Manchester United latest: Including Hodgson row and Stoke team news

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

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has ‘hit back’ at England boss Roy Hodgson who recently claimed that clubs dismiss international breaks as a ‘holiday’.

"Look at the opposite side. International football interferes with the clubs' ambitions,” asserted the Scot.

"Friendly games for a start. They have been doing it for the last decade, playing a friendly in the week before the season starts. Tell me the sense of that.”

Hodgson was perceived to have made a ‘dig’ at Rio Ferdinand, United veteran and former England captain with his remarks on the subject.

“I asked our IT person to give me some statistics – I won’t mention the players – how many games have they played for their teams. If you add up the number it’s sort of 15 to 19 games,” explained Hodgson.

“The season could be 55 games long but you show me the players in the club team who are playing those 55 games. For us it’s Steven Gerrard and Joe Hart. They’re playing far more games than most of the others.”

Meanwhile, Ferguson remained focused on this weekend’s trip to the Britannia where United take on Stoke City in the Premier League.

The boss insisted the team ‘need a win’ after losing their last two fixtures to Manchester City and Chelsea in the FA Cup.

"We have a job to do," stated Sir Alex. "The incentives are there for ourselves in the sense that we've only got seven games left,” the manager said.

"The challenge is there for Stoke as well. I don't think they will go down but, nonetheless, they’re in a precarious situation because, down the bottom of that league, you don’t pick up a lot of points. I think they'll get enough to get out.”

Ferguson revealed the team is in ‘good shape’ presently ahead of the league clash on Sunday.

“I’m hoping Vida will start training today," Sir Alex told reporters.

Jonny Evans has trained this week, which is better news than we had building up to Monday’s game. Ashley Young is out – he got a sore whack on his ankle and is maybe out for two weeks. Other than that, we're in good shape in terms of player availability,” he revealed of the captain and his defensive partner.

In team news, ahead of Sunday’s game which kicks off at 2:05pm, Stoke are currently 15th in the league table and are expected to be without Mathew Etherington and Marc Wilson.

United will be without winger Ashley Young who has been ruled out by the boss for at least two-weeks after picking up a knock to his ankle at the Etihad against City on Monday.

United’s expected line-up is:

De Gea – Ferdinand – Jones Rafael – Evra – Carrick – Cleverley – Nani – Valencia – Rooney – Van Persie

In transfer news, United ‘target’ Marco Verratti has suggested he will ‘snub’ a move to United, preferring to remain at Paris Saint-Germain. He also being scouted by Juventus and was asked about his future plans, to which he responded:

“Juve or another club? No. I’m staying at PSG. I have already decided,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Meanwhile, ESPN are reporting that United ‘target’ Andre Ayew is ‘set to leave’ current club Marseille this summer, after he told reporters:

"The club has been clear: if they get a good offer, they'll listen. But I'm not going to leave just to please them. If I go, it'll be to a club capable of winning trophies."

United are still linked with a summer swoop for Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane.

Elsewhere, speculation continues that Javier Hernandez may be subject to departure this summer to ‘make way’ for the potential arrival of Radamel Falcao.

In other news, United legend Dennis Law is involved in a ‘political row’ in Bahrain after allegations were made by a doctor that he had been tortured over his relationship to Manchester United and manager Ferguson.

He alleges that his human rights had been abused and breached in the following incident:

“I was blindfolded and handcuffed with my hands behind my back, and beaten. A man asked me: ‘What is your relationship with Alex Ferguson?’ I was shocked and figured out they had gone through my emails,” revealed Dr Haji,

image: © Nasmac

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