Tag Archives: sheringham

David Beckham son Brooklyn joins training at Paris Saint-Germain

First Chelsea, now PSG! Brooklyn Beckham joins dad David in training as his fledgling football career receives another boost

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

17:06 GMT, 19 February 2013

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UPDATED:

17:52 GMT, 19 February 2013

With his famous father, Brooklyn Beckham was always going to get his foot in the door at Europe's top clubs.

But, just a month after Sportsmail revealed he had a trial at Chelsea, David Beckham's son got another chance to impress today by joining his dad in training at Paris Saint-Germain.

Brooklyn was on the Under 14 roster at the LA Galaxy academy while his dad played in California, and is approaching the age when top clubs will be able to make a call on his prospects of reaching the top.

That's my boy: David Beckham (centre) took son Brooklyn (below) into training with him on Tuesday

That's my boy: David Beckham (centre) took son Brooklyn (below) into training with him on Tuesday

That's my boy: David Beckham (centre) took son Brooklyn (below) into training with him on Tuesday

That's my boy: David Beckham (centre) took son Brooklyn (below) into training with him on Tuesday

That's my boy: David Beckham (centre) took son Brooklyn (below) into training with him on Tuesday

And Sportsmail revealed last month that Brooklyn had a trial at Chelsea's state-of-the-art training ground.

Beckham on trial at Chelsea! But it's not the superstar former England captain… it's his son Brooklyn

Read how Sportsmail broke the exclusive story of Brooklyn Beckham's trial at Cobham

Players and parents were stunned to
see Beckham on the touchline at Cobham, but he was there not for talks
with Chelsea and instead went to watch his
son in a low-key academy game aimed at giving him a taste of English
football at junior level.

If any of Beckham's sons – Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz, who are on half-term holiday from their new school in London – do make the grade, it will not be the first father-and-son combination to
play top-class football. Other father-and-son professionals include Teddy and Charlie Sheringham; Mark Chamberlain and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain; Arnor and Eidur Gudjohnsen and Johan and
Jordi Cruyff.

David Beckham

David Beckham

Building fitness: Beckham is preparing for his PSG debut after joining the French giants in January

Seeing red: PSG crashed to defeat at lowly Sochaux on Sunday and saw their lead in Ligue 1 cut

Seeing red: PSG crashed to defeat at lowly Sochaux on Sunday and saw their lead in Ligue 1 cut

Beckham Snr, meanwhile, was looking to build up his match fitness, with his PSG debut still on hold following his move to the French big-spenders on January transfer deadline day.

The former England captain, who is looking to win the league championship in a fourth different country, started full training with PSG last week and has not played a competitive match since his last appearance for the Los Angeles Galaxy in December.

He is likely to make his bow for Carlo Ancelotti's side at home against title rival Marseille on February 24. PSG hosts Marseille again three days later in the French Cup.

PSG saw their lead at the top of the Ligue 1 standings slashed in half after they suffered a surprise 3-2 defeat at lowly Sochaux on Sunday while nearest challengers Lyon thrashed Bordeaux 4-0 away from home.

Alex Ferguson warns Wayne Rooney he faces career-long battle with his weight

Ferguson: It's always best to look at a player's parents before buying

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UPDATED:

21:59 GMT, 1 September 2012

Wayne Rooney has been warned he faces a
career-long battle with his weight as he fights for a future at
Manchester United alongside Robin van Persie.

Sir Alex Ferguson, who has always
paid close attention to family history when assessing the long-term
physical condition of players, is putting the frighteners on 26-year-old
Rooney in an attempt to get him focused on forming an attacking dream
partnership with United's new 24 million Dutchman.

Warning: Wayne Rooney

Warning: Wayne Rooney

The United manager, in charge of a milestone 1,000th league game for United at Southampton today, believes his two superstar strikers can work together, but he is aware it depends on Rooney working extra hard on maintaining his perfect fighting weight.

Rooney is out for four weeks with a badly gashed leg, but there were concerns before the injury about his overall level of fitness, with England manager Roy Hodgson disappointed about the player's condition during Euro 2012 after he had taken time off to relax at the end of the league season.

Through his love of horse racing and the importance of good breeding, Ferguson has always studied the parents of players to judge if they will put on weight later in their career.

He admits signing Teddy Sheringham at the age of 30 only after noting the striker's father had not gained an ounce of fat in middle age. Unfortunately for Rooney, his gene pool is different, as the infamous picture of his parents emerging from the sea a few years ago would suggest.

Like father, like son: Wayne Rooney has inherited a tendency to put on weight from father Wayne Snr

Like father, like son: Wayne Rooney has inherited a tendency to put on weight from father Wayne Snr

Ferguson said: 'Wayne is no Ryan Giggs. Ryan has never put a pound on in his whole life. Wayne is a boy that needs games, you can see that from the frame he's got. He is stocky, strong and really needs games, simple as that.

'Some people are lucky. I have had nights out with the jockey Mick Kinane, we've had three bottles of wine and he's still the same weight, not an ounce on him. Unbelievable, and his father Tommy is exactly the same.'

Ferguson sent Rooney to Nike's headquarters in America to work on his conditioning two years ago, but insists the player will stay at the club this time.

'Wayne will do his work here. He'll concentrate on that and of course he will regain his fitness,' said Ferguson.

Ferguson is aware that he can sign Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski, whose link-up play with United new boy Shinji Kagawa helped them win the Bundesliga, for 12 million next summer when the Pole has only a year left on his contract.

But his ideal wish is that Rooney knuckles down as part of a devastating United strike quartet that also includes Van Persie, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez.

'Rooney and Van Persie can play together, absolutely. There is no doubt about that. And Welbeck can play with either of them. I have good options,' said Ferguson, who admits he will not have a problem leaving Rooney on the bench again.

'The speculation about that doesn't bother me, to be honest with you, I don't have the slightest bit of interest,' he said. 'It could affect him [Rooney]. Players like to be playing every week or else they are disappointed, and I am glad they are disappointed. But it's only been one game, it's not a problem.'

Ferguson takes his team to St Mary's glad that he can pick two proper centre-halves for the first time this season. Jonny Evans is fit to play alongside captain Nemanja Vidic, allowing Michael Carrick to revert to midfield.

In his 28th season at United, Ferguson is showing no signs of mellowing. The latest bugbear is keeping his team secret until kick-off.

Two journalists have been banned by United for revealing that Rio Ferdinand would miss the game against Everton and he is angry at England manager Roy Hodgson for disclosing that winger Ashley Young will miss the match.

'Why should you let anyone know what your team is It's straightforward,' said Ferguson. 'We've been put at a disadvantage preparing for Southampton. We won't be giving them (the Football Association) any information again, that is for sure.

'I never name my team until the day of the game now. If players know the team, they tell their agent, who might have another player on the other team. It's too easy to get out.

'When I first came to United, I named my team on a Friday. We worked on playing three centre-backs against Everton. On the day of the game, Graeme Hogg was in the papers saying, “How we are going to beat Everton”. I couldn't believe it!'

Wayne Rooney will supply Robin van Persie – Jamie Redknapp

Rooney's new goal Supply the bullets for his new partner in crime RVP

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UPDATED:

00:35 GMT, 17 August 2012

Robin van Persie joining Manchester United is great for Sir Alex Ferguson and great for the title race.

If he had signed for Manchester City it would have felt like game over before the season had even started. Instead, Sir Alex has made a statement that he wants his title back and he now has the strike force to make that possible.

New boy: Van Persie was incredible last season

New boy: Van Persie was incredible last season

Here he is: Robin van Persie arrives for his medical

Here he is: Robin van Persie arrives for his medical

When United won the treble in 1999,
they had four excellent strikers in Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, Teddy
Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Sir Alex thinks they are getting
close to that quality again with Van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Javier
Hernandez and Danny Welbeck but I’d argue they offer more variety. Only
time will tell if they are better.

Most importantly, signing Van Persie
is a statement that United are still a force to be reckoned with.

We
were all expecting City to improve their squad this summer but they’ve
only added Jack Rodwell and United now have one of the best strikers in
Europe and Shinji Kagawa. They have Nemanja Vidic and Tom Cleverley
returning to the fold after injuries, too.

And what would it have said about
United if they had lost out to City on Van Persie For that reason he is
worth the 24million.

After 37 goals in all competitions last season,
his price tag seems cheap — he’d be worth 50m if he’d had more years
left on his contract. He was up there with Lionel Messi and Cristiano
Ronaldo as the best forwards in the world last season.

You imagine that Van Persie and Rooney
will be the first-choice front pair, although you’d expect Rooney to
drop deeper for big matches and a lot of European games, when Sir Alex
prefers to play one striker.

You've got to hand it to them: Van Persie and Rooney will lead United's attack this season

You've got to hand it to them: Van Persie and Rooney will lead United's attack this season

Dutch of class: RVP will wear the red of United this term

Dutch of class: RVP will wear the red of United this term

Rooney can then help out in midfield,
sit on the opposition’s defensive midfielder and provide goals for the
Dutchman. A lot of Van Persie’s goals last season came from central
balls from Alex Song and Rooney might end up being the creator as much
as the goalscorer. We may have to judge Rooney on more than just goals
this season. When Ronaldo scored 42 goals in 2007-08, Rooney was a bit
subdued, scoring only 18. He is more mature now so won’t be
overshadowed.

Welbeck and Hernandez might be a bit
put out by Van Persie’s arrival but that’s football. They’ve been set a
challenge to get in the team and they will do so because football is
such a squad game these days.

But Hernandez might have to become the
new Solskjaer, making an impact off the bench. A year ago some people,
incuding me, were talking about him as the signing of the decade but
last season was so up and down for him. He’s the best finisher of the
four but his link play lets him down.

As for Arsenal, they will be kicking
themselves at getting into a mess yet again where their best player
leaves. They are left with a situation where the players are too much in
control.

At least they might be selling Alex Song when he has two years left on his contract — so they will get more for him.

Maybe they have finally learned their lesson.

Moving on: The Holland international has ended his stay with Arsenal after agreeing a move to Manchester United

Moving on: The Holland international has ended his stay with Arsenal after agreeing a move to Manchester United

Robin van Persie

Wayne Rooney

Dream duo Van Persie and Rooney are expected to form a deadly partnership for Man United

RVP & Roo v Kun & Carlos

Robin van Persie means Manchester United have four great strikers again – Sir Alex Ferguson

I've got a new Fab Four! 250k-a-week Van Persie fires up Fergie ahead of new season

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UPDATED:

22:18 GMT, 16 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson has warned his rivals that he has assembled one of the most fearsome strikeforces in Europe as Manchester United tied up their 24million capture of Arsenal’s Robin van Persie.

The Dutchman is set to make his United debut in Monday’s Barclays Premier League opener at Everton after having a medical in Manchester on Thursday while his representatives negotiated personal terms in the region of 250,000 a week, or 12m a year, the same as Wayne Rooney.

Van Persie, 29, will now join forces at Old Trafford with Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck, who greeted his arrival on Thursday by promising ‘goals galore’ this season.

Fab fours: (top left-right) Javier Hernandez, Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck and 1999 team (bottom left-right) Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Teddy Sheringham, Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke

Fab fours: (top left-right) Javier Hernandez, Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck and 1999 team (bottom left-right) Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Teddy Sheringham, Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke

Ready for action: Van Persie arrives for his United medical

Ready for action: Van Persie arrives for his United medical

Add the creative spark of Shinji
Kagawa and Ferguson believes he has an attack to rival the unstoppable
combination of Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar
Solskjaer, who fired United to a League, Champions League and FA Cup
Treble in 1999.

Asked about pairing Rooney with Van
Persie, Ferguson said: ‘They’re two fantastic players and it’s great to
have them both. What gives us even more strength are the combinations I
have up front. If you go back to the 1999 season when I had Dwight and
Andy, Teddy and Ole Gunnar, they were the four best strikers in Europe.

‘I think I’m getting towards that now.
I’ve got Chicharito, Wayne, Robin, Danny Welbeck and Kagawa. It’s a
fantastic collection of players — hopefully I pick the right
combinations. It’s great to have a player of Van Persie’s quality come
into the squad.

‘The fee has been agreed and we’re
delighted with that, of course. Obviously we hope that his medical goes
according to plan. Sometimes medicals take a bit longer but I’m sure
he’ll be available for Monday’s game.’

Here I am: Van Persie will strike fear into the heart of Manchester City

Here I am: Van Persie will strike fear into the heart of Manchester City

Launch: Sir Alex Ferguson was speaking at the club's link-up with sponsor bwin

Launch: Sir Alex Ferguson was speaking at the club's link-up with sponsor bwin

Knowing that Van Persie had only 12
months left on his contract, Arsenal finally relented in their fight to
stop the striker from joining United and accepted an improved offer on
Wednesday.

TOM CLEVERLEY ON RVP

He just adds to our goalscoring ability with Wellbeck, Rooney, Hernandez, Berbatov. I've admired him at Arsenal, he is a world class player, a goalscorer and is proven in the Premier League. All those three things will help us. I think Rooney and Van Persie were the top goalscorers in the Premier League last season and hopefully they can score as many this year.

The arrival of last season’s Premier
League top scorer threatens Welbeck’s starting spot alongside Rooney,
but the young England striker echoed his manager by insisting United
will benefit from the competition for places.

‘It’s going to be shared out and hopefully once you’re out there it’s goals galore for Manchester United,’ said Welbeck.

‘He’s a player with great ability and a
world-class striker. He can score goals and create goals as well.
They’re the type of players who win you titles.

‘It’s given the club a massive boost, everyone is delighted to have him. I’m really looking forward to playing with him.

‘It’s good to have competition. At
United there’s no time to sit back anyway. You never get time to rest on
your laurels. You’ve always got to work hard because there are always
things to improve on.

On the move: Bookmakers Coral were quick to set up this stunt outside the Emirates

On the move: Bookmakers Coral were quick to set up this stunt outside the Emirates

United front: Ferguson has finally got his man by agreeing a deal for Robin van Persie

United front: Ferguson has finally got his man by agreeing a deal for Robin van Persie

WELBECK ON SQUAD ROTATION

Once the season gets under way the manager will be good with squad rotation. It's a good problem for him to have. He's got a good variety of strikers to use and hopefully he picks the right team and we can win as many titles as possible.

‘I think once the season gets underway the manager will be good with squad rotation. But it’s a good problem for him to have.’

Welbeck also welcomed Ferguson’s
comparison to the team of ’99. Asked if the four strikers are all
capable of making their mark, he said: ‘Yes, definitely. We’ve got a
good variety of strikers and we’re all capable of scoring goals.

‘I was a massive United fan and
watched that whole season all the way through. Cole, Yorke, Sheringham,
Solskjaer — that was a great strikeforce.

‘Being at United you learn to play
with different types of strikers and players. Once we get training
together I think everyone will be gelling perfectly.’

Final hurdle: The protracted deal could soon be concluded if the Gunners accept the offer for their captain

Final hurdle: The protracted deal could soon be concluded if the Gunners accept the offer for their captain

Final hurdle: The protracted deal will, Ferguson hopes, be concluded in time for RVP to face Everton

Concern had been growing in the United
camp during pre-season that their strikers have lacked sharpness in
front of goal. But sources said that the mood had been
transformed by Van Persie’s imminent arrival.

And Rio Ferdinand believes that Van Persie, who scored 37 goals last season, will not disappoint.

‘There have been many players who have
come to Manchester United and not met expectations,’ he said.
‘Expectations here are higher than anywhere in the world — some do
brilliantly and some don’t fare quite so well. I’ve got no worries about
Robin, though. He’s a very good professional.

Talisman: Van Persie bagged the vast majority of Arsenal's goals last season

Talisman: Van Persie bagged the vast majority of Arsenal's goals last season

'I know his main aim won’t
be a selfish one — it will be all about winning trophies. And if he can
score goals like he did last year then we’ll all be smiling come the
end of the season.

‘We’re bringing a big name into an
environment that already has a lot of big names, especially in the
forward department, so it’s definitely going to shake things up. But
it’s going to be great for the squad.’

Michael Carrick, who was on duty with England on Wednesday, also commented on the deal.

He said: 'Someone mentioned in the
dressing room about Van Persie and if it goes through, it will be
brilliant. He had a terrific season and he will further strengthen our
squad. It is a great boost going into the new season.

'He is a world class player and we have always been about bringing in players of that ability.

'Can it make the difference between
second and first There wasn't much difference so hopefully we can go
that step further! But the club has always had strength in depth and it
is about the squad and not the 11 on the pitch.'

Robin van Persie has Manchester United medical

Van Persie arrives at hospital to undergo medical as United transfer nears completion

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UPDATED:

20:25 GMT, 16 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Robin van Persie has arrived at Bridgewater Hospital to undergo a medical ahead of his proposed move to Manchester United.

The 29-year-old is expected to join the Old Trafford side from Arsenal for a reported fee of 24million.

United fought off competition from Manchester City and Juventus to snare the Dutch striker.

All smiles: Robin van Persie has arrived at Bridgewater Hospital to undergo his Manchester United medical

All smiles: Robin van Persie has arrived at Bridgewater Hospital to undergo his Manchester United medical

Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed United will possess arguably Europe's most fearsome
strike force when van Persie arrives.

He should be ready to make his Manchester United debut at Everton on Monday.

Ferguson
has spoken about the new-look attacking options of Van Persie, Wayne
Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez, and the comparisons with the
1999 set of Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar
Solskjaer.

Speaking at a
press conference, Ferguson said: 'They (Wayne Rooney and Robin van
Persie) are two fantastic players and it will be great to have both of
them. It gives us more strength and more combinations up front.

'In 1999 I had Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the four best strikers in Europe.

Let's go: Robin van Persie was filmed arriving at St Pancras off the Eurostar

Let's go: Robin van Persie was filmed arriving at St Pancras off the Eurostar

'We are going towards that now with Javier Hernandez, Wayne Rooney, Robin, Danny Welbeck and Shinji Kagawa.

It is a fantastic collection of
players and hopefully I pick the right combinations It is great to have a
player of Robin van Persie's qualities to come into the squad. I am
very pleased.'

United sealed the signing of the
summer when Arsenal agreed to sell Van Persie to their Barclays Premier
League rivals for 24million.

Even
one of the players whose place is threatened expressed his delight,
with Welbeck keen to welcome Van Persie into the United fold.

'It is a massive boost to the club if Robin van Persie joins us,' he said. 'I am really looking forward to playing with him.

United front: Van Persie made it clear he would not sign a new deal at Arsenal

United front: Van Persie made it clear he would not sign a new deal at Arsenal

'His
agent is in discussions with (United chief executive) David Gill right
about now. We hope all the things will be tied up, although sometimes
medicals do take a bit longer. I am sure he will be available for
Monday's game.'

Arsene Wenger has admitted that Arsenal were powerless to stop Robin van Persie signing for Manchester United.

Wenger has the best
part of two weeks to spend some of the money before the transfer window
is closed. He said on French TV on Wednesday night: ‘It’s sad to lose a
player of his quality. He had only one year left on his contract so we
didn’t have the choice.’

Asked who he would recruit, Wenger said: 'We already signed Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud.'

Final hurdle: Sir Alex Ferguson has been busy in the transfer market this summer

Final hurdle: Sir Alex Ferguson has been busy in the transfer market this summer

Van Persie is the first Arsenal
player to join United since Viv Anderson in 1987 and the move has riled
Gunners fans, who took to Twitter to abuse him.

United are understood to have agreed a
15m downpayment for last season’s Footballer of the Year and Players’
Player — who scored 30 Premier League goals for last season. That will
rise to 24m depending on appearances. Van Persie is expected to sign a
four-year contract worth over 200,000 a week.

A statement on United’s website said:
‘Manchester United is pleased to announce it has reached agreement with
Arsenal for the transfer of Robin van Persie. The deal is subject to a
medical and the agreement of personal terms.’

In signing Van Persie, United manager
Sir Alex Ferguson has laid down a clear marker ahead of the new season.
It is the first time the club have paid for a big name since Dimitar
Berbatov from Tottenham for 30.75m in 2008.

Having decided two or three years ago
they would not sign players over the age of 27, United have signified
just how far they are prepared to go to wrest the title back from City.

Talisman: Van Persie bagged the vast majority of Arsenal's goals last season

Talisman: Van Persie bagged the vast majority of Arsenal's goals last season

Robin van Persie will make Manchester United best in Europe, says Alex Ferguson

We'll be deadliest in Europe with Van Persie, says Fergie ahead of 24m deal

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UPDATED:

12:59 GMT, 16 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed Manchester United will possess arguably Europe's most fearsome strikeforce when Robin van Persie arrives.

Van Persie arrived at London St Pancras
train station on Thursday morning before setting off to Manchester to
complete his medical.

He should be ready to make his Manchester United debut at Everton on Monday.

Ferguson has spoken about the new-look attacking options of Van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez, and the comparisons with the 1999 set of Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Speaking at a press conference, Ferguson said: 'They (Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie) are two fantastic players and it will be great to have both of them. It gives us more strength and more combinations up front.

'In 1999 I had Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the four best strikers in Europe.

In the red: How Robin van Persie will look in a Manchester United shirt in our mocked-up picture

In the red: How Robin van Persie will look in a Manchester United shirt in our mocked-up picture

'We are going towards that now with Javier Hernandez, Wayne Rooney, Robin, Danny Welbeck and Shinji Kagawa.

It is a fantastic collection of
players and hopefully I pick the right combinations It is great to have a
player of Robin van Persie's qualities to come into the squad. I am
very pleased.'

United sealed the signing of the
summer when Arsenal agreed to sell Van Persie to their Barclays Premier
League rivals for 24million.

After
weeks of negotiating with Arsenal and the Holland striker, United have
beaten Manchester City and Juventus to Van Persie’s signature and the
29-year-old will have a medical at Old Trafford on Thursday.

Speaking
at a press conference on Thursday, Ferguson said: 'He is on his way up
from London for a medical. We hope that goes according to plan.

'His
agent is in discussions with (United chief executive) David Gill right
about now. We hope all the things will be tied up, although sometimes
medicals do take a bit longer. I am sure he will be available for
Monday's game.'

Arsene Wenger has admitted that Arsenal were powerless to stop Robin van Persie signing for Manchester United.

Wenger has the best
part of two weeks to spend some of the money before the transfer window
is closed. He said on French TV on Wednesday night: ‘It’s sad to lose a
player of his quality. He had only one year left on his contract so we
didn’t have the choice.’

United front: Sir Alex Ferguson has finally got his man by agreeing a deal for Robin van Persie

United front: Sir Alex Ferguson has finally got his man by agreeing a deal for Robin van Persie

Asked who he would recruit, Wenger said: 'We already signed Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud.'

Van Persie is the first Arsenal
player to join United since Viv Anderson in 1987 and the move has riled
Gunners fans, who took to Twitter to abuse him.

United are understood to have agreed a
15m downpayment for last season’s Footballer of the Year and Players’
Player — who scored 30 Premier League goals for last season. That will
rise to 24m depending on appearances. Van Persie is expected to sign a
four-year contract worth over 200,000 a week.

A statement on United’s website said:
‘Manchester United is pleased to announce it has reached agreement with
Arsenal for the transfer of Robin van Persie. The deal is subject to a
medical and the agreement of personal terms.’

In signing Van Persie, United manager
Sir Alex Ferguson has laid down a clear marker ahead of the new season.
It is the first time the club have paid for a big name since Dimitar
Berbatov from Tottenham for 30.75m in 2008.

Having decided two or three years ago
they would not sign players over the age of 27, United have signified
just how far they are prepared to go to wrest the title back from City.

Final hurdle: The protracted deal could soon be concluded if the Gunners accept the offer for their captain

Final hurdle: The protracted deal could soon be concluded if the Gunners accept the offer for their captain

Final hurdle: The protracted deal will be concluded when Van Persie has a medical on Thursday

City manager Roberto Mancini will be
particularly irritated that United have been allowed to steal his top
target from under his nose, and this will test his strained relationship
with the club’s football administrator Brian Marwood still further.

Van Persie was on Wednesday night
with Holland, who lost a friendly 4-2 to Belgium. He is expected to fly
to Manchester early on Thursday morning.

His departure will leave Arsenal fans
angry that yet another of their star players has decided to depart in
search of an improved salary and better prospects for winning major
honours.

Van Persie follows Samir Nasri and
Cesc Fabregas, who left a year ago, although the club recovered from a
poor start — including an 8-2 demolition by United at Old Trafford — to
finish third.

Talisman: Van Persie bagged the vast majority of Arsenal's goals last season

Talisman: Van Persie bagged the vast majority of Arsenal's goals last season

Michael Carrick, who was on duty with England on Wednesday, was first to comment on the deal.

He said: 'Someone mentioned in the
dressing room about Van Persie and if it goes through, it will be
brilliant. He had a terrific season and he will further strengthen our
squad. It is a great boost going into the new season.

'He is a world class player and we have always been about bringing in players of that ability.

'Can it make the difference between
second and first There wasn't much difference so hopefully we can go
that step further! But the club has always had strength in depth and it
is about the squad and not the 11 on the pitch.'

Euro 2012: England"s six final group game heroes

Lineker, Sheringham, Rooney and England's six final group game heroes…

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UPDATED:

21:43 GMT, 18 June 2012

DOMINIC KING recalls six players who inspired England to progress from the group stages…

ROGER HUNT

England 2 France 0
World Cup, July 20, 1966, Wembley

The most glorious international tournament in English football history, inevitably, had its fair share of early worries. Alf Ramsey’s England side were in a solid position going into their final group game but knew a slip-up against France would have cost them dearly. As it transpired, goals either side of half-time from Liverpool striker Roger Hunt ensured they topped Group One and went on to win the tournament.

At the double: Roger Hunt opens the scoring for England against France in 1966

At the double: Roger Hunt opens the scoring for England against France in 1966

GARY LINEKER

England 3 Poland 0
World Cup, June 11, 1986, Monterrey

A campaign that had been blighted by an injury to Bryan Robson and a red card for Ray Wilkins looked set to end miserably and early until Gary Lineker, fresh from scoring 40 times for Everton, came up trumps. Even though he wore a plaster cast to protect his injured left wrist, Lineker could not be stopped and his brilliant hat-trick sent England through. Lineker went on to win the tournament’s Golden Boot award with six goals.

MARK WRIGHT

England 1 Egypt 0
World Cup, June 21, 1990, Cagliari

Sterile would be the only way to describe proceedings in Group F at Italia 90. The first four matches between England, the Republic of Ireland, Holland and Egypt were all drawn, meaning all four nations were in a vulnerable position going into the final day. Fortunately for England, Paul Gascoigne’s free-kick was met with a glancing header from Derby defender Mark Wright to ensure England emerged on top.

TEDDY SHERINGHAM

England 4 Holland 1
European Championships, June 18, 1996, Wembley

Level on points with Holland after two games, England knew a last-match defeat could open the door for Scotland to knock them out. As it was Teddy Sheringham helped inspire arguably the greatest England performance of a generation, scoring twice and setting up another for Alan Shearer, who also netted a penalty.

What a day: Teddy Sheringham scores England's fourth goal against Holland

What a day: Teddy Sheringham scores England's fourth goal against Holland

WAYNE ROONEY

England 4 Croatia 2
European Championships, June 21, 2004, Lisbon

Losing their opening game against France meant Sven Goran Eriksson’s squad were on the back foot but any prospect of an early elimination was expunged by a quite magnificent display from Wayne Rooney, then an 18-year-old from Everton. He played fantasy football, scored twice and helped lift England past tough opposition and into the quarter-finals.

A star is born: Wayne Rooney celebrates his second goal against Croatia

A star is born: Wayne Rooney celebrates his second goal against Croatia

JERMAIN DEFOE

England 1 Slovenia 0
World Cup, June 23, 2010, Port Elizabeth

Heroic is not a word you associate with the utter wretchedness of England’s last World Cup campaign. Fabio Capello’s squad appeared destined to board the first flight back home from South Africa after limp draws against the United States and Algeria but Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe spared their blushes with a clinical early finish to carry England over the line.

Euro 2012: Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney must start against Ukraine – Glenn Hoddle

Glenn Hoddle: Sorry, Andy, but it must be Rooney and Welbeck for Ukraine showdown

PUBLISHED:

22:00 GMT, 16 June 2012

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 16 June 2012

The old adage that you shouldn't change a winning team doesn't apply in modern international football because managers have to study the opposition and pick players who exploit their weaknesses.

I started the 1998 World Cup with Teddy Sheringham up front but always planned for Michael Owen to face Colombia in our final group game because they defended square and a quick striker would be able to exploit the space behind them.

Roy Hodgson won't have any hesitation in bringing back the suspended Wayne Rooney to face Ukraine on Tuesday night, even though he has been suspended for England's successful opening group games.

On target: Welbeck scored the decisive goal in England's win over Sweden

On target: Welbeck scored the decisive goal in England's win over Sweden

Euro 2012 email button

He is our classiest player and we'll need him as the tournament gets tougher.

Importantly, Roy will want him to recover some match sharpness before a possible quarter-final against Italy, Spain or Croatia.

The big conundrum is who plays alongside Rooney: Andy Carroll or Danny Welbeck, who each scored important goals and played very well in the 3-2 win over Sweden on Friday night.

International managers are paid to make big decisions and this is a really tough call for Roy.

Head boy: Carroll opened the scoring with a stunning goal

Head boy: Carroll opened the scoring with a stunning goal

Whoever misses out will be disappointed and Roy will have to sit down and explain the decision properly to them, as I did with Sheringham in '98.

I always told my substitutes they needed to stay concentrated because the team who finish the match is often more important than the one that starts, as Theo Walcott showed against Sweden.

Roo beauty: The United star will return to the starting line-up

Roo beauty: The United star will return to the starting line-up

Carroll and Welbeck both have strong cases to stay in the team after their displays in Kiev.

When Carroll joined Liverpool, he almost tried too hard. Against Sweden, he was excellent. The goal was the crowning glory, a beautiful ball from Steven Gerrard and a stunning header from the big feller. If Mario Gomez had scored that for Germany, we would be purring about it.

Welbeck's back-heeled winner was the cutest you'll ever see. It was something you might have expected from the opposition forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic but Welbeck has shown us on more than one occasion that he has some exceptional skills, too.

What impresses me above all is his confidence. For a young player, he behaves on the pitch as someone already at home on the international stage. Welbeck should get the nod for Ukraine in my view because of his relationship with Rooney, a cornerstone of Manchester United last season.

Rooney is at his most effective when he's got little pockets of space to work with and Welbeck can provide that by running in behind defences and stretching them. He is a flexible player, too; he has strength and technique to receive the ball, allowing Rooney to run in behind on occasions.

Cute finish: Welbeck scored the winning goal in Kiev

Cute finish: Welbeck scored the winning goal in Kiev

It's a good position for Roy to be in. If plan A doesn't work, Carroll is full of confidence if called upon. And, by the way, Rooney will also feel he has something to prove now.

If Roy brings him into a winning team, he has to justify that selection. I think England will beat Ukraine. The hosts didn't offer much when I saw their game against France on Friday. And from there the whole tournament could snowball.

Welbeck winner against Sweden was the cutest you’ll see

England may end up facing Spain but the world and defending European champions are not without weakness. Croatia and Italy are beatable quarter-final opposition and Roy has the options to change the team again to suit the opposition.

It might be that Carroll, perfect for Sweden, could be effective in physically disrupting Italy's three-man defence. Where Roy's squad are good is that he has strikers who all offer different solutions, including Jermain Defoe.

Overall, England were better with the ball against Sweden than against France. When you string four or five passes together, it gives Gerrard time to get himself forward and support the front two. It was a massive plus to see Gerrard as a threat against Sweden, pushing on even in the last minute to nearly score a fourth England goal.

Impact player: Milner should retain his starting berth over Walcott for the Ukraine clash

Impact player: Milner should retain his starting berth over Walcott for the Ukraine clash

The next stage in England's development is to carry that threat against better teams than Sweden.

Walcott made an impact against Sweden but I think he's currently better as a substitute than a starting player.

At the start of games, defenders are fresh and keep things tight. But he is the type of player they hate facing when they are beginning to tire.

Because England have only to draw against Ukraine, James Milner may be a good option to offer solidity. But I think Ashley Young needs a good performance with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain already showing in this tournament he can play at this level.

One thing I'm sure Roy will be fine-tuning before Tuesday is defending from set-pieces. England defended tightly in free play but we were all over the place for Sweden's second goal.

It looked to me as if some players were going man-to-man and some defending zonally when Seb Larsson played in a beautiful free-kick to Olof Mellberg.

We didn't have a big voice screaming to hold the line, because the deeper the defenders drop, the more inhibited Joe Hart is to come out to claim the ball.

Why the absence of King Carles could cost Spain their crown

If Spain win a third major trophy in a row, it will create history and make our sport rightly proud. But I think there is some evidence to suggest it might not necessarily happen.

When you gaze down their 23-man squad, they look hard to beat. And they have the option to be an even better attacking team than they've shown so far, by playing Cesc Fabregas and Fernando Torres together.

Fab option: Cesc Fabregas (left) could thrive with Torres

Fab option: Cesc Fabregas (left) could thrive with Torres

But defensively, I have seen signs that they are less efficient than two years ago when they won the World Cup. Even an outclassed Republic of Ireland team got behind them at times on Thursday night. I feel they aren't as secure without Carles Puyol, the captain of Barcelona who was also Spain's real leader at the back. Without him, I think the right team could pick them off, maybe Germany.

When the full-backs go forward, I sense you could catch them out. They have enough attacking talent to make a mug of me but Spain definitely have an achilles heel in my opinion and as they push forward later in the tournament to break teams down, they might get even more vulnerable.

Stat's interesting

Euro 2012 has produced some interesting trends. Not one of the 16 teams entered the last group games guaranteed a quarter-final place.

Not one penalty has been scored entering this weekend, Greece missing the only spot-kick so far, awarded in the opening match. There have been plenty of killer passes but not many individual defensive errors, Richard Dunne of Ireland's against Italy excepted. That has led to close, exciting games, with good attacking and defending. No wonder we're all enjoying it.

Glenn Hoddle: Give The Ox his chance and he can have the impact of Owen in 1998

Give The Ox his chance and he can have the impact of Owen in 1998

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UPDATED:

23:31 GMT, 9 June 2012

An England manager has never
approached a major tournament with as little time to prepare as Roy
Hodgson but what is already clear, even after the two friendly games, is
that England are going to be difficult to beat and will play
counter-attacking football.

Roy has decided to mimic what his club
sides did and, with so little time to plan, he is probably right to do
that. And if you are going to play counter-attacking football and have
minimal chances, then you have to have a striker with a finisher’s head
on, which is why I would start with Danny Welbeck, who showed that
against Belgium.

He had only one chance and took it
superbly. He also holds the ball up well, so the team can get out of
defence and support him. And he gives you that threat running in behind
opposition defences, which Andy Carroll, who would be a very good
substitute option, will not.

Class finish: Danny Welbeck had one chance against Belgium and he took it brilliantly

Class finish: Danny Welbeck had one chance against Belgium and he took it brilliantly

Ashley Young will probably play in the
pocket behind the striker but it is not as natural to him, playing on
the half-turn, as it is coming in from a wide position and Wayne Rooney
will surely play there when his suspension is over.

So, while Young will start there, I would hope we will see some rotation of the position, with either Theo Walcott or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. In fact, I feel Oxlade-Chamberlain showed enough on his debut a fortnight ago to demonstrate that he deserves a start ahead of Stewart Downing.

Sometimes when you’re young you don’t understand about the pressure and there is less fear. It is similar to the dilemma I had with Michael Owen in 1998, although Roy does not quite have the attacking options I was blessed with in Alan Shearer and Teddy Sheringham. That allowed me to ease Michael into the tournament.

But this team need some pace, which Oxlade-Chamberlain would give you, as well as the ability to come inside and rotate with Young. He seems full of confidence and a mature lad, so if he starts I don’t think he would let England down one bit.

Follow my lead: Michael Owen announced himself to the world with a stunning goal against Argentina and Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain can make a similar impression

Follow my lead: Michael Owen announced himself to the world with a stunning goal against Argentina and Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain can make a similar impression

My query with the current system would be whether we are going to be able to get forward, retain the ball and create chances.

At the moment, England are winning the ball far too deep, in their defensive third of the pitch, so that when they get it they are often in a pressurised situation and so make a rushed clearance because there is a panic on.

Even if there is time to pass out, there is a big gap between the midfield and the strikers, which means it is hard to find your man and retain possession, so you find the ball keeps coming back at you.

When we scored against Belgium we did actually win the ball in the middle third of the pitch, when Steven Gerrard pressed and won the ball for Young to set up Welbeck. England will need to work hard at ensuring they do more of that — and don’t find themselves sitting too deep — if they are to create chances. If you do that, you will catch teams out, now that full-backs push on so far in modern football.

Making an entrance: Michael Owen made quite an impression 14 years ago

Making an entrance: Michael Owen made quite an impression 14 years ago

However, I have my reservations as to whether we will be able to do that and if the midfield is deep and right on the toes of the back four, it is very hard to counter quickly.

The plus points of Roy’s system are that teams will struggle to break us down. Belgium have talented players but they struggled to get round the back of us — and that is crucial if you are trying to stop teams at international level.

Defensively we will be very tight. The distance between the players and the two lines of four defenders and midfielders will be very narrow, much like Chelsea were against Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

I’m interested to see how this develops in this tournament. As England manager I always felt we needed an extra man in midfield to retain the ball, but that was more as an attacking ploy to help create opportunities. It came from my experience playing international football in a 4-4-2 and spending half my time chasing the ball.

Well-organised: England are unlikely to be spectacular at Euro 2012

Well-organised: England are unlikely to be spectacular at Euro 2012

There is a question mark with a 4-4-2 as to how we will retain possession. We were outpassed by Belgium and Norway and we are going to face far better teams in this tournament, such as France.

Whether this system is right for the long term remains to be seen and perhaps Roy will tinker with it as the years go by. But with the injuries to players he has had to deal with and the lack of preparation, the way he sets his teams up is probably the best possibility we have for a decent tournament.

If we had a coach who came in now and wanted to play attacking football, throw the full-backs forward and try to retain the ball, with this squad of players and the lack of time they have had together, they would probably be out on a limb and get caught out.

Who knows We have always failed when expectations have been excessively high. We are better when our backs are against the wall, so now that the mood is less expectant let’s hope the pressure will be off and the players can play with freedom. We might just surprise ourselves.

New-look France have flair but Germany are still my favourites

France represent a stern test for England. While they may have had problems at recent tournaments, this is a new generation and, with Franck Ribery, Samir Nasri and Karim Benzema, as well as Hatem Ben Arfa and Jeremy Menez in reserve, they have some of the best attackers in the tournament and are one of the most exciting teams at Euro 2012.

Shooting star: Mesut Ozil

Shooting star: Mesut Ozil

I also thought Russia might be the surprise element, even before they won 4-1 against the Czech Republic on Friday. Coached by Dick Advocaat, they are well organised and Andrey Arshavin and Roman Pavlyuchenko seem to perform better for their country than their clubs.

But, for me, Germany are the favourites. They were a good side at the World Cup two years ago but were not quite ready. They might be now. They have a cutting edge up front and, in Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil and Toni Kroos, they have midfielders who can score playing in front of a solid defence.

The balance of the side is right and that’s why I go for them, just ahead of Spain and Holland, strong though those two sides are. Spain are likely to start without Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas, while Holland will probably have Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Rafael van der Vaart on the bench.

What would England give to have a couple of players like that

England must forget Rio row

My saddest decision in football was leaving Paul Gascoigne out of the 1998 World Cup finals. But he wasn’t fit enough and once that decision is made, as a manager and a group of players, you forget about who isn’t there and focus on the job.

So while I was surprised to see Rio Ferdinand excluded from the initial squad and even more so after all the injuries — especially given the lack of tournament experience among the defenders — it will not be an issue for the England management or the team now.

They will absolutely be focusing on the players they have there and getting on with the job. The discussion and debates can be left to the media.

Peter Schmeichel returns to Manchester United as club ambassador

Old Trafford legend Schmeichel rejoins United as official ambassador

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UPDATED:

21:41 GMT, 31 May 2012

Peter Schmeichel is returning to Manchester United.

The former Old Trafford goalkeeper is to become one of the club's official ambassadors – a 'legend' in the same role as other former players like Bryan Robson and Gary Neville – but it is unclear if he was also to be involved on the coaching side.

There was, however, a real sense of excitement at the club that Schmeichel is about to be reunited with the club he served with such distinction.

Great Dane: Peter Schmeichel was part of the 1999 treble-winning side

Great Dane: Peter Schmeichel was part of the 1999 treble-winning side

His last appearance was in that stunning 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich in the Nou Camp, the Dane memorably running the length of the pitch and launching himself at the David Beckham corner that led to Teddy Sheringham's stoppage time equaliser.

Schmeichel had announced earlier that season that he intended to leave the club that May. That he ended his United career winning an unprecedented treble secured his legendary status at Old Trafford.