No Manchester United player is guaranteed to play, warned manager David Moyes, speaking after his side’s victory over Liverpool in the Capital One Cup. The Cup win came just a few days after the Red Devils experienced a humiliating defeat in the Manchester Derby, falling 4-1 to rivals Manchester City, their only goal a late consolation from Wayne Rooney.
On the heels of such a defeat, then, it was unsurprising that Moyes had plenty to say about the quality of his players. He did defend certain individuals, most notably new signing Marouane Fellaini. The United manager admitted he may have rushed the former Everton man into the big game against Manchester City, stating that, despite the Belgian looking a little off the pace in training, he felt Fellaini’s presence would be needed. He also warned against making snap judgments about Fellaini’s abilities to fit into the squad, stating, “When you have only played two games for the club it is difficult to make a judgment on anybody.”
Yet this is Ashley Young’s third season for Manchester United, so the excuse that he’s not yet played enough games to judge his worth won’t fly when it comes to the Englishman. Critics were harsh following Young’s performance in the Derby, and it seemed Moyes was disappointed as well, leaving him out of the squad for the clash against Liverpool. Yet the Scot spoke up in defense once more, stating ” Ashley played against Crystal Palace [two weeks ago] and probably won us the game. He got us a penalty and was through with a chance to score. He didn’t play particularly well against City but as I said you could probably have picked another half-a-dozen who didn’t. Ash is fine. We will give him every chance to prove what he can do.”
Every chance, yes. But every Manchester United player — including, presumably, Robin Van Persie, whom without United have struggled to score — must prove himself worthy of a start. “I want to see good form. If you play it makes the job much easier. You’ve got to play and you’ve got to play well,” Moyes emphasized.
Moyes will get the chance to back up his words when United face West Bromwich Albion on Saturday afternoon. Van Persie is available after recovering from injury. Fellaini may return after being cup-tied against Liverpool. Javier Hernandez scored the winner midweek. United are negotiating for new contracts with both young Adnan Januzaj and veteran Nemanja Vidic. And of course, there’s still Young. Who will earn a spot against the Baggies?