When Manchester United signed the young duo of Nani and Anderson from Portugal in the summer of 2007, they had supposedly captured two of the finest young talents in world football. Many believed that the pair would prosper at Old Trafford under the tutelage of the great Alex Ferguson and despite their £35 million price tag, were believed to be a major coup. Whilst the wingless wonder Nani has faded in his years with the Manchester club, frustrating and tormenting the United faithful, Anderson has had two and half years of quiet, solid development and is beginning to prove a key player for the champions.
Anderson has often been the subject of much criticism for United, yet it is worthwhile remembering that the midfielder is only 21 years of age and is already proving himself at the top level. He has great technique on the ball and his passing range and vision are already of the highest quality. His role in the centre of midfield is to keep the game flowing and he is often the man to initiate United attacks. Despite starting his career as an attacking midfielder, he has found his niche in a defensive midfield role in which he is given the freedom to drive forward. The Brazilian stands at just 5ft 9in yet is immensely strong in the tackle and has a natural ability to hold players off the ball.
Alex Ferguson has this season added to his reputation for constantly changing the United midfield however, there has often been a place for Anderson in the side. Ferguson rates the Brazilian highly and by watching the hunger and stamina that he displays on the pitch it is easy to see why. He has often kept the likes of Michael Carrick out of the United side and his reputation is growing with each performance. In my opinion, he was one of the few Manchester United players, along with Wayne Rooney, that played with any conviction against Leeds yet was understandably sacrificed in the latter stages of the game as United searched for the elusive equaliser.
The 21 year old is often criticised for his lack of attacking prowess and admittedly, this is logical given the nature of his transfer. The midfielder cost £18 million and being of Brazilian descent is expected to embrace the attacking side of the game further. Although the midfielder has opened his account for the Red Devil’s this year with a fine strike at White Hart Lane, he could improve on his shooting as it is frankly the subject of much humour amongst football fans but at the end of the day, this isn’t where his responsibilities lie with Manchester United.
Anderson has, like most other youngsters, a sense of inconsistency about his game but this is to be expected of any young footballer and the midfielder is fast removing this. He is playing in a different role to the one that he became known for at FC Porto and it has taken him time to adjust, but adjust he has. The Brazilian is now proving to be a fine player for United and promises only to improve. Where his compatriot Nani has fallen by the wayside, Anderson has excelled for United and will only further cement his place in the champion’s midfield as the years go by.
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