Simpson back in the fold after season to forget
Posted by nickogs20 on May 11, 2009
United right-back Danny Simpson is back with the club after the Reds and Blackburn Rovers agreed to terminate the 22 year-old’s season-long loan deal at Ewood Park a few weeks early.
Simpson was one of former United midfielder Paul Ince’s first signings at Blackburn last summer, and coming off the back of a 2007/08 campaign that saw him make 8 first team appearances with his boyhood club and then perform commendably on loan at Ipswich Town, hopes were high that the defender would push on and use a year of regular Premier League football to establish himself as a serious contender for the right-back position at Old Trafford.
Unfortunately, things haven’t quite panned out that way. Simpson was handed an early debut and made regular appearances at the start of Ince’s reign, but as Rovers struggled for results and their new manager started to feel the pressure, more experienced alternatives – Andre Ooijer for example – started to get the nod. When Ince was unceremoniously dumped after just 177 days in charge and Sam Allardyce handed the reins at Ewood Park, Simpson’s task became all the more difficult.
Establishing himself in a team that was facing a relegation battle and now in the hands of a different manager to the one who had identified him and brought him in was always going to be a long shot, and Simpson failed to impress in his limited first-team opportunities under Allardyce (having appeared in 11 of a possible 14 games under Ince, Simpson played in just one league game under the new manager). In recent months the Salford youngster has struggled to make the Blackburn bench, often finding himself playing reserve football, and as such it comes as no surprise that all parties have considered it wise to bring the loan agreement to a premature end. In total Simpson made 20 appearances for Rovers, 18 of those from the start, with 8 of those starts coming in cup competitions.
Simpson now has the chance to jog Sir Alex Ferguson’s memory regarding his abilities as a player as he trains with the squad for the remainder of the campaign, but he returns to Manchester with his chances of a long-term career at OT seriously damaged – and not just by the disappointing spell with Blackburn. The emergence of Rafael da Silva this season and the semi-regular involvement of Richard Eckersley with the first-team squad arguably shunts Simpson two spots further down the pecking order at right-back. Simpson still has a year remaining on the contract he signed two years ago, but it may be that club or player (or both) decide a transfer is in their best interests this summer.