Monday, 21 March 2016

Local lads can help United restore their identity

The most evocative picture of the 171st Manchester derby was not that of Marcus Rashford's celebration but rather the melee that followed Martin Demichelis' trip on the young striker.

While the spineless referee Michael Oliver observed, Jesse Lingard piled in to protect his team-mate.
Eliaquim Mangala tugged at Lingard's shirt whilst Demichelis and Fernandinho tried to intimidate Rashford, but ten days after the Liverpool surrender the two local lads proved they will fight, fight, fight for United.

Wayne Rooney's pre-match speech lifted and galvanised the players, and the Fletcher Moss graduates were not the only ones whom were pumped up for the derby.
Daley Blind produced his most impressive performance yet in a running battle (literally at times) with Sergio Aguero and Matteo Darmian, in his best showing since August, brought some catenaccio canniness to the United rearguard.

In a soul-destroying season, lads from Warrington and Wythenshaw played a pivotal part in deciding a Manchester derby.
Rashford started both Under-21 encounters on the left this season, but exactly a month on from his last outing at the Etihad, he is the first team's no.9.

Rashford could become the first United academy striker to genuinely succeed at the club since Mark Hughes.
Mark Robins and Danny Welbeck were bit part players, whilst Paul Scholes was converted into an attacking midfielder.

Rashford has the pace and finishing ability to spearhead the attack in a team whose manager treasures possession more than goals.

Lingard- a late developer after numerous loan spells, arguably does more damage off the ball than on it such is his intelligent movement and awareness.
Louis van Gaal has made some baffling tactical decisions this season but deploying Lingard as a no.10 really stumped City's plodding midfielders.

Before Sheikh Mansour's millions changed the rivalry, Sir Alex tended to flood his teams against City with homegrown academy talents.

Van Gaal's United are still suffering an identity crisis, but players like Lingard and Rashford are channeling the spirit of the Class of 92 as well as easing supporters' worries.

One player was said to have questioned whether his teammates understood the rivalry with Liverpool but United's performance at City will have reassured him.

Whoever United's manager is next season, youth is an integral ingredient in the rebuilding of the squad.
Lingard and Rashford have emerged as keepers of the flame when their academy is in a state of flux and Van Gaal or Mourinho need to supplement them at senior level.

With emerging talents including Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Joe Riley and Axel Tuanzebe, United's Academy crop is the best since 2011 and should be eased into the first team fold to prove that they're good enough and old enough. 

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