Five reasons why Manchester United fans should be optimistic after their start to the season

first_img 5 5 5 2. Memphis Depay is the most exciting talent United have had since Cristiano Ronaldo left. – He might have been quiet in the league so far, but Depay showcased in the midweek Champions League qualifier just why United were so keen to secure his signature. His first goal, in particular, illustrated his supreme talent and composure belittling his tender years – he’s still just 21. Patience with him will be key – remember Ronaldo was still very much a rough diamond upon his arrival at Old Trafford – but the early signs suggest the Dutchman is already the most eye-catching player the Red Devils have boasted since the Portuguese demi-God left in 2009. 1. Matteo Darmian is the new Gary Neville. Maybe. – The right-back spot has proved a real headache for United since Neville sustained a career-curtailing injury in 2007. Rafael, who has now been sold to Lyon, suffered from injury setbacks while Antonio Valencia became a makeshift defender during Van Gaal’s debut season in charge at Old Trafford. The arrival of Darmian appears to have extinguished those problems. A full international with Italy, he’s started his United career as if he’s been playing in England for years. As accomplished going forward as he is in defence, two clean sheets in two games are richly deserved. Manchester United may not have set the world alight so far in the new Premier League season, but it’s two wins from two so their fans won’t be complaining.They followed the uninspiring 1-0 win over Tottenham with an even grittier triumph at Aston Villa by the same scoreline under the Friday night lights.Red Devils supporters may be smarting from their failure to land Spain forward Pedro, but the rest of their summer recruits have looked impressive.And while Louis van Gaal appears increasingly agitated off the field by the press, on the pitch his players are doing the talking as they look to mount a genuine title challenge.So, two weeks into the season, here’s five reasons for United fans to be cheery. 5 5 4. Sergio Romero has already emerged as a bit of a cult hero. – With the David de Gea fiasco refusing to go away, Romero has impressed as the Spaniard’s understudy while the transfer furore exists around him. Always seen as a bit of a maverick, Romero has been composed, reliable and pulled off a string of fine saves to deny Christian Eriksen towards the end of the Tottenham win. Whether he will be United’s number one for the season remains to be seen, but he’s already become a bit of a fan favourite regardless. 3. Chris Smalling has justified his selection. – With Phil Jones out injured, Smalling has grasped his opportunity to stake a regular first-team berth at centre-back with three assured performances. Daley Blind has been earmarked as the long-term left central defender, which leaves Smalling and Jones fighting for the other spot. Judging by the first few weeks of the season, the latter will have a task on his hands to forge a way back into the side. He’s no Nicolas Otamendi and he’s certainly no Sergio Ramos, but so far Smalling has quietly vindicated his manager’s faith. 5. Wayne Rooney can only get better, right? – The departures of Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao this summer served to reinforce one thing – Rooney was Van Gaal’s flag bearer in attack. After a couple of uninspiring performances his role has already been questioned, but surely it will only be a matter of time before the England captain recovers his groove. He scored 37 goals as a lone striker in all competitions in the 2011-2012 season and if he get close to that record this term, United will be in prime position to compete on all fronts.last_img read more