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Tuesday 10 January 2012

Thoughts? - Scholes, Pogba, and Morrison

    It was quite a shock to see Paul Scholes return from retirement and take the field for Manchester United on Sunday. While some would claim that it is indicative of United’s lack of transfer funds - which it is, but would a winter acquisition have time to adjust anyways – and that both Paul Pogba and Ravel Morrison, having been overlooked for first team action yet again, should consider moving on when their current contracts come to an end.

    Leaving the difficulties of midseason purchasing and acclimation aside, the pair of young players must go out on loan, as Welbeck and Cleverly did, before they can find a place in the first team.

    That requirement is not a statement on their skill level, both are supremely talent, played well and showed promise in the Carling Cup defeat to Crystal Palace, but that loss, and their inability to impose themselves on that match says something important about the chasm between the reserves and the first team; they simply were not ready.

    The aforementioned Danny Welbeck – twenty-one years of age - and Tom Cleverly – twenty-two - were only ready for their roles in United’s first team after Premier League loan spells at Sunderland and Wigan last season respectively, as well as first team action in previous loan stints at the likes of Preston North End, Watford, and Leicester. 

    The jump to the big time is a difficult leap. Someone once mused that there was no other profession – or field of professions, if you consider all sport – where the transition from training to the pinnacle is expected to be made in such short shrift.

    North American sports have extensive development gestation periods, and plenty of options for a player not quite ready. And still it is a near impossible journey.

    Both players are still only eighteen years of age, and despite extensive – in the case of Pogba; sporadic in Morrison’s – representation at international youth level, they have yet to field for a club’s first team. Loan spells and patience will seem them shine at United.

    The return of Paul Scholes is a push for this season, a stabilizer for a club that has lost its captain – Nemanja Vidić – to injury, his midfield replacement – in stature at least, Darren Fletcher – to virus, veteran leadership with the retirements of Gary Neville, Edwin van der Sar, and Scholes himself, all while facing what some consider the most serious challenge to their supremacy in the form of Manchester City’s wealth and proximity.

For further thoughts on this discussion, please follow the link.

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