What a difference 6 days can make in football

by Michael Somerville

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

After the national press called Manchester United’s youngsters “listless and disjointed,” following the 0-1 home defeat to Besiktas in the Champions League last Thursday, they have bounced back in style, defeating goal hungry Spurs in the Carling Cup with relative ease and keeping a commendable clean sheet.

Sir Alex Ferguson has spent the past week in an inexplicably angry mood, criticising the media after they effectively wrote off United’s chances of producing any top class youngsters through the academy system. Ferguson has a right to contest that view, as nobody needs reminding that Scholes, Giggs, Beckham, Neville and Butt all were products of the youth system.

The inexperienced Utd team is not completely convincing as yet, but last night a star was born. Darren Gibson is staking a claim to be an integral part of Utd’s team for the next ten years, drawing comparisons from Paul Scholes (at least in his ability to strike the ball outside the area.)

Gibson is no one-trick-pony though, as his tidy passing and movement gave Wilson Palacios and Jemaine Jenas the run-around in midfield, quelling the doubters for at least another week.

Although United did not dominate the game against a strong Tottenham team, they showed that they can be resistant in the challenge, perhaps helped by the hulking presence of Danny Welbeck up front. Although only aged 19, the young striker is already a presence up front, although his “Cantona esque” celebration against Derby did not help his stake for a regular place in the starting line-up.

Although Arsenal hold present bragging rights for “the best young team in the country ©” United have showed commitment, perseverance and talent in a testing, and arguably competitive fixture.

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