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Gibson's future is bright but is he willing to wait for his chance at United?
Published : 03 Dec 2009 00:53:37
If the likes of Federico Macheda, Danny Welbeck and Darron Gibson needed any reminding of how difficult it will be to establish themselves as Manchester United players, then the presence of a new face at the training ground last week will have done just that. At 21 years, Mame Biram Diouf is one of the best young players in African football, a Senegal international who will officially join up with United next month after finishing the domestic season with Molde in Norway. It is more than possible that Diouf - scouted personally by United reserve-team coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and signed last summer - will find himself on loan for the rest of this season, probably in Belgium. Decision time: Gibson's raised his profile but may need move from Old Trafford Nevertheless, his visit to the Carrington training complex emphasises how the United production line relentlessly keeps turning out new faces. Macheda may have scored two vital Barclays Premier League goals last season and yesterday put his name to a new four-year contract. Welbeck may have been tipped as an outside bet for the England World Cup squad by Sir Alex Ferguson, and Gibson may be the latest name on the back pages after two Carling Cup goals against Tottenham on Tuesday. But for those three, and other hopefuls, the route to a regular place in Ferguson's squad will be long and difficult. It could be that they never get there. Gibson, 22, reflected on his efforts against Spurs and suggested the team that won 2-0 on Tuesday could hold its own in the Premier League. England hopeful? Welbeck has been tipped as a future international by Fergie 'When you face established Premier League players like that it increases the pressure because we have to prove that we are good enough to play against them,' said the Republic of Ireland international. 'And this week we proved we're good enough, as individuals and as a team, to play in the Premier League every week. That team would be good enough to compete there.' Gibson, known as a quiet but decent man, may have a point but unwittingly he has hit upon another, more salient, issue. There is a huge difference between being good enough for the top flight and being good enough for Manchester United. And the dilemma facing players of his age and ability centres on how long they are prepared to wait. Do they, for example, take the Darren Fletcher approach and resist overtures from elsewhere in the hope of establishing themselves by their mid-twenties? Waiting game: Fletcher chose to bide his time rather than leave Old Trafford Or do they follow the lead of defenders Ryan Shawcross (Stoke) and Jonathan Spector (West Ham) and look elsewhere for regular football? Ferguson touched on the problems facing Gibson in particular when he recently said: 'He's not playing the amount of football he would wish for but he's had very good competition in Scholes, Anderson, Carrick and Fletcher. 'He's never let it get to him in terms of being unsettled. His performances in training are excellent and he comes in knowing it has been worthwhile. 'But sometimes you can't hold a young man back and that time is approaching for Darron now that he's becoming a good, powerful midfield player.' For all Gibson's promise, it should be noted that Ferguson has seen fit to start him in just one Premier League game, the end-of-season dead rubber at Hull in which he scored the winning goal. Patience pays off: Gibson's mobbed by United team-mates on scoring his second It is hard to see him making regular appearances during this season. Macheda and Welbeck have been given slightly more encouragement but it is all relative. As the arrival of young Diouf showed last week, time waits for nobody at Old Trafford.Meanwhile, Ferguson has admitted he 'regrets' United pulling out of the FA Cup a decade ago. The move created a storm, with United getting much of the blame for devaluing the old tournament. Many critics even argue the competition has never fully recovered as United opted to play in the Club World Championship in Brazil in the 1999-2000 season. Controversial trip: United dropped out of the FA Cup to entertain the few in Brazil Ironically, Ferguson has always felt the decision benefited United because they were able to recharge their batteries and went on to retain their title by 18 points. As a traditionalist, Ferguson was never comfortable with the move. United have won the competition five times during the Scot's 23-year tenure and are in a notable third-round tie this season, having been drawn at home to either non-League Kettering or old rivals Leeds. And, looking back, Ferguson knows the entire situation did not reflect well on the club. 'It turned out to be a disaster for us,' he told Inside United magazine. 'We did it to help England's World Cup bid. That was the political situation. I regretted it because we got nothing but stick and terrible criticism for not being in the FA Cup when really it wasn't our fault. Not overly Keane: Sir Alex regrets flying to Brazil for a 'disaster' trip 'The FA and the government felt playing in this tournament would help England's bid to host the 2006 World Cup. There was a lot of undue criticism - but it was a great two-week break.' Carling Cup semi-final draw: Manchester City v Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers v Aston Villa Manchester United starlet Macheda pens new four-year Old Trafford dealFerguson: I regret pulling Man United out of the FA Cup 10 years agoSchalke boss won't stand in Neuer's way if keeper wants to join United Explore more:People:Alex Ferguson, Federico Macheda, Danny WelbeckPlaces:Leeds, Republic of Ireland, Brazil, Belgium, United Kingdom, Norway