The Team That Could've Been

Discussion in 'Manchester United Forum' started by KingEric7, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. Feb 12, 2018
    #1

    KingEric7 Stupid Conspiracy Enthusiast Wanker

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    This thread has been done before, I think, but I keep coming back to this and thinking that what happened with the team that Sir Alex Ferguson was building prior to his departure was a real shame. Something that's come up recently on here is how new players seem to inevitably struggle, but what was really pronounced I think a few years back was the theme of extremely talented young players who showed more than just promise - and who already looked the real deal - just petering out in terms of performance. Either that or they started getting injured to an unreasonable extent, and never really got the chance to develop properly.

    Looking at this team that could've been (however you want to arrange it):

    -------------------De Gea-----------------
    Rafael------Smalling-----Evans-------Fabio
    --------------Anderson---Fletcher---------
    Nani----------------Pogba----------Morrison
    -----------------Rooney--------------------

    There are players in that team that looked ready, and just needed to maintain the level they'd already reached, or stayed fit. It might not look like much now to some people, but every one of those players was either an exciting talent, or someone who was already good enough to start regularly for the first team, and who had many more years ahead of them in which to improve.

    Not really much of a point to make here apart from to say that I just think it's a shame that this never happened. It all just feels a bit soulless to me I suppose in today's game with the money in football, but here there was a genuine chance of a really top team emerging largely from the academy, and entirely from players who were brought in at a young age.

    Thoughts?
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  2. Feb 12, 2018
    #2

    charlenefan Far less insightful than the other Charley

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    In the PL today that team would be bottom half of the table
  3. Feb 12, 2018
    #3

    dannyrhinos89 OMG socks and sandals lol!

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    Looks absolutely awful tbh.
  4. Feb 12, 2018
    #4

    KingEric7 Stupid Conspiracy Enthusiast Wanker

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    The point is more about where these players looked like they were headed, or the level they'd already reached, as opposed to where they actually ended up.
  5. Feb 12, 2018
    #5

    Mciahel Goodman Worst Werewolf Player of All Times Staff

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    Some of those players only ever looked good under Ferguson. Some of them looked poor under Ferguson. Rooney had been steadily declining, Nani was always inconsistent, Anderson was a joke, Fletcher never regained that level of 08/09 due to chronic illness, Pogba wouldn't have returned if Ferguson were still here, Fabio was never that good, Rafael was good going forward but a liability at the back, Evans and Smalling is a partnership made in Stoke heaven.

    That's a side of relegation stragglers with a great 10 and a world class keeper.
  6. Feb 12, 2018
    #6

    Kostur Full Member

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    Perfectly summed up.
  7. Feb 12, 2018
    #7

    Unmutual Banned

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    If Fergie had stuck around, he'd be winning a league with that. Any other manager, mid-table.
  8. Feb 12, 2018
    #8

    KingEric7 Stupid Conspiracy Enthusiast Wanker

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    To me, this is seeing things in a very negative light, and not considering the level that all these players had actually reached; even without taking into account the amount of time they had to improve. For example:

    Nani - Absolutely looked like a top winger from 2010 onward, but suffered terribly from injury after that, from memory.
    Rafael - Obvious talent as soon as he started playing, and really just needed to maintain his level of 12/13.
    Evans - Slipped in next to Vidic during 08/09 and absolutely looked like a top defender in the making. Was excellent next to Ferdinand in 12/13.
    Fletcher - Possibly the best player in the team in 08/09, and continued with that form into 2010 before then suffering with illness (which is part of the point I'm making).

    Fair enough, there were question marks over players (how many players are the finished article at the age some of these players were?), but I just think there was a great team waiting to emerge here, and that the fact that so many in that team collapsed spectacularly or never properly developed is a shame given how much money has been spent since on players that also never succeeded here.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
  9. Feb 13, 2018
    #9

    XH6 Banned

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    De Gea

    Valencia
    Varane
    Hummels
    Baines

    Modric
    Carrick
    Pogba

    Bale
    Van Persie
    Ronaldo

    now you're talking....
  10. Feb 13, 2018
    #10

    freeurmind weak willed

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    Really? A joke. He looked the absolute business the first few years.
  11. Feb 13, 2018
    #11

    MyOnlySolskjaer Creator of Player Performance threads

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  12. Feb 13, 2018
    #12

    el3mel Full Member

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    The team would have never won anything under any manager except SAF though.

    BTW I think you forgot Zaha ?
  13. Feb 13, 2018
    #13

    breakout67 Full Member

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    SAF is a cheat code; he had the ability to motivate a nothing player into a title winning player. He is the perfect manager.

    There are countless players that played well for us, that would have never performed under a different manager.
  14. Feb 13, 2018
    #14

    manutddjw Full Member

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    So many problems with those players and the thing is they were Sir Alex players and they still couldn’t get it together.

    Fabio was habitually injured

    Anderson was habitually injured, and in my opinion, he lacked any sort of ambition to push on his natural talent. He was happy to be here and take whatever minutes he could get.

    Fletcher was a damn good player for us but unfortunately he got sick.

    Ravel was a lost cause. Sir Alex tried. Rio tried to mentor him and I think Wes Brown did as well. He pissed his career away and there wasn’t anything anyone could’ve done about it.

    Pogba always would’ve left. He wanted regular playing time and he wouldn’t of got it here. Carrick was a given and Giggs and Scholes were around which would’ve made it difficult to play him as often as he wanted. In the end it worked out better because I think he came back a better player then he would’ve been had he stayed.
  15. Feb 13, 2018
    #15

    Jonno Full Member

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    Swap DDG for Anders Lindergaard and what you have there my friend is one of those really sh!t Man United Legend teams that play in front of 1,000 people in Thailand.
  16. Feb 13, 2018
    #16

    KingEric7 Stupid Conspiracy Enthusiast Wanker

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    This is all part of the point being made, to be honest, and I'm not really saying anything could've been done about it. All I'm saying is that, when you look at the level that these players had reached, the route towards the next great team was very clear. I know there's a lot of Smalling bashing going on now, and it's not something I'm going along with, but what there can surely be no doubt about is what a fantastic young central defender he was when he came here. Have a look at this thread made in 2011:

    http://www.redcafe.net/threads/how-good-is-chris-smalling.337985/

    Look how overwhelmingly positive that is. Also:

    https://www.theguardian.com/football/2009/mar/19/sir-alex-ferguson-manchester-united-retirement

    "My problem with United is I have had so many great players that I can't do one dream team," he said.

    "Two goalies for sure – [Peter] Schmeichel and [Edwin] van der Sar. Both top keepers. Full-backs, Denis Irwin, Gary Neville, [Patrice] Evra, and these Da Silva boys are something else."
    - Alex Ferguson

    There was a lot optimism about these players, and rightly so. It's an assumption to say that these players only reached that level because of Ferguson, and that they couldn't have continued to develop as players if the circumstances were better.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  17. Feb 13, 2018
    #17

    Mockney Not the only poster to be named Poster of the Year

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    As opposed to the team with De Gea, Shaw, Smalling, Jones, Lingard, Pogba, Martial and Rashford we currently have now (plus McTominey) that’s almost just as Academy/brought in young centric, and in some cases tangibly better?

    My thoughts would be that you’ve just taken a possible team from an era you’re whistful and nostalgic about, and embued it with more romantic potential than it ultimately deserves.

    But that’s just me.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  18. Feb 13, 2018
    #18

    17 Van der Gouw biffa bin

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    I love it! :lol:
  19. Feb 13, 2018
    #19

    KingEric7 Stupid Conspiracy Enthusiast Wanker

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    No reason why most of them couldn't be in the squad, and I'm not saying the same potential isn't there now.

    There's nothing in the way of strong feeling driving any of this; I just think the next great team was there and that the last few years could've gone very differently had there, for example, been much better luck with injuries, because from memory that situation with injuries was completely over the top. Fair enough if people disagree.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  20. Feb 13, 2018
    #20

    kthanksbye Full Member

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    I'm fairly certain we'd have moved to a more 'modern' style of play if SAF had stayed for a few more years one quality that the great man possessed was adapting and learning.
    The signing of Kagawa, the alienation of Rooney, I'm also very sure that we'd have signed someone in the league of Lewandowski, pity that the Glazers weren't backing him up with lots of funds, or we'd have players like Hazard, Moura, Vidal, Varane and many others that we missed out on.
  21. Feb 14, 2018
    #21

    Rifer Full Member

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    Missing one integral determining "player".

    Fixed. Win EPL every seasons with that.

    :lol:
  22. Feb 14, 2018
    #22

    marktan Full Member Scouse Lover

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    I agree with you on 3 players - Rafael, Nani and Anderson. All 3 very technical and should've been around for us over the last five years, unfortunately they all fell away for one reason or the other after SAF left.

    Fabio's a weird one in that he's always been better at RB but plays LB making him half as effective, and Morrison despite having talent never really learnt that you need mentality, tactics etc to become a top footballer.
  23. Feb 15, 2018
    #23

    Long Ball Full Member

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    I think sir Alex was on the verge of another rebuild and he knew it, I think it was a factor in his retirement that he didn't want to go again...along with the reported reasons.

    Given the rumour mill at the time signings that were lining up;

    DDG
    Valencia - Smalling - Evans - evra
    Carrick
    Herrera ------- alcantara
    Zaha ------ van persie ----- nani
    Didn't he also have lewendovski lined up to replace Rooney? So may have gone 4-4-2 possibly. I think he would have snapped up shaw and alexis given he tried for him before. I wonder if he would have tried for fabregas too?

    I think Schneiderlin would have been bought too as a long term carrick replacement, he was on top form at the time and would have kicked on under sir Alex. Kante too looks like a fergie player - park Ji role. That would have been some squad.

    He'd be breaking the bank for Kane IMOP
  24. Feb 15, 2018
    #24

    Massive Spanner Thinks Geoff Shreeves has one

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    SAF could probably have taken a pub team and still won the league, he was just that good. I think it's become clear since he left that a lot of those players really weren't that good and it was all about SAF. That team is pretty damn poor.
  25. Feb 15, 2018
    #25

    Antisocial Has a Sony home cinema

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    Can’t see him leaving out Jones after all the praise he heaped on him - I’d guess a Jones-Evans partnership would've been the target to succeed Rio and Vida.