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Manchester United names Harry Maguire captain
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Manchester United names Harry Maguire captain

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When you have it, you have it.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has seen enough from Harry Maguire in the last six months to name him the next captain of Manchester United.

Maguire, 26, will replace Ashley Young, who the United site claims is “on the verge” of a move to Inter Milan.

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Young had been the captain since 2019, replacing Antonio Valencia. Other United captains in recent history include Michael Carrick, Wayne Rooney, and Nemanja Vidic.

Here’s Solskjaer, from ManUtd.com:

“He’s come in and been a leader in the group. I’ve been, not surprised, but I’ve been impressed by his leadership skills, so Harry will keep on wearing the armband. He’s come in and everything about him tells me he is a leader. He’s part of a group that we’ve had, that have been leading this young group.

Maguire signed for United this summer in a club-record deal for a defender. He’s played 90 minutes in all 22 of the Red Devils’ Premier League matches this season, captaining the team seven times.

Solskjaer explained Young’s departure, saying the 35-year-old defender is being offered a two-year deal by Inter. United “weren’t ready” to offer two years.

Pep on record-collecting Aguero: ‘He’s a legend and legends rise’

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Sergio Aguero had a hand in four of six Manchester City goals in a 6-1 blowout of Aston Villa on Sunday.

The performance etched his name twice more in the Premier League record books, as he became the league’s all-time leading foreign-born scorer (177) and hat trick hero (12).

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Those records were held by Thierry Henry and Alan Shearer, which is nice.

Aguero reacted with humility to the achievement, but Pep Guardiola sang the praises of his Argentine mega finisher.

“He’s a legend and legends rise tonight. Thierry Henry is one most incredible players to play in this league and he will be proud that Sergio is the guy who breaks his record. He was a legend and Sergio is the same. To score this amount of goals means you have done for many years a lot of good things. He’s been consistent for many years and so we are proud of him.

“He is the most incredible person. You cannot achieve this without being a guy who loves to play football.”

Aguero is tied with Frank Lampard for the fourth-most goals in league history with 177, both 10 behind Andy Cole. Next is Wayne Rooney with 208 and Alan Shearer’s absurd 260. It seems likely Aguero will finish his time in England in third and it could happen this season.

Aguero’s .69 goals per game is higher than every player to score 100 Premier League goals, though Henry (.68) and contemporary Harry Kane (.68) are just behind.

Stoppage time equalizer for American midfielder Duane Holmes

Duane Holmes scores for Derby County
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Derby County stayed unbeaten with Wayne Rooney on the pitch thanks to a last minute goal from an American playmaker.

Duane Holmes hit a beautiful volley in the first minute of stoppage time to give the Rams a point away to Middlesbrough on Saturday.

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It was the American’s first goal of the season and third in 56 appearances for the Rams. Holmes earned his first two USMNT caps this summer.

The 25-year-old has been an every week starter for Philip Cocu dating back to mid-October.

Rooney went 90 minutes as Derby is 17th with 34 points, eight back of the promotion playoff picture.

Back to Holmes, he admitted that the goal was lucky; He swung his peg but it struck his shin pad to fool the goalkeeper.

Report: MLS discussing significant change to Designated Player Rule

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Major League Soccer is toying with a change to its roster structure aimed at spreading the wealth, according to The Athletic’s Sam Stejskal.

That’s both a literal and figurative turn of phrase.

Currently, the league allows teams three Designated Players. Put too simply: a Designated Player is a player that is considered outside the team’s salary cap.

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Some of the biggest names in league history have come via the DP rule, and they’ve brought immense cred to the league: Wayne Rooney, Cuauhtémoc Blanco, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sebastian Giovinco, David Beckham, and Didier Drogba are a handful of players who fit the bill.

Well now the league is aiming at making sure at least one of the three DPs is under the age of 23, which would eliminate DP triumvirates like Toronto FC’s uniting of Giovinco, Michael Bradley, and Jozy Altidore.

The idea is that players under the age of 23 bring a lot more money to the table when they are sold than the the older guys.

The new plan would break down something like this, via The Athletic:

Sources said that the league and its influential product strategy committee are considering a new set of DP rules designed to more strongly encourage the signing of younger players. Under these new rules, if none of a team’s three DPs are under 23 years old, the annual spend for one of those players would be capped at a sum of $1 million plus that season’s maximum budget charge. In 2019, that total would’ve been $1.53 million, or the upper limit for a player who could be bought down using targeted allocation money. If teams have at least one U-23 DP, they would be able to spend any amount on all three of their DPs.

Stejskal cites sources as saying it’s not just about making money for its coffers, but that it could help close the gap between those spending boatloads and those not quite willing to do that.

My opinion? I don’t like it, unless the league is going to let all of the sale money stay with the individual clubs.

There has to be another to encourage teams to sign young bucks without taking away from the people bringing neutral fans to the table. And if a team feels it’ll get more acclaim from three David Villas than three Matias Pelegrinis well, which name did the average fan need to look up?

Take your average U-23 hot shot who’s yet to reach his peak. He may score some bangers and capture the league’s imagination a la Miguel Almiron. And that’s great, especially Atlanta, Portland, Seattle, and other markets which have really embraced their clubs regardless of the stars’ identities.

Some of that is myopic, and the league’s progress has rocketed because of players from all over the planet. Scientifically speaking, MLS is 100 times better than it was even 10 years ago. To put age restrictions on DPs in order to fuel transfer fees not just for clubs, but for the league itself? Nah.

Finally, I have to beg a little bit of ignorance to the incredibly complicated world which is the MLS rulebook. If I’m missing something, well, I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Report: DC United holds talks with Luka Modric

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According to The Athletic reporter Pablo Maurer, D.C. United has spoken with Luka Modric’s representatives about the possibility of the Real Madrid midfielder joining the club this summer.

Modric has had an up-and-down season with Real Madrid, missing time with a muscle injury in September and struggling on occasion as Madrid battles Barcelona at the top of the La Liga table. Still, his pedigree in the soccer universe is unquestioned, having won four Champions League titles and carrying Croatia to the 2018 World Cup final, the latter of which led him to winning the Ballon d’Or that year.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Maurer reports Modric would command a salary in the $5-6 million per year range, firmly in Designated Player territory.

D.C. United is looking to recapture the starpower it lost with the departures of Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta, both of whom left after this past season. A 34-year-old Modric is the perfect target, with his Real Madrid contract expiring at the end of the European season.

Maurer’s report states that D.C. United first made contact with Modric’s representatives following the conclusion of the 2019 season, and the player is apparently “very interested.”