What the papers say

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Updated: 16 hours 26 min ago

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

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’

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

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

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

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

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’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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Ten Hag must hope to invoke spirit of 1990 with FA Cup win over Liverpool

Fri, 03/15/2024 - 20:00

Claiming trophy can no longer save a career but a convincing Manchester United display would generate owners’ goodwill

Remember the days when the FA Cup could save a manager? Remember specifically 1990, when the assumption was that, after eight league games without a win, Alex Ferguson would be sacked by Manchester United if they went out of the FA Cup in the third round against Nottingham Forest, and how, with a grimly dogged performance, they won with a second-half Mark Robins goal?

That goal is a key moment in the legend of Ferguson at United. After three unconvincing years, he had splashed out £7.5m on five signings the previous summer and had been facing fan protests as the likes of George Best and Emlyn Hughes called for his head. That season they lost 5-1 to Manchester City, when such things were all but unthinkable. For a couple of home games attendances dipped below 35,000. That was the winter of the “Three years of excuses and it’s still crap. Ta ra Fergie” banner at Old Trafford, when the frustration of more than two decades without a league title really began to be felt.

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Ten Hag adamant that Manchester United will not sell Rashford in summer

Fri, 03/15/2024 - 15:57
  • Forward has been linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain
  • ‘We didn’t re-sign him for five years to sell him,’ says Ten Hag

Erik ten Hag says Manchester United have no intention of selling Marcus Rashford this summer. The forward signeda new five-year deal after hitting 30 goals last season but has scored only seven times in a poor campaign for all connected to the club.

Rashford was linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain again this week, which could provide United with a huge windfall at a time of Premier League profit and sustainability considerations. It would represent pure profit because he is a homegrown player but Ten Hag says financial benefits are outweighed by the player’s importance to the future.

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Premier League and FA Cup quarter-finals: what to look out for this weekend

Fri, 03/15/2024 - 00:00

It’s an eight-game lineup, with places at Wembley up for grabs and a quartet of top-flight matches too

Gary O’Neil conceded his decision to start Pedro Neto against Fulham backfired, with the Portuguese winger set to miss Wolves’ FA Cup date with Coventry on Saturday after aggravating a hamstring problem. Jean-Ricner Bellegarde is also a doubt with a knee injury sustained in the same game, so opportunities could arise for those on the periphery. Nathan Fraser, a 19-year-old forward, made his full debut last time out. Noha Lemina, the 18-year-old brother of the midfielder Mario and who was on the bench against Fulham, could get his first minutes in old gold while the 18-year-old striker Leon Chiwome – tipped for a bright future last year in our Next Generation series – is another untried option. The 20-year-old midfielder Tawanda Chirewa could also feature but O’Neil, with last week’s big calls fresh in the memory, will be careful not to be too bold given what is at stake. Ben Fisher

Wolves v Coventry, FA Cup, Saturday 12.15pm (all times GMT)

Burnley v Brentford, Premier League, Saturday 3pm

Luton v Nottingham Forest, Premier League, Saturday 3pm

Fulham v Tottenham, Premier League, Saturday 5.30pm

Manchester City v Newcastle, FA Cup, Saturday 5.30pm

Chelsea v Leicester City, FA Cup, Sunday 12.45pm

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