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Brandon Williams’ development spells danger for Luke Shaw as he stars in Man United win

https://sport360.com/article/football/manchester-united/338246/brandon-williams-development-spells-danger-for-luke-shaw-as-he-stars-in-man-united-win

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is certain Mason Greenwood will have “a very big career” at Manchester United – just as the manager is sure about the long-term benefits of taking the teenager out of the limelight at times.

Having got a taste of first-team football last season, the 18-year-old set tongues wagging during pre-season with some fine goals and promising displays that led to effusive praise from the United boss.

Solskjaer went onto describe Greenwood as one of the best finishers he has ever seen on the eve of his first senior goal against Astana – a superb September strike followed by another against Rochdale the following week.

The teenager had to wait until Thursday to add to that haul, showing composure and skill to put United on course for a comprehensive 3-0 win against Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League.

That was Greenwood’s first start in five weeks – a period in which he dropped down to play for the Under-21s in the EFL Trophy – as Solskjaer focuses on developing the teenage talent correctly.

“Mason is going to have a very big career, but sometimes is not the right time to play him,” the former United striker said.

“He knows why he hasn’t played as much. We’re taking our time with him.

“It’s been a difficult period. Anthony (Martial) has been away, to put all the weight on his shoulder wasn’t right either.

“I think we are finding the right balance between playing him, resting him and training him. He needs to learn the man’s game.

“He’s gone up from the Under-18s last year, now he’s training with the first team every day and you can’t just turn that switch on and off.

“You’ve got to perform every day if you are going to be accepted by a group like this.”

The last comment was striking as Greenwood has been given an elevated role due to the summer exits of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to Inter Milan.

Asked if he had not wanted to heap pressure on the teenager during Martial’s recent injury lay-off, Solskjaer said: “Not really.

“If he’d really stamped his authority in training every single day and been the best option, he would have played every game, but as a young boy you expect ups and downs and he’s had some downs. But I think he is on his way up again.

“You always get assessed on results now, but the DNA of this club – and it’s always been in our philosophy and my philosophy to give young players with the right attitude a chance and if that takes a couple of years for him to really, really come through, it’s worth it for us.

“I’m managing for Man United, I’m not managing for me.

“I am managing for the best way I think we can get the best out of Mason.”

Solskjaer acknowledged a comparison between the finishing of Greenwood and former United striker Robin Van Persie, as well as nodding to a personality as adaptable as his footwork.

“He is very composed as well with his finishing,” he said of Greenwood, who last month signed a new and improved contract until at least 2023.

“It is just what he does it is natural to him. Right foot, left foot – I don’t think he still knows which is the best one, which is very difficult for defenders to defend against. He’s doing his finishing practices.

“I can see it every day. The good thing is he can do it at Old Trafford in front of a full crowd or 62,000, he doesn’t get fazed by the occasion. He’s still composed.

“Whether that’s a game with his mates in the park or a cup final he will still finish the same or Premier League, hopefully.”

That positive, unruffled personality appears to have helped Greenwood shrug off being dropped to the Under-21s for the recent EFL Trophy match at Doncaster by scoring a late decider dedicated to his late grandmother.

“He scored a winner in that game against Doncaster, which always gives players confidence,” Solskjaer said ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash against Brighton.

“That was more important for him to play that game and 90 minutes to be ready for these games instead of being on the bench the day after against Chelsea.”

Provided by Press Association Sports

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Obsidian’s Grounded is a survival game crossed with Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

Obsidian is a studio best-known for deep, intriguing role-playing games like Fallout: New Vegas and, most recently, The Outer Worlds. But the studio’s next release moves in a completely different direction. At X019 in London, Obsidian revealed Grounded, a survival game set in a suburban backyard where a group of four friends has to fend…

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Obsidian’s Grounded is a survival game crossed with Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

Obsidian is a studio best-known for deep, intriguing role-playing games like Fallout: New Vegas and, most recently, The Outer Worlds. But the studio’s next release moves in a completely different direction. At X019 in London, Obsidian revealed Grounded, a survival game set in a suburban backyard where a group of four friends has to fend for themselves after being shrunk down to the size of an ant. “It’s a little different than what you’re used to seeing from Obsidian,” says director Adam Brennecke.

Grounded, which is the first new property from Obsidian since the studio was acquired by Microsoft, is a four-player co-op experience that can be played in both first- and third-person. Like most survival games, you’ll build a base, craft gear, gather resources, and hunt and cook food. What Obsidian hopes will make the game stand out is the setting.

The game has a very Honey, I Shrunk the Kids vibe. The four main characters were all shrunken as part of an experiment and are now forced to survive the untamed wilds that are actually a standard American suburban backyard. Seen from this new perspective, things feel very different: bugs become giant monsters, while a simple baseball is a huge structure. A patch of grass is a forest to traverse, and weedkiller turns an area into a toxic zone.

According to Brennecke, part of the appeal of the setting for the studio was its accessibility. “It’s something that everyone is familiar with,” he explains. “Everyone has an expectation for what they’ll see in this world. It’s very approachable, even on a global scale. Everyone knows what insects do, how they behave; even the man-made objects you find in the yard are familiar. It’s a pretty cool environment as a game designer to come up with ideas. It’s a setting where everyone on the team, and even outside the team, can be a designer and contribute ideas.”

It’s also much more elaborate than it might seem. Despite being developed by a relatively small 12-person team, Grounded features what Brennecke describes as a robust and realistic ecosystem. “It’s a huge ecosystem where the insect life is being simulated outside of the view of the player,” he says. “We want to make insects to behave like we all expect insects to behave. So an ant colony will send out scout ants to search for food, and will battle the player over food. They communicate through a pheromone system with other any colonies. And there’s a day / night cycle where this ecosystem is constantly changing. Things come out at night like giant spiders and fireflies.”

Grounded will be available in spring 2020. It’s coming to Game Pass on both Xbox One and PC, and it will also be available through Steam early access.

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Games

X019: all the news from Microsoft’s big Xbox event

Every new announcement in one place Contributors: Verge Staff Microsoft’s X0 conferences are usually small in focus, but Microsoft went big for its late 2019 event in London, with its first big showing of original games from Rare, Obsidian, and Dontnod. Plenty of other games, like Age of Empires 4, Tell Me Why, and more…

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X019: all the news from Microsoft’s big Xbox event

Every new announcement in one place

Contributors:

Verge Staff



Microsoft’s X0 conferences are usually small in focus, but Microsoft went big for its late 2019 event in London, with its first big showing of original games from Rare, Obsidian, and Dontnod.

Plenty of other games, like Age of Empires 4, Tell Me Why, and more debuted onstage, too. Microsoft also debuted some exciting developments on xCloud, its cloud gaming service, as well as Game Pass.

We’ve got all of the latest announcements and deals covered below.

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Games

Valve’s new Half-Life release isn’t about selling Valve headsets — it’s about selling SteamVR

Yesterday, Valve released a trailer for its upcoming game Half-Life: Alyx — the first we’ve seen of the shooter series since 2007. Valve says Alyx is “the next part of the Half-Life story, in a game around the same length as Half-Life 2.” (For the record, that’s about 10 to 15 hours.) It might even…

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Valve’s new Half-Life release isn’t about selling Valve headsets — it’s about selling SteamVR

Yesterday, Valve released a trailer for its upcoming game Half-Life: Alyx — the first we’ve seen of the shooter series since 2007. Valve says Alyx is “the next part of the Half-Life story, in a game around the same length as Half-Life 2.” (For the record, that’s about 10 to 15 hours.) It might even help clear up some of Half-Life 2: Episode 2’s myriad questions. And it’s coming exclusively to virtual reality headsets in March.

Valve is making a not-so-subtle attempt to sell people on VR headsets, which remain a niche platform at best. It’s using the game to promote its own high-end Valve Index headset, offering Alyx for free — and with some special cosmetic features — to Index users. Oculus and Sony have long used their clout and money to lock up big VR titles for the Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest, and PlayStation VR. Now, Valve has its own flagship product.

But Valve is playing a different game than Oculus and Sony. Both of those companies have invested heavily in hardware exclusivity. As far as we know, Valve doesn’t seem to care about having the world’s most popular headset; it just wants to own the software pipeline for everybody’s headsets, the same way it nearly does for traditional PCs.

Half-Life: Alyx is exclusive to Valve’s SteamVR platform, the way that games like Stormlands are exclusive to the Oculus Store. But unlike the Oculus Store, SteamVR supports basically any PC-based headset — including the standalone Oculus Quest, thanks to a recent update. You can play Alyx as long as your PC meets the beefy minimum specs, a fact Valve touts on the game’s landing page.

I’m sure Valve would like lots of people to specifically buy the Index. But I doubt it expects them to. The system costs $999, which is more than twice the price of a Rift S or Quest, and it requires a more cumbersome setup than nearly any other consumer headset. Index controllers are unusually full-featured, and Valve might include some special interactions involving them, but it hasn’t suggested that you’ll get substantially more gameplay options.

Many VR headset sellers downplay competition in the industry. Companies like Oculus and HTC have argued that any headset sale is a win for everyone because it’s growing a very small platform and creating more opportunities for developers who can release their games across lots of headsets.

Even if there’s a diverse array of headsets, though, Valve could theoretically become the default storefront for all of them. And it could help build that dominance with a hugely anticipated game like Half-Life 3 Half-Life: Alyx. After all, Valve launched the non-VR version of Steam on the strength of Half-Life 2, back when the idea of a ubiquitous digital storefront seemed strange. A few years later, the platform was synonymous with PC gaming.

Steam was convenient and user-friendly, but its dominance has given it tremendous power over small developers — many of whom have welcomed the rise of platforms like Itch and the Epic Games Store. It’s bad for all industries, including gaming, when there’s only one place to sell your stuff.

Fortunately, this could be less likely to happen on VR than PC. Steam was fairly singular when it launched, but almost every big PC VR brand already runs its own reasonably well-established store. Windows Mixed Reality has Microsoft’s app store, Oculus headsets have the Oculus Store, and HTC has Viveport, which also supports multiple brands of headsets.

These stores generally come with their own VR “desktops,” too. On one hand, this could eventually create more lock-in for Valve since you can use other headsets purely through SteamVR without touching the Oculus or Viveport interface. On the other, non-Valve headset owners have to actively seek out SteamVR, and they’re shunted by default toward a competing store. (It’s still not clear how independent stores like Itch or GOG might fit into this ecosystem.)

Back in 2015, before any of these headsets were released to consumers, I speculated about the possibility of virtual reality platform wars. VR headsets offered hugely different experiences at that point: the Oculus Rift still used an Xbox gamepad and phone-based VR was seen as a viable category in its own right, rather than an evolutionary dead end. So it made more sense to wonder whether developers would get locked into building games for specific platforms.

As Valve’s cross-headset support for Alyx shows, though, most PC-based systems have settled on a similar experience: a wired headset that lets you walk around a room, plus two motion controllers with a semi-standard button layout. So instead of console wars, VR’s conflict seems more like the fight over PC platforms between Steam and the Epic Games Store — except this time, Valve doesn’t have the same head start.

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