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