As we move towards a 20th title, in a season in which our form in the 3 Cups has been..(well I’m struggling to find a word that doesn’t rhyme with tit), the question of players of the season arises.
Firstly let’s start with our first 11 players on form:
David De Gea
Chris Smalling, Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra
Antonio Valencia, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs
Danny Welbeck, Wayne Rooney
Yes I would say Dimitar Berbatov, Javier Hernandez, Nani, Ashley Young, Phil Jones, Tom Cleverley and Rafael are not in our best 11 for the season.
Of the first eleven, Evra and Rooney have been continually poor and picked on reputation not form.
Welbeck has broken into the first team, Valencia’s late revival is certainly eye catching, and De Gea has recovered from Massimo Taibi comparisons to look like Edwin Van der Sar, but he still carries the Dracula nickname as Wigan proved he really hates crosses.
For me the players of the season are Evans, Giggs and Carrick.
A strange group of players and they are chosen for a variety of reasons but mainly because they have consistently performed at their best.
The absence of Nemanja Vidic for much of the season could have been a major problem, indeed Chelsea without John Terry are a farce by comparison, and I do think they are similar players.
However Evans has grown in stature, cut out all the crazy tackles, attacked the ball consistently well and generally covered around Rio as he strolls thru games protecting his back and plotting his tweets.
Evans is now a first team player, a credit to the manager who released Gerard Piqué for the Irishman to flourish, a man who will form the defensive pivot with Smalling for years to come and who might just make Jones sit on the bench. A great season Mr Evans, with a shaky keeper behind you for much of it, and a man who has lost his pace alongside. Few can argue with your form.
In Carrick we have seen the absence of Scholes bring responsibility, and the return of the red headed genius bring control. Carrick is a destroyer, he nicks the ball better than anyone, he passes with both feet equally well and his has been mostly injury free and always in the team. His best year for us by far, and even scoring a couple of goals, he passes them into the net, class personified. England must be crazy to pick Steven Gerrard ahead of him.
Giggs has improved with age. His terrible crossing of his youth is now replaced by a great final ball. He swerves like the young Giggs, he beats men with ease, he is the complete player now. Perhaps the legs are going and he can’t play 3 games a week but when he plays he is outstanding.
Ryan Giggs may just be the most complete footballer to play for Manchester United in the last 20 years.
The best young players are Rafael, Welbeck and Smalling. All of whom will be first choice players next year.
Champions elect, and well done to the squad who are the worst in Premier League memory for United yet who might just get more points than any other team in that period.
Go and figure that one out, is the league that bad or are we better than we think?
By Steve Burrows CBE @ifollowsteve