Picture the scene. We’ve just beaten Blackpool 4-2 on the final day of the season just gone and are seconds away from lifting the Premier League title again in front of a jam-packed Old Trafford.
Just imagine how great a moment like this must feel for the players and staff involved knowing that what the club has worked for all season, is only a few tantalising seconds away from being fulfilled.
Just stop and think what that must be like for the players involved and what a treat it is to celebrate in front of your own fans and bask in a moment like that. It must be a great feeling or so at least you’d think it is?
One of the things that didn’t go unseen during the celebrations was the fact that a certain player at our club didn’t seem to be enjoying the occasion at all and just seemingly wanted to get off the pitch as soon as possible.
So who is the player that I am referring to here. It wasn’t Ryan Giggs who even with the stories going on in his private life still managed to raise the odd smile and pose happily in the team photo, albeit at the back of the picture.
No the player in question was none other than Gabriel Obertan. Remember him, he’s our no.26 and in the words of one of our followers on Twitter, just ‘plodded’ up to the stage after the game looking fairly disinterested.
Perhaps though his ‘sluggish’ body-language during our title-winning celebrations was more akin to his frustration at not playing a part for us this season and that because of that he didn’t deserve to celebrate like the other guys who had played a part.
To be fair to Obertan, he just hasn’t fitted into life at Old Trafford in his two years at the club and looks a player that we should in all fairness look to sell to open up space for another youngster challenging in our squad.
Life at top clubs isn’t always easy and it’s challenging enough for home-grown players half the time yet alone the foreign guys.
Despite being a graduate of the famous Clairefontien academy which has brought through famous players like Thierry Henry, Obertan it would be fair to say just hasn’t got going at United.
There’s been the odd flash of brilliance from him though. In his first season there was his run and cross that set up Michael Owen’s second goal of his hat-trick away to Wolfsburg.
There was also a decent cameo away at Eastlands where he impressed coming on in the second half and linked up well with Patrice Evra to help set up the winner for Paul Scholes.
As for this season, his only highlights that spring to mind was his performance as a second half substitutive away to Aston Villa where he impressed in helping us fight back to earn a draw away we were 2-0 down.
This season he even scored his first goal for us with a cracking strike away to Bursaspor in the Champions League, which suggested there was more to come from him at the time.
But those few good points aside, when Obertan has been entrusted by Sir Alex to play, more often than not he hasn’t delivered which has not gone unnoticed.
Of course it’s been hard for him as he hasn’t been a regular starter but his performances in the Cup competitions for us have been alarmingly at times below par.
His performances when we lost disastrously to Leeds and his performance at home to Crawley this year were very poor to say the least, as was his first half performance away to West Brom this year where he just kept losing the ball despite being in good positions.
To be fair to Obertan, I don’t actually think he’s a bad player. He’s got good technique on the ball, is fairly strong and when he gets going can be bloody quick as he demonstrated when he set up Owen’s second away in Wolfsburg.
It’s just that he sometimes tries too hard to impress when on the pitch and doesn’t do the basics like finding the right pass and holding onto the ball well, which most players at top clubs should at the very least be doing.
It’s been said that he is struggling with confidence at the moment and has struggled with this throughout his career so far. Obviously from his time in France in Bordeaux he would have had pressure to impress Laurent Blanc on a regular basis and perhaps the move to Old Trafford has come too soon for him.
Perhaps though he’s just not good enough and maybe a change of scenery will help him get his career back on track.
There are rumours that Lille and French clubs want to sign him on loan and that would probably be the best thing for Obertan to do aside from being sent out on loan somewhere in the Premier League.
By getting more games under his belt, perhaps it would make him relax more as a player and produce some good performances. It has probably been unfair that people were calling him the next ‘Henry’, after all David Bellion was called that and look what’s happened to him.
For starters there will never be another Henry in terms of what he brought to the game as a sensational player. I am sure Sir Alex and Obertan know themselves that he won’t grow to become that kind of player but they will know that his performances can get better
It shall be interesting to see where Obertan is come the start of next season, because if he can get his game drastically back on track and challenge for a squad place on a regular basis, he could a useful member of our team. There’s no harm in abit of wishful thinking is there.
By Adam Dennehey – @ADennehey87