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UEFA Champions League Final Special: Manchester United Midfielders

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If you have only just joined the Manchester United introduction series then you have some catching up to do. Part One covers goalkeepers while Part Two takes a look at the defenseman.

Manchester head coach Sir Alex Ferguson distributed playing time among nine players and while most of them have at least 30 appearances, Nani leads the way with the most playing time. Yet, even his place in the final is up in the air, as the midfield figures to be the least projectable.

Nani



Position: Midfielder/Winger
Squad No.: 17
Date of birth: 24 July 1986
Place of birth: Praia, Cape Verde
Height: 1.75 m (5' 9'')
Weight: 66 kg (146 lbs)

GP

GS

G

A

SH

SG

FC

FS

YC

RC

47

41

10

15

153

47

56

87

2

0


Luís Carlos Almeida da Cunha "Nani" is an offensive minded midfielder that is usually playing on the right side. Nani has a number of weapons to beat his marker including blinding pace and tremendous creativity with the ball. At any moment he is capable of a spectacular move to get by the defender and can score with the best of them. All this trickery more often than not gets Nani into trouble as he is guilty of trying to do to much instead of making a simple pass or cross. The Portuguese also neglects his defensive duties, but even when he is defending it isn't difficult to get by him.

Ryan Giggs



Position: Centre midfielder
Squad No.: 11
Date of birth: 29 November 1973
Place of birth: Cardiff, Wales
Height: 1.80 m (5' 11'')
Weight: 71 kg (157 lbs)

GP

GS

G

A

SH

SG

FC

FS

YC

RC

37

26

3

11

41

15

34

19

6

0


The Welsh veteran is having another stellar season being his usual playmaking self. Giggs, a club legend, is a tireless worker in midfield and he has a knack for scoring important goals. Giggs knows how to keep the ball under pressure, but when you allow him space you are just begging to be beaten. His passing is extremely accurate, but he can also best you with his shot. Ryan has, in recent years, added a collection of new tricks to his arsenal, but on most occasions they fail miserably.


Michael Carrick



Position: Centre midfielder
Squad No.: 16
Date of birth: 28 July 1981
Place of birth: Wallsend, England
Height: 1.88 m (6' 2'')
Weight: 71 kg (157 lbs)

GP

GS

G

A

SH

SG

FC

FS

YC

RC

42

37

0

1

29

6

19

37

1

0


Carrick is adept at playing as a holding midfielder or further forward. His passing has always been his strong suit as he has tremendous accuracy and range. Carrick has a powerful shot, but because of poor accuracy his projectiles rarely find the back of the net. Michael can pass equally good with both feet, but his technique isn't good with either of them. Carrick is an unspectacular player, but he is important for Manchester's success.


Darren Fletcher



Position: Centre midfielder
Squad No.: 24
Date of birth: 1 February 1984
Place of birth: Dalkeith, Scotland
Height: 1.84 m (6' 1'')
Weight: 85 kg (188 lbs)

GP

GS

G

A

SH

SG

FC

FS

YC

RC

37

31

3

8

27

9

21

23

3

0


Darren Fletcher is a hard working midfielder, who can win the ball from any opponent with his precise tackling. His passing is very accurate, but his long shot could use some work. Fletcher plays with maturity beyond his age and he is a constant student of the game. Darren is a big man, but he sometimes plays too soft, which is especially noticeable in the English Premier League where he can get outmuscled by opponents.


Antonio Valencia



Position: Right winger
Squad No.: 25
Date of birth: 4 August 1985
Place of birth: Lago Agrio, Ecuador
Height: 1.78 m (5' 10'')
Weight: 78 kg (172 lbs)

GP

GS

G

A

SH

SG

FC

FS

YC

RC

18

13

3

3

11

4

19

12

1

0


Valencia got of to a late start to the season as he broke his left ankle in September, but since his return in March he has been his usual athletic self. Valencia is another one of Manchester's speedy, athletic players. His crosses are pinpoint and his dribbling is sometimes simply stunning. Valencia's decision making has been questioned in the past as he often tries to complicate things, even though he has a simple, often better, solution available.


Park Ji-Sung



Position: Midfielder/Winger
Squad No.: 13
Date of birth: 25 February 1981
Place of birth: Seoul, South Korea
Height: 1.78 m (5' 10'')
Weight: 71 kg (157 lbs)

GP

GS

G

A

SH

SG

FC

FS

YC

RC

26

23

7

4

29

14

22

51

1

0


Park is a hard worker, that will never run out of energy. Whenever he is on the pitch he will be among the leaders at covered ground. A constant professional, Park bring dynamic to Manchester's play as he will work very hard to always be available to receive a pass. Park has struggled with finishing throughout his playing career and that is probably why he always seems to be looking for that extra pass despite being in a good scoring position himself.


Paul Scholes



Position: Midfielder
Squad No.: 18
Date of birth: 16 November 1974
Place of birth: Salford, England
Height: 1.70 m (5' 7'')
Weight: 64 kg (141 lbs)

GP

GS

G

A

SH

SG

FC

FS

YC

RC

31

22

1

4

21

5

36

11

11

1


Time hasn't been kind to Scholes, but the veteran can still get it done when on the field. He was never a very fast player, but at 36 his pace has slowed even more. However, Paul's passing is sharp as ever and his shot can still find the back of the net. You would think Scholes' tackling would improve with experience but it hasn't. He still lunges late and on many occasions he will hurt his teams chances with an early card.

Anderson



Position: Midfielder
Squad No.: 8
Date of birth: 13 April 1988
Place of birth: Porto Alegre, Brazil
Height: 1.76 m (5' 9'')
Weight: 69 kg (152 lbs)

GP

GS

G

A

SH

SG

FC

FS

YC

RC

29

21

3

2

28

14

21

24

5

0


Anderson is a versatile midfielder as he can play anywhere from defensive midfielder to attacking midfielder. He is highly energetic and will never stop running. An intriguing combination of defensive awareness and playmaking abilities makes Anderson very difficult to play against. Considering his offensive capabilities he doesn't get on the scoresheet anywhere near enough

Darron Gibson



Position: Midfielder
Squad No.: 28
Date of birth: 25 October 1987
Place of birth: Derry, Northern Ireland
Height: 1.83 m (6' 0'')
Weight: 90 kg (198 lbs)

GP

GS

G

A

SH

SG

FC

FS

YC

RC

21

14

3

4

37

13

18

4

5

0


Gibson is a strong midfielder making ideal for disrupting opponents play build-up, but he has to work on timing his tackles. His positional sense is excellent resulting in numerous pass breakups. Gibson is confident with the ball at his feet and while his passing isn't always crisp his shot is very dangerous. Derron will never be one of the fastest players on the pitch and he can struggle when facing fast players.

Glossary

GP: Games played, GS: Games started, G: Goals, A: Assists, SH: Shots, SG: Shots on goal, FC: Fouls committed,FS: Fouls suffered, YC: Yellow cards, RC: Red cards

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