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10 Oct 2019 00:26:18
I'm new to this site but I read it all the time
To solve are situation I would do everything we can to get zlatan back, not as much for his football but Because he thinks he is god, all these young lost players will follow him. Abit like cantona back in the day, I would also put axel at DM and have pogba and mctomminy further forward
Greenwood must start he is not the only 18 year old in this world who is playing 1st team football
Gomez n garner must start getting 20 minutes here and there in PL, Chong should go on loan. That's my take anyways.

Agree3 Disagree0

10 Oct 2019 07:23:27
As Ed002 said, Zlatan would be disruptive with kids.

We need quality players like Sancho, Bruno, Maddison, Rice, Chilwell who would ease the burden on the youngsters.

10 Oct 2019 07:36:59

Not often this happens but I literally disagree with every single point you made.

Zlatan wasn’t even great when he was here, caused all sorts of problems and slowed down other players progression, he’s at the right level in America.

Axel is a centre half, playing a kid out of position would be a terrible idea.

Greenwood starting every week in a team that creates nothing could break the lad, I’m already hearing people say he’s not as good as has been made out by people who haven’t seen him at a lower level, no striker has looked good in our side for years.

Garner and Gomes are just kids, I do think Garner should be getting a few games as our midfield is so bad but again bringing young kids into this situation when the team isn’t performing could do serious damage to their careers.

10 Oct 2019 09:17:09
I agree with GDS2. Young players need to be handled very carefully otherwise it can knock their careers a few years back and most never recover from it.

Gone are the days when teams used to give too much respect to the big clubs and were more concerned about losing the game and the games weren't played at such a high intensity with constant pressure from the opposition with their high press nowadays.

10 Oct 2019 10:09:05
We all want to see Greenwood fulfill his potential. Yet we have to be careful. There are many cases players playing regularly at the age of 17 or 18. However, many of them also have issues with fitness when they get into their late 20's.

Owen and Rooney being prime examples. Even Messi is struggling more and more with his fitness.

It's to do with the stress put on their bodies before they are fully grown. It's not about size or strength. But about the body being put under strain while still developing. It means the muscles develop with an inherent weakness which often comes to the surface later in the players career.

This is why you need to be very careful when you play young players and how much they play.

If Greenwood hasn't finished growing then for his own long term health the club needs to limit his exposure to the work rate required to play professional football.

It's a fine balance between giving them enough game time for them to develop their game and hone their talent, while not overloading them with physical work so as to stress and damage their developing bodies.

We all want to see Gomes, Greenwood and Garner in the first team on a more regular basis. But we need to temper that with what is best for them long term.

As for your other points, I would rather see Tuanzebe alongside Maguire at CB and feel if we are to move someone from defence into midfield then Lindelof might be the best option. He started his career as a midfielder, while playing slightly further forward might mitigate his weakness at defending aerial balls, while his strengths are his reading of the game and his passing, both things that would hold him in good stead when playing in midfield.

Finally Zlatan, I love the guy. He has a great personality. But he is in the best place for him. I don't think him returning would help us, in fact it would more likely hinder us.

10 Oct 2019 10:52:43
Shappy, less than two weeks ago, “I think tonight might be the game that Mason Greenwood truly announces himself on the world stage. A brace or even a hat trick maybe. ”

This was before the Arsenal game, and I said that this was placing unreasonable expectations on a child to perform in a big game.

GDS is completely right. Playing Greenwood in a team that creates nothing risks destroying his confidence. But equally problematic is when he is hyped up, and expected to perform like a seasoned striker.

This isn’t just a dig at Shappy, Ole made this bed for Greenwood when he claimed that replacing Lukaku would block Mason’s first team chances. By implying that Greenwood was Lukaku’s replacement, the manager created the expectation that he would be a key player in the squad. The reality is that he is still a kid and can’t be expected to shoulder the burden for goals in a struggling side.

The same can be said for Rashford and McTominay. Young lads expected to lead the midfield and attack. This is the problem with putting your faith in youth without having established players to help them along. You lump too much pressure on them, and their confidence and performances suffer.

10 Oct 2019 11:07:33
Shappy, agree with some of that but I think that the idea of young players playing too many games before they are physically fully developed being a bad idea is not grounded in hard science. It's the kind of thing i hear thrown around by commentators a lot. 'Developing bodies" are far more flexible than older ones, we only have to look at he field of gymnastics to understand this. There are plenty of players eg Giggs who debuted early and played a long time - once he'd sorted his hamstring via some yoga. Ronaldo will be another. I'm not saying that there aren't some decent reasons for not overplaying young footballers but I have yet to see good evidence of it shortening careers via later injuries. Sports medicine is not my main field but I am a doctor with an interest in sports injuries.

10 Oct 2019 11:39:36
Danny, I'm not sure my comments were read by Mason and if they were I hope they didn't put undue pressure on him.

However, my reply to this post is to do with the physical pressure on a developing body. Not the mental or emotional pressure of our media exposed society.

I feel Greenwood has the talent to make an impact in the EPL right now. However, whether he is physically ready to play 90-180 minutes of football every week for the next 35 weeks is another completely.

Richard, actually there is a growing body of scientific evidence to suggest that early exposure to high levels of physical activity is damaging long term to the body. There are several key development stages in which the body becomes weaker in order to grow. Much like how a crab will have to leave its hard exoskeleton and expose its soft body in order to grow. Our bodies during one of these growth stages are stretched and weaker. Overexerting ourselves during these periods is damaging to our long term development.

Much like we are seeing in America currently with sports that cause head impacts on young players having negative long term effects to the development of their young brains. Don't be surprised if within the next ten years heading the ball in football will be banned in youth football. As a FA trained youth coach we are already being discouraged to play high balls and to teach kids to keep the ball on the deck to avoid potential issues down the line. Which is dividing opinion among coaches, on one hand if heading the ball is dangerous then it shouldn't be allowed, yet on the other hand while heading the ball is still allowed not training kids to head it correctly is reckless to say the least.

I train the lads to keep the ball low and to defend the space, and not try and win the high ball, but not allow the opposition in to the space where the ball will drop. It makes it difficult when defending corners and free kicks mind. But you can often just crowd the tall lads out, deny them space and they can't do much with a high ball.

However, I have digressed. The point is that there is more and more evidence coming to light as sports science grows and becomes more prevalent in the game. There are reports and papers coming out every couple of months that support the idea that overexertion during bodily development is causing long term health issues.

10 Oct 2019 12:42:41
The line, "I feel Greenwood has the talent to make an impact in the EPL right now"is revealing.

This is a kid, just turned 18, very little senior experience, playing for a side struggling to create chances and score goals. And people are still building an expectation that he is a solution to our attacking problems. Ole is the primary culprit here, as he's the one that implied that Greenwood is a direct replacement for the club's highest scoring attacker over the last two seasons.

It's not just Greenwood either. Rashford being asked to lead the attack, McTom expected to drive the midfield, James to immediately step up from the championship to a top six EPL side, and AWB called the solution to a decade old RB problem after a whole season in the role.

The pressure has been piled on young players with limited experience to perform at a consistently high level. The club did it by refusing to invest, Ole did it by stating that he thinks this young team can compete for top 4, and the fans are doing it with comments like yours.

The result is that the confidence and form of our young players is shot. An unreasonable expectation has been set. They can never reach their potential without the help of quality experienced players. You start with a base of quality and experience, then add the youth, not the other way round. When they don't match this expectation they are criticised for not being good enough; united quality, etc.

Mason isn't reading your comments, but they are symptomatic of the wider hype and expectations that will hamper his, and other young players', development.

10 Oct 2019 16:08:29
Danny, Ronaldo was 18 when he joined us, Rooney was 16 when he made his debut, Messi was a regular at 17.

All these players had huge hype to live with from a very young age.

The difference as you point out is that they had quality experienced players to take the responsibility of getting results. Yet the hype was still the same.

You say it is revealing that I said he looks ready to make an impact. I have watched him through the youth system. When you see him play for the under 23's you can see he is a level above everyone else on the field. His talent means he is ready to play at a professional level.

Whether he is mentally or physically ready is down to the coaching staff to judge. But at some point if he is going to make it he will have to play and he will have to perform.

10 Oct 2019 16:39:47
Wow. This is probably one of the best discussions I’ve read on this site in all of the years I’ve been frequenting it and certainly the most interesting since performances on the pitch went down the crapper.

I’d love to see the young players given the chance to step up but think we need to strike the right balance of experience and youth. That players like Giggs, Becks and Scholes could all break in to the first team the way that they did is clear evidence that you can succeed with youth, but there are some key differences between then and now.

For starters, our team was full of leaders who the youngsters could both learn from and rely on to shoulder some of the burden of scoring and creating chances. Who exactly do we we have to fulfill that role now? Mr. I haven’t scored or assisted a goal in nearly a full calendar year Lingard or the ‘world class’ player that doesn’t turn up most weeks? Players like Rashford (and to a lesser extent, Greenwood) are being placed under tremendous pressure and being asked to carry out a role that is clearly beyond them.

Add to this the strength of today’s league and I really don’t think it would be possible to break in that number of youngsters in a top team in this day and age. Just look at Foden at City. He’s one player with a lot of potential that’s struggling to get a kick and we’re trying to break in four or five? Liverpool and Klopp have done a much better job of this over the last few seasons and Chlelsea too this season are showing that it is still possible, but both of these sides still have some very talented and experienced players.

I don’t think Zlatan is the answer, but I do think there needs to be some experienced players brought into our midfield and strike force and am not too worried about them ‘blocking’ the path of our ‘talented’ youngsters, as as we are seeing now, they aren’t ready to be starters just yet and may never be if they’re not nurtured and given the chance to learn from experienced players and sheltered from the burden of expectation.

10 Oct 2019 22:15:52
Shappy very interesting post, i like the crab analogy, thanks for responding in detail. regarding the overexertion injuries, are there any big new studies you know of that i can have a look at? studying the data on elite athletes is fascinating, but it is often difficult to compile as some much of the data on professional athletes comes from the private sector of medicine and is sometimes shrouded in secrecy at the higher levels.



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