John Foster reports on the latest from Old Trafford...
Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has suggested that his side’s prospects could be boosted by fielding an A-side in competitive league matches.
Woodward insists that the creation of a United ‘first team’ to play alongside the reserve side currently struggling in the Premier League would lead to greater competitiveness, improved performances, and ultimately, superior players.
“The current set-up of having only a reserve team has been useful,” Woodward told FourFourTwo. “We’ve been able to give playing time to youngsters like Adnan Januzaj while keeping old heads like Ryan Giggs around.
“We’ve blooded new signings like Marouane Fellaini, while easing Rio Ferdinand back to full fitness,” the former accountant continued. “We’ve even allowed David Moyes to find his feet at Old Trafford by taking charge of games.
“But I can’t help but think that if we had a first team playing week in, week out, we might be more competitive in the Premier League.”
Woodward also pointed out that a number of United’s continental rivals employ first teams in their pursuit of trophies.
“Bayern Munich have a first team, Juventus have a first team. So do Barcelona and Real Madrid. In fact, most clubs in Spain have first teams. And players like Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie won’t want to play for Manchester United Reserves forever.”
However, the proposals have received short shrift from the Football League, and from Football Association chairman Greg Dyke.
“People have called for first teams in the English leagues before, but we don’t see any need for such nonsense,” Dyke told FFT. “In fact, we’re taking careful steps to ensure that the national team is represented by England B, not just now, but for the rest of this decade and beyond.”