I had to type that headline above VERY CAREFULLY…every letter was taped out on my keyboard in super slow mo. Exactly a year ago I wrote an article called The Peculiar Case Of The Flying Portuguese Winger. It was a speculative piece, wondering if our Mr Nani actually had big enough ‘boy marbles’ to fill the gargantuan boots left by his bezzie pal Ronaldo.
Twelve months on and im pleasantly surprised to have been impressed with the lads contribution, especially after Christmas last year. His performance at the Emirates lit the touch paper for a boost in confidence which saw us gasp at some of his skill…cos it finally looked like he had a final ball in his game. Now we’ve always known that Nani has had skill. He can do all the stepovers, lollipops, and flicks until the cows come home to their green fields of Cheshire. But like Berbatov, Nani would always be the one that FRUSTRATED THE LIVING HELL OUT OF YOU. There’s nothing worse than seeing a player that you know has the X Factor, only for them to have you covering your eyes at almost every turn when they touch the ball. The boy was the living embodiment of this.
But here we are, in 2010…and for me Nani is the one player I will have my eyes on the most. The reason for that is that if he starts to progress from the embers of brilliance we saw last season, I think United may well have a very very special talent. Now as fickle football fans go, I would have binned Nani last summer. He had gone backwards. It looked like he was a light year behind Anderson, who was purchased on the same shopping trip to Portugal by David Gill, and to be honest, he just didnt look like a United player. But now these two talents have swapped places. After poor form and injury, Anderson is the one staring firmly at the Old Trafford scrapheap, whereas Naniboy is flavour of the month, and then some. It is scary to laud the player up, but if Manchester United is to have a successful season next year, then Nani is gonna have to have a stormer. I bite my lip when I whisper to others that he will be the star of our show this coming season. It genuinely makes my stomach turn because I dont wanna set him up for a fall. But in a world where it appears that United cant splash the cash anymore, and with City and Madrid spending money like it is going out of fashion, we have to look closer to home for our next heroes
Talking of heroes, I think Wayne Rooney is gonna get kicked off the park this year. In many ways last season was his personal breakthrough. Despite being at our club for many years, last year was the litmus test of whether he could be the central striker…and he passed with flying colours. So for Roo, I think we will see that ‘second season effect’ The one that most players and teams suffer from. When an individual or team does something excellent over the period of a whole season, the opposition evaluates and reflects on how to stop it more effectively the following year. So expect to see Premier League sides trying to get closer to Rooney this year. They will kick him and try and make him play his football outside of the box, as he did so unconvincingly at this World Cup. So because of this it is so important that certain individuals ‘step up’ and takes some pressure of our Blue Scouser. Nani is one of those players. Id like to see him get 15 goals and 20 assists this season…and thats a minimum. It is a tall order as far as a target goes, but one which I think he can achieve. He only showed the world glimpses of what may be to come last year, so there will be no ‘second season’ effect for him. Teams still wont look at him with the same angry eyes that they will show Roo, so he must take advantage of that.
Other players that we need to see ‘do it’ this year are the aforementioned Berbatov, who is dining in the last chance saloon. Michael Carrick, who needs to prove himself all over again to The Faithful, and the youngsters of Rafael, Gibson and Macheda. All three need to show that 2010/11 will be their breakthrough season, and they are not going to go the way that so many promising kids go after their development stifles. So my fingers and toes are crossed for the boy wonder that is Nani. I could never have predicted that he would be such an important part of the jigsaw only a matter of months ago. But the truth is he is.
Lets hope there is a vast amount of backflips coming to a ground near you soon!
Rob B @badgerwolf on twitter
Absolutely..if he is gonna be Uniteds creative flair u need those sort of stats
Nani is world class- gota be valued at £50m, a yr from now he be one if not the best player in the world and stalkers like madrid will think they have a god given right to another utd superstar, madrid dream of being as big as us, shame real forever have settle for 2nd best. Utd the biggest sports team in the world and that shall always be. Nani is utd though and though and be helpin us win titles for many yrs to come.
15 goals and 20 assists as a minimum??????
Seems a little unrealistic, don’t think any player does that
Nani is proving to be a great player @ Man u.If he can only improve on his crossing he can be truly the best in the coming season.
The size of the club dictates that young players progress quickly. We cant go several seasons for them to potentially not work out, but there must be a balance. I think we give our youth at MUFC as much support and time they need..more than most teams. Look at fletcher..Ferguson kept faith and we now have a top performer in the boy
give Nani and the younger players time and they will come good for us,I think the problem is we the fans keep putting too
much pressure on these player,we expect too much, too quick,
just give them time they will be what we all expect them to be very very good .
fast turnaround on nani…you thought he may go in jan – http://viewfromtier3.blogspot.com/2010/01/uniteds-guardian-angel-just-tonic.html
think we’ve all been proven wrong by him
Absolutely! And I eluded to that in this new piece.
Really i never throught he be gone, i knew he come good again and told anyone who said different to this, it f’d me off hearing fans turn on him, it f me off whenever the fickle ones turn on any lad aft few bad games…a true fan backs a player all the way and gives support when the chipz are down…we should be united as one no matter what coz we r manchester.
It’s a 2 way street between the fans and players. Nanis continual under performance got under many fans skins including myself. When the boy showed what he could do recently we gave him another chance. Love is earned, not just cos u wear the shirt (very badly) sometimes…otherwise we’d have to expect Liverpool fans to love David Ngog unconditionally
I have always believe in the boy and he is gonna be our star player ala ronaldo. Good piece of article you’ve written. Excited to see United in canada today and even more excited for the next season. Glory glory Man United
Another very good post.
Great to see you joined the Nani club. I believed he could do it last season, and thankfully he proved me right.
This season, I’ll be backing both Berbatov and Anderson, hoping they’ll have a good one & prove me right too.
COME ON UNITED!!!
Nani has always been one of my favourite United players and as a Manchester United supporter I dont give up on any player till they pass through the exit door.
I shout for my”team ” not individual players wether at Old Trafford or in front of the box.
Anybody who can recall his first year at the Theartre had no reason to doubt the player he was awesome.
He certainly went off the boil, but once he got his new contract and was embraced by Sir Alex he grew and recognised he was loved at Manchester United .
Keep the faith with Anderson, you might be equally surprised.By the way it was not David Gill on a shopping trip as you suggest I would not trust him in discount warehouse! it was Carlos Queiroz who instigated the purchases.
Of course Wayne is not going to get kicked , what he is going to get is heckled verbally abused his wife and son.
Thats the game we are in.Remember its the ABU’s.
It will only inspire the White Pele.
Agreed lets see mutcho back flips from Nani and Mame Diouf, both gymnasts. lol
Good read thanks. BELIEVE.
On his game, he is an Arshavin type of player, sublime skills and two good feet! Long as he keeps his form going, we have a proper entertainer. Hope Anderson gets another chance, may still do a Nani!
I stood by Nani when many abandoned him shoutin he should be sold, he proved me right n them wrong. Now, Ando showed what he is capable of when Scholes gat injured, i hope SAF wil give him time on the pitch coz i strongly believe hes better than this people we are drooling after, khediras n so on. Finally berba’s place b berba’s place, behind Rooney(he wil do enthin with the ball includin scoring) n nowhere as a last man n fans wil be chanting his name
he’s done really well in the last half of the season
but it’s only about 10-15 games, so I’m not getting too carried away just year. He was absolute rubbish for longer than that, so only time will tell
I agree Nani may be one to watch this season, I was looking forward to seeing him play in the world cup until the suspicious “collarbone” incident.
I feel he has matured more as a player and has improved his game. The comments about him being worth £50m might be a little premature but if he has a good season netting 15+ for United I can see the big spaniards sniffing around next summer.
I believe Nani can up his level some more, but he needs some more time, and also may be that left wing is not his favorite position in the end, as it seems he’s more right-footed rather than left-footed (pity the man believed to replace Giggs is gone to citeh, silva)
Also if he’s injury-free for most of the season he can shine alongside Rooney and he can learn some more from the welsh wizard to improve concerning freekicks and crosses