improved his goal record and stats anyway compared to his 1st two seasons and I expect him to add to this shortly.

    • jos

      29 September 2012 at 10:58

      @Jay wire: that one like is from the man Anderson himself I reckon Jaywire 😀

      I tend to agree with your arguments here though. I think ANderson did fairly ok when he got few games, but subsequnetly he was clumsy with his physique and also very unlucky with injuries. Hopefully he can get a run of good games now he seems to be “back”. I hope he has a good season so that if we decide to sell we can recoup some of those 20m back. At present his value is Nil.

    • Opti

      29 September 2012 at 15:34

      @Jay wire: Nice write up on Ando. Makes sense to me, but it still beckons that after 5 years, this frightened/raw/soft child prodigy Anderson cannot convert his game to a proper CM, then why does Fergie INSIST on it? Either sell him or put him back into his instinctive realm?

  19. swapnil

    29 September 2012 at 15:14

    @RMJ: you are probably right about both the points you make.yes dembele is a bit overrated but I think we could have done with him in the team this season.a swap deal with berba would not have done any harm
    also I agree totally with you that Ferguson playing Anderson out of position has harmed his shooting ability.he did score some incredible goals during his time at fact I feel Ferguson’s wrong positioning of Anderson has caused us to miss out on a good box to box midfielder

    • Stephen

      29 September 2012 at 15:27

      @swapnil: How can playing someone out of position effect their shooting ability? You train all week and you can either shoot or in Anderson’s can’t you can’t.
      Where is his position? He plays in midfield now?

  20. Stephen

    29 September 2012 at 15:28

    Hopefully we will see RooVP today!!! 😛 😛

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  22. Everton

    30 July 2013 at 19:47

    Don’t let this guy fool you!Anderson will go down as one of Man Uniteds biggest flop signings and nothing else.A utter rubbish midfielder who isn’t even mentioned as a replacement for replacement players in the Selecao!why United bought this guy I will never understand.What exactly does he do?his passing is erratic,he scores very little goals,he hates defending and he rarely pushes forward from the middle third of the pitch.a lazy,waste of space is all he will ever be.United should cut their losses and sell this piece of junk as soon as possible!after nearly six years in England,can he even speak English?if the answer is no,that sums up his attitude towards the effort and a totally show of disrespect!

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