Juan Mata, Adnan Januzaj and the numbers game

Juan Mata, Adnan Januzaj and the numbers game

Manchester United Transfer: Match winner Januzaj is not for sale, says Van Gaal
Manchester United Transfer: Match winner Januzaj is not for sale, says Van Gaal


Those old enough to remember the days before the Premier League will recall when teams took to the field wearing 1 to 11. not only that, but the goalkeeper always wore 1, the centre forward number 9, and the right and left wingers 7 and 11  respectively. The commercial imperative to sell shirts however has changed all of that, and numbers are now merely extensions of the players names – CR7 for Ronaldo for example – more than indicators of where someone will be playing.

With this in mind, there was a lot of ‘false news’ on various social media yesterday that Juan Mata had chosen the iconic 7 shirt to wear at new club, Manchester United. The rumours were false however, but the duplicity certainly fooled one of my regular sources of news from Old Trafford and meant that I too fell into the trap. Mata in fact eschewed the number 7, and instead will wear 8. This means that the famous 7 shirt remains empty.

There is now a mystique growing up that taking the number made famous by the likes of George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo amongst others is a bit of a poisoned chalice wherein anyone taking it up is inviting unfavourable comparisons with legends of the past. It’s been reported that a previous incumbent, Antonio Valencia, gave up the shirt for a more inauspicious number to avoid the pressure.   Michael Owen is another player who enjoyed less than an ecstatic times wearing 7. The point surely is though that the number is only a slice of cloth, or printing,  attached to the outside of the shirt. The key factor in determining the success of a player wearing number 7 – or any other number for that matter – is surely the person inside the shirt, not the number on the back of it.

With Mata taking over the number 8 at Old Trafford, he’ll be on pretty safe ground in being compared to Anderson, but some day United will need to give the iconic number to a player. Personally, come next season, unless there’s a world star brought in, I can see it going to Januzaj. If there’s an heir to the United legends of old, this could the guy.

For more from All blue Daze:

Facebook: facebook.com/AllBlueDaze

Twitter: @All_Blue_Daze

Arsenal and Man Utd's transfer hopes could rest on the future of Lewis Holtby
Rodgers chases £22m Chelsea and Manchester United Target
Previous articleRodgers chases £22m Chelsea and Manchester United Target
Next articleArsenal and Man Utd's transfer hopes could rest on the future of Lewis Holtby
Football is a game of passions and opinions. If you’re a fan, it’s both your boon and your bane; the drug that you simply cannot live without. Your team will break your heart, make you despair and swear that you’ll give them up. Like some lovestruck fool ensnared by a femme fatale however, you’ll be back again next week. You know it. They know it. Just accept it and embrace it. The lows are bad, but oh, those highs….. Now in my sixth decade, I’ve been a football fan for over fifty years and a Chelsea fan for every one of them. I hold FA Coaching badges and have been a member of the FA Coaches Association for over 15 years, working with numerous teams of varying age and ability levels; it’s the next best thing to playing. That said, I still regularly don the guise of the ‘Panther’, and keep goal for our company team. I’ve written a number of articles focusing on Spanish Football for a different website, and welcome this opportunity to “call it as I see it, without fear or favour” about our game. As I said, football is a game of passions and opinions, so agree or disagree with what I write as you see fit, I’ll passionately tell you my opinion, you tell me yours. For more from All Blue Daze: Twitter: @All_Blue_Daze Blog: www.allbluedaze.tumblr.com. Facebook: Search ‘All Blue Daze’ and ‘Like’