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Manchester United latest: Including Owen retirement and Ferdinand’s England future

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

Former Manchester United, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle and England striker Michael Owen announced today his intention of retiring from professional football at the end of this season.

Now at Stoke, the 33-year-old explained:

"It is with an immense amount of pride that I am announcing my intention to retire."

The Manchester Evening News asserts that Rio Ferdinand’s exit from the England squad is ‘just what Sir Alex Ferguson wanted – an embarrassment for the FA’.

Ferdinand was recalled by Roy Hodgson after being dropped last year under controversial circumstances but insists he has pulled out of the squad due to 'special fitness requirements’.

However England and Chelsea veteran Frank Lampard insists Ferdinand’s England days are ‘not over’.

"He's a top-drawer player Rio, and he's certainly not finished," Lampard told a press conference.

Wayne Rooney's first-half winning goal against Reading last weekend keep United’s hopes alive of maintaining a record they’ve kept since May 1984 of never having lost at home having lead at half-time.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has named Swansea City as his Premier League team of the year.

"Swansea have been terrific," Ferguson said in an interview with Inside United.

"The boy Michu has been a revelation. To sign him for just £2million and get 20 goals out of him — what a bargain!”

Meanwhile, United goalkeeper David De Gea revealed he is ‘proud’ to have made the ‘big step’ up after being called up for the Spanish international squad ahead of their World Cup 2014 qualifiers against Finland and France.

"I am very pleased and happy," he told As.

"This is a special moment for me and a big step in my career. I will try to do my best to impress the boss.”

Elsewhere, United captain Nemanja Vidic is also looking forward to the international break so that he can focus on his personal fitness objectives.

"The international break is good for me," he told MUTV.

"During the 10 days, I can work on my individual stuff like fitness and other technical things.”

United and England defender Chris Smalling has urged his team to return from the international break ‘focused’.

Hopefully everyone can come back fit because we then have two big games against Sunderland and Chelsea," explained the centre back.

In transfer news, speculation persists that United are set to go ‘head to head’ with Real Madrid in the race to sign £30 million rated Italian international Marco Verratti from Paris Saint-Germain.

Elsewhere, West Ham are reportedly ‘interested’ in signing United goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard this summer.

Finally, in other news, United legend Gary Neville has purchased Manchester’s former Stock Exchange building worth £1.5 million. Reports claim that he intends to turn it into a private members’ club.

image: © gordonflood.com

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