Thursday, 25 September 2008

Throw in the Youngsters - A Logical Fallacy

Two logical fallacies:

A cat has four legs. My dog has four legs. Therefore, my dog is a cat.

United need to change something. Throwing promising youngsters into the team is a change. Therefore, we should do it.

We are in a situation now where a lot of otherwise rational United fans are demanding that experienced players be discarded in favour of the various exciting young prospects in our squad. It's easy to see how this came about. We've had a slow, difficult start to the season, and the usual suspects aren't producing the goods (I considered the reasons for this in more depth in my Red Rants column. Combined with that, some of our youngsters put in sparkly, shiny performances in pre-season which made us fall in love with them.

I am as excited as everyone else about the youth element in our current squad, and I am genuinely confident that more than a couple of them will have a big role to play for us in the future (I stress those last three words). Just so we can all glory in them, here's a provisional list of the best:

Jonny Evans
Rafael da Silva
Fabio da Silva
Rodrigo Possebon
Manucho Goncalves
Danny Welbeck

And that's not even including the guys out of loan or those slightly more on the fringe. If you want to follow these guys in detail, you can do so at United Youth.

However, to assume that any of these guys are the right people to dig us out of the hole we are currently in is wishful thinking. Jonny Evans has just proved himself against Villareal and Chelsea to be a more-than-capable reserve, but none of the others have played more than 18 minutes in a competitive game.

I have seen fans, understandably disillusioned by Gary Neville's performance on Sunday, totally forget Wes Brown and campaign for Rafael's inclusion at right back. Before the horror tackle, Possebon was being touted as the solution to our midfield creativity void, despite a current propensity to pass sideways. And I even saw people saying we didn't need to sign Berba because we have Manucho, at 25 year old who has yet to play in a major European league (even if he did look good for Angola).

These guys will be good, and will have a role to play. In five years time, they may be the core of the "next" United team. But for now, wake up and smell the coffee - they need to be eased in during less challenging fixtures and in the Carling Cup. We need to see if they can maintain their performance levels at senior level, and we need to let them develop without undue pressure.

So, as tempting as it is, I think we should trust our current squad to see us through this sticky patch. Of course, if you disagree, feel free to abuse me in the comments.


mavevik said...

Nice Post Penguin and I definitely think the new lot of youngsters have it in them to make it big. They of course would need time to settle down at OT and should start loving the club instead of just turning up for the matches.I think we already have a very good center half in Evans. He looks very composed as well. My money would be on him to make it big.

OFF TOPIC : I and a couple of my friends have started a football blog of our own as well. Probably you can drop in some time there or leave an article there.Your feedback is definitely welcomed.

Anonymous said...

Out of those you listed, i think its only Evans and Possebon who i would trust to start a tough game. Defensively, the twins don't convinve me enough yet due to the eagerness to attack which leaves a lot to be desired of them defensively. I disagree Rafael should replace Brown, but i agree a 100% that O'Shea should never be played in the midfield if we lack options and Possebon is available.

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