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Does Anderson Have A Long-Term Future At Old Trafford?

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I have always been a fan of Anderson, despite his inconsistent performances over his four years with us. I think sometimes our fans often forget that he’s still only 23 – younger than Darron Gibson and only a year or two older than Tom Cleverley – and is still evolving as a player.

When he arrived at Manchester United, he was dubbed as ‘The New Ronaldinho’ – something which perhaps pressurised a young 19 year old moving to the biggest club in the world.

At the time, when he moved with Nani, they were both dubbed Ryan Giggs’ and Paul Scholes’ long term replacements at Manchester United.  Nani is showing glimpses of fulfilling that promise. Anderson is not quite doing that at the moment.

He is a fan favourite at Old Trafford, proven by the jovial chant. He also has the personality that brings a breath of fresh air around Carrington. One of the stories that I remember about him from a couple of years ago is that he put a rat in Gary Neville’s locker in the training ground changing room.

However, Anderson’s inconsistency has seen him deployed in a number of positions in midfield, without making any of them his own.  Originally, fans thought of him as an attacking, goal scoring midfielder in the Paul Scholes mould.

His performances at Porto – before breaking his leg – drew comparisons to Ronaldinho, drawing a number of Manchester United fans into thinking that we were to see a skilful and creative player, especially after he was signed for a reported €30 million.

Sir Alex Ferguson quickly handed him the number 8 shirt – a shirt that had been shortly vacant after Wayne Rooney went from being number eight to number ten.  After two seasons, Anderson hadn’t been disappointing, but he had only shown glimpses of his immense potential.

Due to a lack of consistency, Anderson has been played as a central attacking midfielder, a central midfielder, a holding midfielder and even a left midfielder on the odd occasion. I think his long term position is an attacking midfielder, but until he shows that he deserves the spot, he will not be given it.

Anderson really started to show some good form midway through the 2009-2010 season after being given the chance by Sir Alex Ferguson to really prove himself to the Old Trafford faithful. 

But injury set him back that season and not long after returning from a spell out, in a match against West Ham, Anderson suffered a ruptured cruciate ligament in his knee, forcing him to sit the rest of the season out.

What would probably do the world of good for Anderson would be to play regularly. You only have to look at the improved form that Nani has showed over the last 18 months to that playing on a regular basis can bring out the best in players.

Mike Phelan speaking about Nani’s improved form spoke about how ‘the penny’s finally dropped with him’ and perhaps the same has happened with Anderson who after signing his new contract mid-way through the new season put in much improved performances.

Another thing Anderson has to improve is his goal scoring, if he is to be given the attacking midfielder position. Putting his penalty in the Moscow 2008 final to one side – Anderson had to wait 2 years before his first goal for United, which came at White Hart Lane in 2009.

He has shown his free kick taking ability in a pre-season friendly against Boca Juniors two seasons ago, but every time Anderson shapes up for a shot, it doesn’t fill me with much confidence as most of them are not very good.

Saying that though he did score twice at home against Schalke in the Champions League semi-final last season and even got a goal on the final day of the season at home to Blackpool.

I really hope Anderson is given the chance to prove himself at Old Trafford and I would think he would be. However, I think the next season is make or break for ‘Ando’ – as he is known in the dressing room – as with the emergence of Tom Cleverley, Ravel Morrison and Ryan Tunnicliffe, his chances for the years ahead could be limited.

I do see a future for Anderson, he just needs to want it enough to make it happen. Whether he is used as a creative midfielder, a box to box midfielder or a holding midfielder, he has the potential and he just needs to realise that and work hard to fulfil it.

By Daniel Pond – @danielpond1995

5 thoughts on “Does Anderson Have A Long-Term Future At Old Trafford?”

  1. Really good look at Ando there Dan. I liked how you recalled how people were comparing him to Ronaldinho when he joined us as from the clips that were all over the internet when he joined us, he certainly looked like an attacking player and not the defensive/hard-working player that he's come to be in his 4 seasons for us.

    I have to disagree with your view that his long term position is attacking midfield, as I think he's best in a more defensive role. Saying that though he does have the ability to score more goals and he'll be looking to kick on next season and be more effective for us going forward.

    There's no doubt I think that the penny has 'dropped' for Ando as I wrote here –
    http://www.weallfollowunited.com/man-utd/2011/6/2/just-how-good-can-ando-be.htmlink – and that after he got his new contract for us his performances looked more assured and confident.

    I'm still unsure though about his long-term future at us as even if Nasri joins us – another defensive midfielder could join us possibly either this year or next year and Ando might have to move on. Saying that though it wouldn't surprise me if he's at us for another 3-4 years just yet as if he can kick on and be the player that you believe in, he could be a real gem for both us and Brazil.

  2. I thought this was a really good piece on Ando.

    I also hope he has a future at Old Trafford – he has scored 3 in his last 2 games as you pointed out so maybe it is just the fact he needs to be playing regularly to get that confidence in his game. His shots are so feeble at times but I do think it could be down to a lack of confidence.

    He is a fantastic character to have at United as well and brings a lot of personality to the group but you are definitely correct in this season being crucial for him, he absolutely has to step up now and show what he is capable of.

    For me, I feel it is all down to confidence with Ando as when he gets an assist or a goal in game, or even if he just creates a good piece of play then suddenly you just see him spark into life and play several through balls and gets that character to his game that he has. But as you allude to in here, the fact is he needs to start playing regularly and hopefully in pre-season or in the first few Premier League games he can really prove himself and get a good run in the team.

  3. Give him a chance and he will show it he is now the best available midd player
    wos he given any chance one match in one match out he is better player then
    carrik see how many more games he played and you know why ander is not

  4. I think since his move, this would be his first pre-season in his entire stay at OT; provided he stays out of injuries. The pre-season should help him and position him and us well for the season.

  5. I don't have a massive problem with Ando's form, he has missed a lot of football thru injury but given any run of games you can see him dominate midfield like no other player we have, he has passing, pace and power, as well as being really difficult to beat in midfield. I found that last year Scholes started games where Ando would of being better suited, ie; FA cup semi. i think that if Ando had of started instead of scholes the result may of been different.
    “Scoles is a legend and if we have two CMF players in the squad half as tallented we'll have many more titles.”
    But i believe keeping Ando injury free is the secret. He is a fantastic player and on his day would be my first choice player in the Center of Midfield. I believe if we get Sneidjer or Modric either would compliment him fantastically.

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