It’s been a few weeks now since the appointment of David Moyes as the new Manchester United manager with everyone watching the developments at Old Trafford. I’ve made a few comments on Twitter but I haven’t had the opportunity to really sit down and put some thoughts about it all going forward – before I take a break for a couple of weeks, I thought I’d put a few words together.
With United in a transfer window in a huge time of transition it’s only natural that they will be linked to every name under the sun but it’s quite right that David has begun work concentrating on the staff. Eric Steele and Mick Phelan have left – both did a wonderful job, and I hate the term the media used when describing them as “sacked”. They weren’t sacked, they weren’t part of the new manager’s plans and that’s what happens in football.
We know David is already making plans and putting them into action so if I was him I’d be talking to Warren and Paul, asking what players from the reserves and academy sides they recommend for the future. A few have already been let go; the club can’t stop just because there’s a new manager. United’s way has always been to promote from within so he knows he will have to continue that tradition. Maybe it’s important for the younger players to get back a little bit earlier than the senior ones so David can get a proper look at them.
No matter what, his main priority will be the first team. When observing the first team, David has one or two big decisions to make, firstly with players who might look as if they might be unhappy, want to leave, or turn up unfit. He’ll be watching those players on international duty and be in contact with them, trying to make a plan of where he might want or need to strengthen. At United, there’s no relaxation, no sitting back and hoping – and with that in mind, you can’t expect that there won’t be a new signing or two before the club come back for pre-season. With a large portion of that being spent abroad as it often is these days, David will have the chance to spend a lot of time with his new players and, of course, the players will have the opportunity to assess their new boss.
The future of Wayne Rooney is a situation that will handle itself; there is talk, with him being the central figure of the advertising campaign for the new shirt (and while we’re on the subject – wow, what a state that new Liverpool away strip is!) but I wouldn’t read too much in to that; in fact, it barely matters either way, because Wayne Rooney is under contract to Manchester United. David Moyes and the club hold the key to his future and it’s up to Wayne to prove himself. If he doesn’t, then David can discuss the potential of moving him on – with such a divide in the supporters with Rooney, it’s arguably a “win-win” for Moyesy.
In the meantime, David will be looking for replacements; firstly, from within, with Chicharito, Welbeck and Kagawa’s place in the squad and first team being analysed. That of course will be influenced by whatever system David chooses to adopt; he will have a desire for his Manchester United team to play good football because he wants to prove himself and to have a manager with that kind of ambition can only be good for players, even those who have achieved so much in the game. David has been accused of being cautious at times for Everton but he has a new bunch of players who are capable of opening the game up – I’ve been told by some United fans who were offering their patience to the new man that as long as the team are playing good football, they will accept a wait for trophies. I’m sure that if David can get the good football flowing then United will win as a consequence anyway, because let’s not forget, every single player in that squad are now Premier League Champions, most of them several times over.
David has been to United many times and it’s been put on record that he never won at Old Trafford with Everton but that shouldn’t be a negative; not many teams do win at United. Another thing held against Moyes is that he has very little European experience but how can you hold that against him when you look at what he has achieved against teams who were bankrolled. David is an experienced manager and he now has resources at his disposal to be able to compete with anyone and I’m more convinced than ever that he is still the right man for the job – you hear Mourinho spouting his mouth off now he’s back at Chelsea and he’ll continue to do so.
Who’s to say that what some call naivety might not actually count to United’s advantage in Europe? Over the years, with Sir Alex trying to create almost two different styles for his team, one for the league and one for Europe, you can look at the treble season in 1999 and say that was a team that played its natural style the whole year through and reaped the rewards. If David can get his players confidently expressing themselves – and I’m sure he can – then he can go on to be very successful.
It’s no secret that training and pre-season fitness is a lot different to match fitness and it’s going to be very important from a psychological aspect if David and United can get off to a great start in the new season. It will be a huge benefit to them if they are able to do so. It will be very difficult for David, make no mistake about that – and I wish him all the luck in the world.