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Is this the Frenchman's last chance?

Gonzalo Maldonado Thursday, July 14, 2011

Gabriel Obertan is among the 21 players who are travelling to USA for the 2011 Tour. Many, and I include myself, were expecting the French winger to be by this time either loaned out or transferred to another club. However, Sir Alex Ferguson seems to be giving Obertan one last chance.

In 09/10 season we bought Obertan, Valencia and Owen. The 22-year-old winger has been a disappointment both to the manager and the fans. Antonio Valencia became an integral part of the 09/10 squad which failed to retain the Premier League, and Michael Owen, who has played a secondary role at United, has scored some memorable goals such as the winner against City on that thrilling 4-3 and a hattrick playing against Wolfsburg away in the Champions League Group Stage.

Obertan has not been given the chance to play week in week out since his arrival, but, truth be told, when given the opportunity his level was, to be kind, below par. He and Bébé have been accused of showing lack of interest and motivation to wear the United shirt, and their last game was against Crawley Town in the FA Cup 4th Round.

Obertan is one of the 4 wingers the squad has (I include Giggs among the CMs). The lack of centre midfielders of this provisional squad can mean Obertan will be given minutes at a central position. He can play behind the striker, with Young and Nani on the flanks, or also be given another shot at playing as a right winger.

Contrary to fans’ expectations, Obertan is still a Man United player. And this tour will give him a last chance to prove his worth to Sir Alex. If he intends to have a chance at being a United player, then he has to give his best. Should he perform at a high level this preseason, he could be given more minutes at the start of the season in the League Cup, some Champions League and also Premier League games.

The provisional squad has also seen the likes of Sam Johnstone, Mame Biram Diouf and Kiko Macheda, who will not have many minutes throughout the season. Johnstone travels as the squad’s third goalkeeper, given that our latest acquisition David de Gea has been granted an extended leave time because of his participation in the European U21 Championship. Macheda and Diouf are the 6th and 7th strikers, respectively (I added Young to the list), in the pecking order so it is expected that they’ll either leave or stay to play in the League Cup and some games in the FA Cup.

The Tour 2011 squad is provisional, subject to change in the event of training injuries:

Goalkeepers: Anders Lindegaard, Ben Amos, Sam Johnstone
Defenders: Rafael, Fabio, Nemanja Vidic, Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand
Midfielders: Michael Carrick, Nani, Anderson, Ryan Giggs, Ji-sung Park, Gabriel Obertan
Forwards: Mame Biram Diouf, Federico Macheda, Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen, Dimitar Berbatov, Ashley Young.

The following players will join the tour after their agreed leave time: Chris Smalling, Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverley, David de Gea, Phil Jones, Javier Hernandez.


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