Further speculation about the continuing form and fitness of Rio Ferdinand, coupled with an typical, media intensified, "storm-in-a-teacup", dip in the confidence of Nemanja Vidic against undoubtedly the world's best striker Fernando Torres. But all the talk of Rio moving on, United buying a replacement for either or both of our 1st choice Centre back pairing is premature.
Although a previous article included Gary Cahill amongst the 5 players I thought would strengthen the squad, by no means does that mean Rio or Vidic are past their best. Futher back, i opinioned that Rio needed a good month out of football to sort out his "outside affairs" get his back, hamstrings, calves and last but not least, mind all set for a solid 7 months of non-stop football in 2010. To let him "reset" we would need quality cover for that Centre back position. No doubt Jonny Evans is a great prospect, and is already a high quality cenre back, but behind that, we don't have many, if any, options to cover that role. Yes, we have Brown and O'Shea, but both of them are better at Right back, where their limited aerial ability is seen as an added attribute to the role of Right back, than a liability to their ability to perform the role of Centre-back. Given the strength and quality of the up and coming youngsters,( Rafael da Silva, Ritchie De Laet,Danny Simpson, Joe Dudgeon, not to mention Fabio da Silva), having both Brown and O'Shea fighting for one position is a luxury and a curse. Having experienced players on the books stops the kids getting the experience they need to develop, and the longer it takes for them to develop, the harder it is to transition once the "older generation" are past their peak.
The ideal scenario would be to have 1 experienced player, 1 prodigious 19-23 year old, and 1 promising 17-20 year old reservist for every role on the pitch.
So where does Cathcart, Chester, Corry Evans, Oliver Gill, Reece Brown and the countless others fit in? Surely Sir alex should giving preference to our own kids ahead of the likes of Rodwell, who, lets face it, is just as inexperienced as Cathcart, and his only advantage over our young Northern Irishman, is that in England, his exploits for the National Under 21 team are given more public media time than the Northern Irish team gets, and the size of his public profile is working against our own young defender.