No Manchester United player is guaranteed to play, warned manager David Moyes, speaking after his side’s victory over Liverpool in the Capital One Cup. The Cup win came just a few days after the Red Devils experienced a humiliating defeat in the Manchester Derby, falling 4-1 to rivals Manchester City, their only goal a late consolation from Wayne Rooney.
On the heels of such a defeat, then, it was unsurprising that Moyes had plenty to say about the quality of his players. He did defend certain individuals, most notably new signing Marouane Fellaini. The United manager admitted he may have rushed the former Everton man into the big game against Manchester City, stating that, despite the Belgian looking a little off the pace in training, he felt Fellaini’s presence would be needed. He also warned against making snap judgments about Fellaini’s abilities to fit into the squad, stating, “When you have only played two games for the club it is difficult to make a judgment on anybody.”
Yet this is Ashley Young’s third season for Manchester United, so the excuse that he’s not yet played enough games to judge his worth won’t fly when it comes to the Englishman. Critics were harsh following Young’s performance in the Derby, and it seemed Moyes was disappointed as well, leaving him out of the squad for the clash against Liverpool. Yet the Scot spoke up in defense once more, stating ” Ashley played against Crystal Palace [two weeks ago] and probably won us the game. He got us a penalty and was through with a chance to score. He didn’t play particularly well against City but as I said you could probably have picked another half-a-dozen who didn’t. Ash is fine. We will give him every chance to prove what he can do.”
Every chance, yes. But every Manchester United player — including, presumably, Robin Van Persie, whom without United have struggled to score — must prove himself worthy of a start. “I want to see good form. If you play it makes the job much easier. You’ve got to play and you’ve got to play well,” Moyes emphasized.
Moyes will get the chance to back up his words when United face West Bromwich Albion on Saturday afternoon. Van Persie is available after recovering from injury. Fellaini may return after being cup-tied against Liverpool. Javier Hernandez scored the winner midweek. United are negotiating for new contracts with both young Adnan Januzaj and veteran Nemanja Vidic. And of course, there’s still Young. Who will earn a spot against the Baggies?
The United States takes on Costa Rica in a friendly tonight at Red Bull Arena, as the USMNT must put the Mexico match behind them and focus on the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
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The biggest inclusion in tonight’s starting XI is that of Tim Howard in goal, marking his return to the national side after taking a self-imposed sabbatical. It will be Howard’s first appearance for the USMNT since his legendary performance against Belgium in the 2014 World Cup.
Klinsmann has chosen to go with a 4-4-2 tonight, and Geoff Cameron remains the only starter in the back-line from the Mexico match. He’ll partner with Michael Orozco in the center of defense, with Brad Evans and Tim Ream on the outsides.
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In the midfield, Klinsmann has put some speed on the wings through the likes of DeAndre Yedlin and recent call-up Brek Shea. Danny Williams joins Jermaine Jones as the central midfielders.
Up top, Jozy Altidore will play alongside Gyasi Zardes, who returns to his more comfortable position as forward.
Cristiano Ronaldo has added another trophy to the collection, winning his fourth Golden Boot as Europe’s top scorer for the 2014-15 season.
The award accounts for goals in league play only, which means the Champions League and domestic tournaments are not included. In La Liga, Ronaldo scored 48 goals in 35 appearances.
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Ronaldo first won the award after the 2007-08 season with Manchester United, and has now added three more with Real Madrid in 2010-11, 2013-14, and 2014-15.
With his fourth win, Ronaldo moves ahead of Lionel Messi as the only player to win the award four times. Messi has won three, while eight players have won two.
Below is a post from Ronaldo’s Facebook page reflecting on the award:
What a special moment in my professional life!
Winning four Golden Boots is a privilege for me and I’ll keep challenging myself because I want to do better every time and I want to keep chasing for more records.
I have to thank everyone in Real Madrid that made this possible and we want to keep winning more titles and more trophies. Thank you everyone.
Ronaldo alone scored more goals in La Liga play last season than 14 clubs did, which shows how prolific his season was. The only player to score more than 48 league goals in a European season was Messi, who scored 50 in 2011-12.
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While it was a successful year for Ronaldo personally, it was a very disappointing campaign for Real Madrid, who fired manager Carlo Ancelotti after finishing the season without a trophy.