Manchester United’s kids are better than yours

The season’s over, we bottled it at the San Siro and Wembley but Liverpool bottled it at Athens AND we’re league champions, so there’s some balance in the Universe this time around.

On Sunday I talked about doing a season review – well, this is it folks. We’re kicking off with a look at how the young kids at Manchester United have fared this season, finishing off what we started here.

Ben Foster

We all got a chance to see him in action over the course of the season, and I think that despite Watford’s relegation and a couple of clangers (the Robinson goal), he’s had a good season.

He’s ready, in my opinion, to be given a run in the United squad, and hopefully we’ll see a lot of him in the pre-season friendlies. With Kuszczak also in the squad its a bit difficult, but Foster’s got a lot of fan support, not least because he has a shot at being England #1.

Next season is still some time away and we’re not sure whether all 3 keepers will stay or if Ferguson will send one (or two) out on loan). There’s also news of United considering a bid for Craig Gordon but that’s unlikely to happen before our other targets are secured.

Gerard Pique

Highly-regarded in the Spanish setup and supposedly one of the best defenders to come out of Spain in quite some time. Wants to play regular football and there are reports that Ferguson wants him back at Old Trafford next season for a spell in the starting lineup.

I personally haven’t seen him play much so can’t say much on that regard, but if he IS to be played I’d play him as the 3rd center-back with Brown manning the right-back post. Pique and Evans could also allow us to sell some of the older defenders who aren’t going to be regulars anymore.

One for the future, and he is definitely one of those who can make a career at Manchester United.

Jonathan Evans

I saw him play in the pre-season friendlies, and was impressed. I’ve seen him again for Sunderland, and while he’s been playing in the Championship I can guarantee that he’s good enough to play for Manchester United. The boy is a natural defender – he anticipates and waits, knowing when to dive into tackles and when to hold off and just cramp the player for space.

With Pique coming back, I don’t think Evans will start for United next season – he could be sent back to Sunderland for another season on loan.

Daniel Simpson

A solid part of the title-winning Sunderland lineup, Simpson is a good, attacking right-back.

After seeing both Simpson and Bardsley play this season, plus Brown picking up at right back for United, I’m thinking that Ferguson has a tough choice to make now.

Simpson can do well, but whether he’ll get the chance or go back to Sunderland remains to be seen.

United also have Kieran Lee to consider, so there’s plenty of competition for the right-back spot.

Lee Martin

An average time at Rangers and not a great time at Stoke either. With Chris Eagles unexpectedly shining (albeit in just a couple of games), it’s going to be harder for Martin to get a spot in the squad, let alone the lineup.

He could be sold on, or he could be loaned out to a Prem club. If they loan him outside the Prem, there’s little point to it, is there?

I don’t think he’ll be at Old Trafford next season, but let’s see what happens.

David Jones

Sold to Derby. Dammit! He’s done well for them, and he’s a good player who I still think should be playing for us, but you can’t deny that Fletcher hasn’t done a good job either.

Guiseppe Rossi

Goes into the starting lineup or on the bench next season. This kid has done well this season despite spending half of it doing nothing at St James Park. His goals at Parma will have done wonders for his confidence, and with a good pre-season he should help United mount their title defence.

Phil Bardsley

Seen him play this season for Aston Villa and he’s a good player, but I’m not sure that I’d pick him over Wes Brown at right-back. Plus the fact that Danny Simpson is doing good as well, Fergie has a big headache over who to retain and who not to.

Bardsley should come back to United, unless O’Neill’s convinced Fergie to sell him.


Chris Eagles and Kieran Lee did reasonably well in their outings, and I haven’t had the chance to see Darren Gibson in action. Hopefully we’ll see more of these three in the pre-season.

For the long-term future, players like Febian Brandy and Craig Cathcart should be more prominent in the future, don’t see them being sold. However, some players will be sold (including a few from the list above).

Overall, I’d expect several young players to be released this season as the Academy kids move up (Cathcart should be sent out on loan for regular football, ditto for Kieran Lee).

Up Next

Next, I’m discussing the golden generation of United, the old guard. They’ve done better than expected, but that doesn’t mean that the problems are all solved.

Stay tuned 🙂

This article is Part 1 of our 7-part Manchester United 2006/2007 season review coverage at Soccerlens.

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