Not quite as idealistic as Akira Kurosowa’s Seven Samurai and not quite as stylish as John Sturges Magnificent Seven, Manchester United’s Super Seven are the ones expected to employ new methods to restore traditional ways. Dynamic, fluid, classy, clinical and with a point to prove the seven strikers on Manchester United’s first team books have been assembled by Sir Alex Ferguson, are expected to score goals and lead the club back to glory. The seven are Michael Owen, Dimitar Berbatov, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez, Mame Biram Diouf, Danny Welbeck and Federico Macheda. A trio of Englishmen, a Bulgarian, a Mexican, a Senegalese and an Italian. There is diversity, experience and promise.
Michael Owen, a thirty year old England international, is a proven goalscorer trying to find a way back into the team. He will be expected to offer guidance to some of the younger strikers and display the efficacy in front of goal for which he became renowned. Dimitar Berbatov, the twenty nine year old Bulgarian who has yet to win over the majority of Manchester United fans, will be asked to provide more then the odd display of virtuosity. Wayne Rooney, approaching the age that the best strikers typically thrive at, will demand of himself that he improves on last seasons remarkable tally. Rooney will be the focal point and leading striker. Javier Hernandez, the diminutive young pacey striker, is expected to feature from the bench, offering an immediate goal threat. Federico Macheda, who Sir Alex Ferguson considers the most prolific striker in front of goal at the club, will perform when injuries provide opportunity or a desperate situation requires the type of remedy he offers – lethal striking. Danny Welbeck, only nineteen years old, appears, from a distance, to be the most exciting and technically capable of the young contingent. Welbeck offers skill, creativity and a wonderful long range shot. Lastly, Mame Biram Diouf, offers strength, tenacity and a keen eye for goal. Diouf, according to reserve team coach and Manchester United legend Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer, has everything required to be an important player at Manchester United but needs, perhaps, a little bit of luck. The talent is definitely there even if it only demonstrates itself through odd moments of brilliance accentuated by a general clumsiness.
It is apparent that not all seven of the strikers are going to make Manchester United’s squad of twenty five. Not only would it be impractical in terms of squad balance but it would also be harmful to the individuals. Sitting on the bench and featuring in no more than a handful of games will not be of any benefit to the younger players so it is expected that at least two of them will go on loan, probably Danny Welbeck and Mame Biram Diouf. As it stands, however, Sir Alex Ferguson himself has already contended it might not turn out like that. In one way or another, the Super Seven will decide Manchester United’s season. More pertinently, five of the super Seven represent Manchester United’s future and the two others, Berbatov and Owen, the senior samurai or gunslingers, if you will, will be expected to support their progression. If even four of the super seven are at Manchester United in three or fours years time the mission will have been accomplished. The Seven Samurai saved the village and restored peace, then the Magnificent Seven did the same. Now the Super Seven have to bring back the trophies and restore success.