England and Roy Hodgson have been dealt a major blow by Rio Ferdinand pulling out of the England squad this afternoon. Ferdinand was recalled last week after months of being controversially omitted, and helped United to victory against Reading at the weekend by setting up a goal for Wayne Rooney. Now it has emerged that Ferdinand's injuries and medical schedule mean the defender will not travel to Montenegro for the World Cup qualifier. Tottenham defender Steven Caulker has been called up in his place. Manager Roy Hodgson said he was disappointed at the news.
Rio himself said he was 'gutted' at having to withdraw, while radio pundit Stan Collymore has criticised the defender for being controlled by Sir Alex Ferguson who he argued did not want the centre-back to play for England.
Ferdinand has meanwhile been handed the fans' award of Man of the Match against Reading, revealed the club's official website this evening.
United have handed a trial to Danish teenage starlet Jacob Rasmussen, who is just 16-years-old. The Dane is a defender and currently belongs to OB in his home country.
Nemanja Vidic insists there will be no slip-up from the club this season, with the Red Devils 15 points clear of Manchester City. United have won nine of their last 10 league games, and the Serbian claims 'the title is in our hands.' We have taken a look at the gap United have opened up, and established if it is extended by just one more point to 16, then City's title defence will officially become the worst since Blackburn Rovers' attempt in 1995-96.
We have also considered why Ferguson winning the club's 20th Premier League title will become his latest achievement should the club see it through to the end of the campaign.
Manchester United target James Rodriguez was back in action for his club last night, starting only his second game in the last seven, and was on the scoresheet for Porto in their 1-1 for Maritimo. Another player United are monitoring in Portugal, former Real Madrid defender Ezequiel Garay, also scored for Benfica in a 4-0 win over Guimares.
Jeffrey Schlupp, who spent several weeks on trial at United, was on the scoresheet for Leicester in the Championship over the weekend. We have taken a look at what fans of the Foxes are saying about him and his future.
Elsewhere there is plenty of transfer gossip floating about, but all unsubstantiated in fact. This includes claims Anderson will lead a summer clearout in the summer along with Nani; Ander Lindegaard is being targeted by West Ham, and United targeting Isco and Bale.
image: © Paolo Camera