It is alleged that he failed to turn up for training on the Monday after United’s Premier League win against Hull City on Saturday 23rd January. Apparently he was told by manager Sir Alex Ferguson that he would not be needed against Hull that day, and Anderson did not stay to watch his team-mates. Not playing and being substituted has unfortunately been the story of Anderson’s spell at Old Trafford so far. Recent substitutions in high profile games, the FA Cup defeat to Leeds and the 1st leg of the Carling Cup semi-final against Manchester City, have highlighted this.
When analysing Anderson on the pitch it seems that United’s followers are puzzled by what his true position is. Incidentally, the famous football console games Pro Evolution Soccer and FIFA 2010 have him down as ‘AMF’. That is exactly what Anderson has the attributes to be. Attacking midfielder is suited to Anderson’s game. He has the tremendous energy, link up play with the forwards and the passes to set up attacks. The problems lie in the understanding of what his best position is.
Current United veterans, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville, all claim that Ferguson has mellowed in recent years. However, Ferguson’s handling of the Anderson situation shows he is ruthless when he decides what to do with a player. If he has been banished to the reserves, can he ever get a second chance now? His main skills may seem to be in an attacking midfield role, but avid Manchester United fans will notice that Ferguson deploys him in a defensive and more central role.
With so many other midfielders ahead of him Anderson has his work cut out. The body language of Anderson on the pitch shows that he can’t grasp his role. Unfortunately for Anderson, the team’s system can’t be changed just to accommodate him in to it.
The culture clashes that we have in football would probably be see coaches from his native land, Brazil, baffled as to why he is being made to play in defensive positions. Could it be that in his new role Anderson is forced to sacrifice what he is naturally good at? This explains his staggering lack of goals at United. Such is the way of the game in the Premiership that Anderson must be able to transform in to a complete midfielder to regularly start for the team. His main problem is consistency, but the manager would deem that to be natural for someone so young.
If it is a disciplinary issue with Anderson, then Ferguson is likely to be as stubborn as he has shown with previous players who have had issues. However, in this situation Ferguson may consider not sticking to his principles. The burden on Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher and Paul Scholes would be too much just because Ferguson does not like Anderson. Internally Ferguson will be looking to see if his attitude improves from now until the summer. Presently, it seems that Manchester United find themselves in a situation that has been seen before- showing a young player who is the boss.