Date: 12th November 2008 at 11:13am
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There were all the right words spoken, joyful sings sang when United signed Manucho. During the summer, both David Gill and Sir Alex Ferguson assured us that the lad is very much in contention for first-team places and we were rubbing our hands at the thought of a powerful aerial menace.

With three months into the season, Manucho played in one game – Carling Cup, v Middlesbrough – as a late substitute. He was injured at the start of the season but has recovered since that. Yet Fergie kept him on the bench for 90 minutes against QPR. At Old Trafford.

Now, with all due respect to Rangers fans, we are unlikely to have an easier-looking fixture this season (in the FA Cup we always draw Premiership teams). And the game itself simply screamed for someone like Manucho: we had an absolutely staggering amount of corners which came to nothing because apart from Jonny Evans we had no aerial threat in the box.

When they weren’t busy passing the ball around in the middle of QPR’s half, Rafael, Nani, Park and even Tevez sent in umpteen crosses – to nobody. Possebon sometimes tried to connect, Tevez – when he wasn’t the crosser – tried hard to get to the ball but unsuccessfully. So, we asked, will Fergie finally throw in the tall Angolan lad who is a master of heading the ball? (Just look up his goals at the African Nations Cup)

Well, no. He brought on Danny Welbeck who did a great job, no doubt and I was absolutely delighted to see him. He’s going to have a great future here. But another glimpse of Manucho wouldn’t have gone amiss. Now it’s increasingly difficult believe that this lad is ever going to make a meaningful first-team appearance, barring a massive injury crisis of course.

There is talk about loaning him out to West Bromwich. It is the sensible solution if his match fitness is the problem for Fergie. Hopefully he’d get the games there and after that our boss won’t be reluctant to play him in the Carling Cup!