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Should United’s Out-Of-Form Players Be Dropped?

I often wonder how why I consider making any comments about United when I only see the players play, whereas Sir Alex see’s them train every day. But the question I ask is this – is it better to play players thru their loss of form or rest them?

It isn’t as simple an answer as you might think, and recent events prove that point.

Take Ashley Young for example. In early season form, notably against Arsenal, he beat his man regularly and looked the perfect complement to Nani, cutting inside and whipping shots in at the far post.

I did some research and Aston Villa fan sites described him as always able to beat the first man, so attracting a second and then being their most prolific provider. Exactly what Nani is, perfect!

Since Arsenal we see Young fail to beat anyone, his shots look weak and his crosses hit the first man. What has gone wrong? Well it’s a loss of form.

So he was played in our vital Basel game and his form issue continued such that Sir replaced him and then dropped him for Wolves, bringing him on from the bench to show us why he was dropped. Confidence is low, body language poor, and so we expose the fragility of the trickster in football. What to do with him?

Every day Sir Alex see’s Young train, but can you spot a return to form and if so how can you be sure he has reached his cycle peak ?

Rooney has been the worst of this cycle. His 2010 form was just awful and it was put down to his desire to chase the £ or €, and so we gave him a bumper payback if he would ‘say sorry’ and welcomed him back with open arms. Form returned late in the season and ran thru September when it deserted him again. Is it the cold?

Rooney looks lost and the press say its the positional changes that have affected his game. Well actually its form. He shoots wide often, his passing is either great (long diagonals to the right wing) or awful (through balls a la Leo Messi) and his decision making has been poor in general. If you watch where we lose the ball over the last couple of months, it’s with Rooney more often than most.

So do we keep playing him or have another plan? If he was dropped would he walk?

Then there’s Patrice Evra, the enigmatic man from the World Cup and Captain on Saturday. Who is the real Evra, is it the all action fullback or the winger who doesn’t defend. It’s form.

My view is that the Europa League is the place to play players back to form, drop all 3 and play them in the FA Cup and Europa League and when their form returns, as it mostly does (sorry Fernando Torres!) then play them again.

It’s just not fair for the rest of the team and for Phil Jones to come out in support of Rooney, or for the Daily Mirror to speculate on a new leftback is not helpful for confidence so remove some limelight.

I don’t know what’s best but I do know out of form players hurt team performance and results. The team comes before any player, live that dream!

Steve Burrows CBE @ifollowsteve

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