New faces but same old United
There may have been a few unfamiliar faces wearing red shirts during Manchester United's thrilling win over Manchester City in the Community Shield, but there was nothing new about the manner Sir Alex Ferguson's men went about their Wembley victory.
Resilience and a never-say-die attitude have become a trademark of Ferguson's teams in his 25 years in charge at Old Trafford and, while we will learn more about the quality of the latest squad he has built over the course of the coming season, his players proved by recovering from two goals down to beat City on Sunday that they have the appetite for the sort of fightback that their manager relishes.
We saw the continuation of another recognisable Ferguson tradition too - his willingness to turn to youth. His team had an average age of 22 by the time Nani ran clear to snatch victory deep into injury time, and for 20 minutes before Dimitar Berbatov's late cameo, 26-year-old Ashley Young was the oldest United player on the pitch.
Sir Alex Ferguson's young stars turned the game in United's favour. Photo - Getty
Cleverley, who turns 22 later this week, and Welbeck, 20, have had limited opportunities at Old Trafford in the past, spending last season out on loan at Wigan and Sunderland, but they showed against City they have what it takes to be part of Ferguson's plans for the future.
Welbeck, who was called up into the England squad this week to face the Netherlands, led the line for 89 minutes on his first senior appearance for United since January 2010.
Cleverley was, with Jones and Evans, one of three half-time substitutes who helped turn the tide, making some assured touches and notably playing a part in the slick passing move that led to Nani's equaliser.
"Both of them started here and then gone out on loan, and to come back to United is another big step," explained United defender Chris Smalling afterwards. "We have seen in other games this pre-season that the manager is prepared to give them a chance and we have seen again against City that they are good enough."
Ferguson said in his post-match media conference that he has "trust and confidence" in all his young players, and clearly that works both ways - his players respond to the faith he puts in them.
"That's why he's one of the best managers there is," Smalling added. "He is not afraid to make changes or put on young players. Then it's just down to us to put on a performance."
Smalling, 21, who filled in at right-back at Wembley to combat City's formidable physical presence, was brought to Old Trafford from Fulham for £7m in 2010 as part of Ferguson's recently implemented 'buy young and/or buy British' transfer policy.
That has continued with Jones, De Gea and Young, who showed with a series of rapid raids down the wing that he already feels at home in a United shirt.
De Gea's debut was less assured, especially when he was beaten by Edin Dzeko's long-range drive for City's goal, but Smalling was impressed by his new team-mate's reaction.
"He will learn from things like that and he made some good saves in the second half. It was good to see he is not going to let things get him down."
This United side has not had a complete overhaul, of course. Yes, Paul Scholes and Edwin van der Sar are gone but the spine of the side that has won the Premier League for four of the last five seasons remains, and with it that winning mentality that chases more success.
We should not get carried away by the significance of United's win, even if it does appear to strike a psychological blow ahead of the new season. After all, Ferguson himself describes the Shield as merely a "stepping stone" towards the start of the new season.
But the new generation of United talent seems to view trophies in the same way as their predecessors - that they are there to be won.
"Expectations never drop at this club and I don't think the manager would ever let that happen," Smalling stated. "We want to win everything, that's the aim and that's what we are all striving for."