Manchester United star likens Januzaj to a young Ronaldo

Former Manchester United player Quinton Fortune has likened the club’s new wonder kind Adnan Januzaj to a younger version of Cristiano Ronaldo when he first arrived at the club, following his impressive displays since making his debut for the club.

The Belgium born youngster scored twice on his full debut in the Premier League to rescue United from a losing position to a 2-1 win against Sunderland a few weeks back and has already made eight appearances for the club already.

And the 18 year old midfielder has made a great impression on Fortune, a former South African international who witnessed the development of the player first hand at the fabled Manchester United academy and reserve side during his time at the club while he was completing his coaching badges.

Fortune stated that everyone in and around the club knew that they had a special talent on their hands. He added that what set him apart from the other players were his self belief as well as confidence in his abilities and that is something he noticed during his two years with the youth development side and mentioned that although he is playing at a much higher level now, he is still a believer in those attributes.

He mentioned that the youngster has so much confidence in his abilities and admitted that these qualities are hard to find in young players these days before going on to state that he sees a young Cristiano Ronaldo in him, when he first arrived at the club as a 17 year old lanky youngster from Sporting Lisbon.

And Fortune also believes that under David Moyes, who is known to give young players their chances, Januzaj would go on to become a star for Manchester United for years to come and that is the best thing.

GREAT ITALIANS

Italian football has had some great players over the years, but it looks like most of the players who were part of the 2006 World Cup may not be playing with Italy anymore.

The likes of Alessandro del Piero and Francesco Totti have given a lot to the national team over the years, but their participation at the 2014 World Cup has been a major doubt. Italy manager Cesare Prandelli has said that he does not rule out recalling some of the former names. Totti may be coming to the end of his career, but he is still playing an influential role in the Roma team.

Doubts persist about the recall of del Piero because the former Juventus striker is currently playing in the Australian A-League. Cesare Prandelli has also not ruled out Antonio Cassano, who has not been selected for national team duty in recent times. Cassano was an important part of the team at the Euro 2012, but he missed the Confederations cup. Del Piero is close to retiring from football and the talk about his selection seems to be merely press talk. Italy are one of the favourites to win the 2014 World Cup after doing well in recent major tournaments.

“Everyone must think they can make the World Cup. Between late March and April we will try to understand those who have the best condition. Totti, Di Natale and we also add Del Piero to the conversation. You have to go with the best players. We must also follow Antonio Cassano who had an extraordinary European Championships, if he has a strong season with Parma and finds a good condition, it will definitely get him into serious consideration,” said the manager, who has worked extremely hard in order to bring down the age of the team.

PRANDELLI MAKES CHANGES

The manager of the Italian football team, Cesare Prandelli, has said that there might be a few changes in the starting XI of Italy for their second Confederations Cup match against Japan which will be played at Arena Pernambuco on Thursday.

Italy made a good start to the ongoing Confederations cup by defeating Mexico in their opening match by 2-1 on Sunday. That was a mighty close game though and was heading towards a draw at one point of time, but, in the 78th minute of the match, Mario Balotelli with a fine strike gave Italy a match winning lead.

Prandelli looked quite happy with the way his players kept their nerves during the final moments in the match against Mexico. Talking to the reporters yesterday, he said, “The boys showed great character. Mexico is a quality team, we all know that. It was tough to compete against them. But, the boys hung in there and cashed on the opportunities that they got.”

When asked what would be the Italian starting line up for the game against Japan, Prandelli said, “I think there will be a few changes. In the training session tomorrow, I will see who is in good nick and then, will take any decision. Right now, I can’t tell you who will sit out and who will play.”

Mario Balotelli was shown the yellow card after scoring that match winning goal against Mexico because he took off his jersey while celebrating.

When asked about that incident, Prandelli said, “I have asked Mario not to do it again. He has already shown his muscles to the spectators several times. There is no need to do it again.”

“However, he deserves to be praised for his performance on Sunday. He was just sensational right through the game.”

PERMANENT MOVE RUMOURS

The German tabloid paper Bild has reported that the Manchester United striker Federico Macheda could be set for a permanent move to the German club Stuttgart. The Italian is currently on loan at the German club till the end of the season.

He arrived at Germany in January, and he has been impressive with his performance so far. Due to the fact that competition is high at Manchester United, it is highly unlikely that Macheda will be able to get first team spot at Old Trafford next season. As a result, the player is thought to be pondering a permanent move away from the club.

Even though Macheda is set to open his account for Stuttgart in the league, the player has already made six appearances for the team. The Italian striker made his debut for the team back in 2009, but he has since struggled of first-team opportunities partly because of his poor form and partly because of the presence of great strikers at the club. The arrival of Robin van Persie has only served to decrease his appearances. He has been unable to get even into the League Cup teams, which prompted the decision to move on loan. Now, it is thought that Stuttgart are keen on signing the striker, who has just over 12 months left on his deal.

This is not the first loan spell for Macheda, as the striker has already had loans spells at Sampdoria and QPR in the past. However, they have been unproductive loan spells because the striker once again spent majority of the season on the bench. The loan spell with Stuttgart, though, is turning out to be positive for the striker. After suffering four consecutive defeats, the German team finally managed to get a win under the belt that helped them move clear of the relegation zone.

West Ham United vs. Manchester United Preview

Saturday’s late afternoon kick-off in the FA Cup sees West Ham United host Manchester United.

Three times winners West Ham go in to the game on the back of their first win in five games, having beaten Norwich City 2-1 on New Year’s Day.

The Hammers will be without injured due Andy Carroll and Mohammed Diame, with Joey O’Brien also a doubt. Captain Kevin Nolan and James Collins both return following suspension, while Joe Cole is available after completing his move from Liverpool.

Cole, who began his career at Upton Park before moving on to Chelsea almost ten years ago is 17.0 (16/1) to open the scoring on his return.

Sam Allardyce’s men are widely available at 5.0 (4/1) to win the match, with Manchester United favourites at 1.75 (3/4). The draw is a 4.0 (3/1) shot with some firms.
No team has lifted the FA Cup more times than Manchester United, though they haven’t won the competition since 2004.

Tuesday’s victory over Wigan Athletic took them seven points clear at the top of the Premier League, and Bet Fred price them at 81.0 (80/1) to repeat their success of 1999 and complete a League, Cup and Champions League treble.

Defenders Phil Jones and Nemanja Vidic are set to return to the starting line-up, though Nani and Wayne Rooney will miss out.

Top scorer Robin Van Persie, who won the trophy in 2005 after beating United in the final on penalties is the 4.0 (3/1) favourite to get the first goal of the game.

LONG AND HARD SEASON

The Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has said that this season will be long and hard in terms of the title race. The Manchester United manager was speaking after the 1-0 win over West Ham that helped the team maintain their lead at the top of the table over the second-placed team and arch rivals Manchester City.

Robin van Persie scored the fastest goal so far in the season to help United on their course for a narrow victory over West Ham. This was the 12th goal of the season for the summer signing and it was an extremely deflected effort.

However, Ferguson did not complain about the result of the match as it helped them maintain the one-point advantage over Manchester City. They also increased their advantage over Chelsea to 7 points after the London team could only manage a 0-0 draw with neighbours Fulham. Still, Ferguson has said that he will not rule out Chelsea from the title race because it is still early in the season. Ferguson has also stressed the importance of winning matches 1-0 because it is all about three points in the end. United had a few scary moments, but they were extremely happy to come out the clean sheet in the match.

“The three points means we’re still ahead in the league and, with Chelsea drawing, it draws us away from them a little bit further. But City are on our tails. It’s going to be a long season. The importance of winning 1-0 in certain games is your opponents know the resilience is there. Our 1-0 that night won us the league. There are important 1-0 victories. We’ve had many of them,” said Ferguson after the match. Van Persie is now one short of the goals scored by Luis Suarez in the Premier league.

VIDIC RULED OUT

Federico Macheda’s teammate and captain of Manchester United, Nemanja Vidic, would not be able to play for the team for the next two months. Vidic was feeling a bit of pain in his knee before United’s match against Liverpool on Sunday. So, he didn’t play in that match.

In the post match press conference, Sir Alex Ferguson had said that there was nothing serious about Vidic’s fitness and he would be back for the team’s next Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur which is going to be played on the upcoming Saturday, or against Steven Gerrard‘s Liverpool. But, that is not going to happen.

Yesterday, the Manchester United skipper met a specialist and after the check up, it was found that Vidic had got a major problem and he needed an immediate surgery. He went through the surgery and now, he is out for two months.

It is a huge blow for Manchester United. Two other key defenders of United i.e. Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are already out of the team due to injuries. Vidic had to miss the second half of the last season due to knee injury. He managed to get fit at the start of the ongoing season. But, unfortunately, he is out injured again.

One of the spokesmen of Manchester United said, “Nemanja Vidic was having a lot of pain since Sunday’s night and he decided to have a check up. He visited a specialist and the specialist recommended an immediate operation.”
“He would have to remain out of action for the next eight weeks and he would probably be back in the first week of December.”

Now, in the absence of the senior defenders, some of the youngsters could be given the opportunity in the Capital One Cup match against Newcastle on Wednesday. Michael Keane is one of them. The 19 years old Irish defender has featured only once for the senior team of United till now.

It would be interesting to see the composition of the first XI of United in the match against Newcastle.

MACHEDA OFF ON LOAN

Manchester United is on the verge of placing the Italian striker Federico Macheda on loan. According to the reports, the Turkish club, Bursaspor, wants to sign Macheda on a 1 year loan deal and Macheda could be on his way to Italy pretty soon.

Macheda had been placed on loan in the second half of the last season as well. He had played for QPR on loan in the last season. With the inclusion of Robin Van Persie in the United squad, Macheda is not likely to get many opportunities to play in the first XI of United in the 2012-13 season. So, Ferguson is looking to place the striker on loan so that he could remain in match practice.

Macheda had joined United five years ago in September 2007. Initially, he featured for the Youth team of United. He got the opportunity to play for the senior team of Manchester United in April 2009. He played his first match for the senior team against Aston Villa. He came to play as a substitute towards the end of that match and scored a match winning goal in the injury time.

A few days later, Macheda was given the opportunity to start the match for United in the final of the FA Cup against Everton. Alex Ferguson gave Macheda regular chances to play in the first team at the start of the 2009-10 season. But, unfortunately, Macheda injured himself in January 2010 and had to miss a lot of matches due to that. Macheda spent most part of the 2010-11 season playing for the Italian Club Sampdoria on loan.

However, Alex Ferguson hasn’t yet confirmed that Macheda is going to be placed on loan. But, according to the current circumstances, it seems that Macheda might have to spend his third consecutive year on loan.

ANOTHER SEASON ON LOAN

Italian striker Federico Macheda has been linked with a move away from Manchester United on a season long loan deal.

However, due to the failure the player has experienced in the last few transfer windows on loan deals, his agent has revealed that his client would be better off staying at Manchester United and waiting for first-team opportunities.

Federico Macheda has been linked with a loan move to Benfica and Turkish club Besiktas. However, both these moves are yet to materialise, with no official news regarding this.

One of the reasons might be that Federico Macheda has decided not to leave Manchester United on a loan deal.
This has been confirmed by his agent, who has said that his client would get more opportunities at Manchester United due to the departure of Dimitar Berbatov.

Federico Macheda has been at Sampdoria and QPR in the last two seasons, but he failed to play regularly in both the spells due to various reasons. In many ways, his agent believes that he would have had more opportunity to play if he had stayed at Manchester United. The 20-year-old is likely to get his last chance to impress at Manchester United this season.

“I believe that Federico will remain with Manchester United,” said his agent Giovanni Bia in response to a question about his future. Manchester United are ready to sell striker Dimitar Berbatov in the summer.

This might help Federico Macheda get more regular first-team opportunities. Despite the exit of Dimitar Berbatov, Manchester United still have a number of strikers in their books. The likes of Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Hernandez are all ahead of Federico Macheda in the pecking order. The Italian made his debut for the club back in 2009 by scoring against Aston Villa, but struggled since then.

DERRY PRAISES MACHEDA EFFORTS

QPR midfielder Shaun Derry has said that it was a superhuman effort from the players to avoid relegation from the Premier league this season. QPR were the favourites to go down immediately from the moment they secured promotion to the Premier league.

Their fears were compounded when manager Mark Hughes arrived at the club, but was unable to get going in the first few matches. Even after the arrival of a number of high profile players, QPR was struggling in the months of January and February. Due to the number of high profile players on the books, QPR would have surely struggled with their finances if they had dropped down to the Championship.

However, incredible wins over top clubs like Arsenal, Liverpool, and Tottenham in the final few who matches of the campaign meant that they went into the last match of the season against Manchester City with a real chance of staying up. They suffered a 3-2 defeat in the final few minutes of the match, but that did not matter because Bolton failed to win the match in hand against Stoke. As a result, QPR will stay in the Premier league for another season, in which they are expected to target for a European place following the arrival of number of players.

“Staying up is as important as winning promotion. The celebrations are different because it’s hard to celebrate when you’ve survived by one or two points. But in time this will turn into a monumental season for the club because I’m sure with the owners and the backers the club can progress. People will look back on their first season back in the Premier League and I’m proud to say I was part of it,” said QPR midfielder Shaun Derry, who has been an impressive aspect of their survival.