A lot of people were breaking out their Jump to Conclusions mats when Manchester United’s Boxing Day squad was announced. Mimicking the panic that briefly ensued when “Dempsey” didn’t appear on Spurs’ weekend team sheet, the Internets went ablaze speculating Wayne Rooney, not in manager Alex Ferguson’s 18, was being dropped because of a poor performance against Swansea.
Because that’s the kind of thin ice 11-year veteran walks around Old Trafford, right? Boy, we must really be hoping for some crash and burn from Mr. Rooney.
Instead, there was a much more reasonable explanation for the United star’s absence for today’s match against Newcastle:
#mufc says Rooney, Young injured in training yesterday, with Welbeck taken ill overnight...
Suffice to say the omissions of Young and Welbeck failed to cause a similar level of speculation.
How much will Manchester United miss Rooney? Well, they still have enough firepower to start Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez up top. So dry those tears.
Perhaps more interesting than Rooney’s omission are the other names included in Ferguson’s team; specifically, handing starts to both Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, who’ll be in a midfield with Antonio Valencia and Michael Carrick. With both Tom Cleverley and Darren Fletcher on the bench, Ferguson seems to have chosen a midfield that could be had. But as Manchester United’s critics are quick to point out, he always chooses a midfield that could be had.
That’s where Rooney’s absence may be more acutely felt. Clearly van Persie and Hernandez have goals in them, but neither are going to be of particular help to the midfield. When playing, Rooney often makes himself into a fifth man in the middle. The Red Devils’ four will be on their own today.
Another note from Jamie Jackson: Shinji Kagawa, out since early this season with a knee injury, was taking warmups with his teammates. The Japan international was not in the team’s 18.
Rapids add longtime Bundesliga winger Aigner from 1860 Munich (highlights)
Aigner has the resume to succeed and perhaps star in MLS, especially if he wasn’t slowed too much by a knee injury last season (He returned and produced at the 2.Bundesliga level).
Here’s what Rapids interim general manager Padraig Smith said:
“We’re excited to add a player of Stefan’s caliber to our roster for the next three-and-a-half years,” said Smith. “As an organization we are committed to fielding a forward-thinking side and bringing in Stefan – a technical and versatile player who can excel in multiple attacking roles – will help us achieve that vision.”
American backstop Ethan Horvath was under siege at home, but his Club Brugge side overcame throwing away a 2-0 deficit to claim a 3-3 draw with İstanbul Başakşehir. The three road goals will give the Turkish visitors every reason to feel good about the Aug. 2 second leg.
Celtic 0-0 Rosenborg
Brendan Rodgers‘ Scottish champions outshot the visitors 12-8, but couldn’t find a way into the goal. Now the Bhoys will have to score in Norway to advance to the next round.
Nice 1-1 Ajax
Mario Balotelli‘s 32nd minute staked Nice to a halftime lead, but the UEFA Europa League finalists snared an away goal through Donny van de Beek to send Ajax back to Holland with a slim advantage.
The Turkish Football Federation statement said Terim, 63, and the federation agreed that “it would be healthier for both sides to part ways,” saying non-football related issues were harming both Terim and the federation.
It also thanked Terim, who has headed the national team since 2013, for his services.
Terim previously managed Galatasaray, Milan and Fiorentina. There was no word on who would replace him.
BVB mid Merino reportedly undergoing Newcastle medical