1. The future looks bright. Of the 11 players that started tonight’s match, three were making their debut and over half of them were under the age of 24. I think our youngsters put in a fantastic shift tonight wherever you look but a special mention must go to Jesse Lingard. He showed why he was nominated for Reserve Player of the Year last season with a great performance alongside Carrick and Scholes. The diminutive player was proving a handful with his electric pace and had a great touch about him, with some lovely through balls to match.
2. Robbie Brady. The experiment of the night saw Brady play left back for the first time and it was a mixed performance. As anticipated, his forward movement was excellent. He overlapped well and added extra width to the attack and for the majority of the first half, he was one of our main attacking outlets. His attacking impetus was quelled in the second half as United tightened up at the back but on quite a few occasions throughout the game, he was caught out of position. It was to be expected of a winger who has never played left back before but the early signs are that he will have to put quite a bit of work in, discipline wise, if he is to shape himself into an out-and-out left back.
3. Dimitar Berbatov. What a sublime performance from him. Sure, it was against a mid-table South African side who didn’t press for toffee but it was glorious to watch the Bulgarian with time and space. He really does ooze class and gentlemanly swagger, swanning across the pitch like a mob boss at a meeting. This tour is almost definitely his final goodbye for United and with AC Milan sniffing at his heels, the Berba-show tonight wouldn’t of done his price tag any harm. If it wasn’t for the AmaZulu keeper, he may well have scored the goal of his career as well.
4. Welcome to United, Shinji Kagawa. He might have waited for the ball to go out for four minutes but Kagawa was finally able to come on right at the end of the game, to rapturous applause from both sets of fans. He didn’t get enough time to showcase his talent but the tell tale signs were there for all to see. He has the twitchy neck so characteristic of Scholes’ radar, always looking for space and team-mates, and if not for a poor decision by the linesman he may well have had an instant assist after setting Berbatov clean through. I’m really excited to see what Kagawa brings to United, more so than I have been about any other recent signing. I am convinced he is the missing link to the United puzzle. Hopefully, I am proved correct.
5. Why did it have to hit the bar? Davide Petrucci has been my favourite player in the reserves for a while now and he was robbed of a sublime goal by the coating of the crossbar. He is so confident with the ball at his feet and loves to play incisive passes which seem to come off more often than not. He has been thwarted and blighted by injuries over previous seasons, like our much maligned midfield, but he has got a golden opportunity this season to break into the first team squad having captained the reserves to a treble last year. Here’s to hoping he can hold his fitness.