Michael Carrick has been called up to Roy Hodgson’s England squad and is set to play his first game for his country in two years. The player had previously ruled himself out of international competition after growing disillusioned by the lack of opportunities under Fabio Capello but has been open to a return under Hodgson’s reign. Tom Cleverley and Ashley Young have also been called up to the squad that will face Italy in a friendly on Wednesday night.
Michael Carrick may have to deputise in central defence when the new season starts due to United’s defensive injury crisis. Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans and now Phil Jones have all been sidelined and Michael Carrick partnered Rio Ferdinand in United’s 0-0 friendly draw with Barcelona this week. Nemanja Vidic has participated in pre-season but it is uncertain whether he has reached match fitness after 8 months out with a cruciate ligament injury so it could leave Carrick to partner Ferdinand again in their opening game against Everton.
The midfielder spoke to MUTV and praised goalkeeper David de Gea for his improvement at the club since he first joined. The midfielder revealed that the faith shown in the young Spaniard by manager Sir Alex Ferguson had paid off and that the keeper will continue to shine in the coming years. When queried about filling in at centre-half, Carrick said that he did not mind and he had enjoyed the benefit of pre-season outings in the position.
United have had to slash share prices from $19 to $14 per share as interest in the club’s flotation on the New York Stock Exchange was described as ‘slow’. The club is still expected to raise $300m, which will pay off part of the club’s debt, but half of the amount will go to the Glazer family. In response to news that the Glazers will pocket 50% of the money raised, Manchester United Supporters Trust have today called on fans to boycott all associated sponsor products.
According to Portuguese source O Jogo, United have made a €30m offer for Benfica’s 23-year-old midfielder Axel Witsel. Witsel joined Benfica from Standard Liege last summer and helped the Portuguese team reach the quarter finals of the Champions League and runners-up in the league behind Porto. The midfielder is described as a tenacious box-to-box midfielder and Ferguson may be looking to the player to rejuvenate United’s ageing midfield.
Wayne Rooney has told reporters that he would welcome the arrival of Robin Van Persie and that the Dutchman was a fellow striker he admired. “He’s a fantastic player. He’s been amazing for Arsenal over many years…he’s a player that I admire.” Van Persie’s arrival would surely see United with one of the most lethal striker partnerships in Europe.
Manchester City boss told reporters, in preparation for Sunday’s Community Shield match with Chelsea, that city rivals Manchester United would be the favourites for the coming season despite City’s triumph last term. The Italian said his team was still young and improving but that United would have to be considered favourites for this upcoming season.
image: © marcel sigg