How Many of United’s Young Crop Can Make it to Euro 2012?
Everyone is excited about Manchester United’s next generation of players and rightly so.
Much was made of the experience the team lacked on Monday – Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand were both out injured for example – but the Premier League Champions, with an average age of 23, secured a 3-0 win over Tottenham.
It was an extremely positive display from the hosts. They had to work hard at times and Tottenham had their moments, but true class shone through in the end to make it two wins from two.
Sir Alex Ferguson would have been delighted that a comfortable victory was picked up without some of his more experienced players too. There have been times when Ferdinand and Vidic being out has led to a bit of panic – not anymore.
Add retired duo Paul Scholes and Edwin Van der Sar as well as experienced striker Michael Owen to the list of absentees and then note how Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov were all substitutes – you can see why people are getting excited.
Ferguson has built some excellent teams at United and he is in the process of building another one. Spearheaded by a rejuvenated Wayne Rooney, this is a very good team to watch.
It is also a team that contains plenty of young English talent. Beyond England veterans (!) Rooney and Ashley Young are a group of four players that could make a real impact on international stage before long.
Do those placing a Euro 2012 free bet believe they force their way into the Euro 2012 squad though? (Yes, we are presuming England qualify)
There is no doubt that Chris Smalling is an excellent defender. His versatility will please Fabio Capello too. Will he be in the Euro 2012 squad? Yes.
Fellow defender Phil Jones made a real impact last night too. He was excellent and showed that life after Ferdinand can be very positive indeed. To have him to call upon when needed this year is a real bonus for Ferguson and the future of United’s defence is in good hands.
The likes of Ferdinand, John Terry, Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill could prevent Jones making it into the Euro 2012 squad though. However, if Capello needs someone to call upon – Jones will not let his country down. Will he be in the Euro 2012 squad? Not quite.
Arguably the most exciting of United’s next generation is Tom Cleverley. Not too many people expected the 22-year-old to be starting games at this stage of the season, but he is well in the mix and performing well.
Keep it up and he could force his way onto the international scene, much like Jack Wilshere did last year. Will he be in the Euro 2012 squad? He’s an outsider for now.
Finally is the man who opened the scoring against Tottenham last night – Danny Welbeck. Having impressed at Sunderland last year, the striker is hoping to be a major part of United’s plans this time around.
Ferguson has certainly been complimentary about him, saying that the 20-year-old has a ‘great future’.
He has of course been involved in the England set up before and there is no doubt he has the ability, but he must prove that he can find the net consistently if he is to become a regular fixture. His spell at Sunderland was impressive and he has certainly grown as a player but six goals in 26 games is not quite enough of a return to secure a spot in the long term.
In all likelihood two out of Jermain Defoe, Darren Bent and Welbeck will go as genuine goal scorers alongside the aerial threat of Andy Carroll and of course the all-round ability of Wayne Rooney. It will be close, especially given his first team opportunities could become limited with the return of Javier Hernandez to fitness and the presence of Dimitar Berbatov, but a few more games like the one against Spurs and there is a real possibility. Will he be in the Euro 2012 squad? He has a chance, now he must take it.
Overall, these are exciting times for United and England. Having young English players in the best team in the country is great for English football.
Young, Rooney, Jones, Smalling, Cleverley and Welbeck all started last night and it seems safe to say that the club is in excellent hands. They could even end up influencing the England Euro 2012 odds. Fancy that.
Written by Guest Writer, Thomas Rooney