Date: 13th November 2007 at 5:42pm
Written by:

Much has been said recently about Anderson that was wide of the mark so it’s time to put things right. And who is more qualified to do it than myself?

Oh, modesty, greatest of human virtues (maybe.) I seem not to possess it in abundance yet I believe that in terms of conceitedness I’m still far off certain footballers plying their trade in our league.

This little introduction had nothing to do with the article itself but I had a good feeling about telling you. So, you will read THE TRUTH about Anderson. Does it sound like Sun-type journalism? Yeah, quite sickeningly so I try to get across to my point quickly.

The more enthusiastic individuals of United’s not inconsiderable fan base have already hailed our young Anderson as the next big thing. He’s supposed to be everything that’s good about Scholes, Rooney and Ronaldo and has a bit of Roy Keane and Denis Irwin in him (behave at the back!).

The other camp says he’s overrated, overhyped, overweight, a disgusting little muppet who does nothing apart from giving away balls and rolling around like he’d have some sort of in-built engine to do so.

Both opinions are as wide of the mark as my description of them. Whilst I’m only guilty of exaggeration, these opinionate men and women committed the crime of ignorance.

Anderson is nothing more, nothing less than a very talented 19-year-old. I know, one might have expected a more controversial opinion after such an unnecessarily long preamble but here you go, that’s what I think, take it. He did quite well in an in-form side, allowing us to forget his debut nightmare against Keano’s Black Cats.

He’s done little to suggest that he will be a combination of Kaka and Messi with some of Gattuso’s steel and Makelele’s positioning added to the mixture for good measure. He’s quite efficient in passing but occasionally his distribution becomes wayward due to lack of understanding with his teammates. He’s full of energy, able to harass the opposition for 90 minutes and can chip in a few decent tackles, too – he can be that box-to-box midfielder we crave since the exit of Roy Keane.

Others suggested his positioning sense is awful and therefore is often caught out of position, costing his team valuable space. This, frankly, is rubbish. At the moment it’s certain that he needs an Owen Hargreaves, another player with energy and fitness in excess, beside him: someone who can cover for his occcasional mistakes and lack of tactical discipline which, I admit, he sometimes displays. But that does not mean that with picking up valuable experience he won’t be a fantastically astute midfielder in the mould of Scholes but with better tackling.

His technical aptitude is obvious but the burst of pace he often displayed at Porto – mostly on the wing, mind you – is yet to be seen at United. Central midfield where he’s been playing so far is not a place for blistering runs but knowing Fergie’s selection methods he’s bound to experience playing in another position for United. Striker, left-winger, attacking midfielder – he’s supposed to be comfortable in all of these though Sir Alex clearly considers him as the long-term successor of Paul Scholes.

As for his character: yes, he was a bit embarassing at the Emirates in the first 45 minutes. But I’m dead sure Fergie warned him at the break that this kind of behaviour won’t be tolerated for long as he was much more focused on his football and less on the opponents and the referee after the interval. Before that and since that I’ve seen nothing that suggests he’s some kind of ‘big-time Charlie’. If the orgy rumours are true then so are the ones about a warning delivered by teammates and I think we should believe that he’s at the best place to get his partying instincts curbed a little bit.

As I’ve said the talent is there for the boy. I like his attitude in games, too – he’s not shirking away from any challenge and always wants the ball. He enjoys playing more than anything else and that’s what Fergie needs. He can still end up being the next Kleberson – but I had serious doubts when we had signed that man while though I did not welcome Nani with open arms, I was very enthusiastic about Anderson. So he must turn out to be good, eh?