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UNITED midfield legend Bryan Robson has run the rule over Brazilian star Anderson - and reckons the 20-year-old has some improving to do.

Reds boss Sir Alex Ferguson recently labelled Anderson the natural successor to Roy Keane, but Robson believes the Brazilian is not yet the finished article.

"He's got a lot of attributes - lots of energy, but he's still learning and has a bit to go," said Robson. "He can be erratic with his passing and I'd like to see him score more goals. But he's got lots of qualities and the energy to get box to box.

"One of his best qualities is that he's not daunted by anything. Everybody talks about the flair of Brazilians, but the thing I noticed about them the first time I ever played against them was their mental toughness. Nothing fazes them, they just love playing."

Robson, meanwhile, is convinced Anderson's team-mate Michael Carrick is ready to establish himself as a pivotal part of Fabio Capello's England revolution.

The United midfielder looks set to start tonight's friendly with Germany after earning his first call-up under Capello.

That, and the withdrawals of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard should see him make his first appearance for his country since facing the Germans in August last year. And it is not before time, according to Robson, who served United and England with such distinction.

He believes Carrick is spot-on for the international stage after proving he is a player of the highest quality in helping United to back-to-back titles and the Champions League in his first two seasons at Old Trafford. Robson says the 27-year-old is the perfect compliment to the more attacking styles of Gerrard and Lampard.


"The only reason he's had to wait so long for his chance is because of injuries," said Robson. "I am sure whenever he's 100 per cent fit Fabio Capello will have him as part of his squad.

"He's intelligent, a great passer of the ball and gets into all the right areas. For me he's made for international football.

"England have got a lot to choose from in central midfield, but there's no one like Carrick.

"Gareth Barry is a holding midfield player, but he likes to get forward. Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard like to get forward and score goals. But Carrick is a different type of player, who likes to sit in front of the back four and protect them."

Carrick has still not convinced everyone that he was worth the £18m United spent to bring him from Tottenham in 2006, having to live with unfair comparisons with Keane, who quit Old Trafford the season before.

But Sir Alex Ferguson had no doubts about his ability to make it at United, even handing him Keane's famed No 16 shirt as a show of faith. He had deployed the same tactic with Cristiano Ronaldo three years earlier when giving him David Beckham's No 7.

And Carrick's record since signing from Spurs speaks for itself with the midfielder playing a pivotal role in United's return to the top of the Premier League and Europe. Robson says it is not important that he does not fit the traditional mould of combative United midfielders like him and Keane.

"United have always had box to box players," he said. "Aggressive central midfielders who can pass the ball and get the game going.

"Supporters are used to players like Roy Keane and me who were similar in that way, but Carrick is different.

"He still wins the ball as much as we did, but not in the same way. You don't see him making so many full-blooded tackles, rather he tries to read the game, anticipate where the ball is going and intercept it that way."

310 Posts
Robbo is bang on about Anderson and Carrick. Anderson has the potential to be
regarded as the best player in his position in a few years but i can't help but feel
his development has lulled over this season. i think he needs something to kick
start him this term. I think even if he got his first goal it would bring him on. Plus i
think its about time Carrick started getting games with England. Barry being
ahead of him was wrong. Carrick was a mainstay in the midfield of the European
and Premiership Champs. that shows class in itself.
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