Former United player Markus Neumayr joins us again for his latest column on the website, looking at the signing of van Persie, United’s playing style and how the experience of the pre-season tour might have helped some of the younger players.
Are you feeling fresh and ready for the new season?
In Switzerland the season has already started and we have played 6 games so far! We’ve had a mixed start in form but are second in the league and only two points behind the leaders. Personally, I’ve got two goals in five games.
That’s great to hear… Plenty of youth players from United went on their pre-season tour, such as Davide Petrucci and Jesse Lingard. As a youth player, how will that experience help them?
Being a part of a first team pre-season tour always helps you to see where you are as a footballer and on what things you have to work on to make that step into professional football. First team football is different compared to the youth and reserve team football.
As a youth player you can gain a lot of experience also off the pitch to see how the big players behave and take care of their own body.
United have made some major signings this summer, with Shinji Kagawa a new midfield signing. He seems to play in a similar style to the way Anderson and Cleverley started last season; do you think Fergie saw that and felt a fluid, attacking set of players is what he needed rather than the 4-4-2 system United are used to playing?
It will be very interesting to see how United will play this year.4-4-2 has always been the system of United. I think that Fergie realised that with the players he has at the moment,he needs to change the system into a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3. He doesn’t have the kind of wingers like Beckham or Giggs. Their game was about delivering crosses into the box.
Now with players,like Nani for example,their game is to beat the opponent and to get into the box. Moreover, United have strikers like Rooney or Van Persie. Their main ambition is to get on the ball and create chances. Ten to fifteen years ago, with strikers like van Nistelrooy, Cole, Solskjaer or Yorke, they were waiting for the balls being delivered into the box, to score goals. For me these are the main reasons why Fergie will change the system.
How is United’s current style viewed in Europe? Barcelona have their own style, Arsenal renowned for playing football…
I think that United has to create a new style again,because obviously they don`t have the same type of players they used to have 10-15 years ago. Keane, Scholes, Beckham, Giggs, van Nistelrooy or Nicky Butt, they were perfect for that 4-4-2. Now United has to make a new step and create something special with all the exciting talents they have.
You’ve already spoken about van Persie… Are you excited by the signing?
Yeah he is such a great talent. He makes goalscoring looking so easy. This is for me the main attribute why he is world class. If Rooney and him are finding a good harmony it will be very hard to stop them from scoring goals/creating chances.
Speaking as a former youth team/reserve player; do you think the kids who went on tour will be excited that van Persie is signing or do you think they’ll be frustrated they’ll be that further away from the team?
I don’t know… Everybody is different and of course I cannot speak for them. But, personally, I would have been excited training with him and learning from one the best goalscorers at the moment.
What do you think that means for the likes of senior players like Berbatov and young players like Macheda?
It won’t be easy for them this season, that’s for sure. But as they are great players with very good abilities, maybe this season they can make that step forward to get into the team by scoring a lot of goals.
Do you think van Persie and Kagawa signing is enough to get us the title back? How far do you think we can go in Europe with these new players?
I think Van Persie and Rooney will guarantee you 40 goals together this season. Also Kagawa can be a very important player in the new United system. But for me the key to win the title back or to have more success in Europe is to concede fewer goals than last year, and especially to defend better as an unit. That was, for example, the key for teams like Chelsea or Bayern München for being successful in Europe.
Thanks to Markus for his time. You can see his belter against FC Biel/Bienne below (first goal, around twenty seconds in). We’ll be following his progress throughout the season.