A sad but familiar tale; little known player signs for big club, fans of club get over-excited, player performs well early in his career, hype grows out of control, chants are sung lauding his brilliance, then the progress tails off, player finds it harder and harder to reach the standards he achieved in the early period, fans become disheartened at the demise, years go by with a series of false starts, player completes transition great hope to regular punchline.
Anderson has long been a divisive figure amongst Reds. His acolytes point to the unforeseen injuries and mishandling by the manager; his critics condemn his lifestyle choices as making him susceptible to injury and lament his inconsistent performances restricting his runs in the side. It is a back-and-forth argument which is never far away from any pre-season debate – particularly whilst midfield vulnerability continues to be the cause of such anxiety amongst supporters.
I’m not looking to settle this debate – Colin Millar has shared his thoughts recently on this site and I gave my own view last summer which I’ve had little cause to change – but my question is whether this debate is healthy?
The anticipated signing to improve our central midfield as yet has not arrived. The volume of games we hope to participate in means relying on our veterans to see us through the season is not an option. The reality is that based on current personnel Anderson will be a factor in any ambitions we have for the season ahead. If then the response to his inclusion in the side is derision and mockery from fans then can we legitimately expect him to prosper? It might also be argued that a professional, whose wealth and success to some extent originates from the ticket-buyigng public, should be made aware when he fails to meet the expected standards of the supporters. Perhaps the protected, utopian bubble in which the modern footballer exists is a contributing factor to underachievement?
Anderson’s early displays against Fabregas earned him cult status.
Should we seize the opportunity to offer a clean slate to the 24-year-old Brazilian and postpone the scathing judgments until such time as his performances in the coming season merit them?
Has Anderson wasted so many opportunities to cement his place in our first team over the last five years that we are entitled to voice our displeasure and the onus is on him to change our opinion?
What do you think? Join the debate by leaving a comment below or have your say on our Facebook group.
Tom is a southern dwelling Kendalian who is one of our editors and a weekly guest on the podcast. He has an unhealthy obsession with Jaap Stam and despite 20 years of success never expects United to win.