Imagine this. It’s the early days of The Smiths, or The Stone Roses, you see Marr and Squire making incredible noises from doing what they do as lead guitarists. You look among yourselves and think this is it, this is the guy who can take us to that level where we need to be if we’re to achieve the success we’re all dreaming of.
Feels awesome doesn’t it?!
Now imagine that as you leave the rehearsal room and go on to the playing live side of things, that incredible talent has been asked to play bass where his talent will still come through in glimpses, but nowhere near often enough to shape the band’s sound as it would if he was playing lead.
This good people is how (to me at least) it feels to watch Anthony Marshall play from the left hand side.
I know its early days; I do not need reminding of that. What I also do not need reminding of is how flat and one dimensional we look with our CUrreNT captain leading the line as badly as he is at the minute.
When young Anthony has played through the middle up top, he’s been unplayable at times. He’s got pace to spare, composure like nothing I’ve seen in a lad of his age & most importantly of all, the ability to hit the net far more often than he misses it.
Watching Rooney lead the line at the minute is harder than walking in on your mum & dad doing the “nothing worth watching on TV” dance. It’s as grim as grim can be. It’s made all the grimmer by the fact that we have in our side a player who’s everything that Wayne used be but no longer is.
On Sunday we were up against a City side that were quite determined to park their expensively assembled bus in front of their goal and play with absolute faith that we lacked the ability to get round, over or under it. With Rooney through the middle the plan worked perfectly, they had Otamendi on him like a spray tan on an Essex girl, they could do that against a front man who moves slower than a Friday afternoon at work.
Could they have done that to Anthony? No, no they couldn’t and wouldn’t have dared dream of it!
I don’t expect the fire and brimstone stuff I grew up enjoying under Sir Alex while Van Gaal is in charge. But what I expect from a former teacher is the basic sense to see something isn’t working. That something needs to be changed to make it much more efficiently than it’s doing right now, and that something as we all know, is to put the right man in the spotlight where he can do the things that push United forward.
Until he does, we’re destined to spend our match days seeing fleeting glimpses of what could be if he had the sense to see that you don’t have a talent as big as the one Marshall has, and ask him to play the support role. No, not at all, what you do is find the spotlight, and you put him in the middle of it. That’s where the special talents truly shine and deserve to be. Now is Marshall’s time to be in there, if and when Van Gaal realises that, we’ll be a MUCH better side for it.