Manchester United latest: Including Reading preview and predicted line-up

Olt Trafford Outside

News, views and rumours relating to Manchester United in the past 24 hours.

In team news, Manchester United host Reading this weekend – United lead the league by 12 points whilst the visitors are fighting for Premier League survival after losing their last 5 games in a row.

The predicted United line-up is:

De Gea – Vidic – Ferdinand – Rafael – Evra – Carrick – Cleverley – Rooney – Valencia – Kagawa – Van Persie

The Mirror predicts that United will take Reading’s caretaker boss ‘to the cleaners’ in the fixture at Old Trafford after the visitors sacked manager Brian McDermott earlier this week.

Meanwhile, Rio Ferdinand was recalled to the England squad earlier this week by Roy Hodgson. However, Sir Alex Ferguson believes Ferdinand may ‘pull out’ due to fitness concerns.

"I was as surprised as anyone when I heard," he said.

"I need to speak to the doctor because we prepare Rio Ferdinand in a certain way and there are certain treatments he has to go through.”

Ferguson also ‘defended’ United’s exit from the Champions League to Real Madrid.

"Our performance against Real Madrid was outstanding and we should have been in the last eight,” insisted the Scot.

The boss also commented on Rafael Benitez’ recent claims that Ferguson refused to shake his hand at Old Trafford after their FA Cup sixth round draw with Chelsea last weekend.

"It is nonsense. Why would I refuse to shake his hand?”

"I was signing autographs and I never saw him,” he revealed.

In transfer news, Paris Saint-Germain’s director Leonardo has dismissed rumours that the French club are preparing a summer bid for United striker Wayne Rooney.

"It's not the case now - there is nothing, nothing, nothing. We have not moved for any other player,” he revealed.

Meanwhile, Porto coach Victor Perreira has criticised ‘unhappy’ United target James Rodriguez after he complained at being benched for the fifth time in six games.

"James is like any player who ask it. Everybody says feel good and ready to play 90 minutes. This is his opinion, but to me it is prepared to evaluate whether or not," Perreira hit back.

In other news, United goalkeeper David De Gea has earned his first senior call up to the Spanish international squad for their upcoming World Cup 2014 qualifiers.

United and Crystal Palace youngster Wilfried Zaha awaits a decision from the FA on his charge of misconduct after he gave Leeds United fans the ‘middle finger’ on March 9th.

Palace boss Ian Holloway has been fined £2,000 for his improper conduct towards match officials during the same fixture.

Elsewhere, Manchester City defender Gael Clichy has asserted his belief that United can ‘still blow’ their 12-point lead in the Premier League with just 10 games still to play. He said:

“One bad result can become two and then the doubts creep in. You ask yourself, “is it going to be the same as last season?”

However United defender Jonny Evans has stated there will be no such doubt.

“We all saw what happened last year,” said Evans.

“It’s up to us to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We keep saying it but hopefully we’ve learned from that experience.”

Teammate Chris Smalling has revealed that the infamous Ferguson ‘hairdryer treatment’ in United’s dressing room is ‘a bit of a myth’.

"It's a bit of a myth that he rants and raves, and I think there are a lot of players who've worked with him who would give that statement,” said the Englishman.

Finally, in more dressing room news, revelations of the music choice have surfaced.

According to ‘a source’ David De Gea has requested that Patrice Evra change the genre from R&B to thrash metal.

image: © Paolo Camera

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch