Welcome to Partially Obstructed View. We are each restrained by the limits of our own perspective, but when we meet to share information a clearer picture of the truth can be revealed. Comments & criticisms are welcome.

Wednesday 11 January 2012

First Person View - Scholes, Pogba, and Morrison – Clarifications

    It was brought to my attention that the previous piece was a little obtuse, so let me clarify. For future reference, posts tagged with “Thoughts?” tend to be incomplete ideas on which I’m currently musing.

On Scholes

    The return of Paul Scholes to the Manchester United squad is a smart, short-term solution to the injury plague that has rocked United this season.

    While he will upset some of those in the camp, who will have thought they deserved the time on pitch – such as Anderson and Darron Gibson, who should take motivation from this challenge – his inclusion in the squad will not test what can at times be a delicate balance of attitudes in the dressing room.

    Midseason acquisitions, as a general trend, have a tendency to not work out well. Time to adjust to new teammates and a new style of play is best found in the offseason, rather than midstream. Add to that the possibility of personality clashes and wage discrepancies – say if Wesley Sneijder was the addition – and there is the potential to unravel whatever good will and sense of team that exists.

    Scholes, not only knows Manchester United and his squad-mates well, but will assumedly not rock the boat financially, while stabilizing a problem position.

    It does however belie some financial irregularities, as regardless of perceived value in the transfer market, it was unlike United to not be properly enforced for the rigours of the season.

    It is not a step forward, but one of maintenance. United was at risk of slipping, Scholes could help arrest that slide.

On Pogba and Morrison

    The reference to them leaving Untied was not my assertion, but some feedback that circulated around the match. Namely, if the club would prefer to bring in a retired star than risk fielding the youngsters, then perhaps it would be best for each of them to seek new pastures to find playing time, especially in light of their current contracts nearing an end.

    I strongly contend that both players will have bright futures at United, though I do believe that in order for them to reach that potential the club and the players should find some way to get them some first team action.

    Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverly were only ready to step in to United’s first team following extensive loan spells to transform their promise into realized confidence.

    The leap from reserves to the first team, especially at a club as heralded as Manchester United, is a near impossible task. There is no room for growing pains; the scrutiny a young player will face could be the breaking of them.

    Paul Pogba is definitely ready for some time away from the club, a chance to really stretch his legs and – forgive the cliché – get stuck in. Whether to another Premier League side – Newcastle will be losing Cheick Tioté to the Africa Cup of Nations and Pogba will acclimatize well to the French Revolution under Alain Pardué; though other options are available – or a higher-ranking Championship side – Sam Allardyce’s West Ham comes to mind; Big Sam is an underrated manager and Papa Bouba Diop – another underrated soul - could pass on some experience to a fellow francophone, though playing time may be hard to come by and again other clubs are available – the chance to find his feet would serve him well. 

    Ravel Morrison is a slightly more difficult proposition; without knowing him personally, it would be best if he could be allowed to grow and flourish in a controlled environment.

    Sir Alex Ferguson has an extensive network of allies in the English game that has seen several players over the years loaned out to respected peers. The club’s alliance with Royal Antwerp FC has also seen a squadron of youth players hop over the channel to continental Europe, Belgium to be more specific, in search of a route to a professional career.

    But Morrison, a precocious talent, may require special consideration. A spell in a foreign town or country, without proper guidance could prove his undoing.

    It made me think of a story from a few years ago in the NHL.  In 2005, a month shy of his eighteenth birthday, Sidney Crosby was selected 1st overall in the draft by the Pittsburg Penguins and touted as the next superstar of the league and sport.

    Rather than unleash the newly-minted millionaire into a foreign city on his own, it was decided that Crosby would live at the family home of teammate and club legend Mario Lemieux, to assist in his transition from the juniors to the big show, and from anonymity to renown.

    Fast-forward almost five years, the twenty-two year old Crosby, now the face of the franchise and one of the leagues brightest stars, was ready to handle the pressures of his position and branch out on his own, leaving the Lemieux household with a Stanley Cup (Championship), Art Ross (Leading Scorer), Hart (MVP), and Rocket Richard (Goals Leader) Trophies in tow from his first few seasons as a professional, now a well-grounded adult.

    Could a similar experiment suit young Morrison? Ole Gunnar Solskjær has successfully completed his first season as manager at Molde in Norway and was with the reserves at United for the entire duration of Morrison’s time with the club.

    It is a safe assumption that the two of them are familiar with each other, and barring any bad blood, would a load spell with his old gaffer suit him?

    Away from all the comforts and pitfalls of home, removed from the dangers of England and continental Europe, distant from the watching eye of the English Media, it would be a real chance for him to flourish and leave childish things behind under the tutelage of one of United’s most faithful and understated stars.

    Scandinavian football has always served as suitable preparation for the physical and fast-paced nature of the English game. He would potentially get some European experience, to go with the first team opportunities.

    And who knows Solskjær could well be Sir Alex’s successor – after a short spell by José Mourinho to bear the pressure of such a hot seat of course, and Morrison would have grown under his reign, before the two are reunited at United.

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