David Moyes hires staff from Everton on first day at Manchester United

Leave a comment

David Moyes began his first official day as manager of Manchester United by arriving at the club’s Carrington training ground at 8:00am and appointing Steve Round, Chris Woods and Jimmy Lumsden to his coaching staff.

Moyes arrived at the Chevrolet-sponsored training ground driving, not surprisingly, a Chevrolet, marking the beginning of a new era at United and putting a definitive end to the 26 year tenure of Sir Alex Ferguson.

The former Everton manager’s first bit of business on the day was confirming the appointments of his backroom staff, all of whom follow him from Goodison Park. Round replaces Mike Phelan as United’s assistant manager, Woods takes over as goalkeeping coach for Eric Steele, and Lumsden replaces Rene Meulensteen as first-team coach.

Speaking of the hirings, Moyes noted his work with the three and his delight at their decision to join him at United. “They bring great qualities in their respective fields and I know that, like me, they feel that this is a challenge to relish,” Moyes said. “I have great faith that together, we can build upon the success this club has enjoyed over many years.”

With the easy work put aside, Moyes now faces some legitimately difficult decisions, beginning with the Wayne Rooney conundrum.

Whether the 27 year old will stay at Old Trafford depends on his appetite for United and Moyes’ appetite to deal with a potential cancerous situation. Rooney is not known to be of primadonna ilk but he has shown a desire – most notably during the fall 2010 rumors that Rooney wanted to be transfered to Manchester City – to have his head patted.

How much head patting Moyes will do remains to be seen.

The so-called ‘crunch talks’ are slated to begin this week and with Robin van Persie’s domination as the outright striker and Shinji Kagawa, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck all available for deployment in and around Rooney’s space on the pitch, it could be time to send the Wazza on his way.

The decision to keep Rooney will have a significant effect on whether Moyes makes a marque signing in the summer transfer window. It is entirely possible that he keeps the player and brings in a whale, although the later increases exponentially if Rooney departs.

A significant summer capture could provide Moyes with career defining moment. The departure of Ferguson makes Cristiano Ronaldo’s potential revival at United drastically less likely although a younger, less narcissistic, winger by the name of Gareth Bale is by no means out of Moyes’ reach.

A more realistic signing could be that of Leighton Baines, who Moyes brought to prominency at Goodison Park after sniping him from Wigan in 2007. The projected £20 million ($30.5m) it would cost Moyes to bring Baines to Old Trafford, however, could prove too much for a club that already boasts the likes of Patrice Evra.

The United midfield is another issue that Moyes will need to attend to. Easily United’s weakest quality, the retirement of Paul Scholes, Anderson’s failure to develop and the long-standing illness of Darren Fletcher means that the most pressing need is for a midfielder to compliment Michael Carrick.

Thiago Alcantara would be add creativity and skill while a player like Marouane Fellaini could provide Carrick with a marauding counterpart who will score goals while releasing pressure for the English pass-master.

A final issue that Moyes will need to work on is maintaining (and building) the familial environment that Ferguson worked so tirelessly to create at United. It is that environment that defines United, separates them from City and puts fear into the heart of opponents when the match is on a knife’s edge and injury time rolls around.

Luis Enrique leaves with feeling of mission accomplished

David Ramos/Getty Images
Leave a comment

MADRID (AP) Luis Enrique leaves Barcelona with no regrets and the feeling of mission accomplished.

[ MORE: Arsenal edges Chelsea to earn FA Cup crown ]

The coach capped his three-year stint with the Catalan club by winning the Copa del Rey title with a 3-1 win over Alaves on Saturday.

Now it’s time to enjoy some much-needed time off after three “intense” seasons, and let the club move on under fresh leadership.

“There is no sadness at all, just happiness,” Luis Enrique said. “I’m the one who decided to stop, and I think that it was a wonderful decision for me, for the players and for the team as well. The intensity of this profession demands maximum dedication every single day and there is a natural wear out.”

He said players always need new challenges and will benefit from a change in leadership, and the club will certainly keep winning despite his departure.

After missing out on the league this season, the Copa del Rey was Barcelona’s second title of the campaign to go along with the Spanish Super Cup, but Luis Enrique has won nearly everything since replacing Gerard Martino in 2014. The former midfielder led Barcelona to the treble of the Spanish league, Copa del Rey and Champions League in 2015. He also managed the league-Copa double in 2016, and also won the European Super Cup and the Club World Cup in 2015.

He said he was “proud” to have helped Barcelona fans celebrate so many accomplishments during his time at the helm.

“If someone had told me when I arrived that I would have the opportunity to help my team win nine titles out of 13 that we played, I’d say that these would be good numbers,” he said. “It would have been nice to have won La Liga and contended for the Champions League title this season, but it just wasn’t meant to be. I believe that the fans recognized the effort and the sacrifice of all the players throughout the season. I have enjoyed the opportunity to make them happy.”

Luis Enrique said he was also lucky to have had the chance to coach a player like Lionel Messi.

“He is extraordinary, extraterrestrial,” Luis Enrique said about the Argentina forward, who scored the team’s first goal on Saturday. “I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy Messi at his best, performing at the highest level. He is the very best, without a doubt.”

Neymar and Paco Alcacer also scored at the Vicente Calderon Stadium to help Barcelona win its third straight Copa del Rey title, and 29th all-time.

Luis Enrique celebrated with his seven-year-old daughter by his side, waving his winner’s trophy and singing the club’s anthem in front of the Barcelona fans who traveled to Madrid.

Barcelona is expected to announce this week that its new coach will be Ernesto Valverde, who left Athletic Bilbao a few days ago.

Luis Enrique’s future remains up in the air.

“I don’t know what I’ll be doing, really. I’m open to every possibility, including changing sports,” the 47-year-old Luis Enrique said, with a smile on his face. “I do know that I’m very competitive and it’s been like this since I was born. Right now I’m looking forward to the opportunity of enjoying my friends and my family.”

Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

Report: Reus could miss six months after sustaining knee damage

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Marco Reus missed much of the 2016/17 season with injuries, and the Borussia Dortmund attacker had that unfortunate spell continue on Saturday.

[ MORE: USMNT tops Group F and more from the U-20 World Cup ]

The 27-year-old exited the club’s DFB Pokal final win against Eintracht Frankfurt at halftime after suffering a knee injury.

According to German outlet Bild, Reus will miss at least six months as he rehabs and prepares to make a comeback.

Despite the bad news for Dortmund, Thomas Tuchel’s men captured the title behind goals from Ousmane Dembélé and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Day 9: USMNT tops Group F and more from the U20 World Cup

Twitter/@FIFAcom
Leave a comment

Five teams booked their place in the knockout phase at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup on Sunday, including Tab Ramos and the U.S. after the Americans picked up a valuable point to finish atop Group F.

[ MORE: Allardyce steps down at Palace ]

USMNT U-20s 1-1 Saudi Arabia

An unbeaten record in group play has Ramos and Co. moving on to the Round of 16, where the U.S. will meet New Zealand. Brooks Lennon inked his name on the scoresheet for the first time at this month’s World Cup just prior to halftime, before Abdulelah Alamri equalized with almost a quarter hour left to play.

Senegal 0-0 Ecuador

A draw was all Senegal needed to ensure it would continue its run at the World Cup, while Ecuador fell short of a final 16 bid after only managing two draws during Group F play.

New Zealand 0-2 France

With nine goals for and none conceded during Group E play, France remains one of the heavy hitters at the conclusion of the group phase. Les Bleus received a strong contribution from Bastia winger Allan Saint-Maximin, who netted twice in the first half.

Honduras 2-0 Vietnam

Honduras scored twice in the final 14 minutes-plus added time but neither nation reaches the Round of 16 with Sunday’s result.

Daly collapses during match, treated for heat illness

Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
Leave a comment

HOUSTON (AP) Houston Dash forward Rachel Daly collapsed during the final minute of a National Women’s Soccer League match against the Seattle Reign as temperatures climbed into the 90s.

The 25-year-old Daly was stretchered off the field and taken to the hospital, where the team said she was being treated for heat illness.

The temperature at BBVA Compass Stadium was 92 degrees at the 3 p.m. kickoff. The Reign won 2-0.

[ MORE: Perisic talking with Man Utd? ]

The NWSL issued a statement that said the league had worked with the Dash before the season to schedule any afternoon games early in the year to help avoid heat issues. The teams took a hydration break late in the match.

“We will immediately review these measures to prevent this situation from occurring in the future,” the statement said.

Reign coach Laura Harvey posted to Twitter: “Proud of the team today. Some of the hottest conditions I’ve seen. Road games are tough but that was crazy.”