Wayne Rooney not in Manchester United’s Boxing Day team (but don’t feel sorry for the Red Devils)

Leave a comment

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:

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.

MORE: Wesley Sneijder to Spurs? The devil’s in the details

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.

How will USMNT line up vs. Mexico in CONCACAF Cup?

Leave a comment

You probably don’t need reminding, but just in case you do, the U.S. national team face Mexico in a huge one-off CONCACAF Cup game on Saturday at the Pasadena Rose Bowl.

[ MORE: Bradley to coach Sunderland?

The winner will represent CONCACAF at the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia as Jurgen Klinsmann’s USMNT side are the underdogs against El Tri.

With plenty of struggles and a hangover from the 2015 Gold Cup failure, Klinsmann is under pressure and getting his team selection spot on will be crucial if the USA are going to get past Mexico in front of over 90,000 fans at the Rose Bowl.

[ MORE: Chung to sue Blatter for $100 million ]

Below I suggest three possible starting lineups, then give my conclusion on how I think the U.S. will lineup.

Let us know if you agree by posting your own lineups in the comments section below.

JPW’s choice

—– Guzan —–

— Johnson — Cameron — Besler — Ream —

Jones —– Bradley

— Bedoya — Dempsey — Zardes —

—– Altidore —–

Mix-and-match XI

—– Howard —–

— Cameron — Besler — Ream — Beasley —

—– Williams —–

— Yedlin — Bradley — Zusi —

— Altidore — Zardes —

Stopping Mexico

—– Howard —–

— Johnson — Besler — Ream — Beasley —

—– Cameron —–

— Dempsey — Williams — Bradley — Jones —

— Altidore —


I think Klinsmann’s choice is the way to go, although Tim Howard‘s presence in goal over Brad Guzan would certainly help strengthen the USA’s defense. A center back pairing of Cameron and Besler must happen, while having Johnson in at right back will be a boost and Ream’s size may see him get the nod over Beasely but the veteran is likely to start if fit. In midfield I’d go with Jones and Bradley sitting in front of othe back four and then that would allow, Zardes, Bedoya and Dempsey to support Altidore up top.

The final selection is ultra-defensive, but given the form of his team and Mexico’s attacking talents, Klinsmann may start more defensive and then change tact as the game goes on. Having all of your most-experienced players on the pitch will prove vital to succeeding at the Rose Bowl, therefore, even though the Mix-and-Match XI looks speedy and is dangerous, I’d expect to see “JPW’s choice” or “Stopping Mexico” to be more like the starting lineup on Saturday.

“Legends World Cup” hope to bring Beckham, Zidane to Mexico

Leave a comment

David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane coaxed out of retirement to play in a “Legends World Cup” you say?

Well, that got my attention.

[ MORE: Bradley to coach Sunderland?

According to an interview with the BBC’s world service, the organizers of the 2017 Legends World Cup are hoping to entice both Becks and Zizou to roll back the years and represent their nations in Mexico.

Beckham, 40, and Zidane, 43, are already putting their boots back on to captain a Great Britain and Ireland XI vs. a World XI for a friendly at Old Trafford on November 14 to raise money for UNICEF, and former Mexico goalkeeper Jorge Campos, 48, has urged the duo to take part in the tournament in 2017 where he will coach Mexico’s team.

[ MORE: Klopp’s top quotes ]

From the BBC:

“I want to see Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Brazilian Ronaldo,” said Campos, 48, the flamboyant ex-Mexico goalkeeper who will coach his country.

“Everybody wants to see Argentina’s Diego Maradona, but he can’t play. He’s too old.”

The tournament is scheduled to take place at the beginning of 2017, with 12 teams in total — four from the Americas, six from Europe and one each from Africa and Asia — taking part.

Given the age (players must be aged between 35-45) and caliber of the players Campos and Co. are trying to recruit, let’s have a think about who would play for the U.S.

Landon Donovan and Brian McBride up front? Brad Friedel in goal? Let us know who would make the squad.