Stretty Debate: Do Man United need a ‘John Terry’?

John Terry

AUTHORS: - Bricki & Stretford-end

Every now and then we get involved in a Stretty debate where we look at a particular subject and offer counter arguments. This blog looks at the current England captain John Terry and whether or not Manchester United could use such a player in the side. Both arguments are honest and thought provoking and we welcome your comments on whether ‘Manchester United need a John Terry’.


Bricki Says:
So John Terry is the England Captain once again. Watching his press conference with the media it was like he’d never been away from the role, but then has he ever been away from the role?

I am not a fan of Terry and find his ‘alleged’ behaviour in certain situations to be nothing short of disgraceful, however i do feel that he has become a natural leader of both Chelsea and England. I am purely looking at him for his conduct on the pitch and nothing else. He is one of the men that the squad looks to in times of trouble on the pitch, the man who throws himself into every tackle and challenge.

Which begs the question… how many players of this ilk do Man United possess?

Our Captain, Nemanja Vidic, is a player built in a similar mindset but while his performances on the pitch lead the way, does he back it up in urging others on? Getting the best he can from the players in his team?

It is not intended as a criticism of Vidic in any way, shape or form, in my personal opinion he should be a major contender for the leagues player of the year award. His style of captaincy though appears to be of the man who does his job to the highest standard he can and this is the motivator for the rest of the team.

If you were to take a look through the last 25 years of Manchester United and its captains you invariably find there was always a man who would lead the way. A man who would talk the talk as well as walk the walk, players such as Robson,
Bruce, Ince and Keane.

Everyone one of the players mentioned above was an excellent footballer in his own right but when the team needed leadership and needed that backbone for the battle ahead they were there. In all honesty can you see any of the current squad putting in a shift and showing the ‘cojones’ that Keane did in Turin? Playing through the pain barrier like Robson did almost every week? Or leading the way like Bruce did with his two goals in injury time against Sheffield Wednesday in 93?

Im not attempting to lambast any of the current squad, the fact we are still fighting on three fronts (and the favourites in two) is testament to a squad unity that is unrivalled in the Premier League. I still feel though that as we get into the quarter finals of the Champions League and Semi Finals of the FA Cup the difference here can be that extra 5-10% that the great leaders on the pitch can garner from their troops.

These players who are natural leaders and also blessed with enough skill to perform at the top level are very difficult to find. The fact we have had so many in the last quarter of a century is testament to a fantastic youth set up and scouting network that pulled these players in. Now though it appears that the only real leader in the leading teams at the top of the league is John Terry.

Have a think about why Manchester City were prepared to pay Terry and Chelsea so much in order to secure his services? In terms of his ability and age they could use the cash better by buying several younger players who can develop in part of the squad. The big thing they would have buying is his leadership and to act as the head of a very quickly put together set of players, creating the ‘squad’ mentallity we hear is vital to winning the big trophies.

Taking a look at Chelseas sudden dip in form in the middle of this season, they were missing for long periods either Terry or just as importantly, a fit and firing Lampard who has similar qualities to Terry in leadership. It has only been the return to fitness and form of both these players (and the introduction of David Luiz) that Chelsea have been able to claw there way back into a title race they should now be well adrift.

It is interesting to look at Ferdinand as a Captain before injury problems led to Vidic getting the permenant spot. Whilst Neville and Giggs had the armband when playing it was widely seen that Ferdinand was the captain in waiting. In that time we reached two Champions League finals, won one and also won three Premier League titles. It was Ferdinand rather than Gerrard who replaced Terry as England Captain after the tabloid allegations. Picking Ferdinand over Gerrard is also a big call when you take into account that by this time, Vidic was already wearing the armband for United and Gerrard was Liverpool Skipper. Gerrard has long been viewed as the heartbeat of Liverpool and is credited in many circles as dragging them back into the Champions League final against Milan. Again though it was through his personal performance on the pitch rather than his talking to the other players or ‘motivating’ them to continue.

If you were to count how many times it was Ferdinand as Captain who dragged United to results its not many. Think how many times you see Ferdinand talking and pointing on the pitch at his team mates however and its a different result. With his recent injury worries though its hard to see Ferdinand lasting a tough end of season run in, let alone a full season so where is that leader now?

A lot of what makes a great leader and a great captain is the mindset, the ability to get more not just from yourself but also others.

Miyamoto Musashi, was a legendary Japanese swordsman who in an era of duels to the death won 60 such battles. He produced a book on strategy and fighting called Go Rin No Sho (The Book of Five Rings). He devoted the entirety of his energies to the study of the sword and the mindset in training/combat of kill or be killed, there was no trophy, no second place, just living to fight another day.

This is the same attitude that John Terry today and previous Manchester United Captains have displayed when stepping out onto the pitch to battle.

This season we have drawn 8 games away from home compared with 4 wins and 3 defeats. In several of these games we have conceded late and lost points we should of acquired once in a ‘winning position.

Would this of occured with someone with a ‘ John Terry’ mindset who could get that last push from the players, that last 5/10% to get the job done?

With just such a person leading the way i’m convinced that we could have turned at least 2 of those draws into victories and be well clear in this title race.

Do I want John Terry the man? No
Do I want John Terry the Footballer? No
Do I want John Terry the Leader…? Yes!

Stretford-end says:
So what is the fuss with John Terry? An overpaid, sluggish embarrassment of a captain. They love him down the Kings Road, but I wouldn’t want a player of his calibre, nor would I want a player who thinks it is acceptable to have sexual relations with a former team mate’s wife. You may argue the fact that his private life has nothing to do with football, and you’re right – it doesn’t. However, as a captain you need to show that you are a leader, be responsible and set an example for your teammates – would you not agree?

As a player, John Terry is admired by the English public for his ‘never say die’ attitude, blood and thunder tackling and the fact that he would ‘run through walls’ for the Three Lions. The same player that was pulled all over the place by the excellent German frontline last summer in what was one of the most scintillating and impressive performances (namely from Ozil and Muller).

Perhaps if we, as a nation, were more overjoyed to see an Englishman produce a breathtaking piece of skill (Gascoigne perhaps), or a glorious cross field pass (Hoddle maybe) then we wouldn’t have to endure all of those ‘iconic’ pictures of England players coming off the pitch with blood pouring from a head wound. Italy have Tardelli scoring in the final against West Germany, Brazil have Pele ‘arms aloft’ having opened the scoring for Brazil in 1970 – and England have Terry Butcher walking off a pitch against Sweden, head bandaged up.

This isn’t a pop at Butcher, its more of a criticism of our society and how we believe the game should be played. I think them majority of us would agree that England have always based their game on the physical side of things, something that has seen then national team shown up time and time again over the past decade. Inability to keep the ball for long periods of time, adopting a direct style of football when time is running out and quite literally looking twenty years behind the time.

England’s arrogance since the mid 1800s is hopefully subsiding and replaced with a little humbleness, hopefully looking towards adopting methods that can help to produce players that are far cry from the bruisers and workhorses that we have been subjected to over the years. The FA deemed the World Cup beneath them in the early days, not even competing until the 1950 tournament, and received a hammering from the Mighty Magyars 1953 led by Ferenc Puskás, Sándor Kocsis, Nándor Hidegkuti.

Back to John Terry and England’s obsession with a player that couldn’t lace the boots of Fraco Baresi, Jurgen Kolher, Jaap Stam, Nemanja Vidic, Ronald Koeman, Billy Wright, Booby Moore, Daniel Passarella (I think you get the picture). So what is it with England and Chelsea’s captain that warrants £150,000 per week? Tell me as i’m curious to know. Perhaps leadership skills that can help lift his side? The same leadership skills that saw him more interested in turning his captain’s armband around for the cameras to see ‘who won the European Cup for Chelsea in Moscow’ and then crying his eyes out on the soggy Russian turf? Those leadership skills?

Terry is a good a player, but nowhere near the great player many fans make him out to be. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t care about players private lives (although if you sell your wedding pictures to a glossy magazine – as the Rooney’s did – you can’t have the best of both worlds), however as captain of club and country – you don’t sleep with a team mates (or ex team mates) former partner. Imagine the captain of your Sunday side doing that? Is it acceptable? Urinating at bars, mocking American tourists following 9/11 and cheating on his wife. That is off the field – what about his distinct lack of pace against top forwards? You could even argue that he needs a good organiser (like Ferdinand or Carvalho) alongside him to perform well. Sure, United definitely need a player like John Terry.

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26 Responses to “Stretty Debate: Do Man United need a ‘John Terry’?”

  1. Ian says:

    I think the money issue one is a tricky one to take Terry to task for as a United fan given some of the absurd amounts we’re paying out. And I’m a bit confused about the argument against Terry being a critique on the history of England’s footballing mentality. Not least because aside from the fact that Vidic is a bit more honest with his dirty play (Vidic fouls people for all to see, Terry frequently gets away with hand-balls) he, our best player this season, and Vidic are largely in the same mould of centre-half. We’re not exactly playing (or paying) Vidic for his skills as a rampaging libero, are we? And we as United fans also laud the likes of Keane and Robson for their “never say die” attitude as much as we do their skills as footballers so it seems a little hypocritical at best for that to be the main stick you use to beat John Terry with.

    As for his leadership… well, I think he’s a bit of a shithead but then any number of famous, successful captains over the years have been arseholes as perceived by a number of fans and yet their team-mates, the ones who matter, have cared not a jot. Ultimately being a nice guy as a player or a manager doesn’t come into it as much as we’d like to think.

    His abilities as a player are up for debate. He’s had some great career performances but he’s had some stinkers too, like any player. Not that I’d particularly point to Germany at the World cup as one of those he was especially to blame for given how dire the entire team was. Ashley Cole and David James were about the only two in that game that I didn’t think were a waste of a shirt, but with the other 9 it’s hard to pick out the ones who were shit and the ones who were shit because they had nothing around them to work with. Did Terry look up to it against the German attack? Not really. But then could any centre-half have done when flanked by an inexperienced centre-half/right-back pair who were similarly being offered no protection by the midfield?

    I’m not especially defending John Terry so much as disagreeing with the particular arguments used here, and he’s not a player that I look at and think “We could do with one of him.” What we could do with is a Ferdinand-alike. Or, y’know, a fit Ferdinand.

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  2. Thanks for your comment Ian. Just on the point about Terry and the English attitude towards physicality over skill, balance and manipulation of space – a thundering John Terry tackle will always be meet with cheers over dribbling skills of Gazza or a defense splitting pass from Hoddle.

    I of course think times are changing for the more educated football fan, not to sound snobbish, and we appreciate the need to bring through players such as Jack Wilshere that understand the need to keep the ball and have the ability to unlock defences high up the pitch.

    Again, to bring Terry back into it (as I may not have made the point clear) – his admiration and respect amongst us little Englanders, could well be due to our need and desire to see players ‘run through brick walls’. I’m merely asking the question as to why John Terry earns £150,000 per week and why some fans still believe he is one of the best players, in his position, in the world.

    You mention Germany, perhaps England needed a leader to step up to the plate that day? Terry was awful (as were the rest of the team) – and I think it is justified to criticise a player that is on a ludicrous amount of money when compared to other defenders through the years – he isn’t in their class.

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  3. Mancunian Red says:

    Interesting read, I cannot say I like John Terry either but to be fair I don’t know him and I’ve done things in my past I wouldn’t want to be solely judged on. Moreover I do dislike the way many United fans call a John Terry type player but defend United players such as Ronaldo, Keane et al.

    I would judge a captain by the influence he has on the pitch and the respect he has in the dressing room and does he make the team a better team.

    Stretford-End you mentioned Hoddle but Hoddle was inconsistent and required the team to play for him and required certain type of games for him to be influential. In my opinion that isn’t a player who I would like to see as a leader. TBH I was impressed with some of Gerard’s displays during the world Cup as leader.

    But on a question like this I do think it is very much an insiders knowledge. I would like to know what the general feeling is of Terry inside the England dressing room. They don’t need to like him. Keane wasn’t like but had great respect for the way he played his commitment and desire to win.

    Unlike m,any others I like Capello, I like the way he is willing to change his mind and re asses events. He did it with Becks at Madrid and has done it numerous times since. Terry was punished and then it was over and done.

    Obviously Capello handed the incident badly, but that sometimes happens. I don’t think Rio is a captain hence Fergie removing it.

    Chelsea certainly aren’t the same without Terry – he isn’t a great footballer but he would start when fit for England imo.

    I do think England will be a better team with Terry as captain – some men are natural leaders and want to win, and will never go missing or allow others to go missing.

    I will qualify what I have said to a degree Becks I think was a damn good England captain but he doesn’t really fulfil the criteria I discuss but I think he played as a role model captain and upped his own game rather than any other aspect which worked to a degree.

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  4. Bricki says:

    Great points Ian and i understand the opposite view to mine in this debate. however im a little concerned my view is being misinterpreted somewhat.

    i am not for a second suggesting that we need to sign John Terry or need someone to come in and play at centre half. It is merely his leadership qualities whilst on the pitch that i find important. He is the heartbeat of chelsea and england out on the pitch and i think since Keane left we have lacked that man week in week out. i feel Ferdinand has that in his captains role but due to injuries he cannot be there every week. Vidic is a good captain for us and performs every game but i dont see the same leadership qualities of a Terry or a Keane.

    i find some of the things he has done outside the game horrible and dont condone them, but i am looking at him as a Captain and Leader, not a footballer and not a man.

    please take this into account in the above debate…

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  5. Ian says:

    @ Stretford-End: I wholeheartedly agree. There is a place for muscle and I’m not trying to say Terry is anything more than he is, just that it’s not like we don’t benefit from a few fire-and-brimstone players of our own.

    England did possibly need leadership against Germany, but even the best captains (which Terry certainly isn’t, for England at least, and he wasn’t even the team’s captain on the day) struggle when their team goes AWOL around them. What England needed more than leadership was a clue. What 90% of that team needed to do was see Lampard’s wrongly disallowed goal as a sign that how you’ve played so far doesn’t have to dictate how you play for the rest of the game. The goal was disallowed but rather than steeling themselves and trying to build on a short period of the game where they had genuinely been the better team they saw it as things going against them and became frantic and even more disorganised.

    Back to Terry and specifically his wages: God knows. But then, every single top level footballer is paid an extortionate amount. There again the alternative is for it all to pour into the pockets of executives so it’s a hard one to reconcile.

    To answer what both of you were debating, I’d say it’s not so much that we need more players to be leaders (though when Ferdinand’s out our defence definitely lacks the same level of calm) but more players who are prepared to take responsibility for themselves. Not helped by the fact that our two “star” strikers can both be guilty of sulks or withdrawing into themselves when the chips are down.

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  6. Rohan says:

    Better to have anyone than Terry who’ll miss a penalty when the team needs is the most.
    Better to lose first than to lose at the last moment.

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  7. 3times says:

    There are two very different discussions in this post, one regarding captaincy in general & the other is more based around John Terry and England.
    Seeing as I don’t give too much of a toss about England I will address the captaincy conversation first.
    I think we do have a true leader in Ferdinand, he has been recognised for this through out his career, I think he led West Ham & took over at Leeds almost immediatly and he really should have taken over from Keane but if I remember rightly he was was stripped of it around the time he was playing hardball over a contract not to long after his ban. Since then he has led the side but only in stand in role, and going forward can we see him playing 40-50 games next season.

    As for John Terry he clearly has something to offer as a leader or so many top coaches would not have put him in the job. I personally do not rate him that highly as a player but he certainly gives that little more than his limited abilities should allow.
    On the question do we need a Terry/Robbo/Keane/Bruce type leader I think we do mainly because of my earlier point on Rio’s fitness.

    Personally I was really impressed with the way Scweinsteiger motivated and helped a young german team to express themselves in the world cup.

    It is not a case of sacking Vidic as there is no harm in players like Rio helping to drive the team on. My favourate united side was the 94 double winners and you could have made anyone of Bruce, Ince, Keane, Hughes or Pally captain.

    On the England thing I have to agree with you Stretford-end.
    the Football England play is just not efficient enough for tournement football. The blood and guts direct attitude is not conducive to playing a number of games in a short space of time in higher temperatures. Until this changes it will not matter who leads the England team out.

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  8. Nik says:

    I agree, a fully fit Ferdinand is still the best captain, and organiser around. He’s been lucky with injuries in his career, but seems to have morphed into Wes Brown of late – which is a crying shame as he has been by far the most complete and ‘best’ centre half in the world in the last 7 years.

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  9. AJWozniak says:

    I will put forward Rooney. When we have our full strength side out we have the organisation of Ferdinand and the strength of Vidic at the back. Vidic will always put in the performances he does with or without the captains armband on. For me Rooney has tamed too much over the past few years. Perhaps having kids and a maturing attitude has lead to this. But compared to Keane (even at the end of his career) he has lost a bit of that fire. Of late I have seen this coming back and he is not afraid to berate a player for making a mistake. Particularly in the last 10 games or so he has been rousing the team and the crowd, geeing everyone on. I think he can carry the team when necessary and handing him the armband would give him the nudge he needs. Not only that but he is still so young that the captaincy could be consistent for the next 5 or more years.

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  10. Ian says:

    Maybe it’s a clearer midfield “captain” we need. And I don’t mean I don’t want Vidic as captain, just that we don’t really have a midfielder who you’d imagine keeps the others in line to complement Vidic leading from the back. Fletcher’s Scotland captain but even then he’s usually trying to just keep play moving and lead by example.

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  11. 3times says:

    @AJWozniak
    Rooney has improved his form recently but would you give the captaincy of our club to someone who 6 months ago expressed his desire to leave and effectivly challenged the ambitions of his manager and team mates. Would you play for a man who pretty much said you lot are not good enough for me. Rooney should concentrate his own game and getting his first touch back to where it was last season.
    Ian I agree with you about getting a bit of leadership in midfield, to knit the team together. As much as scholes is the best technical footballer in the British game still and Giggs has been the model professional neither provide that spark you get from a keane or Robson. As for the the other Midfield players I don’t think any are a shoe in for the starting line up as none have the consistancy levels of Keane, Beckham, Ince and so on.

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  12. Mancunian Red says:

    Comment by 3times — March 30, 2011 @ 4:32 am

    Robbo is my favourite ever player but he was desperate to leave OT and told Atkinson who had negotiated a p/x deal to sell him but for injuries.

    Keane held the club to ransom letting his contract run out and saying unless I get paid 100,000 a week I leave on a free and stated his desires to play elswhere.

    Both great captain’s – Rooney did nop more than Law did in the 60s or those players or many many many others.

    What he did he rethought and changed his mind but tbh I respect Rooney’s way of doing things more than Ronaldo who was desperate to leave OT agree with Blatter he was being treated like a modern day slave and sulked and didn’t celerbrate scoring for United.

    What Rooney said is actually what most fans think this is a very poor United team and Fergie should have rebuilt with the money we got from Ronaldo.

    I don’t think Fergie sees Rooney as a leader and he knows him well and that is his choice but Rooney’s actions have nothing to do with it.

    BTW Rio spoke to Chelsea about signing and is another who held the club to ransom over his wage demands.

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  13. 3times says:

    @Mancunian Red
    I have to conceed all your points are spot especially the Ronaldo thing, i was happy to get rid a year earlier when he was making stupid comments like ‘i like to play in white at the Euros’.
    And yes the others did play hardball when contract negotiations were in play. With keane and Robson though I think they brokered their bargaining chips with consistant performances.
    However maybe comments have been reported badly but Wayne did question the club’s ambition and in my eye that is a direct criticism of the playing staff and lack of trust in SAF to do what he sees right with the playing staff, considering his wretched form most of the season I think he should be concentrating on his own game.
    As for Rio I would have dumped him at the time too.
    In both Wayne & Rio’s cases it does hurt as both have held the club to ransom not long after going through difficult circumstances, Rio with the Drugs ban & Rooney getting caught out with the brass. In both cases the club has been supportive & neither has really shown the super human will to win qualities as the 2 midfield generals previously mentioned.

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  14. Mancunian Red says:

    Comment by 3times — March 30, 2011 @ 5:51 am

    I have no problem with what you say about Rooney but regarding Keane and Robbo I think it is a lot worse than Rooney.

    Robbo wasn’t negotiating to stay at United he genuinely wanted away – he wasn’t negotiating he desperately wanted to play abroad and all the fans knew it.

    Moreover I think what Keane did was the worst of the lot. Letting your contract run out is blackmailing the club and they get nothing in return.

    And when you have little time on the contract psychologically you MUST be aware that if you get injured without a contract you could lose millions of pouunds so you must hold back.

    TBH I don’t think the club needed to be that supportive over Rooney with Rio and his ban yes to degree.

    But I don’t really think it is supportive in either case but pragmatism – they have world class player if they don’t support them they lose great players.

    Had those events happened to young players who weren’t going to make it I doubt the club would have been that interested.

    But for me the Rooney incident was over and done in a couple of weeks at most and with Rooney I genuinely don’t believe it was money – he shouldn’t have said it and has apologised but I must say I said the same thing at the start of the season.

    BTW one last thing regarding Rio as captain why I don’t like him in that position. He can be bullied and isn’t the bravest I remember Ferguson at Everton bullying Rio, hence we required a strong centre half beside him, I don’t think its good to see your captain bottle certain things.

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  15. 3times says:

    @ Mancunian Red
    I’ll concede to your view point on this to an extent. Sometimes it is a easier to look back with rose tinted glasses after the 2 legends mentioned eventually put a 12 year shift in fashion they did.
    I am sometimes a little harsh on Rooney mainly because it’s my belief with a little bit more focus there is nothing he can’t achieve, but he seems to have so many ups and downs with form and the media. Compare him to Ronaldo and not necessarily as a human being as Ronaldo is clearly a spoilt brat but as a an out and out footballer that guy has (with help at OT) carved himself from a show pony into probably the the most dangerous footballer in the planet. I rate him higher than Messi as he has done it in the EPL and I think he could be top notch in any league. Whether Messi could cope week in week out in the prem is another matter.
    On the Rio point I just look at the fact that a number of coaches have acknowledged leadership qualities from a young age in him. We see this with some players, Robbo, Tony Adams, Scott Parker. They always seem to captain wherever they play.

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  16. Mancunian Red says:

    Comment by 3times — March 31, 2011 @ 2:42 am

    I’ll start with your Rio comment as that is the most appropriate for thread.

    I think Rio might be an ok captain especially at some clubs. However at a club which wants to win things I think you require a top class captain. We have all played football and see players been bullied we have seen it on the pitch. And what is required in those instances is for the captain’s to go over and let him know you mess with him you mess with me and bond players together.

    Rio isn’t that type of player and he needs someone with him to stop him losing concentration. I have nothing against cultured players being great captain’s Bobby Moore had so much respect in the dressing room but wasn’t a fighter. Martin Buchan another yet I saw him clip Gordon Hill on the back of the head in the middle of a game at OT.

    However I do like to see my captain’s stand out when required and Rio for me while a very good player isn’t a player youngsters are going to look up to and he isn’t going to create that by supporting players being bullied.

    TBH I find it difficult to respect Rio – I don’t disrespect him he just doesn’t motivate me. I’d want him in the team but while I don’t like Keane, Keane the captain I’d want beside me and would follow him and try to please him.

    Regarding Rooney I agree he could be the greatest ever player he has fantastic attributes. Although tbh I think his crime is he had sex with prostitutes. I like Colleen I really like Colleen but don’t know her but I did think their marriage would last very few do when he met her at 15 or 16 and then get married. He should have sown his wild oats first and found himself and grown up.

    But I would want Rooney with me as I believe he would stand by me if I needed him and he is the best team player I think I’ve ever seen he just plays for the team. I still think his value even when not on top form is vastly under-rated. Look at what goals Berbatov scored without Rooney in the team. Zero I think.

    Ronaldo has turned in to a world class player. Although I do think he is vastly over-rated. I would say he is the best finisher in the world better than Villa. However I think he is a very selfish player and people ignore that he hardly scored a goal for Portugal for 2 years and also had a bad world cup. And in big games his record isn’t very good. And isn’t close to Messi. The Spanish league isn’t a very high level and he needs to show he can win things in a great Madrid team. He achieved it with United because Fergie got a team playing for him which worked to a degree.

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  17. 3times says:

    @Mancunian Red
    Good points, It was my belief we should have bought Rio to play with Stam, not replace him for that reason you stated.
    Yes the best example of Keane looking after his team mates was when Viera started with Neville in the tunnel.
    Your points on Messi & Ronaldo, it’s only recently Messi has just started to turn it on for Argentina, and I think he would fit in to a team like Arsenal I wonder if he would be as effective in a more direct team like Chelsea. I honestly think Ronaldo’s Pace, Power, Skill, shooting from long range and ability in the means he would fit into any team in any country.
    I should cut Rooney a bit of slack as he has never been allowed to make a position his own due to his own versatility. Last season he was a success as a No 9 but at the back end of this season we are seeing him play well in the No10 role. He plays both with great effect I just hate seeing him shoved out on the left.

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  18. Mancunian Red says:

    I would have loved to have seen Rio and Stam with Neville and Irwin. I think probably if I had to pick United’s two best centre backs I’d go with Stam and Rio – I think had we had another world class centre back with Stam that would have made United a level higher.

    And regarding Messi not performing for Argentina I agree totally. I mentioned it as criticism of Ronaldo more in comparison to Rooney who before the world cup had a couple of years with England he was superb.

    I may be being unfair to Ronaldo because I hate divers and the way he treated the club. And all the attributes/superlatives you say about him I agree. However he has to prove to me he can do it in another top team. If he wins the league and the CL with Madrid and he is the star I will concede.

    But I thought it was interesting we scored more goals without Ronaldo last season and we didn’t use the money for a replacement and would almost certainly have won the title and probably got to the final of the CL had Rooney stayed fit.

    And I agree I don’t like seeing him on the left although his willingness to play anywhere is one of the reasons I rate him so highly. I know a lot of players will not play one game in another position or complain a lot. Ronaldo played hell when Fergie used to use him as a centre forward.

    My own preference is to see Rooney in the link up role between midfield and a centre forward with real pace ie our own Mexican.

    I think Rooney is best running games and creating opportunities and linking up. He is a goodish finisher but the Chic is one of the best and improving. I think especially long term those two will be made for each other both have fantastic movement.

    Also partly a reason while I’d like to see Rooney captain because of that role but I cannot see it happening under Fergie.

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  19. matt says:

    Sir Alex wouldn’t tolerate assholes like Terry for long. Terry led coups to depose Big Phil and Avram Grant, and hasn’t shown Capello respect either. The man is a cancer for his club and country, especially since he is no longer talented enough to justify his massive ego (Make no mistake, he used to be a great defender, but he’s not anymore). The problem with veterans like Terry is that they are too proud to bring along the new blood (Raul did the same thing in Madrid, he treated Robinho, Benzema and Higuain like usurpers. Even Roy Keane had a pop at Fletcher and O’Shea when he left), a cardinal sin for Manchester United.
    The real issue isn’t the one inspirational leader, its the entire collective rallying around the manager. United have that more than Arsenal, Chelsea, and Man City. Ferguson’s methods work, and I for one am totally content without a vocal on-pitch leader.

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  20. 3times says:

    @Mancunian Red
    I agree with you on seeing Rooney dropping off behind a main striker is where I prefer to see him. Players that play that position at the highest level don’t come round too often, but looking at todays newspaper reports on Ashley Young I am concerned that we will be bringing in another player which will see Wayne pushed forward again. I mean if he comes in on 100k a week either Nani is on his way or Nani or Young will play in the Free role.
    As much as I like pace with Scholes possibly going it concerns me that we need at least one player like Rooney or Berbatov who have vision to pick a pass or thread a through ball.
    We can all pick holes on why any player should not be captain Matt makes a good point about Terry & Keane, I don’t think the role shouldn’t be to undermine the manager. Although those to have great qualities when they cross the white line.
    Maybe we just already have a good mix already. Vidic will run through walls for his team mates, Rio is a good spokesman and encourages those around him and Rooney is aways up for the fight. I would personally like to see 1 more in the middle who can influence at both ends of the pitch.

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  21. Mancunian Red says:

    Comment by 3times — April 1, 2011 @ 3:10 am

    Young to United has gone on for a long time, usually the ones that have no truth die quickly. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was the player Fergie tried to get in the last break. Also Fergie does like a majority of British players in his team.

    I think he want to go back to the formation of when we last won the CL with 3 attackers. I’m not sure Young is top class and I think we need a world class goalscoring wide player.

    Although Fergie rarely gets it wrong when buying players who play in the prem. I’m concerned though that we haven’t got enough top quality players. And we might be settling for players who are a level or two below what they need to be. I will make the proviso that perhaps Young could move up that level.

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  22. 3times says:

    comment by Mancunian Red
    I have thought Young is a decent player for sometime but his attributes for me are far too similar to Nani, and Nani is light years better.
    Although I am not a fan I could see sense in going for Downing as he is a natural lefty and although lacking pace he is really good crosser of the ball and it would give us a different edge to the squad (squad being the operative word).
    The difference between the front 3 of CL winning team is we had 2 real grafters and 1 speed merchant a front 3 of Nani, Young & Rooney would see us with 2 Ron type players & again see Rooney doing other peoples donkey work. That wasn’t too bad as Ronaldo was world class but Rooney should be the star of that front line.
    I also don’t believe a mid trio from Fletch, Carrick, Ando, Scholes(poss) & Gibson are anywhere near Scholes Carrick, Hargreaves, Fletch & Ando of back then.
    Scholes is older and might not even be with us, Carrick & Fletch have dipped form, Ando struggles for fitness (fades later on even when fit) and there is no comparison between Gibson & Hargreaves.
    If we have £25m and if there are plans to buy a couple of other players (rodwell appears to be nailed on for a silly amount) I would rather put both those fees together and throw £40 or 50m at Bayern for Sweinstieger.

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  23. Mancunian Red says:

    Comment by 3times — April 1, 2011 @ 7:54 am

    You are a pleasure to chat to, you really understand football which I think is pretty rare and United and you talk sense and accept differences in opinion

    I think you make excellent points I think Tevez and Rooney were grafters, they were our first line of defence stopping the opposition building from the back but were also great link up players and team players who would do the running off the ball to create space. Rooney could also match Ronaldo for pace so we had the pace on the break and Rooney had the vision and Ronaldo was a great finisher. I always felt Tevez would be better without Ronaldo as he could be more individualistic as we see at City. I think he sacrificed that to a degree at United.

    We would have a lot of options Valencia has a fantastic work rate and very quick he could play either Rooney centre or wide with Young. Nani drives me nuts he has been brilliant at times and is consistent but he is also very selfish and tries to be the best player in the world and not a team player. With Rooney and Valencia in the team you still get that great work ethic and pace but I’d like to see Sanchez in an OT shirt.

    I thought Anderson could go on to be world class but he hasn’t really improved since his first season although I still like him in the team with Fletcher.

    I too would love Sweinstieger but I think we are trying to buy Sneijder who I rate highly and may be Costa.

    I think Scholes is finished, I’m not a big Carrick fan as he can only really dictate certain types of games he isn’t a midfield all rounder. Gibson I don’t think is good enough full stop.

    Anderson I really like but he gets injured a lot and is the worst finisher I’ve ever seen at OT. Fletcher I rate but hasn’t had a good season. Hargreaves is also finished

    I think we need another three or four world class players if we are going to be up there with the best of the best in the world.

    I’d prefer Fergie to play two wide players Valencia and Sanchez with the little pea up front Rooney behind and Sneijder and Costa centre midfield and let Anderson and Fletcher fight them for those positions and Giggs as he still has great periods.

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  24. 3times says:

    Comment by Mancunian Red
    I was not suggesting leaving Valencia out, just playing devil’s advocate in the senario of Young coming in on the reported wages. For me toni is a starter every time when fully fit. With that we have to recognise thet Nani currently is one of the most potent players in Europe in tha last calender year.
    I would rather stick with 442 with Nani left & Toni right, we have had the odd disagreement over Berbatov but I would like to see rotation of the 3 strikers dependant on the game, but I prefer to see Rooney playing the deep role as I think it would relieve the need for an out and out ACM, and allow us to play with slightly more function players.
    I do see Carricks merits but his fear of getting caught on the ball puts pressure on team mates far too quickly. A good example was when Scholes did a top back heel to him against Marseille and the nearest player was 10yards away, instead of turning and looking up he knocked it straight back towards goal.
    Ando still has time young players are generally inconsistant and if fitness levels improve i have no doubt he can do it, his passing is always positive, good vision and is happy to carry the ball forwards, something we have not seen in CM since Roy Keane.

    I have a love in for Sweinsteiger as he really impressed me in the WC especially as he was surrounded by young players which is the Fergie way.

    The left side concerns me as there are not enough natural left sided players in the attacking sense. To spend on someone like bale would be a worry, I want to see him next year once managers have watched videos and how he copes with tighter marking before I jump on his bandwaggon.

    Although I like Fletcher as he plays beyond his abilities we really need that extra bit of quality to compete with the big boys. I woul never want to lose him and he will always get about 30 games a season.
    I think that is where our strength is we have a core of fringe players like O’shea, Brown, Park, Fletcher who will all get lots of game time because they play in different positions, unlike Chelsea, City or Madrid they have players that are either in or out. The majority of our squad probably feel like they play every week. Dummies don’y get spat out and players don’t come in cold. It’s not like the old days when you would go to a reserve match and see the likes Andy Cole lining up against Neil Ruddock, It’s all youth players now and if 1st teamers are not in the starting XI they don’t get match practice.

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  25. Mancunian Red says:

    I look at this United team and think we have just gone backwards losing Tevez, Hargreaes, Ronaldo, others getting older Neville, Brown, Scholes, Giggs.

    I think while we need team players and good pros we are a long way off Barca. In the odd game we might beat Barca but in truth we aren’t in their league.

    I think we need major additions and those additions to be either world class or close to it and have potential to be one of the best players in the world.

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  26. minde says:

    terry is not best in the world defender by far so obviously he’s useless for man united. and mancunian red, i can’t believe u still missing that tevez, its not everything about footbal its also about that kind of man footbaler playing for us is, and tevez is a joke of a man in my opinion. we are top of the league still in 2 more competitions, and forget barca why are you so obsessed with rival team, i hate them because they are our direct opponents, and also their arrogance beyond belief. its nothing to be admired for, its like be jelous of neighbours ferrari. fuck this.

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