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Report: Man United lagging on offering Herrera new contract

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Ander Herrera‘s Manchester United contract expires this coming summer, and according to reports in England, the club’s lack of urgency in resolving the situation is causing the 29-year-old to consider his future more heavily than he has recently.

The Spaniard joined from Athletic Bilbao in 2014 and signed a four year deal with an option for a fifth. That option was exercised last season, meaning the contract expires this summer. Herrera has been a vocal presence in the locker room, often speaking to the media in a positive manner, promoting his teammates and coaching staff.

According to English tabloid Metro, Herrera is frustrated that his contract situation has lagged to this point, and is now willing to listen to offers from other clubs, which he can accept starting in January.

It is very likely that this leak is a tactic on Herrera’s side to bring publicity to his contract situation, but the fact they feel the need to make this play still speaks to the current status of negotiations. The Metro reports that Herrera has intentionally not gone public with his wage demands to this point out of club loyalty, not wanting to upset the squad chemistry, but that he feels that has been taken for granted.

Manchester United has been particularly indecisive with a number of contract situations of late. Marouane Fellaini in particular faced a long and very public negotiation period before the club gave in to his wage demands, with manager Jose Mourinho publicly on the player’s side. It is possible that one could argue Herrera is more important to the club than Fellaini, but his age could be a factor in the club’s hesitancy. Herrera has also been used sparingly this season, making just one appearance of the club’s four matches and not even making the matchday squad for two of them.

Herrera is not the only Red Devil with a future in serious question. Fellow Spaniard Juan Mata has a deal set to expire this summer as well, with his one-year option also picked up in January. 33-year-old England international Ashley Young is another in the same situation, as is fellow Englishman Luke Shaw.

Chief Executive Ed Woodward has come under fire recently for Manchester United’s failure to recapture the dominance found under Sir Alex Ferguson. The club has not won the Premier League since Sir Alex retired in 2013, with Woodward mostly in control of roster construction since that time. Manchester United fans flew an airplane banner over Turf Moor prior to the club’s away win over Burnley on Sunday that read, “Ed Woodward: A specialist in failure.”

Shaw, Gomez, McCarthy in latest England squad

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Gareth Southgate has called his first England roster since this summer’s successful World Cup run, with a few changes to the pack.

Manchester United left back Luke Shaw has earned his long-sought Three Lions recall, while Alex McCarthy of Southampton is the lone uncapped player on the 23-man list.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings ]

James Tarkowski of Burnley is in the fold, taking the place of retired Gary Cahill. Manchester United’s Ashley Young and Phil Jones are absent, with Liverpool’s Joe Gomez among the defenders.

Southgate also had this very interesting quote regarding the challenges of an deeply international Premier League:

“I can’t rule out players in the Championship now as our pool is getting smaller and smaller.”

A wink to Jack Grealish or Nick Powell, perhaps, as well as an explanation for the inclusion of Stoke backstop Jack Butland.

Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke City), Alex McCarthy (Southampton), Jordan Pickford (Everton).

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Harry Maguire (Leicester City), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), James Tarkowski (Burnley), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City).

Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea).

Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United),  Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal).

Man Utd scorer Shaw: ‘The best feeling in my career’

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Jose Mourinho was excited about Luke Shaw’s performance at left back on Friday, so you can imagine how happy the maligned fullback was following his goal in Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Leicester City at Old Trafford on Friday.

[ RECAP: Man Utd 2-1 Leicester City ]

“It’s the best feeling I have had in my career,” Shaw said. “I have worked really hard over the pre-season and I had a lot of time to reflect, and work on what I needed to. Even tonight, I know I can be better and that is what I want to keep showing the manager.”

Then with Southampton, Shaw was yet to turn 19 when he earned his first of seven England caps. Injuries and struggles for playing time cost him his spot with both the Three Lions and Manchester United.

Now he’s scored his first Premier League goal, in his 103rd league outing. Shaw is hoping that bodes well for his chances to put a clamp on the left back position at Old Trafford.

From the BBC:

“I don’t want to speak too soon after one game but I want to be up there with the best left-backs in the world. I have the foundations to do that here with the manager and my team-mates at Manchester United. I want to play for England and I want to be involved again.”

Shaw was pretty good on the afternoon for United, and it’s easy to feel good for the 23-year-old. If he’s back on his career trajectory, it can only bode well for the calendars of aging fullbacks Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young.

Ranking top 10 Premier League players in each position

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It’s always nice to open up a can of worms before the start of the season, right?

[ MORE: 2018/19 PL season preview hub ]  

With new players arriving in the Premier League and superstars staying put this summer, we thought it would be a good idea to rank the best players in each position ahead of the 2018/19 season.

Think of this as a preseason PL player Power Rankings, if you will, and if you want to use this us a “cheat-sheet” for your PL fantasy teams, go for it.

Here’s a list at the top 10 in each position.

I’m sure you we will all agree wholeheartedly on these selections…


Goalkeepers

1. David De Gea
2. Ederson
3. Thibaut Courtois
4. Hugo Lloris
5. Jordan Pickford
6. Kasper Schmeichel
7. Alisson
8. Rui Patricio
9. Ben Foster
10. Lukasz Fabianski


Right back

1. Kyle Walker
2. Kieran Trippier
3. Trent Alexander-Arnold
4. Victor Moses
5. Antonio Valencia
6. Hector Bellerin
7. Serge Aurier
8. Pablo Zabaleta
9. Cedric
10. Adam Smith


Center back

1. Virgil Van Dijk
2. Harry Maguire
3. Toby Alderweireld
4. Jan Vertonghen
5. Cesar Azpilicueta
6. Nicolas Otamendi
7. Davinson Sanchez
8. Eric Bailly
9. Vincent Kompany
10. John Stones


Left back

1. Andrew Robertson
2. Ben Davies
3. Benjamin Mendy
4. Ashley Young
5. Marcos Alonso
6. Danny Rose
7. Ryan Bertrand
8. Arthur Masuaku
9. Leighton Baines
10. Patrick Van Aanholt


Central midfielders

1. N'Golo Kante
2. David Silva
3. Naby Keita
4. Paul Pogba
5. Fernandinho
6. Nemanja Matic
7. Jordan Henderson
8. Ruben Neves
9. Jean Serri
10. Luka Milivojevic


Attacking midfielders/wingers

1. Mohamed Salah
2. Kevin De Bruyne
3. Eden Hazard
4. Sadio Mane
5. Alexis Sanchez
6. Raheem Sterling
7. Mesut Ozil
8. Leroy Sane
9. Christian Eriksen
10. Riyad Mahrez


Strikers

1. Harry Kane
2. Sergio Aguero
3. Romelu Lukaku
4. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
5. Roberto Firmino
6. Wilfried Zaha
7. Gabriel Jesus
8. Alexandre Lacazette
9. Marko Arnautovic
10. Jamie Vardy

Lukaku, Rashford, Jones cut World Cup rest short to return to work

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Three of Manchester United’s World Cup stars are heading back to the club’s Carrington training ground earlier than expected.

Heeding the pleas from manager Jose Mourinho, Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford and Phil Jones will all return three days earlier than scheduled to training, which could allow them to be in the squad to face Leicester City, depending on how long it takes them to get some fitness into their legs. Manchester United opens the Premier League season at Old Trafford in nine days.

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“Rashford, Jones and Lukaku – they gave to the group and to the team three days of their holidays. They’re coming back three days early to try and be available for the team,” Mourinho said from Miami, where Man United defeated Real Madrid, 2-1 in its final U.S. friendly match. “With the fantastic spirit we have in the majority of the players – I repeat, in the majority of the players, we have a fantastic spirit – we go with everything we have to the Premier League.”

“Let’s look at it from a positive side and wait for [Victor] Lindelof, Rashford, Lukaku and Jones, which are going to be four important players for us, not prepared but they will be back and that’s the spirit we need.”

Mourinho has been a surly, whining man for the majority of preseason as his squad has been “decimated” by players on their World Cup holiday. While Lukaku, Rashford and Jones are coming back early, Jesse Lingard, Paul Pogba, Ashley Young and Marouane Fellaini are still recovering from the long Premier League season and World Cup, leaving Mourinho without much of his first team squad for the first few weeks of the season. In addition, Antonio Valencia and Nemanja Matic are nursing injuries.

This is a problem that happens every two-to-four years, especially in World Cup years, but Mourinho has preferred to complain about his players needing rest than just accept it and plan all he can for how he’s going to beat Leicester, Brighton and Hova Albion and Tottenham in the opening three weeks of the season.

For what it’s worth, it appears Lukaku was in the U.S. recently. Just not with the rest of the Man United squad.