What the papers say

‘It just came out’: Eric Cantona reveals inspiration for 1995 seagulls comment

What the papers say - Wed, 03/27/2024 - 17:17

Former Manchester United star says his near-30-year silence on subject has been his revenge on the press

It was one of the most baffling utterances ever made by a footballer.

When Eric Cantona said at a 1995 press conference: “When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea,” everyone was left scratching their heads.

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‘They can be exploited’: clubs help young footballers navigate digital age

What the papers say - Wed, 03/27/2024 - 12:00

Child prodigies attract huge followings but Premier League clubs are warning against the consequences of early fame

As a six-year-old with four million Instagram followers, Arat Hosseini was not your typical academy footballer, but although “Mini Messi” is an extreme example, the young Iranian epitomised the challenge confronting England’s top football clubs as the digital-native generation of young players comes through.

The headline-making child prodigy has now left Liverpool, where he spent three years, but there are others: “Kid Messi” and “Kid Ronaldo”, children whose parents have documented their “careers” on Instagram, YouTube or TikTok. Boot deals are signed aged 11 and one’s fame was such that he was mobbed while playing at a recent tournament.

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‘He said I didn’t look happy’: McTominay credits Steve Clarke for upturn in form

What the papers say - Mon, 03/25/2024 - 22:30
  • Midfielder praises conversation with Scotland manager last year
  • McTominay: ‘Sometimes you just need to enjoy football’

Scott McTominay has revealed that a conversation a year ago with the Scotland manager, Steve Clarke, made him realise he was not happy due to a lack of game time for Manchester United and ignited a stellar run of form for club and country.

In the subsequent 12 months McTominay has scored seven times in eight Euro 2024 qualifiers, including both goals in the 2-0 win over Spain at Hampden Park on 28 March 2023. That followed a previous double from the midfielder in the 3-0 victory against Cyprus three days earlier, the opening qualifier and first match since speaking with Clarke about his demeanour.

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Golden goal: Wayne Rooney for Manchester United v Fenerbahce (2004)

What the papers say - Mon, 03/25/2024 - 12:00

The teenage signing from Everton captured the imagination at Old Trafford with a storybook debut hat-trick

For all the adulation modern footballers receive, most will never comprehend the impact they have on young people. Sure, you get 21st-century icons such as Jack Grealish or James Maddison, who cut through all that silly public scrutiny on their hair or fashion choices and manage to connect with young supporters, but the vast majority can never truly know what they mean to fans.

I’ve worked in football journalism for almost a decade and met a fair few figures who could be deemed idols. Going to a José Mourinho press conference as a student on work experience was surreal. Making my first visit to the Old Trafford press box felt like a landmark as a boyhood Manchester United fan, as was shaking hands with Ole Gunnar Solskjær after covering a United pre-season friendly in Norway.

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James Weir: ‘My Manchester United debut was an out-of-body experience. I wouldn’t change that for anything’

What the papers say - Mon, 03/25/2024 - 08:00

Midfielder on those early days under Louis van Gaal, spells in Hungary and Slovakia, and how injuries led to retirement at 28

“I have had so many operations on the left side that my body now tilts, and some days I could barely pass the ball,” the former Manchester United midfielder James Weir says. The 28-year-old is explaining why he has announced his retirement after a career plagued by injuries.

Weir made his Premier League debut as a last-minute substitute under Louis van Gaal on the same day as Marcus Rashford. The England striker scored a double against Arsenal that afternoon in February 2016 and his story needs no more telling, whereas Weir spent the following years on a somewhat nomadic journey, culminating in a sixth-month spell at Zlate Moravce, who sit bottom of the Slovakian top flight with five points from 24 games. Last month he called it a day.

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‘We’re ready to win’: Maguire focused on England glory and Southgate stay

What the papers say - Thu, 03/21/2024 - 22:30

Defender wants to seize ‘big moments’ and accepts scrutiny is ‘part and parcel of football’ before Saturday’s match with Brazil

The problem for Harry Maguire – and it has coloured his situation for some time – is that many supporters want the England team to be picked on club form. It is not how Gareth Southgate works, at least not entirely. The England manager places an emphasis on how his players have performed for him, on what he sees directly. The critics call it excessive loyalty. Southgate views it as basic logic.

Maguire’s travails at Manchester United have been well documented. For him, 2022-23 was the lost season at club level when he started only eight Premier League games and slipped to the bottom of the central defensive pecking order, which was where he began the current campaign. In March 2022, he had heard his substitution in United’s Champions League exit against Atlético Madrid cheered by a section of the Old Trafford support, which surely influenced the Wembley crowd in his next England match – the friendly against Ivory Coast. Some of those present booed him.

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Erik ten Hag secure at Manchester United until at least end of the season

What the papers say - Thu, 03/21/2024 - 11:43
  • Dutchman’s future had been in spotlight amid difficult season
  • Ten Hag has impressed minority owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe so far

Erik ten Hag is to remain as Manchester United manager until at least the end of the season, with the Dutchman so far impressing Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

Sunday’s 4-3 FA Cup quarter-final win over Liverpool came with Ten Hag under extreme pressure due to the competition being United’s last chance of silverware this season.

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‘A pretty mad couple of days’: Kobbie Mainoo eyes Euros after England call-up

What the papers say - Wed, 03/20/2024 - 22:46
  • Mainoo ‘shocked and happy’ after he emerges as wildcard option
  • Manchester United midfielder was promoted from under-21s

Kobbie Mainoo, Manchester United’s teenage sensation, emerged from a “whirlwind of emotions” after his first England call-up and immediately set his sights on securing a spot in Gareth Southgate’s squad for Euro 2024.

Mainoo, who admitted he was shocked at being promoted from the Under-21s this week, believes he will have a chance of ­making it to ­Germany this summer if he ­maintains his ­prodigious rise at United.

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Manchester United’s Kobbie Mainoo called into England squad for first time

What the papers say - Tue, 03/19/2024 - 14:44
  • Midfielder promoted from Under-21s by Gareth Southgate
  • He could make debut against Brazil or Belgium

Manchester United’s Kobbie ­Mainoo has been promoted to the England senior squad for the friendlies with Brazil and Belgium. The 18-year-old midfielder joined Gareth Southgate’s senior squad on Tuesday having been named initially in the under-21s squad.

Mainoo, a former under-17 and under‑19 international, has made an impressive breakthrough, with 20 appearances since a ­pre‑season injury delayed his start to the ­campaign. He joined the 25 other players who reported for duty at St George’s Park to stake his claim for a place in the Euro 2024 squad.

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Ratcliffe rules out Manchester United spending big ‘on couple of great players’

What the papers say - Tue, 03/19/2024 - 10:57
  • He says patience Arsenal have shown with Arteta has been ‘nice’
  • Christian Eriksen ‘unhappy’ with game time after 11 starts

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has said ­Manchester United will not be trying to land superstar signings such as Jude ­Bellingham or Kylian Mbappé.

The Ineos chairman has taken control of United’s footballing operations after his minority share­holding purchase and wants to turn them back into the force they once were. But he believes spending big on marquee signings is not the way to prosper.

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Arrests made over tragedy chanting during Manchester United v Liverpool

What the papers say - Mon, 03/18/2024 - 17:23
  • Two United supporters arrested in connection with chants
  • Eight arrests in total during FA Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford

Two Manchester United fans have been arrested in connection with tragedy chanting during Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final against Liverpool at Old Trafford. Greater Manchester police are also trying to identify another United supporter after footage widely shared on social media footage appeared to show him allegedly engaging in tragedy chanting.

GMP announced they had made eight arrests in total at the game, including three Liverpool fans for possession of class A drugs, an away supporter on suspicion of possession of a pyrotechnic, and two United fans for a racially aggravated public order offence and pitch encroachment respectively.

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Ten Hag’s job is not safe, but Liverpool win will resonate for decades

What the papers say - Mon, 03/18/2024 - 14:16

The 4-3 win over Liverpool may not save Erik ten Hag’s job. But it has cemented lasting goodwill

And in the next round, Mark Robins. Football has found itself assailed in recent years by states, oligarchs and private equity, the concentration of resources at a handful of clubs in a tiny number of western European countries destroying the balance that once sustained it, the potential of its soft power meaning that it has been preyed upon by regimes desperate to launder their image and secure influence. But, despite all that, the sport has retained its mischievous sense of humour.

It was Robins who scored the winner for Manchester United against Nottingham Forest in 1990 that saved Sir Alex Ferguson’s job, carrying them through the third round of the FA Cup to initiate an exhaustingly dramatic campaign that culminated in the trophy. At the end of his fourth season in the job, that was Ferguson’s first silverware at Old Trafford, the herald of 23 years of almost constant success.

This is an extract from Soccer with Jonathan Wilson, a weekly look from the Guardian US at the game in Europe and beyond. Subscribe for free here. Have a question for Jonathan? Email soccerwithjw@theguardian.com, and he’ll answer the best in a future edition

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Bruno Fernandes calls for rule change on yellow cards for removing shirt

What the papers say - Mon, 03/18/2024 - 13:10
  • Manchester United captain says rule ‘has to change’
  • Amad Diallo received second yellow for FA Cup celebration

Bruno Fernandes has said the rule that earns a player a yellow card for taking off their shirt when celebrating a goal “has to change” after the Manchester United winger Amad Diallo was sent off for a second caution after scoring a dramatic late winner against Liverpool in their FA Cup quarter-final.

The 21-year-old had come on in the 85th minute with United a goal down but Antony made it 2-2 with three minutes remaining and Erik ten Hag’s side went on to win the game in extra time, Amad scoring in the 121st minute to send them through.

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Klopp admits Liverpool 'struggled' as Ten Hag looks ahead to Man Utd's 'bright future' – video

What the papers say - Mon, 03/18/2024 - 00:46

Erik ten Hag believes Manchester United's 4-3 extra-time win over Liverpool in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup could be a springboard that will help his side achieve a 'very bright' future. Jürgen Klopp on the other hand admitted that this was 'the first time [he] really saw [his] team struggling'. The loss saw Liverpool knocked out of the FA Cup and marks Klopp's last game in the competition

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Ten Hag says FA Cup quarter-final win could be turning point for United

What the papers say - Sun, 03/17/2024 - 21:03
  • Manager believes team can ‘beat any opponent’ after cup victory
  • Loss ends Liverpool dreams of quadruple in Klopp’s final season

Erik ten Hag claimed Manchester United’s FA Cup victory against ­Liverpool could be the turning point he and his team need after beating their fierce rivals in an epic ­quarter‑final at Old Trafford.

United came from 2-1 down in normal time and 3-2 down in extra time to win 4-3 thanks to Amad Diallo’s 120th‑minute winner. The match-winning substitute was sent off for removing his shirt during the wild celebration, having earlier been booked for preventing a quick ­Liverpool free-kick.

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Erik ten Hag reaps reward for letting adrenalin run wild | Andy Hunter

What the papers say - Sun, 03/17/2024 - 21:01

Manchester United’s FA Cup quarter-final win over Liverpool shows that sometimes chaos can triumph over structure

All Michael Edwards could do was smile in utter disbelief. Old Trafford was treated to an epic encounter of structure versus chaos, the command of Jürgen Klopp against the apparent wishful thinking of Erik ten Hag, and the chaotic dreamers prevailed. For the data specialists and marginal gains obsessives sitting in the directors box at Manchester United, Liverpool’s FA Cup elimination was a pertinent reminder of the game’s ability to enthral thanks to the uncontrollables.

United answered their manager’s SOS call – save our season – with two defenders on the pitch throughout the second period of extra time. Harry Maguire and Diogo Dalot were joined at left-back by Antony, who had salvaged the quarter-final with an impressive impact in his natural position in normal time only to be inexplicably shifted to full-back for the additional 30 minutes.

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Manchester United edge Liverpool in FA Cup thriller as Amad Diallo strikes late

What the papers say - Sun, 03/17/2024 - 18:44

At the beginning of last season, Erik ten Hag oversaw a 2-1 Premier League victory against Liverpool at Old Trafford to ignite his managerial tenure. Nobody had seen it coming after defeats in his opening two matches. It was like a fairytale.

It has soured somewhat this season, the difficulties piling up, but now this – another victory here against Liverpool that few had predicted. And, in the heat of the moment at a delirious Old Trafford, as the club looked ahead to an FA Cup semi-final against Mark Robins’s Coventry, it felt like the result which could save Ten Hag.

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Manchester United v Liverpool: FA Cup quarter-final goes to extra time – live

What the papers say - Sun, 03/17/2024 - 17:39

“The Paul Madeley of the 21st century!” says Phil Keegan. “Wow.” I wasn’t expecting that. “I totally got that reference but I am ancient (well, 64 soon). I have an American friend here in Vietnam where we live who has become interested in football, or soccer as he insists on calling it, and one way football has changed since I was a child is that players these days tend to be very specialised in terms of the position they play whereas when I was growing up they were expected to play any position. I actually used Paul Madeley as an example in that he is the only player to have played every outfield position in one season, so I enjoyed your comment.” Thanks Phil. Versatility ain’t what it used to be, much like nostalgia.

Casemiro’s injury is the same one that kept him out for most of the autumn, according to the Manchester Evening News – a hamstring. The MEN makes it the 51st injury to hit United this season. More here.

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Klopp trusts youth amid injury chaos as farewell tour arrives at Old Trafford | Will Unwin

What the papers say - Sat, 03/16/2024 - 22:55

Liverpool’s youngsters have kept team on track before FA Cup quarter-final but United have been hampered by absentees

Liverpool have used 35 players in all competitions in an energy-sapping season requiring a fight on four fronts as Jürgen Klopp aims to leave with a pot of gold. Despite the need to change things constantly, form has not been adversely affected as players who have arrived in the first‑team squad from near or far have seamlessly transitioned.

There was a complete renovation of the midfield as four players arrived to complement Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones, while a cabal of academy graduates have received debuts thanks to a consistently lengthy injury list, which has meant Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Alisson, among others, missing crucial parts of the season. Still Liverpool are challenging at home and abroad.

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‘Save the season’: Ten Hag challenges United before FA Cup tie with Liverpool

What the papers say - Sat, 03/16/2024 - 22:30
  • FA Cup is last chance of silverware for club this season
  • ‘We believe in ourselves but on Sunday we have to prove that’

Erik ten Hag believes he and his Manchester United players must “save their season together” by beating Liverpool in the FA Cup ­quarter‑final at Old Trafford on Sunday to keep alive their last chance of silverware.

United are 17 points behind Arsenal and Liverpool, the top two in the Premier League, and out of Europe, so claiming the FA Cup is their final hope of not ending the season trophyless. Jürgen Klopp’s side will arrive in impressive form. Ten Hag was asked if he trusted his players to rescue their campaign.

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