All the latest news, views and rumours relating to Manchester United…
After 1,500 games and unrivalled success, tomorrow is the last time we will see Sir Alex Ferguson in charge of the team he has transformed. When the final whistle blows at the end of United’s game at the Hawthorns, there will be no encore, just the final red curtain dropping on a legacy.
In team news, Phil Jones is likely to partner Jonny Evans in the centre of defence, with both Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic set to be rested. With right-back Rafael still suspended, there is no word yet on who will replace him, although Antonio Valencia seems the most likely candidate.
Second-choice ‘keeper Anders Lindegaard will start instead of David De Gea, while there remain doubts over Wayne Rooney’s inclusion, with suggestions that the forward will be be left out of the match-day squad for the second consecutive match.
West Bromwich Albion’s Marc-Antoine Fortune returns after a ban and Steven Reid may feature despite picking up a knock in the Baggies’ 4-0 loss to Norwich.
Lindegaard’s inclusion comes after the 29-year-old Dane announced his intention to remain at Old Trafford next season. With De Gea firmly in place as the club’s number one, it was rumoured that Lindegaard would move on in the summer – with both Fulham and West Ham reportedly interested.
However, speaking to Sky Sports, he said, “When players get to Manchester United they don’t want to leave. You’re a part of a family, and now I feel the same. I have no intentions of leaving.”
Another player who will be remaining in Manchester next season is Rio Ferdinand, who is set to sign a new one year deal with the club. Speculation has been rife that the 34-year-old defender may be leaving this summer. However, the extension has been agreed with incoming manager David Moyes.
The announcement comes just three days after Ferdinand announced his retirement from international football.
One player who may be on his way is Rooney, although Ferguson has admitted that is no longer his problem.
With Moyes rumoured to be ready to sit down with the England striker in the coming weeks, Ferguson has acknowledged the issue is one he no longer needs to deal with.
“I have not spoken to David about Wayne,” the outgoing manager said. “I’m sure he will address it when he gets here. I have no idea why Wayne wants to leave, it is not my department. I am no longer interested in that.”
Finally, this year’s Golden Boot winner Robin van Persie has praised the team spirit and work ethic of the newly-crowned champions. Having finally got his hands on the Premier League trophy last weekend, the Dutchman was full of praise for his teammates.
“Every team of champions starts with a good atmosphere,” he said, “and the idea that every single person wants to share success and every person wants to play their part in it.”
Tomorrow afternoon, he will have the chance to add to his impressive goal tally. But he won’t be the only one wishing to score the last United goal in the reign of their greatest ever manager.
image: © marcel sigg