Tag Archives: sidelines

Micah Richards will be given special summer training programme to minimise injury risk

EXCLUSIVE: Man City star Richards will be forced to follow special summer training programme after injury-hit season

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And City's medical team are devising a specially-designed training plan, aimed primarily at strengthening his injured knee, for Richards to follow during the close season to ensure his body is ready for the rigours of pre-season given he'll have spent virtually an entire season on the sidelines.

Blow: Richards was stretchered off during the game against Swansea

Blow: Richards was stretchered off during the game against Swansea

Richards had hoped to be back playing at the beginning of this month, but his return was delayed after complaining of tightness in his injured knee during the latter stages of his rehabilitation process.

News of Richards' pending return will be a major boost to City manager Roberto Mancini ahead of his side's run-in.

Arsene Wenger will seeks talks with Roy Hodgson over Jack Wilshere"s use in England"s end-of-season friendlies

EXCLUSIVE: Wenger's friendly fire! Arsenal boss wants showdown talks with England manager Hodgson over Wilshere's use

By
Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

23:00 GMT, 20 March 2013

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UPDATED:

02:00 GMT, 21 March 2013

Arsene Wenger will seek talks with England manager Roy Hodgson over his use of Jack Wilshere during the end-of-season internationals.

England face the Republic of Ireland on May 29 – 10 days after Arsenal’s final game of the season against Newcastle – before travelling to Rio de Janeiro to face Brazil on June 6.

Both games are friendlies and Arsenal manager Wenger is keen to liaise with Hodgson and the FA to establish a clear plan of how his midfielder should be utilised.

Sidelined: Jack Wilshere hasn't played since suffering an ankle knock in the north London derby

Sidelined: Jack Wilshere hasn't played since suffering an ankle knock in the north London derby

Engine: Wilshere is already a key man for England despite playing for the national side just seven times

Engine: Wilshere is already a key man for England despite playing for the national side just seven times

Wenger was disappointed Wilshere played the full 90 minutes of the 2-1 friendly win over Brazil in February and, understandably, wants to avoid a similar scenario during the summer internationals.

Despite 17 months out with foot and ankle problems, Wilshere has been Arsenal’s best performer this season but Wenger wants Hodgson to go easy during the end-of-season international period, given Wilshere will have featured in what is likely to be an intense race for a top-four spot.

Wenger also wants Wilshere to have maximum rest ahead of next season, which looks set to be one of the most important in the Frenchman’s long tenure at Arsenal.

Wilshere is already showing signs of this season catching up with him. He is currently on the sidelines with an ankle injury picked up in the 2-1 defeat by Tottenham on March 3.

Wenger sent him on a mid-season break to Dubai to aid his recovery from the injury but the trip was also designed to recharge his batteries after a tiring 28-game season. Arsenal hope Wilshere will be able to return to first-team action for the visit of Reading on March 30 but it is more likely the 21-year-old will make his return against West Bromwich Albion on April 6 or Norwich seven days later.

Wenger faces more problems after Wojciech Szczesny’s father accused the manager of making his son a scapegoat and claimed Arsenal ‘played’ with the keeper’s fitness last season.

Szczesny, 22, was dropped for Arsenal’s
Champions League match against Bayern Munich last week after Wenger said
he had been mentally affected by his form, casting doubt over his
future.

Talks: Arsene Wenger will seek clarification from Roy Hodgson on Wilshere's role in friendlies

Talks: Arsene Wenger will seek clarification from Roy Hodgson on Wilshere's role in friendlies

Benched: Wojciech Szczesny's (right) dad Maciej criticised the Arsenal boss

Benched: Wojciech Szczesny's (right) dad Maciej criticised the Arsenal boss

His father, Maciej, who also played for Poland, told Polish newspaper Przeglad Sportowy: ‘Wenger already started to look for the scapegoat. It is not the way the boss should behave. Wojciech has had two serious injuries. He played with one in April and May (last year). He shouldn’t have agreed to play that time, but the coach insisted.

‘Wenger was playing with the young man’s good health and Wojciech agreed foolishly.

‘In my opinion Mr Wenger messed up a lot in April and May.

‘Then in August there was a foot (ankle) injury, after which he played almost instantly. After seven weeks out Wojciech trained for just seven days and played. How on earth can he be on his highest form’

Szczesny Snr added: ‘This last period has not been successful, however, I think my son can be the No 1 goalkeeper over 10 years. He just needs to come back to form.’

VIDEO: Interview with Arsenal and England star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Hatem Ben Arfa has been ruled out of the rest of Newcastle"s season with a hamstring injury

Hamstring injury rules Newcastle star
Ben Arfa out for the season

By
Colin Young

PUBLISHED:

13:47 GMT, 15 March 2013

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UPDATED:

13:55 GMT, 15 March 2013

Hatem Ben Arfa is out for the season.

The Newcastle United midfielder needs a hamstring operation.

Ben Arfa missed two months of the season and returned for the goalless draw in Moscow last week.
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew said: 'He needs a hamstring operation and that will probably leave him missing for the rest of the year.

Big loss: Hatem Ben Arfa will be unavailable as Newcastle chase Europa League glory

Big loss: Hatem Ben Arfa will be unavailable as Newcastle chase Europa League glory

'It is the news we didn't want to hear. The priority now is to get fit for pre-season.

'He gives us that x-factor which was missing from a game like last night but the team has responded well in his absence.'

Newcastle's stand-in captain Yohan Cabaye, however, could be fit to travel to Wigan Athletic on Sunday.

Optimistic: Yohan Cabaye, however, could recover in time to face Wigan

Optimistic: Yohan Cabaye, however, could recover in time to face Wigan

The France international limped off in the first-half of last night's Europa League win over Anzhi with a groin injury.

Pardew added: 'The good news is he has half a chance for Sunday. It is international week and he has to get through to be available for that and I am.'

He will be assessed by Newcastle medical staff in the coming weeks.

Ben Arfa tore his hamstring during a 2-1 Barclays Premier League defeat at Fulham on December 10 and spent a frustrating three months on the sidelines.

Talented: Ben Arfa is often Newcastle's most dangerous player

Talented: Ben Arfa is often Newcastle's most dangerous player

He was thrown straight in at the deep end at the Luzhniki Stadium last Thursday night when he was asked to play as a lone striker, and he had a glorious second-half opportunity to snatch victory.

However, he was unable to take his place in the squad for Sunday's 2-1 win over Stoke, and was ruled out of last night's return against Anzhi, which saw the Magpies book their place in the quarter-finals, by Pardew on Wednesday.

Now it appears his season could be over, and a man who spent all but four games of his first campaign on Tyneside recovering from an horrific double leg fracture, may have to turn his attention to August.

'X-factor': Pardew rates Ben Arfa highly

'X-factor': Pardew rates Ben Arfa highly

Pardew said: 'That's the priority for him now because he's been a huge miss for us.

'He gives us that X-factor. In a game like last night's where he could open the door for us, we haven't got that luxury.

'Unfortunately for Hatem, that's the news that he didn't want to hear. But as far as we are concerned, the team has responded well in his absence and hopefully, we do that until the end of the year.'

Joe Allen wants shoulder surgery out of the way to return fully fit for Liverpool next season

No more stalling! Allen wants shoulder operation out of the way to help drive Liverpool forward next season

By
Simon Stone, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

18:42 GMT, 12 March 2013

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UPDATED:

19:17 GMT, 12 March 2013

Joe Allen is keen to get his shoulder operation done with so he can be fully fit for the start of next season.

The midfielder will be in Chris Coleman's Wales squad for the World Cup qualifiers with Scotland and Croatia when it is unveiled tomorrow.

However, the Liverpool man is facing an extended period on the sidelines at some point after discovering a recurrence of an old shoulder injury had deteriorated to the point where further surgery is required.

Open door: Liverpool's Joe Allen, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season, at the Astra production line today

Open door: Liverpool's Joe Allen,who is already looking forward the new season, at the Astra production line today

Speaking on a tour of the Ellesmere Port car plant of Wales team sponsors Vauxhall, Allen said: “It is something that needs sorting out.

'I had an operation a few years ago and unfortunately it is a recurrence.

'It has slowly deteriorated to the point where an operation is the only thing that can solve it.'

Liverpool will decide when Allen has surgery, which the 22-year-old estimates will keep him out for three months.

'I can play on, but it is all about the timing because I will be out for three months,” he said.

'Obviously, I don't want to miss the start of next season if I can but we will see what the club have planned because it is a reasonably long lay-off.'

With the Reds back in the running for a European place following Sunday's victory over Tottenham, Brendan Rodgers might be loath to lose Allen at this stage.

Injury: Brendan Rodgers confirmed that midfielder Joe Allen will undergo surgery

Injury: Brendan Rodgers today confirmed that midfielder Joe Allen will undergo surgery

Equally, the former Swansea man would benefit from a full pre-season at Anfield, given he did not join the Merseyside giants until after his Olympic commitments with Team GB.

And next week he will be fully focused on Wales anyway, as they look to build on an encouraging win over Austria last month by completing a World Cup double over Scotland on Friday.

That initial victory over the Scots in October effectively signalled the end of Craig Levein's reign.

It also marked the climax of a tortuous period for new Wales boss Chris Coleman, who had struggled to maintain the improvements made under Gary Speed.'These things take time,' said Allen.

'It was a difficult period for everyone in Welsh football but recent performances and results show we are moving in the right direction.

Shoulder-to-shoulder: Joe Allen came on as a sub against Tottenham on Sunday, where he came up against Wales international colleague Gareth Bale

Shoulder-to-shoulder: Joe Allen came up against Wales international colleague Gareth Bale on Saturday

'We have always had the talent and ability that's for sure.

'Now we are getting to the stage where we are benefiting from past experiences and we are ready to take it to the next level.'

Joe Allen was speaking on a tour of the Ellesmere Port car plant of Wales team sponsors Vauxhall. For more information go to www.vauxhall.co.uk

SIX NATIONS 2013: Ben Morgan will play after ankle injury, says Stuart Lancaster

Morgan on mend after ankle injury and he could be back to face Italy, says Lancaster

By
Duncan Bech, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

16:00 GMT, 18 February 2013

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UPDATED:

18:00 GMT, 18 February 2013

England coach Stuart Lancaster is confident Ben Morgan will play some part in the RBS Six Nations as the Gloucester No 8 continues his recovery from an ankle problem.

Morgan was injured in the opening-day victory over Scotland and has been pencilled in to return against Italy on March 10.

The 23-year-old has joined fly-half Freddie Burns on the sidelines, with his Gloucester team-mate receiving treatment for a knee problem.

Hopeful: Stuart Lancaster (left) believes Ben Morgan can return for England against Italy

Hopeful: Stuart Lancaster (left) believes Ben Morgan can return for England against Italy

'Morgan and Burns are making slow progress,' Lancaster said.

'Freddie is further down the line but they won’t play this weekend so it will be another week or so.

'Ben will be fine. It’s an ankle injury similar to the one Manu Tuilagi had. Manu was out for four or five weeks and Ben will be about the same.

'He wants to get himself right so he can push for selection against Italy.'

Centre Jonathan Joseph has been ruled out for two weeks with a toe injury, but full back Ben Foden has made good progress in his battle with ankle damage and will play for Northampton against Bath on Saturday.

In the mix: England centre Manu Tuilagi during today's training session

In the mix: England centre Manu Tuilagi during today's training session

Putting the boot in: Owen Farrell is getting his eye in while training

Putting the boot in: Owen Farrell is getting his eye in while training

Fly-half Toby Flood and flanker James Haskell missed training today because of a tight calf and flu respectively.

England resume their Six Nations against France on Saturday as the only team still capable of winning the Grand Slam.

Les Bleus limp into Twickenham on the back of successive defeats by Italy and Wales and with coach Philippe Saint-Andre under attack over selection but Lancaster insists they remain formidable opposition.

'If you look at their performances in the autumn, the three wins over Samoa, Argentina and Australia show they are not a bad side,' he said.

'They beat Australia 33-6 and Australia then beat us. While we’ll take something out of their first two Six Nations games, we’ll also take something out of those autumn internationals and make sure we’re ready for them.'

Quick feet: Mike Brown surges through the centre at Pennyhill Park this afternoon

Quick feet: Mike Brown surges through the centre at Pennyhill Park this afternoon

Captain fantastic: Chris Robshaw takes a breather during today's session

Captain fantastic: Chris Robshaw takes a breather during today's session

Comeback: Morgan pictured in his last game, against Scotland on February 2

Comeback: Morgan pictured in his last game, against Scotland on February 2

Loic Remy injured for two months

Blow for QPR's survival hopes as 8m Remy faces TWO MONTHS on the sidelines with groin injury

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

15:22 GMT, 4 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:27 GMT, 4 February 2013

QPR fear that 8million striker Loic Remy could be out for two months with the injury he suffered in training last week which forced him to miss Saturday's 0-0 draw with Norwich.

The France international scored on his QPR debut in the 1-1 draw at West Ham after signing from Marseille during the transfer window.

Headache: Remy's injury leaves Redknapp short of options up front

Headache: Remy's injury leaves Redknapp short of options up front

Headache: Remy's injury leaves Redknapp short of options up front

Rangers boss Harry Redknapp was hoping that Remy could spearhead the club's survival bid as they look to bridge the six-point gap to safety in their remaining 13 games.

But now he faces the prospect of being without Remy for the next six games – including relegation clashes at Aston Villa and Southampton in March and possibly the visit of Wigan in April.

Redknapp initially said the injury was a tear after the Norwich game, but assistant manager Joe Jordan told the BBC it was a 'slight strain'.

Off to a flyer: Remy scored on his debut

Off to a flyer: Remy scored on his debut

'I have no idea how long he will be out. We will have to see how he is on Sunday and Monday,' Redknapp said.

'It was in the last minute of training, and he just struck a ball and felt it go.'

After failing to land Peter Crouch and Peter Odemwingie on deadline day Remy's injury leaves Bobby Zamora and Jamie Mackie as Redknapp's only fit first-team strikers.

Eden Hazard ball boy kick charge shows the FA as hypocrites – Martin Samuel

A booking for one but a charge for the other. — so less than a year ago — Oxford United played at home to Swindon Town in League Two. This is the biggest match of Oxford’s season, for those not up on lower-league rivalries or the geography of middle England. The A420 derby might not enjoy the same prestige as its equivalents in Manchester or Liverpool, but if you have a season ticket at the Kassam Stadium, it’s the big one. There was a crowd of almost 12,000 and tempers ran high.

Oxford had James Constable sent off early, but were leading through goals by Asa Hall and Oli Johnson, when Matt Ritchie, a right winger voted League Two Player of the Year last season, became involved with a slow-moving ball boy, identified as Aidan Hawtin, 16 at the time, and on Oxford’s books as a youth player.

A report from Mark Edwards, sports editor of the Oxford Mail, and published on March 5, explains what happened next: ‘Acting as a ball boy in front of the Oxford Mail stand, Hawtin was grabbed and kicked by Matt Ritchie after the Swindon man felt Hawtin was taking too long to return the ball to goalkeeper Ryan Clarke. “He tried to grab the ball off me and kicked me as well,” Hawtin said. The Oxford Mail stand gave him a huge ovation for his efforts, which saw Ritchie booked for his antics. The Swindon man did apologise to Hawtin at the final whistle, however.’ Sound familiar

Long spell on the sidelines The FA's independent regulatory commission could increase Hazard's three-match ban

Long spell on the sidelines The FA's independent regulatory commission could extend Hazard's ban

A Facebook group catchily named ‘Matt Ritchie is a disgrace’ claimed that Hawtin was ‘grabbed round the throat and pushed’ and there was talk of a complaint to the police. Believing that the punishment should be greater, Myles Francis, an angry Oxford fan, wrote to the FA asking what action would be taken against Ritchie.

Knowing what we know of the FA’s take on Hazard, Ritchie’s yellow card would also have been deemed insufficient, one imagines. The FA made a direct link in their statement between Hazard’s actions and the offence of violent conduct and, coincidentally, that was among the points raised by Francis in his letter.

He wrote: ‘I would be interested to know for what offence Ritchie was cautioned by Mr Salisbury. To my mind, the altercation with the ball boy was a clear case of violent conduct. Violent conduct is defined in Law 12 as “using excessive force or brutality against a team-mate, spectator, match official or any other person”. Law 12 goes on to say that a player guilty of an offence of violent conduct must be sent off [my emphasis].’

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And this was the FA response. ‘Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. The FA have investigated and liaised with Oxford United on this matter. The player was cautioned by the referee for the incident and has subsequently apologised to the satisfaction of the ball boy and Oxford United.’ So much for the hard line.

Faced with near identical transgressions — in both cases the referee saw the incident and administered the punishment he believed fit, in both cases the player apologised and in both there is evidence to suggest that the ball boy was carrying out his duty to the benefit of the home team only — the FA behaved in contradictory ways.

They are now rigorously pursuing Hazard, having completely ignored Ritchie. The letter announcing that no further action would be taken against the Swindon player came from Gary Stonehouse, who is a member of the FA communications team. He signed off on behalf of customer relations.

‘Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you: he really is an idiot,’ President Firefly tells Freedonia’s Cabinet.

But this is not true in Stonehouse’s case. Stonehouse is not to blame for the inconsistency. He is a lowly employee who would no doubt have taken guidance from his superiors over Ritchie. The communications department do not get to make judgment calls on serious disciplinary matters.

Stonehouse would have asked a suitable senior, or the correct department, and would then have mouthed that response. He could not have imagined, either, that within a calendar year those superiors would hang him out to dry by adopting an entirely contradictory stance — just because Hazard’s transgression attracted headlines and Ritchie’s went unnoticed beyond that day’s crowd of 11,825.

Not exactly a kickabout in the park though, was it Not exactly a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing.

Anyway, considering some of the punishments meted out to amateur footballers playing in front of the proverbial two men and a dog, it would be highly disingenuous of the FA to claim that a kick is less of a kick if only 11,000 people see it. Such a stance would be indefensibly hypocritical. Stonehouse’s reply was also the standard FA fudge, hiding behind the dubious excuse that because the referee saw the incident and ruled on it, no further action would be appropriate.

Funny how that does not apply in Hazard’s case.

When Roy Keane almost snapped Alf Inge Haaland in two during the Manchester derby, a foul that still looms large in the memory such was its studied viciousness, there could be no additional action against the Manchester United player because referee David Elleray brandished a red card. In Hazard’s case, this no longer applies. More confusion, more inconsistency, more regulation on the hoof.

No extended ban: Roy Keane was sent off for this appalling tackle on Alf Inge Haaland

No extended ban: Roy Keane was sent off for this appalling tackle on Alf Inge Haaland

It wasn’t so long ago that the FA self-servingly appealed a lengthy UEFA ban for violent conduct because it would free up Wayne Rooney to play in the European Championship finals. Now they want to come over all masterful, the guardians of morality. They should pick a face, and wear it.

Chelsea are aware of the Ritchie precedent and may use it in defence of Hazard. At the very least, they believe its existence is an embarrassment and a point of weakness for the FA. Yet has that bothered them in the past

This is an organisation who speak proudly, some might say shamelessly, of their high conviction rate in disciplinary matters, having devised a system in which the prosecution appoints the independent judges and is therefore responsible for covering their time and expenses. Such a system creates an obvious conflict of interest.

On disciplinary matters, the FA act like the Mounties, always getting their man. But that is not so hard when the same body get to play judge and jury, and write the rulebook.

Their problem is that we now live in an age where even the smallest details exist in the public domain and a two-minute internet search can throw up records, precedents and case histories that were once filed and helpfully forgotten. You have got to be good to preside over sport these days because an Oxford fan with time on his hands and a computer can post damning correspondence on a forum that is picked up and circulated like wildfire.

At which point, a body as morally flexible as the FA are likely to be asked how their populist posturing over Hazard can be justified when less than a year ago, an identical incident was deemed worthy of no more than a yellow card, an apology and a handshake.

President Firefly would certainly know how to administer justice in these circumstances. ‘I got a good mind to join a club — and beat you over the head with it.’

VIDEO: How to be a leader… Groucho Marx style

Veron proves Fergie is not always right

Sir Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United, regards some of those criticising his goalkeeper David de Gea as idiots. He is entitled to his opinion. It is not as if anyone is going to score many points disputing the merit of professional footballers with the greatest manager in the world.

One cannot help but recall, though, that the last time he used this phrase was over criticism of Juan Sebastian Veron’s performances for United. Remind us what happened there again

Expensive mistake: Juan Sebastian Veron cost Manchester United 28m - he was sold to Chelsea for 15m

Expensive mistake: Juan Sebastian Veron cost Manchester United 28m – he was sold to Chelsea for 15m

And while we’re at it…

It was a wonderful weekend in the FA Cup. Luton Town’s victory is among the greatest upsets of the modern era, while the results for Oldham Athletic, Milton Keynes Dons, Leeds United and Brentford were stunning achievements. Arsenal also defeated Brighton and Hove Albion in a five-goal thriller.

Yet live on ITV on Saturday, Stoke City played Manchester City and Fulham travelled to Manchester United. The richer teams won. Ho, and indeed, hum.

No imagination, some people, when it comes to Cup football. If City had drawn United then, yes, show a glorified Premier League game. But these were not even particularly good replica league fixtures. They would not have been the marquee match on any casual Saturday.

When United went a goal up after three minutes through Ryan Giggs, their tie with Fulham was dead and Stoke’s defeat was eminently forgettable. Some think the Cup has lost its magic, yet the earliest stages of the competition rarely fail to delight. It is football’s television masters that have grown stale.

The magic of the Cup: Luton's stunning victory at Carrow Road was one of the great giant-killings

The magic of the Cup: Luton's stunning victory at Carrow Road was one of the great giant-killings

Dual role: Sky pundit and England coach Gary Neville

Dual role: Sky pundit and England coach Gary Neville

Crunch time to come for Neville

Few pundits have a higher approval rating than Gary Neville. Fans who thought they would hate him on Sky love him instead for his honest, straight-shooting appraisals. Falling out with Sir Alex Ferguson over David de Gea will only enhance his reputation. Richard Keys could not have picked a worse week to suggest Neville was being operated, remotely, from inside Old Trafford.

Keys did make one valid point, though. Crunch time for Neville, Sky and the Football Association is yet to come. Last weekend, Neville stated quite explicitly that Tottenham Hotspur player Clint Dempsey should have gone down under pressure from a Patrice Evra challenge in the penalty area, rather than staying on his feet. As Roy Hodgson’s England regime remains inexplicably on honeymoon, the comment was ignored.

There will come a time, however, when results are not good and some are looking to make mischief for Hodgson. At which point ENGLAND COACH TELLS PLAYERS TO CHEAT would be quite a lively story. Under pressure.

That is when Neville’s hope of riding both horses to the finish line will be tested, not before.

Wayne Rooney injury latest: Manchester United striker to miss Liverpool

Rooney out for two more weeks and will miss Liverpool clash

By
Chris Wheeler

PUBLISHED:

09:59 GMT, 4 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:14 GMT, 4 January 2013

Blow: Rooney is set to be out for another two weeks after a training ground injury

Blow: Rooney is set to be out for another two weeks after a training ground injury

Wayne Rooney is set for two more weeks on the sidelines and will miss Manchester United's clash with Liverpool on January 13.

The England striker missed his team's 4-3 Boxing Day win over Newcastle, after he tore a ligament in the back of his knee on the training ground on Christmas Day, before sitting out United's next two festive-period fixtures against West Brom and Wigan.

The 27-year-old will now miss the Old Trafford battle with arch-rivals Liverpool as well as the FA Cup third-round tie with West Ham this weekend.

Ferguson said at a press conference on Friday: ‘Wayne Rooney is still injured. It’s a bit of a surprise because it’s longer than we thought. We expected him to be back in training but he’s not.

‘It’s nothing serious but it looks as though he’s going to be out for another two weeks or so. He won’t be set for Liverpool.

‘It’s nothing serious, he just got clipped behind his knee. We sent him for a scan and nothing really showed but he’s still feeling it.

‘So hopefully two weeks will sort it but nonetheless it’s a loss. Although we’re in great form you always want your best players available for games that are coming up.

‘We’ve got West Ham tomorrow, Liverpool next week and then Tottenham the week after that. And the FA Cup again hopefully after that.'

Out: Rooney will miss United's match against Liverpool on January 13

Out: Rooney will miss United's match against Liverpool on January 13

He added: ‘It’s a tough period and you always want your best squad available.

‘He’s not had a full season anyway so it’s not as though we can’t cope without him.’

Rooney is also struggling to be fit to face Tottenham on January 20 at White Hart Lane.

The former Everton man has scored
seven goals this season and played second fiddle to new-signing and
Premier League top-scorer Robin van Persie.

United are currently seven points clear of city rivals and defending champions Manchester City in the Premier League title race.

Darron Gibson out for a month with thigh strain

Everton star Gibson out of action for a month after suffering thigh strain

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UPDATED:

14:33 GMT, 31 December 2012

Everton midfielder Darron Gibson will be out of action for at least a month after suffering a thigh strain.

The Irishman will miss the Merseysiders’ fixtures against Newcastle, Swansea, Southampton and West Brom in January.

Everton manager David Moyes said: 'I think he's going to be out for about four weeks.

Gibson should be back in time for the clash against former club Manchester United on February 10.

Injured: Gibson will be out for at least a month

Injured: Gibson will be out for at least a month

The 25-year-old spent more than two months on the sidelines earlier in the season with a similar problem.

He missed 10 Barclays Premier League matches as a result and a further absence is a significant blow to Everton as he has been one of their key players since arriving in January.

Moyes still has Kevin Mirallas (hamstring), Tony Hibbert (calf) and Seamus Coleman out, while Phil Neville (knee) had to be rested against Chelsea having played two matches in five days on his comeback from surgery.

Jack Wilshere says injury could save him from burnout

My injury saved me! Wilshere claims 14-month layoff could prevent burnout at Arsenal

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UPDATED:

10:49 GMT, 27 December 2012

Jack Wilshere has said being out of action for 14 months might have helped him avoid burning out.

The Arsenal midfielder has been looking on the bright side of his ankle and knee injuries and claims he’s in peak fitness, although admits there were some frustrating times.

‘I was at Emirates for every single home match,’ Wilshere told the Arsenal magazine.

Burnout: Jack Wilshere believes he could reap the benefits of his long-term injury

Burnout: Jack Wilshere believes he could reap the benefits of his long-term injury

‘It was hard at times, because I really wanted to be out there. Not just for my own selfish reasons but I wanted to help the team too because we had some difficult periods last season.

‘There were a few moments [it was hard to miss out on]. When Thierry came back in January for example. He’s a legend and I really wanted to play in the same team as him. I also would have loved to play in that north London derby in February.

‘When I look back now though, I could probably have done with a break, having played so much the previous season. Obviously I didn’t want the break to be so long, in fact I didn’t want to have a break at all, but if I look back on this in 10 years’ time, it might have done me some good in the long run.’

Back on song: Wilshere had a frustrating time on the sidelines

Back on song: Wilshere had a frustrating time on the sidelines

In the mix: The youngster has returned to Arsenal's midfield

In the mix: The youngster has returned to Arsenal's midfield

The 20-year old signed a new long-term contract with the Gunners earlier this month, which he described as his way of repaying manager Arsene Wenger’s loyalty, while he credits Cesc Fabregas for wise words on how to make a footballing career last.

‘My body is stronger than it was before,' he said. 'I’ve done a lot of work with Declan Lynch and the other physios here over the past year. I’ve improved my core, improved my leg muscle strength – everything.

'Cesc [Fabregas] used to say to me ‘take it easy, don’t play too many games’. Obviously I didn’t want to have a year off. But when I’m 24 or 25 I won’t have played as many games as someone like Cesc, and that will help me.'