Sir Alex Ferguson has been building successful sides at Old Trafford for over twenty years. Monday night’s second half showing against Spurs gave us a glimpse of the talent in the latest team he is putting together.
The 07-09 team was pretty tasty. Ronaldo, Tevez, Rooney and Berbatov were such an exciting array of forward players. But there is something much more exciting about SAF’s latest crop of players- that is from an English point of view.
It is easy to get carried away with one decent performance, and ultimately this United side will be judged over the course of the season. But under Sir Alex you can almost justify any over-reactions in relation to his new abundance of English talent.
Let’s jump back to 2010. Spain won the World Cup, following up their European Championship success in 2008. Spain’s dominance of the international circuit has, not coincidently, happened at the same time as Barcelona have been campaigning to be known as the greatest side ever.
Take a look at the Spanish side that started the World Cup final. Seven of the starting eleven are Barcelona players- Puyol, Pique, Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Pedro and Villa. Spain played the Barca way, and it worked. It worked because the core of this side know each other well, they play together week in week out. They know their roles, and their roles don’t contradict each others style of play- like Lampard and Gerrard have done for years.
Torres was injured at the time you could say, but surely players such as Fabregas and David Silva were good enough for this side? For years Fabregas has been an outstanding performer in the Premier League, yet he has never established himself in the Spanish national set up.
England, on the contrary, have never found a set-up or style that works. Now could be the time. Let’s play the Manchester United way- Ferguson has been doing it successfully for years. Let’s throw Jones, Smalling, Cleverley, Wellbeck and Young into the England XI alongside Rooney and Ferdinand and see what happens.
Not for one minute am I suggesting that these players, at the moment of writing this, are the best England have to offer (let alone whether Rio is good/fit enough). But on Monday night’s showing they certainly have an understanding of how to play together. They played fast, attacking football- replicating their second half showing against Manchester City in the Community Shield.
Spain have based their game on Barcelona. Now maybe England could base their game on Manchester United. Of course, the only problem we have then is United’s inability to beat Barca in a competitive game…
…Maybe we wouldn’t lose to Portugal on penalties in the quarter-final of every major tournament though.
hypothetical England XI:
Smalling, Ferdinand, Jones, A.Cole
Walcott, Cleverley, Wilshere, Young