When Manchester United signed Gabriel Obertan, it was on the back of waving goodbye to Cristiano Ronaldo. He did not come with much expectation because he was largely unheard of; therefore statements such as “the new Ronaldo” did not come in to play.
The Frenchman, who can play as a striker if required, is primarily a winger as he demonstrates with great potential due to his searing speed. He is clearly a talented player, but wingers who possess a lot of pace usually take a long time to develop their game fully, and seem to frustrate more than most.
He might not have got the “new Ronaldo” tag but there have been frequent comparisons between himself and the legend Thierry Henry. He may not be anywhere near Henry in terms of the complete player, but with the ball at Obertan’s feet, threatening to take on the full-back, the resemblance is uncanny. His ball control, technical ability and dribbling skills, mixed with the freedom a young player plays with, make him a great prospect for the future.
He has been easing himself in at United, and as expected, has not featured in a lot of games. Due to the fact that there is no pressure on him at the moment, he has worked really well as an impact substitute against tired defenders.
Coping with the rigours of the English game is a question that is likely to be asked of him as we head towards the end of the season, and leading in to the next one. Against teams like Everton, who do not allow you space and time on the ball, he is likely to struggle as he showed by not making an impression on the game for once. However, growing up in France, where he played in what is one of the physically toughest leagues, will have prepared him for the Premiership.
Obertan is a tall person, 6ft 1in, and should he combine his height with his speed, then he will be able to handle himself against defenders. If he understands all of his attributes, and does not over-elaborate with his skills, then he will prove to be a really good player at United.
Click here, Dazzling footwork, to see a taste of what Obertan is capable of.
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