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Anderson fit and firing

The retirement of Paul Scholes has left Manchester United with a huge void to fill. How do you go about replacing a player whom Zinedine Zidane called “the greatest midfielder of his generation”?

A 17 year career totalling in 466 appearances and 102 goals has left United with a conundrum as to how to replace a player, who will almost certainly prove to be impossible to replace-like-for-like.

Yet Anderson seems to be being groomed to be a Scholes-lite holding player, having performed that role at Wembley during the Community Shield (an ironic title for the match given what has followed in the communities of Manchester in the ensuing week).

Anderson is also going to be around at Manchester United for a while, with a contract that keeps him at Old Trafford until 2015.

In an interview with the Independent at the end of last season, he said how he was looking forward to having a crack at regular first team football. His first uninterrupted pre-season has left him in good shape for the new campaign.

He’s revelled in the challenge, playing in all their pre-season matches, scoring in two, including Paul Scholes’ final match for the club.

The qualities that Anderson has to replace Scholes are his composure, power in his shots, and a sublime left foot.

It’s not as though Anderson isn’t trusted by Sir Alex either, this is, after all, a player who has played in Champions League finals already, which is pretty good going for a 23 year-old whose made 73 appearances for United across four seasons.

Having previously been limited by the form (Darren Fletcher) and class (Giggs and Scholes) of others barring his way to more regular first team football, Anderson has had to bide his time, yet if he can stay free from injury he anticipates his performances this season to prove that.

He recently said: “I have the qualities to be player of the season” and he might yet supplant that surprise a few people with the impact he can have in Manchester United Away in the coming months.

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