Why Alexander Buttner deserves a debut against Wigan

by Sam Peoples

Alexander Buttner joined Manchester United from Vitesse Arnhem this summer but is yet to make his senior debut in the squad.

“He’s been training all week with us and I’ve been very impressed. He seems very confident on the ball, good in the tackle.” Jonny Evans

The left-back has been impressing with his performances in the U21s and with Patrice Evra’s downward curve in form continuing at an alarming rate, he may well get the nod ahead of Patrice when Wigan visit Old Trafford on Saturday. I think he should.

A home fixture against Wigan Athletic is the perfect way to ease Buttner into first team football. Last season, we ran out comfortable 5-0 winners against them at Old Trafford and will be odds on to repeat the victory on Saturday, despite losing 1-0 at the DW Stadium towards the end of last season.

With the remaining September fixtures being against Liverpool, Galatasaray, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur, the game against Wigan stands out as the most straight forward of the month for Manchester United and the best opportunity for Buttner to gain experience with the first team.

Patrice Evra in training. Photo: Paul Ellis (AFP/Getty Images)

Added to the fact that Alexander Buttner deserves to get his chance to impress, Patrice Evra needs a massive wake up call.

For at least the past 18 months, his form has dropped well below the world class standards he set himself earlier in his Manchester United career.

He has become overly complacent in a position that has had no competition and comfortable in the fact that he was all but guaranteed to start the next game, regardless of the quality of his performance.

In the last five years, Patrice has played an average of 45 to 50 games a season. His fitness has never been a question but his positioning and work rate have come under rightful scrutiny.

Sir Alex also favoured his inclusion in the squad last season as in the absence of Nemanja Vidic, Patrice took up the armband. That isn’t the case now that the Serbian has returned and I think he knows the situation has changed.

The veteran defender now has a 23-year-old bright young player who is biting at his heels for a chance to start and a poor midweek performance from Evra for France in the international break might be the clincher for Sir Alex.

Buttner’s aggressive, energetic and tenacious style of play would bring a lot to the left flank which has become stale and predictable. Ashley Young and Patrice Evra have failed to nail down a fruitful partnership and United have too often relied on the work from Rafael and Antonio Valencia on the right to provide most of the attacking play.

From watching him in action against the reserves, I am confident that Buttner will be an instant hit with United fans. He has a no nonsense defending style but shows great positional discipline, despite his marauding runs to join the attack. To add, he has a viciously wicked left foot on him, isn’t shy of taking a pop at goal and is rather nifty at set pieces.

Competition in a squad is always healthy. Sir Alex should give him his chance on the big stage of Old Trafford on Saturday because the worst thing that can come out of it is Patrice Evra working harder to earn his place back, which will hopefully bring the best back out of the Frenchman and Buttner alike.

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