Date: 2nd December 2009 at 3:55pm
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There was a consensus in the media that Sir Alex Ferguson got it wrong with his ‘gamble selection’ against Besiktas when first place of the group was within sight. And, as Fergie himself ranted before the Spurs game yesterday, the hacks also agreed that United’s youngsters have no future ahead of them.

Now Fergie is back as a visionary and the 2-0 victory totally justified his faith in the youngsters. Which is just another extreme in this age of extremes. Our kids were not hopeless a week ago; they’re not world beaters now either.

Actually, the young players (Macheda, Welbeck, Gibson, Obertan) did not play any better than against Besiktas. Spurs were a lot more ambitious than the Turkish champions, thus allowing us more space and freedom in attack – that’s why Gibson could work his shooting magic.

But beside that there wasn’t a lot we could admire: Welbeck looked way too ponderous and lacking in confidence, Macheda’s (granted, he played only 30 minutes) first touch was way too heavy and his movement wasn’t good enough; Obertan could barely get into the game (compare his contribution yesterday night with his man-of-the-match display against Besiktas); and Gibson’s performance has been discussed already.

It is a good win, for sure, a great confidence boost for the youngsters but on this evidence the famous Old Trafford production line may have to wait a little more for the next established player to emerge. These guys (maybe with the exception of Obertan who is above them) have a lot to learn to reach the level required in the Premier League and in the case of Darron Gibson, for example, it’s unlikely that he’ll be a much better player at 25 than he’s now, at 22. I repeat: at his age Darren Fletcher was a 30-game-a-season player.

They have talent, they have potential but the over-the-top excitement about their prospects is as premature and unnecessary as the doom-mongering was a week ago.