Gabriel Obertan – It’s Now or Never


AUTHOR: – Bricki

Is Gabriel Obertan good enough to be a Manchester United player?

In the words of Elvis ‘It’s now or never’ for the French wingman in what is approaching his third season as a Manchester United player.

Obertan has shown flashes of class and brilliance in his time since signing in July 2009 but after two full pre seasons he’s had time to adapt and develop to the Manchester United way.


It would seem that the main issue that is stopping Obertan from kicking on and becoming a player with the potential he so clearly has is mental rather than physical.

When United signed him it was interesting to note that his then coach Laurent Blanc commented…
“They certainly hope to advance him, something that Bordeaux and Lorient have failed to do. He has the potential, but he must overcome psychological and mental challenges so he can express his true value.”

His debut for the club at Old Trafford came against Blackburn from the bench and provided him with a golden chance to score from 6 yards out but he managed to place it the wrong side of the post. The agony in his face was plain to see and after a promising start darting in from the left wing his play suffered for the rest of the game.

Blancs comments appeared to ring true and in subsequent games at Old Trafford he has appeared to resemble a rabbit in the headlights when he has the ball at his feet. Pressure would seem to be the major issue for Obertan above anything else with a desire to please and entertain the fans weighing heavy on his shoulders.

On his arrival to the club comparisons were made in style and ability to Theirry Henry, that’s not to say he was going to be another Henry rather his style appeared to mimic it.

After failing to hit the target with such a straight forward game it was obvious that Obertan was suffering in games and appearing to try too hard to impress at times. Obertan was put into the reserves and worked on his game, at times he displayed some beautiful touches and looked to be finally settling in to life at Old Trafford.

Obertan always looked more comfortable playing away from home rather than at Old Trafford with his more promising performances coming in the domestic cup and Champions League group games.

After a promising pre-season and looking much fitter and stronger, Obertan looked in excellent form on the tour of America and scored the winner in the game against Philadelphia Union but injury struck. As a result Obertan struggled again to make inroads into the first team and found himself behind Bebe at times in the pecking order.

After again looking good and bagging a goal against Seattle last night the questions have again been asked if Obertan can make the grade at Old Trafford?

The biggest hurdles facing Obertan now are the arrival of Ashley Young who has slotted into the team seamlessly it appears and conquering the fear of the stage at Old Trafford.

It could be Youngs’ signing though that brings the best out of Obertan as well. Young can act as a role model for Obertan to develop his play and become more effective whilst in the team. It can be argued that Obertan has lacked that guidance of someone who plays a similar style to himself. People have suggested Obertan as another Nani but his style does not lend to the strong two footed nature of Nani. With a frame and body structure similar to Young however he can use the training techniques and mindset of Young coming in from a ‘smaller’ club in order to approach games at Old Trafford in a better mental state.

It is suggested that in the end it was the mental side of recovery and clearing the last hurdle that did for Owen Hargreaves career at United. As Obertan approaches his third full season with the club it has now become a case of now or never for Obertan to rise to the challenge that every United player has to face at Old Trafford and establish himself as good enough for this stage.

The abilty is definitely there with this player but can he win the mental battles that come with being in the company of the very best?

Its now or never….

AUTHOR: – Bricki

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8 Responses to “Gabriel Obertan – It’s Now or Never”

  1. Garan says:

    bonne chance mon petit et du courage,.batte toi ne pas peur garde la confiance tu veras.,le plus important dans le football ces de savoire comment joue,et sa naturelle chez toi,ces le plus difficile que d’avoire de confiance en soit meme.
    Vas-y grouille toi……..

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  2. Gareth Grosbino says:

    Gabbie had a hand in 3 goals last m=night and once more showed that he is so close to making it with the Reds. It’s definitely a psychological problem he’s had. He’s outstanding for the reserves but is fearful of showing that form with the first team. He needs the reassurance from the management that he can and will make the big time with our team.
    Sadly I can see him failing to reveal his full potential – maybe ‘cos of insufficient chances. Really hope I’m wrong

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  3. scower says:

    I watched him last night v Seattle and he looked hungry and in great shape. He has a tremendous physique, got bags of strength and skill. He’s so powerful and fast. When this guy is in full flow, he’s a joy to watch. There’s no doubting his potential and all round ability. I mean when you ask is he good enough to play at United, I think he is. ‘Potentially’, I just hope it’s not all ‘potential’. I hope he realises his talent here. It is however very interesting to hear what Blanc said about his psyche. I cant imagine what it must be like tryin to cut it at United with all the incredible talent around. Still, I feel that if his latent talent comes through via some belief, we could be onto a huge star. I know that Fergie more than anybody has what it takes to give him belief in his abilities. He’s a young guy, i just have a good feeling about him too. I hope he makes it.

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  4. Ian H says:

    Obertan’s problem is that he always looks like he thinks his job is just to get the ball to a more established player, which makes him a burden as they then come to feel like they have to help him out all the time rather than ever trusting him to make something happen for himself.

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  5. minimal says:

    this player is a total joke, he proved that on the pitch its a shame our main problem in central defence was not adressed, young the only established signing so far (as well as de gea but he was necessity), and people are forced to talk about this (obertan).

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  6. minimal says:

    @scower don’t you see he’s a psychological wreck, he can’t make it top level so why to cheat yourself and hope? we need to replace such dead wood like him with better players capable of not melting in front of 75000 people.

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  7. Ian H says:

    @ minimal: Yes, our central defence hasn’t had any attention

    If only Fergie’d spent the best part of £20m on a centre-half. That’d be ideal, eh?

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  8. Bricki says:

    @Minimal

    i think its a tad ridiculous to write him off completely at this stage. he has shown in America he does have the required abilities and if it is a mental issue he needs the fans support to help him through it.

    If you remember rightly it was the fans getting on Welbecks back that helped destroy his confidence and required his loan move elsewhere.

    Give the lad a chance and judge him next May, if there is no improvement we can move him on but to refer to him as ‘Dead Wood’ is short sighted and wrong.

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