Paul Parker

United must keep Tevez

Paul Parker

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What the next few weeks hold for Carlos Tevez is unsure, but
I am certain about one thing: if Manchester United allow him to leave, they
will soon come to regret it.

I know it's been
said before - remember how United were expected to struggle without the likes
of Paul Ince, Roy Keane, David Beckham and Ruud van Nistelrooy? - but this time
I seriously believe United will suffer from the departure of a player who
embodies the club's spirit.

Not only does he make and score goals, his work rate is
incredible. He is not afraid to track back, help out defensively and undertake
the dirty work others are not so willing to do. He is a constant thorn in the
opposition's side, even when things
are not going well for him.

And his attitude is exemplary. Have we seen the slightest
hint of a sulk when he is forced to sit on the bench? And has he ever given
less than 100 per cent when he does get a chance to play? No.

That's why United
fans love him so much. And I believe that feeling is reciprocated; Tevez doesn't want to leave United, but if he did I would
understand. After all, every footballer wants to play and very few would be
happy to sit on the bench, especially at a club like United.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was an anomaly in that respect,
although his position on the bench was perhaps more justifiable given the form
of the three strikers ahead of him in the pecking order - Andy Cole, Dwight
Yorke and Teddy Sheringham.

The fact of the matter is that at the moment neither Wayne
Rooney nor Dimitar Berbatov is playing better than Tevez. Both are terribly
inconsistent and Berbatov in particular is beginning to frustrate with his
lacklustre displays.

Tevez would have every right to question why he is not in
the starting line-up at the moment. At any other club in the country, including
other members of the Big Four, he would be playing from the first whistle. I
believe if a player is playing well, then he should continue playing. When his
form dips, try someone else, regardless of reputation. It's
simple.

But unfortunately Tevez may not even be the one who has the
final say on where he ends up. As seems to be the norm these days, a player's future lies firmly in the hands of others - in
his case, the company that owns his economic rights.

A year ago, United thought he was worth £32 million in what
was a bloated market and few disagreed. But 12 months down the track no player,
even one as valuable as Tevez, is worth such a hefty sum.

But I fear that his owners are set on getting that amount in
full from United and if they don't,
Tevez will be moved on.

Fortunately, given the global economic downturn, Manchester City are probably the only club around
with a spare £32m. But I don't think
Tevez would make a move across town given how he feels towards United fans.

So perhaps all will end well for United and their fans and
Tevez will end up staying. I certainly hope he does - his enthusiasm, attitude
and talent would be sorely missed.

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