Looking ahead to the coming season, I thought it would be good to look at our squad at the moment and think about the targets that our players individually should be having this coming season.
First up are my targets for our backline (goalies and defenders), with midfield and our forwards due to follow over the coming days.
David de Gea : Our new recruit, a perfect replacement for Van der Sar. All our new goalie needs to do is make sure he passes the ball out to his defenders well and try to not make a huge mistake near the start of the season or in a big match.
Patrice Evra: By his standards last season was not his best at the club. At the start he made some big mistakes defensively costing us dearly. He needs to try and sort out his positioning sometimes as well and get back to the standard he was towards the end of the season.
Phil Jones: It will be a testing season for our newly signed defender from Blackburn, but he has to try and replicate what Smalling did for us last season. It’s vital that when given the chances, he performs well and doesn’t make any silly errors which young players can often make.
Rio Ferdinand: This is likely to be Rio’s last season as first choice alongside Vidic so bearing that in mind, he needs to try and stay as fit as possible to make the most out of his season. As ever he’ll need to help our younger defenders and be as reliable for us as we know he can be.
Chris Smalling: It might be a target that he might not achieve, but Chris has to try and get close to taking over Rio’s spot in the pecking order. We know that he has the ability to do that and there’s no doubt that if he keeps pushing himself he can do that sooner rather than later.
Nemanja Vidic: United’s captain needs to do exactly the same as he did last year where he was a ‘warrior’ in our defence. He does need to avoid being sent off and needs to stay injury-free as he’s such a vital player for us. Let’s hope if he does get sent off that it’s not in a situation where we’re losing a game late on as there’s no need to miss games afterwards when the game’s all but over.
Rafael: Our first choice right back has to learn not to dive into every tackle and that you don’t always have to win the ball and give up a foul. Often it’s better to stay on your feet and cleanly nudge the ball off without giving up a foul. Other than that, just continue playing in the same passion and style that he’s done throughout his career.
Fabio: The other Da Silva twin needs to establish himself more into the team right from the start of the season. We’ve seen that he is comfortable playing in either full back position and he has the ability to be a regular for us this year and for the long-term future.. It could be a make/break season for him though.
Jonny Evans: When given the opportunity, Jonny has to try to regain his form of 2 years ago. He was great in Europe back then but of course struggled last year most famously against West Ham in the Carling Cup. He has to stay switched-on when he gets chances this year or it could be his last season at us.
Anders Lindegaard: Our number 2 goalkeeper has to be ready to step in whenever needed and perform adequately as he will gain the backing of the players and the fans. It’s important he stays alert this season as its important De Gea knows that there is someone hungry in the team ready to replace him should he suffer a spell of bad form.