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Berbatov ready to rock

02 Sep 2010 13:15:58

Berbatov ready to rock

Dimitar Berbatov's campaign could be shaped by Sir Alex Ferguson's Euro selection against Rangers. Amazingly, the Bulgarian hasn't played an unbroken sequence of more than four matches since his first two months as United's £30.75m club record buy in 2008. That first burst of eight games on the trot yielded five goals for Berbatov. They included four Champions League goals against Aalborg and Celtic. And his European early tally promised much. But he ended his debut season on the bench in the Champions League final in Rome against Barcelona and last season he started just the one European match all season against CSKA Moscow in Russia in the group stage. And his Euro influence had turned sour. Spearhead That has been down to the switch to the one-man spearhead and five-man midfield favoured in the Champions League by Fergie with Wayne Rooney being the lone striker. The knock-on effect for Berbatov is that he's not had that continuous run of matches to get his teeth into. This season he has started all three Premier League matches and is winning over his large band of critics. The 29-year-old has scored twice and has been an eye-catching influence on the Reds. When the league season starts again after the Euro 2012 qualifiers he looks a nailed on starter against Everton at Goodison a week on Saturday. But three days later United's Champions League campaign starts against Scottish Champions Rangers at Old Trafford. Will that two-year elusive five-matches on the bounce escape him again and fragment his impressive early start? Ex-Reds striker Andy Ritchie is a committed Berbatov supporter and he believes a run for Dimitar could be the key. I have always been a Berba fan. You will never have heard criticism of him from me, Andy told M.E.N. Sport. You never know what the manager has up his sleeve regarding selection and that's how it should be. But from Dimitar's perspective it would be great for him to get a few matches unbroken under his belt. There is no doubt that has to be a factor. Cantona-esque You need consistency in your game and to help get that you want to be playing match after match. To have breaks thrown in, they must have a big bearing. At the moment you cannot see him not playing and, for his sake, I hope that continues. He is a class act and brings the Cantona-esque factor to United's game that I don't think we have had for a while possibly since Eric's era. He holds the ball up so well, sees a pass and links play. For me it is also reminiscent of Jimmy Greenhoff at Old Trafford. In my young days at the club Jimmy and Stuart Pearson were up front and I tried to get both of their styles in my games. I particularly looked up to Jimmy. His control was superb, he too could pick a pass out and he scored goals as well. I think Dimitar is very similar. Berbatov's two-season Old Trafford goals statistics read 14 in his debut term and 12 last. But Ritchie is convinced that haul is about to grow. I actually thought that last season Berba was very, very unlucky in front of goal, added Andy. Yes some of it maybe was bad finishing but on the whole I thought he had a lot of bad luck. More good fortune and he would have been easily into the 20s and nobody would have been moaning about him. But he has been in the 20s twice in England with Spurs and I think he can reach those kind of figures again. I have no doubts that he is a 20-odd goal a season striker in the Premier League. Although Dimitar is Mr Cool personified on the outside you just wonder how much an affect coming to a club like Manchester United has had on him. I think the enormity of it has possibly played on his game. But I think he is through that now. After two seasons you have to say this is an important one for him. But I am confident the way he has started he'll have a lot more people singing his praises this year. Will Berbatov be United's main man this season? Have your say.


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