Sir Alex Ferguson believes the strikers currently in the Manchester United squad are the best he has had over the 26 years he has managed the club. Wayne Rooney (pictured), Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck are his four forwards, and they currently have a better scoring record than the players who helped United win the Treble in the 1998-99 season.
This is some claim, given the contribution of Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham to United’s Champions League win in 1999, but the facts confirm this view. The older vintage had scored 46 times by the end of January during the Treble winning season.
Two Hernandez goals and one from Rooney in the FA Cup win over Fulham took the current quartet’s tally to 47, one more than the 1998-99 combination at this stage. Ferguson has now suggested that his present attack is the best in his time at Old Trafford.
In the 1999 Champions League final, United were a goal behind to Bayern Munich at the start of injury time. In the space of two minutes, both Solksjaer and Sheringham scored to win the Champion’s League for the club for the first time in the Ferguson era and complete the Treble.
No other English side has won the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in the same season and Ferguson feels he has the strike force to emulate the squad of 1999. Roy Keane was a key member of that side but he missed the Champions League final due to suspension.
United do not currently have a midfield player in the same class as Keane who combined skill and an utter determination to win football matches. Michael Carrick is the side’s best player in that part of the field and he is now playing consistently well.
The one problem area for United could be in the goal keeping position. David de Gea is young and inexperienced and at this stage of his career looks a long way short of Peter Schmeichel, the keeper during that run of success at the end of the 1998-99 season.
This is one area in which Ferguson may look to improve the squad. The summer purchase of Jack Wilshere from Arsenal and Gareth Bale form Tottenham would give the midfield added strength, but the four forwards look good enough to score the goals that can see United win more trophies over the next few years.