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Time For Rio To Turn Hodgson Down? In-depth Look At His England Past

Sir Alex Ferguson has regularly been accused of trying to pull his players from International games so that they are in peak condition for the club, but he has long denied this and instead claimed he was happy to see his players representing their countries. You can see logic in this, as long as we’re not talking about pointless friendlies. It can only be seen as a good thing for our players to surround themselves with the best from their country and have the experience of competing on the big stage. You can only imagine what good it did Javier Hernandez’s confidence, having just turned 22-years-old, when he scored against Argentina and France at the World Cup, for example.

However, when players start getting on a bit, there definitely appears to be a shift in the club’s attitude, with the likes of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes retiring early to extend their United careers. Since giving up playing for Wales, Giggs has won three Premier League titles, a European Cup and two League Cups, whilst Scholes can boast the same, with an added league title in 2007. The benefits of International football disappear for Ferguson once the player reaches 30, but instead increase the likelihood of injury and mean extra games that could shorten their club careers.

Lots of our players get a kick out of representing their country though, so whilst plenty of the fans may be of a clear club over country mentality, it’s daft to expect all players to feel the same way. I’d much rather they knocked it on the head when they hit their 30′s but if it’s something they still get some fulfilment out of, then fair play to them.

However, when it comes to Rio Ferdinand, his relationship with the FA is different to our other players and their countries. You see, our other players, who happen to be the best in their position for their country, aren’t treated like shit by their football association.

Let’s go back to 2005 when the FA banned Rio for 8 months for missing a drugs test. Missing a drugs test should obviously be treated the same way as failing a drugs test but Rio’s case wasn’t as simple as that.

Before training, he was told along with two other players that he would be tested for drugs after training. Training ended and Rio flew off to town, where he was pictured shopping. According to newspaper reports at the time, at 2.02pm he remembered the drugs test and called the club to ask could he return to complete it. The testers told him he was too late, however they didn’t leave Carrington until 2.27pm, which would have left him with more than enough time to get back to the training ground. UEFA’s website confirmed that Rio had asked to take the test on the same day but was told it was too late. An important point to mention is that drug-test procedures do not have a time limit so there was no reason why the testers couldn’t have waited, given the implications of what him not taking the test were. Rio was tested for drugs at their next convenience, the following day, and that test came back negative.

Before Rio’s ban and fine had been announced, PFA chief Gordon Taylor was confident, like many, that there would be no problem in clearing the defender’s name, after the evidence that confirmed Rio’s plea to take the test before the testers had left was rejected.

“If I was representing the FA and they asked me should it go ahead, I would say that unless they can mount an emphatic challenge to this evidence it should not,” he said. “We don’t want to sweep anything under the carpet but the case is now far from cut and dried. It is clear the testers should have stayed. Not enough was done to ensure Rio took the test on that day. It is not good enough to just leave when he was prepared to make it back.”

After Rio’s unprecedented punishment was handed out, Rio offered to have a hair follicle test, which would have given results for the past 6 months, dating before his original test date, but the FA declined his request.

The MEN reported at the time: The FA does not appear to dispute Ferdinand’s claims that he has never taken drugs – they have not listed him for target-testing, which would be the usual procedure for any player suspected of being a drug user. And their refusal to get involved in hair follicle testing is further evidence that they do not question Ferdinand’s claims that he is drug-free. They maintain the punishment is for his failure to take the test alone.

So the FA banned a player for eight months not because they believed he had taken drugs, but because he forgot to take a test and the people who were meant to test him wouldn’t let him return for the test whilst they were still at the training ground half an hour later.

Years went by and Rio was still one of the best defenders in Europe and was rewarded by being made captain after John Terry was stripped of the honour after having an affair with the mother of one of his England team mate’s children. Wayne Bridge had been selected for previous squads and was set to go to the World Cup as back up for Ashley Cole but pulled out as he felt his position was untenable with Terry there. The FA did nothing and were quite happy for Bridge to pull out and for Terry to play. It would be interesting to see if the FA’s stance would have been the same if it was the mother of Rooney’s child that Terry had been having an affair with, and Rooney that had pulled out of the England squad, instead of the second choice left-back…

Less than a year after being named captain, Rio had the armband taken away from him, and England manager Fabio Capello didn’t even bother to tell him. Capello spoke to the newspapers and, without confirming his decision, basically said Terry was going to be reinstated because of Rio’s injuries. Six games had been played since the World Cup and both Rio and Terry played in four of them. It reminded me of when Robbie Savage claimed that he was going to move to Blackburn from Birmingham so he could be closer to his family in Cardiff. If you’re going to make up a bullshit excuse for why you’re going to do something, at least make sure it’s true first!

Capello then came to Old Trafford to watch United play Bolton but didn’t make any formal arrangements to meet Rio, despite telling the press he intended to “talk to” our player then. Capello never met Rio and that evening announced that he was no longer captain. Despite having done nothing wrong, neither the FA nor the England manager had the courtesy to talk to Rio and explain the decision, which is in direct contrast to the meeting Capello organised with Terry to take the captaincy from him after he had been sleeping with a team mate’s missus.

Two years later, Terry was charged with racially abusing Rio’s brother, Anton Ferdinand. It was clear that both Terry and Rio could not be in the same squad together so newly appointed Hodgson had a choice to make. He chose the player with an allegation of racist abuse over his head, not the player whose brother had been racially abused, and claimed “footballing reasons” were behind Rio’s omission. It was nonsense. Ferdinand had enjoyed a great season for the team that finished on the same points as the champions, having played 38 games, yet Cahill, Terry and Lescott were all picked ahead of him. Stranger still was the inclusion of Phil Jones, Rio’s understudy at United, with Chris Smalling unavailable through injury. Cahill then picked up an injury so Liverpool’s Martin Kelly was drafted in to the squad. “What reasons??” Rio asked on Twitter and he was spot on.

England went to the Euros, they were crap like always, and they returned only for Terry to be found not guilty, or not proven as they would call it in Scotland. Howard Riddle, the chief magistrate, said there wasn’t enough evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Terry was guilty, although pointed out that there were huge question marks over Terry’s defence, which essentially hung on the claim he thought Anton first accused him of calling him a “black cunt”, leading him to repeat the accusation.

Riddle said that Anton was deemed to be a “believable witness”, that it was “inherently unlikely that” Anton accused Terry of calling him a “black cunt”, and that Terry’s explanation was “unlikely” as it was “sandwiched between other undoubted insults.” The most damning statement of all came towards the end of the summing up: “In the FA interview, Mr Terry was asked ‘can you remember what you said to him?’ and replied ‘I think it was something along the lines of ‘you black cunt, you fucking knobhead.’ The Crown say this represents a true statement. It was a slip by Mr Terry. It is evidence of his guilt. Certainly it is a very significant statement. It may well represent the truth.”

Following the court case, it was then the job of the FA to see if he was guilty and should be punished. Terry, who had been allowed to play for England despite having an allegation of racism hanging over him, claimed the FA made his position untenable and retired from International football before the independent commission found him guilty. They used the evidence available from the trial but also other evidence that the chief magistrate had not been made aware of.

In their conclusion they claimed it wasn’t just “highly unlikely” that Anton accused Terry of calling him a “black cunt”, but that in fact he did not accuse Terry of that, because in the brief time that it took Anton to advance up the pitch towards Terry, there was no reason for the focus of Anton’s insults towards Terry to have changed so quickly from an allegation of an affair, to one involving skin colour, or race.

They also concluded that there was no way Terry or Ashley Cole heard, and could not have believed, understood or misunderstood Anton to have used the word “black”, or any word that might have suggested that he was accusing Terry of racially abusing him. They said there was no credible basis for Terry’s defence that his use of the words “fucking black cunt” were directed at Ferdinand by way of forceful rejection or inquiry. Instead, they were quite satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the offending words were said by way of insult.

Whilst Cole was seen as a credible witness in court, the independent commission were privy to evidence the chief magistrate hadn’t seen. Cole had changed his statement to support Terry’s explanation for why he could be seen on camera shouting “fucking blacking cunt” at Anton. In his interview with the FA five days after the game, Cole claimed that he thought he saw Anton using a “B” word when rowing with Terry, which he said could have possibly been “Bridge”. Cole said that “B” word was being used at the same time as Anton was making a fist-pumping sexual gesture. This would tie in with what both Anton and Terry claimed, that Anton was having a pop at him because of his affair with Bridge’s ex. The day after Cole submitted his statement, Chelsea’s club secretary, Dave Bernand, e-mailed the FA saying Cole wished “to add the words ‘Black or’ before the word ‘Bridge’”, despite the word “black” not being uttered once by Cole in his interview.

The chief magistrate had not been made aware of this statement change but it was enough for the commission to decide Cole was not a reliable witness. In a case about racism, it did not make any sense that Cole would have seen Anton possibly shout the word “black” at Terry, but not mention it in his interview with the FA. It also did not make any sense that when making a sexual gesture, as Cole claimed Anton was doing, that he would be making an allegation of racism at the same time. Cole’s first account, before consultation with Bernard, reflects a likely version of events. Anton was having a pop at Terry about him shagging Bridge’s ex. This lead to Terry racially abusing him.

After this was made public by the FA, that Cole had seemingly added “black” to his testimony to suit Terry’s defence, people (including Cole) took to Twitter to react. One person tweeted Rio and called Cole a “choc ice”, having altered his statement to help a white person be cleared of an allegation of racism against someone who was mixed race. Rio, foolishly, responded to this with: “I hear you fella! Choc ice is classic hahahahahaha!!”

The independent commission decided this comment was “improper and brought the game into disrepute.” Some Chelsea supporting morons then claimed it was Rio that was racist (someone who believes that other races are not as good as their own and therefore treats them unfairly), and whilst this obviously isn’t true (and impossible, given that both Cole and Rio are mixed race), it was criticism he opened himself up to by laughing at the remark made by someone else about Cole. Whatever Rio thought about Cole changing his statement to help Terry get away with racially abusing his brother, he needed to keep those discussions out of the public eye, not on Twitter for all to see.

Terry was out of the way, having spat his dummy out and retired when he realised the FA were probably going to ban him from representing England again anyway, but Cole was still involved in the England set up. Hodgson was in a difficult position because if he called up Rio again now, just a few months after leaving him out of the Euros, it would be obvious to all that it had been nothing to do with “footballing reasons”, rather a preference for the man who had just been found guilty by the FA of racially abusing another player.

So in October, when Hodgson was travelling on the tube for an Arsenal game, some fans asked him what was going to happen with Rio. The England manager told them that his England career was more or less over, that it was the “end of the road” for him and England. These fans had pictures and videos and reported back to the press, much to Hodgson’s embarrassment, but more importantly, Rio’s embarrassment.

“Rio could do the job for England, there’s no doubt about that, but I don’t see why he should,” Ferguson said that week when asked about Hodgson’s comments. “He should concentrate on his career here, that’s what I’d prefer.”

Going back to the initial point, that Ferguson would be happy to see our players over 30 retire from International duty, some people have accused the United manager of damaging Rio’s international career. Ahead of Hodgson selecting his squad for the Euros, Ferguson suggested that Ferdinand would struggle to play every four games, which is obviously what would be required for an international tournament. However, despite Ferguson making these comments to the press, Hodgson has never cited this as a reason for Rio’s omission, despite facing lots of criticism for the decision. Still, if that was a reason to keep him out of the squad in the past, that reason would still stand today. The smallest gap between games this season, where Rio has played 90 minutes in both, is five days which has happened on just one occasion. Rio has played in 26 games this season, but by this time last season he had played in 28 games. If the “footballing reason” was managing the number of games he played, it would make no sense to call him up now.

However, Rio has been in great form this season and following two superb performances against Real Madrid, the press and neutral fans have been raving about him, deciding that he should certainly be involved in the England set up again. It is seemingly easy for these people to forget that Rio was in great form last season too, before being snubbed by Hodgson, but he didn’t have a high profile game at the Bernabeu to prove it then. For whatever reason, it’s seemingly accepted by some that whilst it is likely Rio was dropped because of Hodgson’s preference for Terry, that there is some validity to the claim Rio could have been left out for footballing reasons last season. Lescott had a good year for City and your opinion on who was better between him and Rio probably depends on whether you’re a red or a blue. But Cahill and Terry weren’t superior to Rio last season, whilst Jones and Kelly certainly weren’t. Just because Rio is England’s best performing centre-back this season doesn’t change the fact he was in the top two last season. Even if you allow a militant Chelsea fan in on the action, who would likely argue Terry had a storming season as Chelsea finished 6th, there’s surely no one who could claim Cahill was more worthy of a place in the squad than Rio was.

If the “footballing reason” was to do with age and looking to the future of the squad, then Lampard, Gerrard, Barry and Parker all should have found themselves sitting at home too, whilst inferior but younger players (from Liverpool) took their spot in Hodgson’s team.

So, either Hodgson believes enough time has gone by that he can pretend the reasons for leaving Rio out last summer were valid, and nothing to do with him having to make a choice between him and Terry, and choosing the wrong one, or he’s given in to increasing pressure from the press and fans. Neither reasons are good enough for Rio to consider playing for England again though. Just like Sven couldn’t see the value of Scholes, if Hodgson can’t see how good Rio is, then more fool him. England’s loss is our gain. Rio has been disrespected time and again, so he needs to put his foot down and tell Hodgson where to go.

However, Rio is desperate to play for England and after being wrongly forced out, you can understand why he might want to pull on the shirt again. Hodgson has claimed he hopes that Rio rekindles his friendship with Cole, referring to Cole’s statement change and Rio’s response on Twitter as “an unfortunate incident”, although it’s hard to imagine that happening.

Reports today suggest that despite wanting to play for England, Rio has been put under pressure by the club to withdraw from the squad and effectively end his international career. In Ferguson’s press conference yesterday he talked about how surprised he was and stressed the need for them to talk to the club doctor about how best to manage Rio’s appearances for club and county.

We are likely to find out one way or another after the Reading game, but wouldn’t it be brilliant if Rio announced his retirement from international football, citing “footballing reasons” as the motivation behind his decision, because he wanted to concentrate on playing for United for as long as possible? Maybe that’s petty but it would be just what the FA deserve after the shoddy treatment they’ve dished out to one of the best defenders England has ever had. Tell ‘em where to go, Rio.

—————

How lies, the Nou Camp and changes to statements cost Chelsea men in commision’s verdict


About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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95 Comments

  1. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Costas – anderson is the more talented midfielder but gibbo has the right professionalism, gibbo is good but he would be found out at the highest level, anderson hasn’t fufilled the potential due to constant niggling injuries, a lack of professionalism at times and playing him out of position.

  2. drv3011 says:

    WeAreUnited

    are you kidding?i’m not too sure how the stats and all play out but are you sure we’re gonna win the title if we win today?

  3. Red in Taipei says:

    I hope Rio plays a blinder! That’ll show ‘em.

  4. WeAreUnited says:

    @drv3011

    take it easy mate, just enjoying the thrill and enjoying the moment, I know that it isn’t written in the stone today, but I just expect that if we win today and have a 15 point lead that we will not bottle it, HELL NO,

    I trust on our team with a possibly 15point lead.

    so mathematically no, but it’s close

  5. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Moyes has the knack of picking a player from united and making them play beyond level, gibson feels far more comfortable at goodison than the high demands of oldtrafford. He could have stayed at united but he wanted more game time, everton was a good choice for him.

  6. WeAreUnited says:

    @samuel
    I adon’t know mate, I also rate andreson higher than Gibson, but with a proper run Gibson is showing us that we had a good player in oru hands,

    anyway, it’s close, I can smell it, beat REading and it really is close

  7. drv3011 says:

    @WeAreUnited

    the feeling is mutual.totally psyched with city slipping up and i’m hoping we can just tick off the following games leading up to the derby.

  8. TheCANTONA says:

    @WeAreUnited:
    the league isnt over till its mathematically over mate. We must keep focus, we cant let this big chance slip again.

  9. WeAreUnited says:

    @drv3011

    I am carried away, but hell, if we win today and get the 15 points, wil lwe bottle it? I highly doubt it :)

    totally agree on your second comment :)

  10. FletchTHEMAN says:

    EVERTON YOU BEAUTIES!!!!!

    Darron Gibson proves, yet again, the genius of Fergie! Long live Stealth United! :twisted:

  11. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Wouldn’t get too jiggy until the fat bitch sings, title is far from won and 3points today is not guaranteed, reading will.not lie down, united have to match reading’s desire and workrate. Have people not learn their lessons yet? Complacency is the father of all fuck ups.

  12. Ash says:

    Let us get 3 points against Reading. We needed it as we have been a bit down after what happened last week against Madrid and chelsea. So now beat reading and be 15 pts ahead

  13. WeAreUnited says:

    @TheCantona

    like I said, I got carried away, but hell we are Manchester United and with a win today it’s up to 15 points, and can’t see us bottling it.

    I rreally can’t :) but Reading is next, and it’s time for SAF to pick the right team and go rape REading !

    CMON UNITED

  14. Andromeda says:

    Costa-Andesron debate!!

    I am not sure how Fergie took that situation, but Gibson to me was a typical United mentality player.perhaps Anderson is more talented, but he is injury labile after all, the former been very patient with his chances at united.moreover he was a quality shooter.I ditto Costas, that his dismissal was the wrong call.one day Fergie would regret this.

  15. Costas says:

    @Dannysoya

    That’s a cheeky suggestion indeed. :lol: But who knows? At the moment, I am just glad he’s doing fine for Everton. I do get nostalgic about his situation at times because when he left we expected it would clear the path for a better midfielder and it hasn’t been the case until now.

    @Samuel

    Purely from an ability standpoint I agree. But what I like more about Gibson is the fact that he’s more dependable. Would he be a regular starter for us or the equivalent of Carrick? Highly doubtful but I am starting to believe he would have been a much better squad option than Anderson is nowdays. Ideally though, United need a better player than those two.

  16. Theredderdevil says:

    Very poor refereeing. He should be fired. Two world class players next season and Everton will be the team to break into the top four, probably at the expense of Chelsea or shitty seeing as arsenal are already out

  17. Dela says:

    They’re CRACKIN UP!

  18. WeAreUnited says:

    @Andromeda

    I doubt that we will regret letting Gibson go, but we will regret maybe that we let a good squad player go who has the right mentality anfd is not injury prone.

    Anderson on the other hand is the betetr player, but he’s just not making it, it was close this year, but he again got injured, and that’s the same history over and over again.

    Regret abotu leavign Gibsson? no, he’s no Messi, but he would have been a very good back-up player! and maybe more.

  19. CoppelRED says:

    3 points required today…

  20. theradlegion says:

    Those who think Reading will be a walk in the park is a fool. Yes they’re managerless, but the game will never be an easy one.

  21. WeAreUnited says:

    @costas

    Agree with you! it’s hard to admit this, because I really rated and rate Anderson, but he just is not dependable anymore, it was close this year like I said, but it’s not enough.

    Look at Nani, he took his chance, never got injured and he became our starplayer, yes his form dipped, but he’s back again-

    And ando just can’t seem to find his feet at United.

  22. Ash says:

    ” It would be interesting to see if the FA’s stance would have been the same if it was the mother of Rooney’s child that Terry had been having an affair with, and Rooney that had pulled out of the England squad, instead of the second choice left-back”

    Scott I can bet if that had happened Rooney would have been banned for beating the shit Out of John Terry :D

  23. samuel - united WE stand says:

    WeAreUnited – but that’s the whole point of the highest level, you won’t be afforded enough time in order to show your true capabilities, other players are fighting to be in the team, you have yo grab your chance as soon as you get into the team, it is harsh to beat anderson with the stick of “gibson is playing well” while clearly, circumstances have held him back (whether that be his fault and not one of his) let’s see how gibbo plays for the next couple of season and if he keeps up an high standard, fergie might give a call but for now, i wouldn’t get too hyped.

  24. Costas says:

    @Andromeda

    Now that I remembered the situation a bit, Gibson was also in the last 6 months of his contract last January. So Fergie figured it would be a risk to extend his contract not knowing if he could ever be good enough for us. Like I said above, I doubt he would have been the answer to our problems but hindsight is starting to prove that he would have made a better alternative than some of our current midfielders.

  25. Andromeda says:

    I hope the lads doesn’t lose their focus after today result, its till not won.premier league is madness as you all know.Let us play each game as if its a cup final!!!!!!

  26. dazbomber says:

    I think Sir Alex will be giving a Winston Churchill speech befor the game.

  27. WeAreUnited says:

    @samuel

    no I agree, Gibson got his chance, and sometimes played well, and sometimes it was hard for him. it’s a different story at OldTrafford, and with the pressure, that’s the role of the manager, to trust players, but maybe this is were I and many more get it wrong, because SAF didn’t trust in Gibson so he sold him and didn’t do that with Ando, so it’s how the manager sees at you.

    But if we look at Ando, it’s unfortunate that we can’t get the best of him, or he can’t get the best out himself, when he does, he gets injured :(

    I don’t know, it’s a 50/50, Gibson got his chance here and couldn’t make it, now he’s a brilliant player for Everton. Ando also gets hsi chance here, makes it and gets injured, and the same again, and he’s still here. I don’t know.

    Hard to call.

  28. Sushi says:

    Manchester City first team coach David Platt on his side’s defeat by Everton: “Roberto Mancini is angry as you can imagine. He is taking stock of the situation and does not want to say things that would get him in trouble.

    “He is angry about everything in general. We got outworked by Everton, but there is no doubt in my mind about the handball.

    “It was not even on the line of the area, people can draw their own conclusions from that. Perhaps we could have got a bit more out of it if that decision had gone for us.”

    What the fuck is this daft cunt on about?? did he not see the goal that everton didnt get?? you would have been 2-0 behind regardless. The idfference is a point

    FUCK U CITY Cunts mancini can go fuck himself trying to emulate fergie by pretending hes been robbed of something he never even had.

  29. Costas says:

    @WeAreUnited

    For me it’s simple mate. Sir Alex didn’t use Anderson at all against Real and Chelsea last week even though Carrick and Cleverley desperately needed a breather in both games. After that, I can’t imagine how he will keep him around for another summer and claim he’s happy with his options. He clearly doesn’t fancy him to be a reliable back up some new blood in midfield is long overdue.

  30. Costas says:

    *back up and some new blood*

  31. perkythered says:

    ha ha mancini.
    his team are surely showing signs of fatigue!

  32. Andromeda says:

    @We are United

    Cheers mate, I hope so because I was watching him all this season at Toffees and he was brilliant.superb midfielder.I love him and still regard as a genuine red Devil:)

    @Costas

    Thanks mate, I didn’t know about the contract issue to be honest, Fergie was probably had some difficult nights before making this decision.perhaps if he knew Fletcher could go under knife he wouldn’t think about selling him.

  33. WeAreUnited says:

    @costas

    I am trying to figure this debate out, but it’s really hard for me, Gibson got his chance, but couldn’t make it here, was it because of him or the manager, cause every player needs the support and trust.

    for me hard to call, so Ieave you debate this haha.

    BUT one thing is sure, we have to promote more youngsters and buy 1 or 2 players, and maybe not established superstars, but some raising ones.

    I bet my ass, that when and if we get the 20th title, the transition will be huge and SAF will promote more youngsters and the history will repeat istelf, “you can’t win with kids!” kind of history :)

  34. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Costas – i’ve always backed anderson but i’m starting to think he won’t quite reach the level his ability suggest, i suppose you can always find reliable midfielders that can do a job but i think world class players at the right should be added too, easier said than done because it is not easy to find them, hopefully fergie some ideas. I also think the likes of powell and januzaj will step up, petrucci has the ability but needs to stay fit.

  35. denton davey says:

    WeAreUnited @ 16:06: “Gibson got his chance here and couldn’t make it, now he’s a brilliant player for Everton.”

    Different situations – Phil Neville has also been “brilliant for Everton” but he, too, just wasn’t good enough to get regular playing-time @ UTD.

  36. Andromeda says:

    Moyes is a fantastic manager, he is just simply a fantastic.

  37. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Let’s also not forget that anderson is a totally different player to cleverley and carrick, the brazilian is a far more attacking minded player, essentially a playmaker that wants to pull the strings further forward, carrick and even cleverley are comfortable deeper, anderson hasn’t got that extra discipline. Tom needs to improve his defensive game too to be honest.

  38. denton davey says:

    Samuel @ 16:27: “Tom needs to improve his defensive game too to be honest.”

    Sure but it seems to me that his big “deficiency” is that he’s not the right size and doesn’t have the right blend of aggression/dynamism to partner MC16. That said, I reckon that YoungTom would actually do better with a different partner – he’s always done well in the “CarrickRole” when partnered with Anderson and I’d like to see him played in midfield with TheWayneBoy, too.

  39. dannysoya LOVES USAIN BOLT says:

    Cleverley’s major problem in my opinion is that his passes are too slow and sluggish at times. He always tries to spin it. Pass the ball SHARPLY and stop trying to roll it every time. Many times last week that he tried to roll the ball into a team mate the chelsea player just stepped in and intercepted the pass before it got to our player. The ball us moving too slow.

  40. WeAreUnited says:

    @denton davey if you look at my comment you wil lsee that is what I meant.

    anyway, If at the time Gibson was sold you would have asked me Ando ro Gibson, of course Ando.

    anyway, Phill Neville hasn’t been brilliant for Everton, a solid one yes.

    Anyway, whatever it is, let’s hope the best for Ando and let’s try to get 1 or 2 signings!

    peace.

  41. Red Devil Canuck says:

    Not pretty but job done

  42. AndyC says:

    Fantastic article.

  43. Omair says:

    It’s a shame how Rio is being treated by Roy. Just look how he bursted forward and assisted Rooney last night against Reading. I would rate his recent performances better than Vidic or Evans. Such a shame to see a player of his caliber being treated like this. Rio should refuse to play for Roy even if he gets a call now.

  44. MUFC4EVA says:

    Rio should stop cow-towing to our dickhead bacon-faced cunt of a manager and go and play for England. He’s finished anyway. The sooner both him and Taggart fuck off away from our club, the better.

  45. TheCANTONA says:

    Cunt must be so depressed to came to United blog & pretend to be a fan

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