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United’s only recognised left back on tour is an 18 year old who’s only had a taste of Reserve team football. At his press conference yesterday, Sir Alex Ferguson said that winger, Robbie Brady, would be tried there as the club look at options for the season ahead. With Evra not on tour and Fabio loaned out, who’ll start the season as first choice left back?
Speaking to the national press, Sir Alex Ferguson mulled over find a back-up for Evra:
“Young Robbie Brady will be at left-back. He’s actually an outside-left but we believe there’s the possibility he’ll develop into a left-back. He was on loan last year at Hull City and did very well. He’ll certainly figure at left-back. I don’t know how many substitutes will be allowed – we need to establish that – but I’m sure we can be flexible. It’s important the young players get a chance to play on such a big occasion.
Left-back is an area which we’re paying attention to. Patrice, in the last five years has played an average of 45-50 games. It’s phenomenal. I don’t know if anybody else has achieved that. He’s still a fit lad and has the same drive and ambition. He’s a fighter.
Fabio went to QPR, which was so important for the boy because he has enormous ability, but he needs to play. Because Evra, touch wood, is never injured, the opportunities haven’t been there for the boy. He played a few games last season but it’s not enough for a young boy of 21 years. He needed to continue with his progress. With Fabio at QPR for a year, we’re just a little short in that department.
That’s why we’re trying Robbie Brady at left-back. We also have Tyler Blackett here – he’s a big, strong boy, tall and quick going forward. But he’s only just turned 18. He has time on his side but he’s here for the experience and he may yet surprise us.”
Few would argue against the fact that Evra’s form has dipped in the past 18 months. Some fans would like to see him replaced altogether whilst others think that he just needs to be managed and rotated out the team at times in order to keep him fresh and sharp. Leighton Baines has been linked for months now and a move for him did seem incredibly likely at one point but right now, on tour, Robbie Brady will have a go. Robbie has played left back for United’s Reserves and with Fabio at QPR on loan he might be able to get into the first team via this route. Tyler Blackett, who’s a super prospect, may also get a chance to impress having been part of the successful 2010/11 FA Youth Cup winning squad.
It’ll be fascinating to see who starts at left back for United away to Everton on the opening day, but also who goes into the season as Evra’s back-up (or replacement). Would you rather Evra was replaced or rotated?