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Ferguson's kids are all right

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Phil McNulty | 00:15 UK time, Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Sir Alex Ferguson dug up an insult aimed at Manchester United from days gone by to turn his fire on those who dare to criticise Old Trafford's production line of young talent.

Alan Hansen's infamous "you'll never win anything with kids" line - uttered at the start of a season that finished with United winning the double in 1996 - has become a monument to the folly of questioning Ferguson's faith in youth.

The 67-year-old Scot dusted it off before this Carling Cup quarter-final with Spurs and gave it another airing in his progamme notes after United's emerging group of players were criticised following the Champions League defeat against Besiktas.

Ferguson relishes a fight and the final word. He got both as Darron Gibson's two crisply-struck goals sent a callow United side into the Carling Cup semi-final at the expense of a more familiar-looking Spurs line-up.

Darron Gibson hits the first of his two goals against SpursDarron Gibson hits the first of his two goals against Spurs

You knew the part played by the more junior members of the Old Trafford cast would give Ferguson that extra blast of pleasure, coming as it did in the aftermath of doubts being expressed about their pedigree.

Arsenal's glittering array of young talent assembled under Arsene Wenger is forever being showered in plaudits without actually winning anything.

It makes you wonder if Ferguson might just be a bit miffed that his devotion to home-grown players is often over-shadowed by the excessive praise lavished on Wenger's charges. He would have a point if he was.

At the risk of causing further consternation, however, this current batch of United rookies has a long way to go before they can even be spoken of in the same breath as the golden generation of the early 90s that yielded David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, the Neville brothers and Nicky Butt.

It was a rare breed, and it is hardly the fault of the new group that they are not yet in any position to even contemplate the deeds of their predecessors, some of whom were still on the United team-sheet with them at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

But there was enough promise in the performance of Gibson and his youthful cohorts to suggest Ferguson has once again picked a safe battleground on which to challenge those who doubt the health and success of his youth policy.

Ferguson was obviously badly stung to mount such a sturdy defence, writing in the programme: "I have to protect the future of Manchester United and that means, especially in these days of inflated prices in the transfer market, producing a steady stream of players."

And while much attention has focused on Federico Macheda and the Da Silvas, Gibson is one who has quietly come up on the rails to press him claims.

Indeed, Ferguson stated only in recent days that the day was coming when Gibson could not be held back any more - and his contribution against Spurs illustrated why.

The 22-year-old Republic of Ireland international scored two goals that demonstrated a precious talent, the ability to arrive on the edge of the area and strike to deadly effect. A powerful figure, he was also composed on the ball and put the lack-lustre Jermaine Jenas and Wilson Palacios firmly in the shade.

As Michael Carrick struggles to find his best form, he may find himself under more regular threat from Gibson, who, it is clear, has the trust of Ferguson.

Ferguson had encouragement in other areas, too. Danny Welbeck showed he has the raw materials to develop further and showed great awareness when linking with Gibson for his second goal.

Belgian defender Ritchie De Laet, just 21, got a rare outing and mixed some anxious moments with an outstanding block to stop Jermain Defoe as he looked poised to equalise.

Anderson, still only 21, was powerful and influential in midfield in a manner he needs to display more, while the lanky Gabriel Obertan, 20, presents an intriguing figure.

Obertan has real pace while one perfect cross, not followed in by a dawdling Dimitar Berbatov who should have had an easy finish, hinted at his promise. He has a tendency to over-do matters, but so did Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani when Ferguson bought them.

Ferguson will look for Obertan to develop into a bridge between Nani, whose progression appears to have reached a dead end, and the peerless Ronaldo. Not one or the other - just something nicely in between.

It all suggests a rich seam of young talent under Ferguson's guidance. But, at the risk of going all Hansen on you, only time will tell whether these kids win anything. The last four of the Carling Cup is at least a respectable starting point.

United's younger players needed the inspiration of a magnificent display from defender Nemanja Vidic to navigate them through early, choppy exchanges in which Spurs were superior without being able to take advantage.

Vidic was at his imperious best, making the vital challenges and snuffing out danger with a mixture of ideal positioning and physical power, illustrated perfectly when he literally brushed David Bentley aside to end one moment of danger.

David Bentley is left to ponder a disappointing night for TottenhamDavid Bentley is left to ponder a disappointing night for Tottenham

For Spurs, this was a huge disappointment after the good impression they created in the draw at Aston Villa. Once United went ahead, they seemed to abandon all hope of ever regaining a foothold in the game.

It must have been bad. The normally chatty Harry Redknapp could not bring himself to deliver his thoughts to the written press in the traditional post-match briefing. He dispatched Kevin Bond, who explained his manager's absence by revealing: "I don't think he wants to come in here and say something he might regret."

Say no more. Or rather, don't say anything at all.

Spurs let themselves down badly, and it was a night of disappointment in particular for Robbie Keane, given his chance up front alongside Defoe with Peter Crouch on the bench.

Keane was never lacking effort, but there are still times when he looks a long way short of the player who left Spurs for an unfulfilling stint at Liverpool. It is to be hoped this gifted player regains his form and confidence.

In one interview Redknapp did give, he was moved to complain about the lack of atmosphere inside Old Trafford - an attendance of 57,212 meant there were almost 20,000 empty seats.

This may be considered a good gate for a game played on a soaking Tuesday night in Manchester, but there is no doubt there were times when there was an almost testimonial feel to proceedings, especially in the closing stages.

At no time did the environment give off the air of a cup quarter-final played between two real powers of the Premier League - and that is sad for a tournament gamely attempting to shake off its tag as a poor relation to the Premier League and FA Cup.

Silverware still means something, though, hence Ferguson's delight and Redknapp's disappointment. And for United's young players, it is the perfect stage for them to prove their manager has a cause worth fighting for when their quality is questioned.

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Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Seriously, what game were you watching?! Ok, Man U have a few players with potential but last night wasn't a good example of this. De Lait played ok, Gibson did very little other than his goals (sounds silly I know...), Welbeck barely figured and Obertan carried very little threat. If Jenas wasn't one of the laziest players in the world then he would've challenged Gibson for both goals.

    Spurs completely dominated the game and if it wasn't for the outstanding Vidic then they would've got back into it. Spurs fell away late on as hope faded, especially with Bentley producing a performance on a par with an obese hippopotamus with a broken leg.

  • Comment number 2.

    I am surprised at the attempted comparison between United Youth teams...Anderson Obertan DeSilva twins have all been bought in and not come through the youth ranks like Neville Beckham Scholes Giggs Sharpe et al so the comparison is niether fair nor accurate. Some of the players whom you are questioning have already one something, the less regular players who were there last year have the Carling cup already, Anderson has a premier leauge medal and Carling cup medal. Gibson has a medal as well. If memory serves me correct It was near the close of last season we saw a similar strike by Gibson to his first one last night...Nothing quiet about his progession, just too many midfielders ahead of him... I see him as a cross between scholes and Keane, Tough determined, very skillful , will make surging runs from midfield, but I agree, neither he, nor welbeck, obertan, or Dalaet are the finished article, but there is no rush...they were all bought in to be developed. It's a bit disingenuous to talk about the same youth policy as the 1990's
    Incidently the team for last years Carling Cup final was

    Foster, O’Shea (Vidic 76), Evans, Ferdinand, Evra, Ronaldo, Scholes, Gibson (Giggs 91), Nani, Tevez, Welbeck (Anderson 56).
    Subs Not Used: Kuszczak, Park, Possebon, Eckersley

  • Comment number 3.

    I'm sorry phil but most of this is complete tosh. The united "kids" went out with deliberate orders to play negative football, clearly a reaction to the (unfounded) criticism they have received recently. Spurs had all of the possession in the first half and if it weren't for 2 lucky (but well taken) shots from gibson would have been comfortably on top going into the break. The second half possession was more united but they played "hold the ball" passes for 90% of the half, rarely actually attempting any attacking play. Gibson on the whole was average - the only reason he stood out (apart from the goals) was because of 2 quite frankly terrible performances from bentley and jenas, thank god they aren't first team for us anymore!

    I'm not saying they don't have talent, I'm just sick of your yo-yo analysis of spurs, one blog saying we have the best chance of the "best of the rest" to get a champs league place, then saying we were out-played by a bunch of 18 year olds when it's not even true!

  • Comment number 4.

    Phil makes an interesting point regarding the media's portrayal of Arsenal's youth, who appear to have endless potential and Manchester United's young players. One bad result, that all be it ended an impressive run, was met with criticism and claims of not ready yet.

    However, Arsene Wenger has been promising that the fruits of his labour will produce any minute now. It’s becoming slightly comical and Arsenal fans must be getting tired of the lack of silverware and spending.

    But remember, Sir Alex doesn’t just put out a team of youngsters. Phil rightly mentions Vidic’s contribution and that’s were Fergie has his peers number. He continues to bring in the right youngster, at the right position, at the right time, and complimenting the more experienced players.

    I think Man Utd can go on and win this cup with this young team and I fully expect Fergie will give them a second crack at the champions league whip.

  • Comment number 5.

    To Sportsfan...Spurs were never a serious threat after about the first 30 minutes. Please allow me to quote Kevin Bond, especially after Harry Redknapp was apparently so disenchanted he decided not to speak to the written press: "I don't think he wants to come in here and say something he might regret.

    "We never got started. We got worse as the game went on and that's probably the most disappointing thing about it. I'm not sure whether there was no belief or we didn't believe we could get back into the game from where we were."

    I find it hard to argue with any of that.

    And as a Spurs fan, you should remember the mockery that has been heaped on Arsene Wenger for saying Didier Drogba did not do much other than score two goals for Chelsea at The Emirates. Spurs would have settled for a player who did not do much but scored twice - too many settled for just not doing much.

  • Comment number 6.

    Re: sportsfan

    Hey yeah I agree that Spurs were dominant in the second half but you cant seriously say that Vidic was the only Man U player playing out there. Man U created a nice 2-0 lead thanks to some great attacking play through their youngsters in the first half - its only common sense to then sit on that lead for the 2nd half so Tottenham pressure was inevitable. And your comment "Gibson did very little sounds silly"...yeah it does sound silly because you're wrong.

  • Comment number 7.

    Re: therealjag

    Saying "you're wrong" on a comments page for a blog makes you look like a 10 year old, if you can't come up with a proper argument, don't bother posting!

  • Comment number 8.

    It wasnt all youth playing though. I felt it was a perfect balance as players with experience like brown, vidic, berbatov, park and tomasz in goal complimented the younger players. So unlike the european game against besiktas there were a few more "experienced" players.

  • Comment number 9.

    The reason Arsenal's "kids" have been praised so much more is because almost the entirety of their carling cup team has consisted of youngsters. Man united put out a team containing a large percentage of players who play in the premiership on a regular basis whereas Arsenal do not. Admittedly there are one or two "experienced" players in the side but not as many. Despite this, they can still consistently make it to the quarter finals/semi finals/final and that is why there is so much praise in their direction.

  • Comment number 10.

    To SavageNick...Spurs can play a lot better than that and I saw that for myself on Saturday. I do think they can reach the top four in the Premier League and they will never have a better chance.

    It is clear that is more of a priority for Spurs than the Carling Cup and I have to say it looked that way last night.

    Agree with the comments about Jermaine Jenas in particular. Seemed to simply stroll through that game with no sense of urgency. Very disappointing for a player who thinks he still has a chance of making England's World Cup squad.

    And I have to pick you up on the suggestion that Gibson's goals were "lucky." Nonsense.

    I thought Robbie Keane looked a little down on his luck last night. Can Spurs fans tell me why? Is he not suited to playing with Jermain Defoe? How has he played since he returned from Liverpool?

  • Comment number 11.

    I only saw the second half and it went something like this; the commentators kept mentioning how strong Spurs were in the first half and for 5 minutes Spurs did look threatening. After that though Utd just snuffed Spurs out and they never looked like coming back in to the game.

    If I was to class Utd at the minute I would say they are a professional unit lacking flare. However this is another example of a professional performance. Unlike a lot of results they did not grind this result out but instead took there chances and saw the match out. A lot of top four challengers whose players often go to sleep could learn a lot from the Utd kid’s attitude. Utd see out games and this spirit is instilled in to every one at the club. Therefore I would take a lot of the Utd youngsters over Arsenals even though they are inferior players due to them having the right attitude to win things

    The best of the youngsters does appear to be Wellbeck and Obertan. I like Obertan's directness there is definitely something there and he loses the ball a lot less than Nani. That is if you discount Evans who less we forget emerged from the youth system only last year

    Saying all that though I will be amazed if Utd win this cup this year as a lot of big teams are still in there and are real need of silver ware. My money would be on Chelsea. They have the same steel in as Utd but a lot more flare

    Summarising Utd are professional but lack flare. But that professionalism makes them more of a threat in any competition, youth players or 1st team.

  • Comment number 12.

    I'd like to remark, that Gibson was pretty much to be released last summer. He was kept just in case, and all of a sudden is a hero after two very good shots. Let's not go ahead of ourselves.

    Also, the atmosphere was terrible, but come on. Who cares? At the Emirates, it usually sucks, but is great on Carling Cup night. I know which i'd prefer (and I am an Arsenal fan)

    Also, let's not get carried away with their age. Anderson, 21. Obertan, 20. Gibson, 22. That's not kids. That's the same age as most of the Arsenal midfield. Kids is better defined as 18 or thereabouts, and the only 18 year old was Wellbeck, and he was poor. Starting to reveal that hype is not good for a young lad.
    Looking forward to tonight, cause all due respect, we are gonna see some real kids and talent. Weird, we have not seen one Craig Eastmond blog yet. He was amazing against Liverpool.

  • Comment number 13.

    To Phil:

    Thanks for such a prompt reply to our comments!

    I'll admit gibson's goals weren't "lucky", that opinion (as I'm sure most spurs fans will agree) was borne out of frustration more than objective analysis. You're right that it's very similar to wenger's comments from the weekend. The strange thing is how exactly as football fans we decide what makes a "great" player - someone who is involved in the game at all points (gerrard and rooney style) or someone who is so effective they only need to do 1 or 2 brilliant things per match (torres an excellent example methinks), possibly either stance is valid.

    Re: Robbie Keane - I've talked to alot of football fans about him recently and everyone agrees he hasn't been the same since he came back from the scousers (4 goals in one game aside!). Maybe doing so badly there made him face his own "mortality" so-to-speak (his career rather than his life ofc), petr cech and eduardo examples of bad injuries doing much the same thing...

  • Comment number 14.

    Rather than all the publicity being given to SAF and Utd's kids, shouldnt we be questioning Spurs? They had an almost full strength team out yet at no time did they seriously threaten Utd. In 2 games now against Utd Spurs have been shown wanting. In both they had possession and some chances but at the end were soundly beaten.

    they may have beaten a very poor, slow starting Liverpool by the odd goal in 3 but they have been beaten easily by Utd (twice), Arsenal and Chelsea. I think the plaudits being lavished on Spurs are premature and that they will finish 6th come May.

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    Gabriel Obertan looks an interesting prospect. He has pace and the raw material is certainly there for Sir Alex Ferguson to work with. It will be interesting to see how he develops in comparison to Nani, who has not progressed the way United would have liked.

    And what about Ben Foster, who was not even on the bench last night? What does the future hold for him at Manchester United, especially as he is keen to press his England claims in a World Cup year?

  • Comment number 17.

    gunstolz, Gibson was not about to be released last summer, I think you will find that he signed a new contract in July.

  • Comment number 18.

    1. At 08:29am on 02 Dec 2009, sportsfan wrote:

    Spurs completely dominated the game

    _______________________________________________________________________

    I like Spurs, I really do, and I sincerely hope they get top 4 this season, but their fans have a capacity for delusion rivalled only by the scousers!

  • Comment number 19.

    First of all I am a Man United fan and would agree with Phil this current bunch are not in the same l;eague as the likes of Giggs, Beckham, Scholes, Butt and Neville (s), however combined with a mix of experience Vidic, Berbatov, Neville they managed to beat a virtually full strength Spurs team, handing them only their fourth defeat of the season.

    Albeit in the first 40 minutes United had performed a smash and graab raid 2 nil up 2 chances, but Spurs were punished for the wastefulness, and if they are to be a champions league pretender they need to be more clinincal against the top teams.

    Probably my favourite of the young players is De Laet, - what you think Phil, obviously his opportunities maybe limited for a few years yet, but he looks like a real solid defender, and can cause a threat going forward too.

    Gibson I think adds another dimension to United's midfield as he carries some physical presence and can hold the ball up expertly, and on his day can pass the ball as good as anyone, however at the moment he just needs to develop some consistency.

    Welbeck and Macheda, are too promising youngsters however both of them's decision making is on the whole poor. I'm a 17 year old myself and play for my local team Cleator Moor Celtic (who incidentally, is the club West Brom's Scott Carson comes from) and I think my decision making is far superior to Welbeck or Macheda. More so Welbeck on this one, I don't think either of them have the technical ability to be a great Man United player, when Welbeck tries stepovers he is so slow and deliberate half the time he gets the ball nicked of him.

    Obertan is the same, - he has showed signs of promise but again he looks so awkward, although according to Andy Townsend (ITV -typical) he has such great technique. No he doesn't all the fundamentals are wrong with his game, and he runs with ball he doesn't look up around him, so generally runs into a cul-de-sac, which again points to poor decison making.

    On the other hand though the young team held their own against quality opposition and on the balance of play for both halfs probably just about deserved the win, so looking on the positive sides hopefully with more games, these players will become real pretenders to the throne, to the likes of Giggsy and Scholesy, - great role models.

    And I tip to De-Laet to be the first one ready to experience life regularly in the first team, as he is the one least under the radar, and has the the least focus on him compared to the like of Welbeck and Macheda.

    The only attention De-Laet seems to get is from you Phil, trying (being the word) to make puns about him!

    Any how your thoughts on my comments?

  • Comment number 20.

    The point should really be made that Spurs fans will probably feel a little aggrieved that their team did not make the most of the early possession that they had. Lucky or not Gibson scored two good goals and if that is all he did every game I am sure any team would want a player like that. I also have to point out that Utd's youth system does bring in foreign players as well as the home grown talent but it then brings those players on to play the Utd way. Most other teams philosophy is to buy established players and try to make them fit into the team. This does not always work and even Utd are guilty of it. The fact remains Spurs were beaten by a team made up of mainly youngsters on the fringe of the team we would call the week in week out team.

    For most Utd fans I would say it must be quite exciting to see that there are players that can hopefully step up and fill the shoes of golden players that will eventually retire.

  • Comment number 21.

    It was a fairly even game Man U tok there chances Spurs didn't. I find it suprsing however that the Man Utd team get classed as kids!!!!

    If I am not mistaken Park, Vidic, Berbatov, Neville, Kusczak, Brown are definetly not kids. Nani, gibbs,are no more Kid like than Lennon and Huddlestone.

    Oberton is no more of a kid than Bale. In comparison Man U had two kids on display de Lait and Welbeck both of whom failed to really make their mark.

  • Comment number 22.

    Utd have a good crop of yungsters, Phil, but on the law of averages only 1 or 2 will make it big time at the club. Also remember the Da Silva twins and Evans (who have/will make it) were missing last night.

    Interesting point about Arsenal's youngsters. They've been 'emerging' for 3 or 4 years now and some have made the breakthrough but it's still noticable that when Fabregas or Van Persie are out injured long-term Arsenal can't cope. The Arsenal situation has been over-hyped.

    Interesting also that none of the other 'big' clubs produce the same amount of youngsters as Utd and Arsenal though.

  • Comment number 23.

    Whilst i personally think United's team looked strong and did what was required - i have had a quick look and i think you'll find the average age of their starting 11, was actually higher than Tottenham's.

    My maths says that the combined age of United's - was 278 compared to Tottenham's 276 making a very slightly older team.

    You highlighted the random and sometimes mixed praise for young teams at the top of our game, yet dare i say you are just as guilty of getting excited without doing your homework?


  • Comment number 24.

    10. At 09:06am on 02 Dec 2009, Phil McNulty - BBC Sport wrote:
    To SavageNick...Spurs can play a lot better than that and I saw that for myself on Saturday. I do think they can reach the top four in the Premier League


    Ha ha Phil tips Spurs for top four place they may as well forget it now with his record in predicitons!!!

  • Comment number 25.

    I too am surprised at the comparison between current and previous United Youth teams. Obertan, Anderson, Rafeal and Fabio have all been BOUGHT and not developed from the the junior ranks like the Nevilles, Beckham, Scholes, Giggs, etc etc.

    Out of interest - Who was the last player to be "home grown" and step up from the youth system?

  • Comment number 26.

    Re: Horshamred

    Arsenal were beaten by united and chelsea comfortably, united beaten by liverpool while still during their "poor" stage and by chelsea - what exactly is your point? United won the league last season after losing almost every game to the rest of the "big 4" and yet spurs after doing the same are going to finish sixth?

    Oh and did I mention we are currently 3rd? Above arsenal and liverpool?

  • Comment number 27.

    Fair points, although I still think we (Spurs) would've got back into it had Bentley not ruined every attack we built with some quite disgraceful crossing.

    Phil, agreed that Jenas needs a rocket up him in order to progress his career. Decent technical player who gets goals when he bothers to run box to box but far too lazy to even be considered for an England squad, let alone the WC squad!

    On Keano, he goes through these phases. He likes to get involved wherever possible but it seems that at the moment he's taken a back seat as we look to get the ball to Lennon and Defoe primarily. You only get out what you give to players like Keane.

    Another thought I had last night was how on earth Assou-Ekotto starts ahead of Bale? Granted, Bale's not the best defender in the world but certainly no worse than Ekotto. Bale offers a lot going forward and I believe that he has the potential to become a high standard "modern" full back. Ekotto stands off wingers too far, constantly allowing crosses in and when he lunges in he's far too easy to beat (see Stoke's winner against us). Anyone else agree?

  • Comment number 28.

    I'm disappointed as a Spurs fan that after we went 1-0 down we just didn't look interested. However, I'm glad we got this sort of performance out of the way in the Carling Cup as opposed to the league. T

    The team we put out was a mixture of regulars and bench warmers, and although I'm sure Defoe, Lennon etc will be fine against Everton on Sunday, it's disappointing that players like Jenas and Bentley failed to use their chance to impress. I think for these two in particular, their time is numbered under Redknappa as they constantly fail to deliver despite being given chances.

    I don't think Man Utd were that good either to be honest. The goals were good but apart from that I agree with Phil's penultimate paragraph about the game finishing at testimonial pace and would go as far as to say the majority of the game felt like a friendly between two teams that were indifferent about both winning and losing the match.

    I can understand Redknapp's disappointment because no one likes losing, but I hope his pre-match words about challenging for the top 4 means we won't be as insipid on the pitch again this season.

    On Robbie Keane, he hasn't been the same player since he went to Liverpool. It looks like the whole episode really knocked his confidence and took the wind out of his sails, because the season before he left he was great for Spurs.

    This season he has been very poor and seems to keep his stock high enough by scoring at just the right times eg 4 v Burnley to keep up the impression he's doing well. I can't remember the last time he scored in a crucial game.

  • Comment number 29.

    man what's all the whinning and whingging from the spurs brigade - you played what is close to being your first 11 whereas in the United team only Vidic played who you would at this moment in time put in the first 11 and apart from Anderson there wasn't much else in the way of true 1st team experience. No-one really cares about the fact that you had a good amount of possession or couldn't score reality is that given the teams experience or in United's case lack off you should have really wiped the floor with us. Given that you didn't who's problem is that? Get over it!

  • Comment number 30.

    Sorry, I forgot to add that Keano's a legend and will bag 25 goals this year!!

  • Comment number 31.

    Re: sportsfan

    Agreed with the bentley point, although as far as I can remember keane was also guilty of messing up some of our attacks - between the two of them and jenas behind we never had a chance!

    Also agree about bale - the cross he put in for defoe's chance was oustanding - I wish we had that sort of thing from the left in the prem! Hopefully his "albatross" tag will be removed soon and we can see him starting some games (he'll have to during the ACON anyway).

  • Comment number 32.

    Re: Tim Hawkins

    Here here, that about sums it up!!!

  • Comment number 33.

    #29

    No-one really cares about the fact that you had a good amount of possession or couldn't score reality is that given the teams experience or in United's case lack off you should have really wiped the floor with us. Given that you didn't who's problem is that? Get over it!

    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surely this is the whole point of a blog DEBATE, to talk about what happened during the game. or did you simply just 'get over it' after being taken to pieces by Barcelona in the Champions League final instead of wondering what went wrong?

  • Comment number 34.

    Tim Hawkins: have you not heard of Neville, Brown, Park or Berbatov?! Or have they just played a lot of meaningless games that don't count as true first team experience..

  • Comment number 35.

    Spurs fan here, but who was unable to watch the match as I was at a division 2 match.

    Couple of points though, sounds like Jenas had another poor game and Huddlestone too once he came on. Further proof that neither is good enough and both lack the mental toughness, desire, discipline and concentration necessary to win trophies. As I put in your previous blog about Spurs, Huddlestone is very good against lesser opposition who give him room but put him up against opponents who press him and he's a passenger. So new midfielders needed, Scott Parker springs to mind. Or in fact I'd rather see Jamie O'Hara recalled from Portsmouth and playing over these two.

    However, to pick up on some quotes from the article "It makes you wonder if Ferguson might just be a bit miffed that his devotion to home-grown players is often over-shadowed by the excessive praise lavished on Wenger's charges" and "At the risk of causing further consternation, however, this current batch of United rookies has a long way to go before they can even be spoken of in the same breath as the golden generation of the early 90s"

    Have I missed something, or was Man Utd's team last night not:
    Man Utd: Kuszczak, Neville, Brown, Vidic, De Laet, Park, Gibson, Anderson, Obertan, Welbeck, Berbatov. Subs: Amos, Owen, Giggs, Tosic, Carrick, Fletcher, Macheda.

    Kuszczak (£4million from West Brom 3-4 years ago, 26)
    Neville (Youth team, 34)
    Brown (Youth team, 29)
    Vidic (£8-£10million, 28)
    De Laet (19, signed last summer)
    Park (27, £6 million?)
    Gibson (22, youth)
    Anderson (£16m, 20)
    Obertan (£3million this summer, 19)
    Wellbeck (youth, 18)
    Berbatov (28, £30 million)

    There's what, 3 teenagers, 2 of which were signed this summer. At least 6 of that side has got 1 or more Premiership medals and 6 are over the age of 25. How does that make them a young and youthful side? The reason it's not getting the praise that a Wenger team would is that Wenger's cup teams seem to be entirely under the age of 22, and certainly don't contain any players costing well over £5 million.

  • Comment number 36.

    This is a bit of non story.

    Kids?

    Brown, Vidic, Kuscac, Anderson, Berbatov, Neville.
    Gibson at 22 hardly a "kid".

    Utd deserved to win because they took their chances, Spurs looked good when they had the ball but lazy when they didnt.

    Good win for the reds but lets not pay much attention to this mythical kids nonsense.

    PS 57,000 is a good crowd especially when most have to travel substantial distances.

  • Comment number 37.

    Phil, should SAF be a tad concerned that his current team and his crop of new hopefuls seem to be lacking in leaders? The Da Silvas, Brown, O'Shea, Gibson, Fletcher, Carrick, Obertan, Berbatov, Foster, Park, I could go on. Other than Rooney (who I believe will be England captain one day in the not too distant future) there doesn't seem to be as many characters there in the mould of Beckham, Giggs, Gary Neville, Butt from days gone by.

    It seems to me that despite the wonderous talents of some of the young foreigners who arrive on our shores, they sometimes (understandably) lack the integration and leadership skills of their native colleagues.

    Anyone else have any thoughts on this?

  • Comment number 38.

    To be honest - Foster's rather blown it when he's been given the change. Cost us a couple of points against Sunderland. Not that I'm picking on the guy. He's a great keeper and I hope he matures into our no.1. Kuszczak deserves his chance and Foster not the only good keeper hanging around twiddling his thumbs. The real crux of the issue is the pressure being no 1 at United. United have had a problem for years every since Schmeichel quit. Many good and not so good keepers have come and failed. I would have said in 99 only Barthez, Van Der Sar or Buffon could have done a half decent job of filling Schmeichels boots. Barthez failed, luckily for us Van Der Sar done a more than able job. Having said that I don't think he would have been a success if he'd come in when Barthez did.

    Let's hope Foster get's on with it and reclaims some form. I though he was lucky to be given a chance by Fergie last week in Europe and very unlucky to concede that deflected goal. Personally he should get his head down and stop complaining to the press when a microphone is shoved in his face - would certainly make his life easier with Fergie.

  • Comment number 39.

    29. At 09:53am on 02 Dec 2009, Tim Hawkins wrote:
    man what's all the whinning and whingging from the spurs brigade - you played what is close to being your first 11 whereas in the United team only Vidic played who you would at this moment in time put in the first 11 and apart from Anderson there wasn't much else in the way of true 1st team experience.
    ------------------
    What so your saying that Neville, Brown, Park and Berbatov don't have any experience? And that none of those and Anderson wouldn't be in the first team!

  • Comment number 40.

    Nani has pace as well. Not sure I'd be happy with your article if I were Gibson or any of the other younger players, is a fairly damning indictment on their talents that you think this is the last word on their careers.

    As one poster pointed out these players are hardly the product of the Man U youth teams, but the product of a well maintained and operated scouting network. Still, some of them look decent players, though I agree with another fellow above who thinks the decision making of the front two is rather poor - I'm yet to be convinced by either.

  • Comment number 41.

    At 08:29am on 02 Dec 2009, sportsfan wrote:

    So all Gibson did was score 2 goals and most of the others did OK?

    Thats a blue print on how you win a game you fool. I'm sure it was only last season (and the season before, and the season before and the...) that Ronaldo got slated for only scoring the winning goals in matches and he anded up with player of the year. So I'd shut it if thats all you can come up with. Tottenham are toothless against United and mostly against any big team. That 9-1 aint looking so great now is it.

  • Comment number 42.

    adam-o,

    Jonny Evans i think??

  • Comment number 43.

    Phil,

    I imagine that Robbie Keane's recent dip in form is due to the Irish defeat in Paris. I imagine the handball controversy has served to both distract and demoralise him, in much the same way as the performances of several members of the Argentina squad suffered whilst their World Cup qualification was in jeopardy earlier this season.

  • Comment number 44.

    sportsfan,

    i agree, i rate bale very highly as a full back and if he doesnt start playing regular soon i think he could be off to someone like Man City! And that would not be good for spurs!!

  • Comment number 45.

    Well that game showed the gap between the top clubs and Spurs who will not make the top 4 this season. United had a few first team regulars yes but it was no where near their full strength side whereas Spurs had pretty much their strongest team out. Once again Jermaine "I only score against weak opposition on a domestic and international level" Defoe was absent as usual.

  • Comment number 46.

    35. At 10:03am on 02 Dec 2009, mtrenners wrote: How does that make them a young and youthful side? The reason it's not getting the praise that a Wenger team would is that Wenger's cup teams seem to be entirely under the age of 22, and certainly don't contain any players costing well over £5 million.

    And thats why he aint won nothing in all this time. You have to, as a manager, have the right balance of youth (both bought and academy) plus experience and top of your game players.

    Wenger most always expects his youth teams to do it alone but where has it got hime. Nevermind no trophies how many finals has he reached these past few years and how many with his youth team. And who exactly in these past years have come through and been successful in Arsenals team?

    Anyone to compare with Brown, Evans, O'Shea, Welbeck and Gibson not to mention youth signings/purchases like Obertan, Macheda, Possebon, Nani, Ronaldo, and even more not to mention Giggs Bechkham, scholes, butt the nevilles.

    God I'm boring myself now. Best youth policy.

  • Comment number 47.

    United Fan ,

    I agree that gibson had a great game and he is one to look out for , but i think wellbeck was poor last night but he has shown promise and that he has also scored in most games hes played in . i think anderson was good last night and i think he should be given more of a chance , obertan looks a real talent he has pace and flare that united's wingers have awlays had .
    the new left back was also very poor he looked nervous and out of his depth
    also i urge fergy not to sell vidich he is are most important place

  • Comment number 48.

    Phil,

    Glad you see Spurs as potential top four and I agree that we never have a better chance to breakthrough. i was a bit annoyed at our selection policy last night. Why were Defoe, Palacios and Lennon even playing? (I could understand giving Bassong, Dawson and Gomes a game because of the lack of alternatives.)These are first teamers and, frankly, we have cover for what was a low priority game. Why was Pavlyuchencko in the starting line up? Had he strained himself shouting for a move? I am far, far more concerned about getting three points at Goodison.

    For Spurs, it was heartening to see Bale and Hutton do well and stunning to watch how bad David Bentley was. Dead ball situations - forced by Spurs pressure - came to naught because of his terrible delivery.

  • Comment number 49.

    Phil, what do all the Utd young-uns that you mention have in common? To give you a clue, I suspect you would slate Rafa or Wenger for it but you somehow manage to praise SAF. If you are struggling, I'll tell you; not one of the players you mention are English or for that matter British!

    Thus a comparison even though you played it down somewhat with Beckham et al., is a wee bit silly.

    I also see you got your obligatory dig at Rafa in. Keane has been back at Spurs for just on a year for goodness sake. How can you insinuate his time at Liverpool has 'damaged' his career. It was only a few weeks back you journos were lauding him.

    Sometimes I despair; the journalism at the BBC is getting as sloppy as other commercial media outlets.

  • Comment number 50.

    Mtrenners

    "The reason it's not getting the praise that a Wenger team would is that Wenger's cup teams seem to be entirely under the age of 22, and certainly don't contain any players costing well over £5 million."

    ----------

    Whilst Arsenal have some fantastic kids, that above's not completely true; team against Liverpool had nasri, eduardo, silvestre, senderos, ramsey who cost over £5m etc.

    Last year played pretty much all the kids but beat sheff utd, wigan and then lost 2-0 to Burnley (championship at the time) in the Quarter Finals.

    Year before lost to Tottenham in the semis replay 5-1 starting with Gallas, Sagna, Gilberto Silva, Hleb, Walcott (over £5m), and had fabregas, adebayor and eduardo come on.
    The first game against Tottenham was Senderos, Gilberto, Van Persie, Walcott etc (sagna, eduardo came on)

    Chelsea in the final the year before had almunia, toure, senderos, baptista, fabregas, walcott with adebayor, eboue and fabregas coming off the bench, and tottenham in the semis almunia, senderos, toure, gilberto, adebayor, walcott etc; rosicky, clichy and fabregas coming off the bench.

    Wenger's generally integrated some seniors aswell other than last year where they didn't get particularly that far.

  • Comment number 51.

    46. At 10:27am on 02 Dec 2009, devilinhell wrote:
    And thats why he aint won nothing in all this time. You have to, as a manager, have the right balance of youth (both bought and academy) plus experience and top of your game players....

    Yeh fair enough, I agree that you have to have a mix, but the point I was making was that Phil has written a blog praising United's amazing youth, yet there was little youth in the team last night and rather a large part of experienced premiership winners. Which kind of makes the blog completely misguided!

  • Comment number 52.

    #46, I am a Newcastle fan and as such can offer a completely independent viewpoint on your Man U vs Arsenal bickering. You say where has it got Wenger, it has got him a fantastic squad of young and talented players. In my opinion their youth system is far superior to anyone's in the UK - fair enough a lot of their youth players are bought at 15 and 16 yo, but I think that has become the norm now, with a few exceptions of course.

    You can't really count Nani, Obertan and Ronaldo as youth purchases, they were hardly bought on the cheap. They could throw Fabregas, van Persie and Henry back at you? It's not an indictment on Man U, there's always someone better than you.

  • Comment number 53.

    Anderson is only 21!!! It is very easy to forget that fact.

    What i like most about Gibson, is his confidence to take shots on from outside the area, in such a short career he has already scored some stunners. Also, unlike Arsenal's kids, he has a bit of power and bite about him.

    United, were starting to lack that ability to score from nowhere, and distance, that Scholes often provided, and no doubt C.Ronaldo did. It is very rare to see United score from outside the area these days, that's what i enjoyed last night.

    One thing i never liked about Fergies youth policy, was that he'd throw them all in, in one go, which is harder for the player coming through, as they are playing and recieving passes from people finding their feet also, it is important to have the players to dig you out around you whilst you find your feet. Last night the balance was right, and although rightly the kids get the praise, Vidic was immense once more.

  • Comment number 54.

    49. At 10:36am on 02 Dec 2009, ScottishScouser says "send more Bees!" wrote:
    I also see you got your obligatory dig at Rafa in. Keane has been back at Spurs for just on a year for goodness sake. How can you insinuate his time at Liverpool has 'damaged' his career. It was only a few weeks back you journos were lauding him.
    -----
    Er think if you speak to any Spurs fan you'll find that Keane hasn't been the same player in this spell as the previous one....the 6 months at liverpool has not been good for his career

  • Comment number 55.

    The comparison between Man U’s youngsters and Arsenal’s is an interesting one. This comparison seems to prove Alan Hansen's infamous "you'll never win anything with kids" comment to be true. Arsenal’s kids, although very promising, haven’t won any major honours (yet). Whereas Manchester United’s blend of youth with experience started by winning the double in 1996 and the same blend won the Carling Cup in 2009.

    So to summarise; you won’t win anything with kids is probably true. On the other hand it is possible to win with a mix of youth and experience. To suggest that this means Manchester United have a better policy for youth than Arsenal is questionable, but the ability to integrate youth (homegrown and purchased) into a winning team is unquestionable.

  • Comment number 56.

    collie21 - Sharpe was bought from Torquay United, as I recall, and is not a product of United's youth system.

  • Comment number 57.

    Somebody also claimed that United have bought in most of their talent, and not home grown any... but Johnny Evans and Darren Fletcher were home-grown... and among the best in the Premiership in my opinion! It is a production line, of solid players.

    Like i said, most of the Arsenal players coming through seem to lack the stomach for the battle.

    It is also interesting to note that down the East Lancs probably one of the best home-grown talents in decades $tevie G is approaching the twilight of his career, and their isn't even a sniff of anyone getting close to coming through.

  • Comment number 58.

    #45

    Once again Jermaine "I only score against weak opposition on a domestic and international level" Defoe was absent as usual.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Remind me who scored for Spurs against Man Utd at White Hart Lane this season and who scored England's goals against the Netherlands?

  • Comment number 59.

    I really think it has to be said there are some fairly serious flaws in this discussion carried through from the article. Firstly, as has been pointed out already, the average age of United's team was in fact slightly higher than Spurs'.

    Secondly, Spurs' team featured apparently our "full strength" squad; yet as far as I'm aware, our first choice back four (Assou-Ekott, Woodgate, King, Corluka) were all absent?

    This is obviously ignoring also the fact that Lennon was playing out of position for most of the game in a makeshift midfield lacking any natural left side (with Modric unfit after returning from injury and Krancjar rested).

    The United team, as again has been stated in the discussion, had a combined cost of around £70m and featured THREE teenagers.

    What merit in kneejerk Beckham-Giggs comparisons? What of Lennon, Huddlestone, Crouch? Just as much "youth team products" as any of those bought in by United, and yet a lot closer to the England squad. Just found this article bizarre.

  • Comment number 60.

    'Wenger's cup teams seem to be entirely under the age of 22, and certainly don't contain any players costing well over £5 million'

    Absolute rubbish. Eduardo cost over £5m and he has played in the cup, against Burnley i think. Arsenal's definition of youth and senior players are different to most teams. Nasri, cost over £5m and not under 22, played against Pool in the Cup. Silvestre has started cup games for them. They've played quite a few 'senior' players in the Cup games.

    ralph250 sums it up

    So this notion that Arsenal play totally young side in the cup is hot air.

  • Comment number 61.


    find this article disappointing, Uniteds youngsters did well last night, Anderson was great , Welneck tried hard all night and Gibson was a revelation- Why cant journalists just for once stop trying to find fault

    Youre right about SAF he's got a moral victory after last weeks criticism after Besiktas but more than that he's right about the level and standard of coverage particularly in the newspapers - it really beggars belief at times , its a wonder some managers even bother with them

  • Comment number 62.

    Oh, and Spurs had more attempts on goal than United.

  • Comment number 63.

    Arsenal youth system what the one where they do the same as all the other big clubs and nab youngsters from all over the world Vela, Merida, Song, Bendtner, Ramsey etc etc are not a product of Arsenal's youth system the only true Arsenal products atm with my limited knowledge is Wilshire and Gibbs these are players that have probably been there since they were very young the rest are all pilfered by a law or glitch in the system as to what the players in specific countries can sign

    what you see is a knee jerk to one game against Besiktas and these boys are all of a sudden not good enough let it be known that a team of Foster, Rafael, Fabio, Ferdinand, Vidic, Gibson, Anderson, Park, Welbeck, Macheda, Tevez held Everton in the semi final of the cup and were very unlucky to come out the loser on the penalties also a team

  • Comment number 64.

    Only 2 'kids' in the Utd side last night. What is this blog about?

  • Comment number 65.

    Hansen may have been wrong in '96, but you could get away with that line now. With the money washing around the game, a team of 'kids' could not compete over the course of a season with the £30-40million buys of Chelsea, City etc. Teams at the top can only afford to blood one or two youngsters at a time, and tend to do it when there is nothing at stake (don't kid yourselves, the Carling Cup means nothing to the top four) - do you think Fergies youngsters will get a run out in the games against Liverpool, Chelsea or Arsenal?
    http://sportales.com/soccer/english-premiership-correct-score-predictions-week-14-051209/

  • Comment number 66.

    #57

    The reason Warnock (not Gerrard) was the last player broght through "iverpool's academy is that Liverpool FC and the academy have been as good as 2 seperate entities since its inception.

    That has now changed! Rafa wanted control of the academy in his contract wranglings: he got it. Now we have the likes of Spearing, Darby and Eccleston on the fringes of the first team and on the bench. More will come through, hopefully the likes of Tom Ince and david Amoo will get a chance. Apart from Amoo, these are all fairly local players,

  • Comment number 67.

    Any team that thinks Woodgate and King are first team players need to sort their standards out because these two are injury prone and miss far too many in the last few seasons to be called first team players. Considering the sheer number of games they miss every season, surely they can't be called first team. So what if they are talented, thats not enough to qualify as a first team player as you have to be fit regularly to play. I think Woodgate has only once since leaving Leeds, started at least 30 league games in a season in his professional career. Since the 01/02 season, King has only started at least 30 league games once since 01/02. Before you bring up Ferdinand, well he has started at least 30 games in four different seasons. You have got to be able to put in the mileague to deem yourself a first team player. IMO, King and Woodgate shouldn't be first team players.

  • Comment number 68.

    At the end of day you have to look at the facts, bar modric this was Spurs strongest line up. Ledley King cannot be classed as a regular so you can not throw him into the mix.

    Spurs flew out the traps and did create chances, but as usual Robbie Keane failed to turn up in a big game. He has neve consistently produced in the big games. He is happy to be a big fish in a small pond, hence him running back to Spurs at the first chance. However, if he carries on with this level of preformance he'll find Crouch in front of him.

    Defoe is in a rich vein of form, but he has no variety in his finishing. He smashes the cover off the ball all the time. When Bale whipped that ball in that DeLaat blocked, if he had had the variety in his finishing he could have placed that in to the bottom corner, instead he smashed it at the keeper and the defender got a block in.

    United were not much better, Wellbeck has the tools to be a success at United but Gibson and co don't. He is another water carrier who can strike a ball sweetly. Ask him and Anderson to chase a a game Re Besiktas and they are unable to. Controlling midfield against average opposition is easy. Re. Arsenal against most teams. The hype around Macheda is baffling, he's done very little in the cup run this year.

    It is early in their careers, but if you look at the level of success that the young players who have left Man Utd have gone on to enjoy and that of the Arsenal players, it is clear that the young players Man Utd produce are not really that good.

  • Comment number 69.

    'Rafa wanted control of the academy in his contract wranglings:'

    Yep, blame it on Rick Parry(!) Poor sod, he gets blamed for everything that has gone wrong at Liverpool. A scapegoat. Maybe it isn't just down to him, seeing that things haven't improved at Liverpool since he has left.

  • Comment number 70.

    'Before you bring up Ferdinand, well he has started at least 30 games in four different seasons.'

    I mean 30 LEAGUE games in four separate seasons

  • Comment number 71.

    Spurs lost. They fielded how many internationals? As a fan of Tottenham I was bitterly disappointed with them. They should have won that match but Man United marches on with or withut its "kids".

  • Comment number 72.

    A couple of Man U fans seem to think that King is not a first teamer as he's injury prone? Well is Torres not a first teamer for Liverpool??

  • Comment number 73.

    I have to say, it's hardly a production line of talent is it? Fair enough Gibson looks finally like (maybe) staking a claim for a league start here and there but what else is there?

    Credit can hardly be given to this so-called production line for the likes of Anderson, De Laet, Obertan et al who, all in their early 20s, are new-ish signings.

    Another whimsical "Phil, BBC here, we need some filler" moment me thinks.

  • Comment number 74.

    'A couple of Man U fans seem to think that King is not a first teamer as he's injury prone? Well is Torres not a first teamer for Liverpool??'

    Why bring up Torres?

    At Atleti, Torres started over 30 league games in four separate seasons
    In two other seasons, one at Pool and one at Atleti, he started 29 league games

    Again, why bring up Torres?

  • Comment number 75.

    United were not much better, Wellbeck has the tools to be a success at United but Gibson and co don't. He is another water carrier who can strike a ball sweetly. Ask him and Anderson to chase a a game Re Besiktas and they are unable to. Controlling midfield against average opposition is easy. Re. Arsenal against most teams. The hype around Macheda is baffling, he's done very little in the cup run this year.

    Macheda has played all of 4 games played well against CSKA hit post forced keeper into a couple of smart saves, nearly pulled it back at the end against Besiktas brought a world class save from Rustu, and he is only 18 people forget that they expect everyone to be a world beater and play all the time if not they write them off sometomes it takes players longer to grow into the team scholes wasnt a regular at united till he was 22/23 look at how good he is/was

  • Comment number 76.

    Giggsy

    What are you on about? Parry had nowt to do with the academy either!

    No players came trhough because the academy wasn't up to scratch, both staff and players.

    Rafa now has control over it, where previously he had no say on staff or players. Do you not think that's a bit strange. I'm pretty sure SAF had an input to who come and went at Utd's academy. Now rafa has been able to appoint his own staff, ie Dalglish and the ex Barca youth team coach that brought the likes of Messi through. Things are now beginning to bear fruit.

  • Comment number 77.

    To Jamie Riley...firstly I have to defend myself about the De Laet puns! I wish to point the finger of blame firmly at my splendid colleague Caroline Cheese. I'm going to sound like a teenage - but she started it!

    To more serious matters, I thought he looked promising and Ferguson was guardedly optimistic about his performance, pointing out that he is naturally right-sided so played out of position last night. I think you are maybe being too hard on the others, remember they are still only relative youngsters, so give them time.

    To Sportsfan...I thought Gareth Bale was as dangerous as any Spurs player last night and one of the few to emerge with credit. He might have a problem though because Redknapp was heaping praise on Assou-Ekotto after the Villa game, describing him as "outstanding" and commenting on his spectacular improvement.

    And that phrase about Jenas and "rocket" was one I used a couple of times while watching the game. I wonder if Redknapp would be tempted by an offer for Jenas - and suspect he definitely would for Bentley.

    To PrincePaolo...interesting point about leaders among United's young players and there is merit in it. They all seem pretty low-key characters, but with the likes of Vidic and Neville out there last night and others like Ferdinand, Giggs and Rooney to come back, that should not be a problem.

    And I am not going to allow ScottishScouser says "send more Bees! to get away with the comment about an alleged dig at Benitez. I stated that Keane had an "unfulfilling stint" at Liverpool. Is that incorrect? And many Spurs fans on here agree he has not been the same since he returned to the club.

    Interesting that you appear to be reading criticism into remarks about Benitez when there actually is no criticism there.

    To answer posters about Manchester United simply bringing in young foreign talent, I think British counts as home-grown so I would give you Jonny Evans, Darren Fletcher and Darron Gibson to name but three.

  • Comment number 78.

    @Joe No. 28 Re Keane: "I can't remember the last time he scored in a crucial game."

    That would have been for the ROI v France in Paris, Joe, only for the 'hand of Thierry' to spoil the night!

  • Comment number 79.

    @mrtrenners hold the phone, i am NOT a United fan. I'm Arsenal till i die.

    Ledley King is injury prone. No two ways about it. How many games has he started in the last 5 year?

    Yes Torres has been out a lot over the last year, but he is still a first teamer because he doesnt play one game then miss 3.

  • Comment number 80.

    'What are you on about? Parry had nowt to do with the academy either!'

    I know, just having a laugh at Parry's expense!

  • Comment number 81.

    It is early in their careers, but if you look at the level of success that the young players who have left Man Utd have gone on to enjoy and that of the Arsenal players, it is clear that the young players Man Utd produce are not really that good.
    -----

    Why limit it to players that have left Man Utd; So that United have retained the likes of Brown, O'Shea etc they get discounted yet Ashley Cole counts for Arsenal?

    Fair few players through United's youth have gone on to Premiership level football even if not making it at United. Off the top of my head...

    ebanks blake (wolves), david jones (wolves),
    johnathan spector (west ham),
    phil bardsley, kieron richardson, david healy, paul mcshane, frazier campbell, (all sunderland)
    danny higginbottom, danny pugh, ryan shawcross (stoke)
    erik nevland, johnathan greening - fulham
    richard eckersley, chris eagles - burnley

    might be more than that, but that's 15 players playing top level football this season (ignoring the likes of phil neville, beckham etc aswell).

    Even the ones we signed from elsewhere (similar to Arsenal) that have learnt through the youth team, have go on to good things; Pique, Rossi etc.


  • Comment number 82.

    @ Phil McNulty two of the three home grown players you mentioned are rubbish. Gibson and Fletcher are both water carriers. Gibson can hit a good ball and his passing range is better than Fletcher.

    Fletcher is just a Dennis Wise, a nuisance and a persistant fouler. He even admitted in in an interview last week that when he plays against top players he kicks them to see how they react. He does a job for United but from a club that prides itself " in playing attacking, entertaining football" he is there to disrupt the rhythmn of a game and the opposition, hardly conducive to fulfilling the mantra.

    Evans is a classy centre back in the making. i 'll give you that one.

  • Comment number 83.

    'At the end of day you have to look at the facts, bar modric this was Spurs strongest line up. Ledley King cannot be classed as a regular so you can not throw him into the mix.'

    LB - Ekotto
    RB - Corluka
    CB - King (has played more games than any other CB bar Bassong)
    CM - Huddlestone
    LM - Krancjar/Modric

    You're talking rubbish, look at the facts.

  • Comment number 84.

    36. At 10:04am on 02 Dec 2009, bluedefence wrote:

    ...PS 57,000 is a good crowd especially when most have to travel substantial distances.

    ---

    Yep, all of them from London.

  • Comment number 85.

    66. At 11:09am on 02 Dec 2009, ScottishScouser says "send more Bees!" wrote:
    #57
    =========================================================================

    Please please, I beg...contact me when any of these players you have mentioned have played more than 50 times for Liverpool.

  • Comment number 86.

    Phil, I have to say I dont agree with this post in the slightest. The only players in last nights team who arent first teamers are Gibson, De Laet and Wellbeck (ill give you Obertan as well although he has played a few times this season) The rest are established Premiership stars, so to call them youngsters seems a bit silly. Vidic, Neville, Anderson, Berbatov, Park, Brown etc are hardly up and coming players! Even the keeper is established (albeit at a different club)

    The reason nobody has lavished praised on these youngsters is because they're not! Out of them, Gibson played well (2 great goals) and Wellbeck and Da Laet were ok so nothing to get too excited about. Dont forget Anderson (who has been playing in the premiership for a good few seasons) is actually younger than Gibson, so if Gibson is so special, why does he not start more games?

    Dont really get the post - seems to be making an issue when there isnt one

  • Comment number 87.

    The standard of football played in the Premier League is higher now than it was when the 90s kids came through. I'm not taking anything away from them - they were great players and some still are - but it was easier to break through because the competition wasn't as hot as it is now. Back then, United were the only team who ever got anywhere in Europe (apart from that spirited Leeds performance one year) whereas now, it was a surprise and a disappointment for English football that Liverpool have failed to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League.

    What I'm getting at, is that these players - Gibson, Obertan, Wellbeck and a few others are quite possibly as good as their predecessors, but it has taken them a little longer to become good enough because 'good enough' these days, is a bit better.

  • Comment number 88.

    ' King (has played more games than any other CB bar Bassong)'


    'You're talking rubbish, look at the facts.'

    So your going to ignore the last few seasons, where King has missed massive amount of league games?

    Don't just look at the facts of this season, look at the facts over the last few seasons

    So you do you think King will start most league games this season?

    King can not be relied upon, hence why, IMO, he isn't a first team player

    Hence, why United sold Saha despite playing well and being first choice when fit, especially in 06/07 but he missed too many games.

    If King was a back up player, than fair enough but its just wrong to call him a first team player, when he hardly puts in the mileague to warrant the tag of first team player

  • Comment number 89.

    "Ferguson's kids are all right" - Average age of 25! The last time I checked 25 was pretty much a man.

    The only player I'd consider a kid was De Laet. Gibson is 22! I thought the BBC was suppose to be impartial!

  • Comment number 90.

    FootyDJ,

    Fletcher may have been a 'nuisance' player over the past few years, but this season he's developed his technique, passing, heading, and finishiing. He's one of the most improved players in world football, and he's now our first-choice central midfielder.
    Do 'water-carriers' grab a brace against Man City, or volley goals such as the one against Everton?

  • Comment number 91.

    @gavinb24 i agree with you that players shouldnt be written off at 18, there are very few who come in a a young age and become regulars, but the way Macheda is being talked about is that he is the next big thing.

    Against CSKA he came on when you were all over them, even gary neville would have had a shot on target then. If he is as good as he is being made out to be he would have scored in this cup run. After all strikers are judged by their goals, and Wellbeck has bagged even when being played on the wing.

  • Comment number 92.

    35. At 10:03am on 02 Dec 2009, mtrenners wrote: "Wenger's cup teams seem to be entirely under the age of 22, and certainly don't contain any players costing well over £5 million."

    Arsenal team v Liverpool in the last round:
    Fabianski 24 (undisclosed fee), Senderos 24 (undisclosed fee), Silvestre 32, Nasri 22 (cost 10m), Ramsey (undisclosed fee), Eduardo 26 (cost 7.5m)

    So that's 5 players out of 11 not 'under 22' and 2 who cost more than 5m (almost certainly 3 in Ramsey and possibly 4 in Senderos)......but why let facts get in the way of a biased argument?

  • Comment number 93.

    #78

    That would have been for the ROI v France in Paris, Joe, only for the 'hand of Thierry' to spoil the night!

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    True, although I meant for Spurs. Unfortunately his Ireland performances are far better than his club ones.

  • Comment number 94.

    Couple of things. I should think Harry R didn't want to go into the after match interview because of his pre-match comments about how unimportant this cup is.
    Maybe doesn't quite give your players a lot of incentive.
    Second and I'm not saying this isn't just a coincidence, but Harry does send out some strange lineups to win games against the 'big 4', particularly his mate Alex.
    Another thing, when you get a touchline ban, doesn't that mean no contact with the dugout?
    Finally when the last batch of United subs were made Alan Smith said they were getting outplayed in midfield, so were switching from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 to bolster the midfield. Am I missing something or is it just United and Arsenal who play 4-5-1 but continually have it described as 4-3-3?
    OK finished.

  • Comment number 95.

    "Spurs recovered their composure and showed great mental strength (while giving the lie to pundits who perpetuate the myth that they do not like cold and rain 30 miles outside London) to earn a draw." (Spurs show top four style blog by Phil McNulty)

    I'm not so sure that the claim that Spurs "do not like the cold and rain 30 miles outside London" is as much of a myth as Phil McNulty tried to dismiss it as in his earlier blog - because his description of their Old Trafford performance last night only appears to vindicate that myth. If the cold and the rain and the distance of OT from London are not the reasons that account for why Spurs looked a lot less impressive against Manchester United last night than they did against United at Wembley back in March, then what are the real reasons? The difference in performance and class between the two sides in the Carling Cup clash is even more notable when you consider that Spurs were almost at full-strength for the game (only 3 minor changes to the squad of 18 whose performance in the Aston Villa game Phil fawned over so much), while Manchester United fielded what was essentially a youth/reserve team (because it was missing Valencia, Rooney, Nani, Scholes, Ferdinand, O'Shea and Evra; and while Foster, Fletcher, Owen and Giggs were only benched they still did not play, even as substitutes, although the benched Carrick did eventually sub for Obertan).

    If Spurs are hoping to seriously challenge for a "Top 4" finish this season they are going to have to perform much more consistently against the other six or seven clubs at the top of the PL table, as well as lose their propensity to be only a "fair-weather" team that gets most of its good results from performances put in at White Hart Lane. The 9-1 result against Wigan was a perfect storm for Spurs where they scored from almost every chance the team created. On a different day Spurs would have had to create over three dozen chances to convert that many scoring opportunities into goals. Case in point would be the home game against Stoke City where Spurs created enough chances to have won that one with a two or three goal margin, so they were unlucky to get zero rather than three points from that game. I'm quite sure Harry Redknapp would have much preferred only seven goals against Wigan but a couple of goals against Stoke instead.

    Unfortunately, if Spurs don't learn how to pick up all three points from a game even when they are playing below their very best form (in the same manner that Chelsea, Arsenal and United frequently do) they are probably not going to break the "Top 4" this season due to having played better than they have done in the last few prior seasons (when they finished in the top 6 or 8); if they do break into the "Top 4" it will only be because each of Villa, City and Liverpool (due to their own mental demons) may end up being even more schizophrenic than Spurs WRT achieving a run of consistent winning results. This was a make-or-break cup game tonight and yet the Spurs team seemed like they were less motivated to win it than they were their previous league game against Villa; but based on the side he fielded last night Harry Redknapp most certainly wanted his team to win it.

    I suspect that Arsenal can also be ousted from the "Top 4" this season in addition to Liverpool. Arsenal look quite an impressive team if you allow them to play and things are going all their way. However, if they meet a side that continually harries them off the ball, or the game turns against them for some reason, then the Arsenal team tends to disintegrate. They play like a well coached youth side - which to some extent is what they are - but they have looked the team most likely to lose in each of their encounters with the two Manchester teams and Chelsea this season. Arsenal have only looked impressive against Spurs, which again does not auger well for Tottenham. The extended loss of van Persie (who is arguably their best player) through injury, plus their list of other mounting injuries, is going to affect their earlier form through the crucial winter period that normally separates the men from the boys.

    Of the top seven teams in the PL the five teams chasing Chelsea and Manchester United are all plagued by consistency problems while, as Manchester United amply demonstrated last night, the top two teams can swap out large portions of their team from game to game and still keep clocking up the results. Arsenal's earlier rhythm and form at the start of the season has now been upset by injuries, and will continue to be upset by them; while Spurs continue to be a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde team, turning in superlative performances (such as the 9-1 win against Wigan or the draw at Villa) one week, but then alternating them with average performances against Chelsea, Arsenal or (last night) United's reserves. Neither Arsenal nor Spurs look anywhere near as impressive when they play the other top six sides around them as they do against lesser opposition.

    The other big Jekyll and Hyde team is Liverpool who can go from humiliating Manchester United one week to losing to Sunderland or Fulham the next. Of course, any Scouser will tell you that the source of LFC's inconsistency is an "injury crisis." The Munich air disaster was an "injury crisis"; having injuries to either or both of the only two outstanding players in your squad is NOT an "injury crisis" no matter how many, nor how often, Liverpool fans claim it is! Furthermore, with the money that Benitez has squandered on poor deals in the transfer market Liverpool could have already bought its new 70,000 capacity stadium for 100% cash on the nail.

    Coventry City got its new Ricoh Arena for an outlay of around £113 million (and the Coventry taxpayers bitched at its £2.9 million cost overrun) while the city of Manchester built COMS / Eastlands for around £110 million ... yet Rafa Benitez can waste that sort of money by purchasing three or four duff players, and in his time at Anfield he has most certainly purchased more than that! Here in the States I just bought myself a heated seat cushion for my car from Walmart for $14.99. If Benitez had shopped around before buying his bench warmer he could, by my reckoning, have saved himself £16,999,990. The particular seat warmer I chose was matt black but, like Alberto Aquilani, you can also get them kitted out in bright red ... and at any time of the year, not just during the transfer window.

    Of the five teams chasing after Chelsea and United the most consistent is Manchester City - but drawing every game they play is not quite the consistency Mark Hughes' team really wants to aspire to. Man. City has assembled a team that, on paper, could win the 2010 World Cup let alone the Premier League championship - unfortunately when the team plays on grass it struggles to take points from teams in the middle to the bottom of the table. One gets the feeling with City that they are currently stuck on some sort of auto-draw pilot, and all Mark Hughes now has to do is find the hidden secret control that will allow him to switch the team over to auto-win pilot for the rest of the season. Almost everyone agrees that the City team has the potential to whoop just about anybody ... the only question that now remains is can City fulfill that potential at least once in our own lifetime?

    Most teams competing in South Africa are taking a maximum of only four strikers in their squads yet City have as many World Cup class strikers as that sitting on the sub bench, or not even making the team squad, each match day. While Benitez struggles to try and keep his one and only good striker (Torres) and his aging midfield maestro (Gerrard) fit for each game, Hughes has the opposite problem of deciding which four of his eight strikers / attacking midfield players (Tevez, Adebayor, Robinho, Santa Cruz, Bellamy, Wright-Phillips, Petrov, Ireland) he drops from naming in the match squad for each game. When one fondly remembers the delights of Third Division Swindon Town running rings around First Division Arsenal back in the 1969 League Cup Final, one begins to realize that if the most expensively assembled team in English football history (with a strike force that could be the envy of many of the 32 national teams that are bound for South Africa next year) fails to at least scrape a home win against the Gunners in the quarter finals of the same competition then perhaps something is seriously wrong at Eastlands!

    Amongst the five clubs chasing the top two, the next most consistent side after City is Villa, but they are consistent in the good sense of the word. The biggest problem with Villa is that, compared to the other five sides, they are a bit lacklustre in attack; most of their goals come from set pieces. But set piece goals count just the same as any other kind, and when combined with the third best defense in the PL, that for me makes the Villa team currently the most likely candidate for taking one of those "top 4" spots based on their current form - especially after that Spurs performance last night.

  • Comment number 96.

    senorg of all the players you stated were missing, i dont believe that any of them bar the LM position and King were any better then the ones on show. King is a better player but you know you cannot rely on him. Really Dawson and Bassong are you first choice pairing and IF King and Woodgate get themselves fit then they play a few games before injury restricts them.

  • Comment number 97.

    'Don't just look at the facts of this season, look at the facts over the last few seasons

    So you do you think King will start most league games this season?

    King can not be relied upon, hence why, IMO, he isn't a first team player

    Hence, why United sold Saha despite playing well and being first choice when fit, especially in 06/07 but he missed too many games.

    If King was a back up player, than fair enough but its just wrong to call him a first team player, when he hardly puts in the mileague to warrant the tag of first team player'


    2004-5 season - 47 appearances
    2005-6 season - 27 appearances
    2006-7 season - 27 appearances
    2007-8 season - 10 appearances (so that's one pretty bad one)
    2008-9 season - 29 appearances.

    It's not wrong to call him a first team player, when he's fit he starts in the first team, which makes him a first team player in both mine and Harry Redknapp's view. I don't see you addressing all the other wrongness in the post I was replying to with regards to it being 'our strongest team bar Modric'. Nice editing, you should work for Sky. His record for that period isn't much worse than Rio's, so I'm assuming he can't be regarded as a first team player either?

  • Comment number 98.

    The United youngsters in particular Gibson,Wellbeck and Obertan will never properly develop until they are loaned out In the January ytansfer window.
    I would suggest a Championship team and having looked at all the options (the best one for Man U and their players) well in short they should be loaned to Blackpool.
    The fact I am a Blackpool supporter is irrelevant and I will sue anyone who suggests even the merest trace of self interest on my part.

  • Comment number 99.

    58. At 10:51am on 02 Dec 2009, joe strummer wrote:

    #45

    Once again Jermaine "I only score against weak opposition on a domestic and international level" Defoe was absent as usual.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Remind me who scored for Spurs against Man Utd at White Hart Lane this season and who scored England's goals against the Netherlands?

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Oh is that the game where he scored in the first minute then disappeared as Utd walked all over Spurs at White Hart Lane? I'm guessing the game he scored against the Netherlands was a competitive European or World Cup game.....oh no wait.

  • Comment number 100.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

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