Alan Smith has seen little football in the last two years at Manchester United ever since he was ‘converted’ to a midfielder by Alex Ferguson after Roy Keane recommended it.
Smith’s tenacity, willingness to win the ball back and an almost inhuman ability to keep on tackling shown through last season, but he had limited options in midfield having to compete with Fletcher and O’Shea for that 3rd midfield spot but his injury put an end to that and with Carrick’s purchase, Smith was to return to playing as a forward for Manchester United.
Smith hasn’t featured much for Manchester United this season, much like Heinze. Both have come off long-term injuries and in both cases the reasons given have been that their counterparts are doing a great job in the starting lineup.
In Smith’s case, it’s hard to believe that his hunger for playing is gone, so what we’re really worried about is whether he can still play as an effective striker. He’s not the type of player who would start ahead of Saha and with Saha destined to become 3rd choice after this summer, Smith will find very few chances at Old Trafford (especially with the return of Rossi to the fold).
Will Smith ever get an extended run in the Manchester United lineup again? Not if there is a severe injury crisis.
Will Smith benefit from a loan spell? Definitely, but he refused the option in January and will probably refuse it again in the summer.
Should Smith be sold, like David Jones was, to pursue his career?
Yes, because at Manchester United, despite a string of heroic performances last season, Alan Smith will never be considered a success.