David Moyes would have been naïve to believe he would be afforded an easy ride in the first few weeks of his new job at Manchester United. The world of football slows down for no man, and this is exacerbated when you are taking over the reigns from one of the most successful managers in history. Juggling the status-quo and the establishment of a new era for the Premier League club, Moyes must get a hold of things quickly if he is to succeed.
The first few weeks for David Moyes at United have been something of a roller coaster already. I can only liken it to a teenager being given the keys to his dads bright red Ferrari. Previously used to his own beat up Clio, of which he had total control over its simplistic inner-workings. The new motor offers up unparalleled complexities and the poor kid is apprehensive to do anything of note apart from messing about with a few of the dials. Thus far Moyes seems cautious to make any big calls and decisions.
On the transfer front this is perhaps unsurprising. Previously used to a shoestring budget at Everton, Moyes is being opened up to a world of riches that he could only have dreamt about. Spending a decade looking at making low end transfer steals cannot prepare you for the deals he must make at United. This explains why the usually decisive Scot has favoured talking about transfers and speculating rather than appearing an integral part of any deal. Speaking on United’s pre season tour to Asia he appeared distant from any negotiation:
“I think a point does come. But when you are interested in good players you want to give it every opportunity to materialise.”
“I will hope things will continue to move forward. I can only tell you Ed Woodward is working hard to try to make the deals happen. We hope some of them will fall into place shortly.”
Now don’t get me wrong in this day and age it is not usually the job of a manager to directly negotiate deals for players. However, what would be expected is that the manager is key to any decision regarding player recruitment. Currently there is a strange pattern emerging where Moyes appears to be totally removed from any transfer deal, happy to talk and speculate rather than get anything done.
Do United not trust him yet, or does he not trust himself? Clearly the transition from Everton was never going to be easy, but the Scot really does need to assert his authority quickly within the club.
He appears to be a rabbit in the headlights not only in terms of incoming players but also outgoing. The Rooney saga spiralled from his description of the player as being “second choice”. He of course followed this with talk of the value of Rooney to the club and how important he will be next year (something which many people have glossed over). Still for someone who rarely gives much away in press conferences, this represented something of an unnecessary gaffe by the new manager. He moved quickly to diffuse the situation by assuring that Rooney is not for sale. Speaking at a news conference in Sydney, the United boss said regarding Rooney:
“The club’s position has not changed.”
This is an example of how the Scot is already finding it hard going to fill the shoes left by Sir Alex. Rarely indecisive at Everton, he now appears apprehensive in his media handling and this should already be a worry for United fans.
It would be unfair to judge a new manager only a few weeks into the job, especially since they are yet to play a competitive game. Indeed I would echo the words of the departed Sir Alex when he urged fans to offer their unwavering support to the Scot. It is easy to forget what a difficult start he had to his now extraordinary reign at the club. However, Moyes seems overly nervous upon taking over the helm. Speaking to the Guardian, he was happy to openly admit to butterflies:
“Yeah, that comes with the excitement of the job. It’s more to do with the magnitude of Manchester United and following arguably the greatest manager that football has ever known”
Butterflies are one thing, but to appear in fear of the task ahead should be something quickly removed from the mind of the Scot. Moyes never appeared to be a manager short on self-confidence, but his start at United seems to suggest the contrary.
David Moyes is an excellent manager, he has proved this previously and he will no doubt do it again. He needs to approach the United job believing that he is the man to take United on to the next level. To do this he needs to start being assertive in the way he approaches the media, his squad and new transfers. There was never going to be a honeymoon period for Moyes at United. Instead of playing around with his new Ferrari in the drive, he needs to kick it into gear and take it out onto the open road.
Do you think Moyes needs to show more confidence at United?
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