Michael Owen’s concern over Manchester United’s ageing attack

Former Manchester United striker Michael Owen believes that manager Louis van Gaal will have to plan for the long term without the likes of Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao.

Michael Owen is impressed with Manchester United’s attacking unit, but warns that it may not be sustainable in the long run.

United currently boost three of the best players in the world in their attack: Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Radamel Falcao.

While Falcao joined the Red Devils on a season-long loan deal from AS Monaco on transfer deadline day, Van Persie moved to the Manchester outfit from Arsenal in the summer of 2012.

Rooney, who was made the United captain by new manager Louis van Gaal at the start of the 2014-15 season, has been at Old Trafford since 2004.

However, the trio are in their last 20s or beyond. Rooney and Falcao are both 28, while Van Persie is 31. And this, Owen believes, is an impediment to United’s plans of achieving long-term success.

'It's an exceptional attacking unit', The Manchester Evening News quotes the former United striker as saying. 'Certainly every time a team sheet comes out at Old Trafford or whenever they play away from home, you look at it and think how many good players are there in that team? It's a mouth-watering attack.

'The only negative thing you would say is that all of the strikers are of a certain age. They've all probably got a few years left at the top level... The here and now is very exciting and the here and now for the next few years is very exciting. But obviously in the coming years you would expect United to invest or produce another good youngster to take on that baton in the future.

'When I say the here and now I'm talking the next three or four years. Certainly Rooney and Falcao - Van Persie is getting a little bit older so he has two or three years at the top still, who knows?'.

Owen has a point about the age factor, but Van Gaal has not been drafted into the United unit for long-term success – well, not exactly.

Last season’s disastrous campaign meant that United needed to take actions to make sure that they get back into the top four, maybe even win the Premier League title this season.

That is Van Gaal’s primary objective, and once he fulfils that, then he can start planning United’s long-term future.

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