Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Ole Admits Rebuild Is Missing Experience Youth Cup Date Confirmed

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Ole Admits Rebuild Is Missing Experience Youth Cup Date Confirmed

Article excerpt

AS if beating City at Old Trafford to claim a rare league double over the Blues weren't enough, United fans finished their Sunday night listening to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer identify the missing pieces of the jigsaw for the next step in his squad rebuild.

It wasn't that the Reds boss outlined the need for three summer signings to build a team that could challenge for the title, it was that he could spot the characteristic that could help United to the next level.

"We know we lack one or two or three players - and some experience - to be considered a title contender, we know that," the United boss said.

Having prioritised youth in his rebuild so far, Solskjaer has now accepted the Reds need a level of experience to be able to take the next step to challenging City and Liverpool on a regular basis.

United have consistently fielded the youngest starting XI in the Premier League this season, with an average age of around 24.5.

There is huge potential in this side, but every successful squad needs a level of experience as well, and in recent years United have let plenty of that walk out the door.

In Maroune Fellaini, Antonio Valencia, Daley Blind, Ander Herrera and Ashley Young United have lost some valuable experience in the past two years.

Chris Smalling could follow this summer, as could Alexis Sanchez.

On a footballing level those departures may be difficult to argue with, except for Herrera, but the replacements have all been much younger and more callow.

In Fred, Diogo Dalot, Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Daniel James and Bruno Fernandes United have signed permanent players aged 26 or younger in the past two years, aside from third choice goalkeeper Lee Grant.

This is a squad built for the future but to succeed in the present they need some extra know-how, some experience of winning titles and trophies.

That is why the expected new deal for Nemanja Matic makes so much sense. At 31 he still has more to give but he also has experience of the biggest games, of winning league titles. …

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