Manchester United fans who saw Nani’s brief resurgence – the final flickering of a dying flame or the spark that would light a raging fire, depending on your point of view – would have wondered when Anderson’s time would come this season, if at all.
It was widely reported that he flew to Brazil without the club’s permission, incurring Ferguson’s wrath. Anderson spoke about the affair – a rare thing for a Manchester United player to do – and here are the quotes:
Anderson – on Brazil:
“The conversations with Ferguson are private but I have explained my situation. I went to Brazil to think about my future and not to negotiate with other clubs.
One of my dreams this season is to make the Brazil squad for the World Cup but the fact is that if I do not play for United then Dunga is not going to be interested in me. This is very hard for me because I need minutes on the field during the coming matches.
I always had a good relation with Ferguson. He has asked me for more effort and I accept that, but I need more chances to play in the first team.”
Anderson has told United that his meeting with Vasco’s director of football, Rodrigo Caetano, was simply an innocent chat with an old friend, Caetano having been at Gremio when the player was beginning his career.
Anderson on Manchester United:
“I have won titles in Manchester but still the people have not seen my real performance on the field. I am not a machine. It is impossible to function 100% in each match and I accept that I have not played well during some matches but those were not significant enough to stop me playing for a long time.
The decision not to ask me to travel to Milan was down to the coach. I just hope I have more luck and can play in the return game. I am a professional footballer and my responsibility is to United. Am I happy? I would say I am optimistic. If I play more games then I will be happy. But that is normal.
Some European clubs have asked about me but, as far as I am concerned, my future is still with United. I am not finished here and I’m convinced that I can offer much to this team in the decisive moments of the season.”
I like his attitude – he knows he deserves more but he also knows that he has to step his game up to a whole new level before he gets those chances. And he’s committed to Manchester United, and willing to work hard to improve his future.
There have been previous cases of young players at Manchester United not getting the chances they thought they deserved initially, struggle for a couple of seasons then really shine through as they seized on the opportunities given to them. John O’Shea and Darren Fletcher are two recent examples. Anderson is only 21, so there’s still a fair bit to go for him and there’s every chance that he will be successful at United.