I won't say "I have loved United since I was a kid" but yeah, I have certainly loved United since I started watching Football around 4-5 years back. My madness for United grew exponentially with the number of trophies we have won since that time and now, here I am writing my first article for a Manchester United blog.
They say that being a football manager is a difficult job. Duhh, what do "they" know? Having watched football for quite some time now, I'm pretty sure I could put together a winning squad purely based on the ingredients for success I have observed.
Starting with the goalkeeper I'd be looking for a tall player with good communication skills who's consistent rather than outstanding. Outstanding usually equates to expensive. In the current scenario, if we look around, there aren't many GKs who fit in this criteria. Just a few like Tim Howard, Bred Friedel, Buffon and Vincent Enyeama (the Nigerian goalkeeper who didn't let Messi score in the World Cup) can be called "consistent and inexpensive". One might argue with Reina, Casillas and J.Ceasar but the thing is, they have become Star-Goalkeepers, invaluable for their team and certainly in long term contracts with big clubs.
United have a perfect keeper, for now, in Van Der Sar. Though, we haven't seen much of Kusczak but I think letting Ben Foster go was a step that suggests we might buy a new player to replace VDS. I find the Brazilian keeper "Fabio Deivson Lopes Maciel" (google him) an appropriate replacement for VDS. He's tall and experienced and above all, has the Brazilian spirit (I am a big fan of Brazilian way of football, though I support Netherlands on the international level ;) ).
With the full-backs again I'd be looking for consistency as opposed to brilliance. The key attributes for the position would be pace and some ability on the ball as I see them as much as an attacking outlet as going the other direction. The full-backs have an extra responsibility of going forward whenever they get a chance,thus having a decision "of when to attack and when to defend" to make. Our present squad has exciting talents in the form of Brazilian twin Rafael and Fabio along with the experienced campaigners "Scouse-hater Neville" and Patrice Evra. Also,the versatile Wes Brown and John O'Shea have played as full backs from time to time.
With the center backs it gets slightly more complicated. For the ideal pairing I would first want an athlete with great pace and strength. Footballing ability wouldn't be of the greatest importance, as they would be in the side for their physical qualities. Alongside him, I'd put an experienced player with decent ability on the ball. Sitting next to the physical gargantuan the two would compliment each other nicely i.e. one hand washing the other. The point I make is that sometimes you don't need one excellent player, when you can instead have two average overall players that compliment each other so well, they both appear better than they really are. Though,at present, we have two excellent Center backs in Rio and Vidic but I guess with Rio's back problem, Vidic will take over Rio's role of holding the defense with Evans or probably Smalling playing Vidic's role.
Moving into the centre of midfield is very much the same as the centre of defence. One skillful player to open up defences with passes and a big thug next to him to put in crunching tackles and generally pester the opposition. We have got the "skillful" part right with Scholes, Fletcher and Carrick taking turns to send out delightful crosses and playing excellent through balls. Hargreaves played the part of "big thug" for some time but his unfortunate injury has put him out for last 2 years. So, maybe we can get a new player for this part. I personally would love to see Van Bommel in this role but I guess he's too old for Fergie's liking.
As far as wide men, the wingers, go, I would want one ball player with the ability to whip crosses into the box from every conceivable angle and another to run at defenses. United have been blessed with excellent wingers from time to time in form of Beckham, Giggs, Ronaldo and now Nani and Valencia. The duo of Valencia and Rooney scored majority of United's goal last season with Rooney coming out and saying that he owes most of his goals to Valencia's aerial crosses. Park Ji Sung and Anderson are two more with Anderson coming to United with a reputation of being an exciting young talent.Though injuries cut-short his last season,he is ready and rearing to show his "potential" to United fans. Obertan recently showed us that he's ready to become a regular in Sir Alex's team.
Up front I would have the classic "big man, little man" combination, which by no means would guarantee a flurry of goals but would benefit the team I feel. This seems to be the exact description of Berbatov and Rooney at present and Kiko and Hernandez waiting for their turn to show their brilliance. No place for Michael Owen it seems!
Add to this players like Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverley and Mame Diouf who are currently on loan to various clubs and performing there (Diouf scored a hat-trick for Blackburn), and the Reserves Magnus Eikrem, Paul Pogba, Ritchie De Laet, Nicky Ajose, Oliver Gill, Robbie Brady, Reece Brown, Will Keane and John Cofie and you can think that "Yeah, even though our owners are Glazers, still our future is secure."
I guess even though Sir Alex's transfer decisions and his belief in the youth has been criticized at times, but still the great old man has managed to build a perfect team. All hail SIR ALEX FERGUSON..the man who loves United more than anything else.