Tag Archives: welbeck

Wayne Rooney and Kaka video interview ahead of Manchester United v Real Madrid Champions League second leg

Rooney and Kaka share their thoughts ahead of Tuesday's crunch Champions League second leg at Old Trafford

By
Sunni Upal

PUBLISHED:

17:00 GMT, 3 March 2013

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UPDATED:

17:11 GMT, 3 March 2013

Manchester United and Real Madrid will go head to head at Old Trafford on Tuesday night in the second leg of their mammoth Champions League last-16 tie.

Cristiano Ronaldo's header for the Spanish champions has left the tie delicately poised at 1-1, after Danny Welbeck gave United the lead in the Bernabeu last month.

In an exclusive interview for Sportsmail – courtesy of bwin – Wayne Rooney and Kaka share their thoughts in the build-up to Tuesday's mouth-watering match.

Scroll down for the exclusive video interview

Head to head: Wayne Rooney and Kaka talk to bwin ahead of Tuesday's Champions League tie

Head to head: Wayne Rooney and Kaka talk to bwin ahead of Tuesday's Champions League tie

Head to head: Wayne Rooney and Kaka talk to bwin ahead of Tuesday's Champions League tie

Both men are searching for their second Champions League crown this season and they reflect on their best moment in the competition as well as the best goal of their career.

The battle between Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho will be almost as big a talking point as the match itself and Rooney and Kaka each justify why they think their manager is the best in the world.

Rooney described the draw at the Bernabeu as 'a good result' for United and Kaka suggested there was a feeling of an opportunity missed for Real.

Winner: Rooney in Moscow in 2008

Winner: Rooney in Moscow in 2008

Champion: Kaka in Athens in 2007

Champion: Kaka in Athens in 2007

Breath-taking: Rooney's stunning overhead kick against Manchester City in 2011

Breath-taking: Rooney's stunning overhead kick against Manchester City in 2011

Brace: Kaka scored two goals at Old Trafford during Milan's Champions League winning season in 2007

Brace: Kaka scored two goals at Old Trafford during Milan's Champions League winning season in 2007

Brace: Kaka scored two goals at Old Trafford during Milan's Champions League winning season in 2007

Kaka also highlighted Rooney as a danger and someone he respects but, embarrassingly, when the English forward was asked the same question there was no mention of the Brazilian.

Real head into the clash after two Clasico wins within a week including an impressive 3-1 victory at the Nou Camp in the Copa del Rey semi-final.

The Spanish champions must score at Old Trafford but the match at the Nou Camp highlighted the counter-attacking threat that Mourinho's side pose.

VIDEO: Wayne Rooney and Kaka's exclusive interview with bwin

BOSS OFF Rooney and Kaka rate their managers

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For all the latest odds and special bets visit www.bwin.com

England begin training for Wembley friendly with Brazil

England stars get down to business in training as they prepare to face the boys from Brazil

By
Declan Warrington

PUBLISHED:

11:16 GMT, 4 February 2013

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UPDATED:

14:16 GMT, 4 February 2013

England have begun preparations for Wednesday's illustrious friendly at Wembley with Brazil.

The bad news for manager Roy Hodgson, however, is that only 11 outfield players were available to fully train today.

The withdrawals of the injured Jermain Defoe and Michael Carrick and the absence of the unfit Daniel Sturridge had significantly contributed to
the depleted numbers available to Hodgson to train, with others involved yesterday in the
Premier League instead limited to a warm-down session.

Put through their paces: The limited numbers available to England began training today

Put through their paces: The limited numbers available to England began training today

Elder statesman: Jack Butland is temporarily England's most senior goalkeeper

Elder statesman: Jack Butland is temporarily England's most senior goalkeeper

Watchful eye: Hodgson observes Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere and Ashley Cole in training

Watchful eye: Hodgson observes Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere and Ashley Cole in training

Joe Hart and Jack Butland remain the only
senior goalkeepers in Roy Hodgson's full squad but with Hart among
those only warming down, Middlesbrough's inexperienced Jason Steele has been added to
the training squad to aid preparations for Wednesday's fixture.

Hodgson is expected to announce further
squad changes today, incidentally, in response to the withdrawals of Carrick and Defoe and because of Sturridge's inability to train.

The forward has discussed his
fitness with the England manager and, though reluctant to do so, is expected to
accept that he will be unable to play any part against Brazil
and could therefore leave the England camp.

Heart-to-heart: Sturridge could withdraw from England's squad after this conversation with Hodgson

Heart-to-heart: Sturridge could withdraw from England's squad after this conversation with Hodgson

All as one: The England senior team alongside the U21s and U19s

All as one: The England senior team alongside the U21s and U19s

All smiles: Wayne Rooney shares a joke with Glen Johnson

All smiles: Wayne Rooney shares a joke with Glen Johnson

Safe hands Middlesbrough goalkeeper Jason Steele is entirely unproven at the highest level

Safe hands Middlesbrough goalkeeper Jason Steele is entirely unproven at the highest level

Ashley Cole, however, was among the 11 available to Hodgson today, meaning he remains on course to follow Peter Shilton, David Beckham, Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton, Billy Wright and Steven Gerrard and become the seventh England player to reach 100 caps.

His presence is a real positive for England given the intimidating prospect of facing both Ronaldinho and Neymar, but even for all of the latter's reputation as one of the world's greatest talents, another of Hodgson's defenders, Phil Jagielka, has revealed his international team-mates are yet to truly know what it is they can expect from him.

'I don't know a lot about Neymar,' Jagielka said. 'We don't see a lot of footage. He plays in Brazil so it is tough for us.

Limited numbers: But England's ranks are expected to swell before Wednesday's friendly

Limited numbers: But England's ranks are expected to swell before Wednesday's friendly

Coaching conference: Roy Hodgson, Gary Neville and Stuart Pearce in discussion

Coaching conference: Roy Hodgson, Gary Neville and Stuart Pearce in discussion

Midfield rivals: Frank Lampard, Leon Osman and Tom Cleverley will all hope to feature in England's midfield

Midfield rivals: Frank Lampard, Leon Osman and Tom Cleverley will all hope to feature in England's midfield

'But we have video analysis people when we meet up with England and they will have plenty of footage for us to review.

'They will pick out his good points and bad ones. I am sure the good points will be going on for hours.'

LIVE: Watch England"s Player of the Year awards from St George"s Park

LIVE: Watch England's Player of the Year awards from St George's Park here

PUBLISHED:

21:40 GMT, 3 February 2013

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UPDATED:

22:06 GMT, 3 February 2013

Sportsmail's finest awarded

Our very own Matt Lawton picked up the Brian Woolnough award for best England writer. Read about it HERE

Who will win England's Player of the Year award Follow the action live here with Sportsmail.

Steven Gerrard, Ashley Cole Glen Johnson, Joe Hart and Danny Welbeck are the five men in with a chance of winning it.

Awards already issued tonight are England's Young Player of the year, U21 Player of the Year and Team of the Year. Find out who won below.

Here to watch: Leighton Baines, Leon Osman and Phil Jagielka

Here to watch: Leighton Baines, Leon Osman and Phil Jagielka


Brian Woolnough Writer's Award: Matt Lawton (Daily Mail)

Matt Lawton

England U21 Player of the Year: Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)

Jordan Henderson

2. Martin Kelly (Liverpool)

3. Wilfried Zaha (Manchester United)

England Men's Youth Player of the Year: Nathaniel Chalobah (Chelsea)

Nathaniel Chalobah

2. Will Hughes (Derby)

3. John Lundstram (Everton)

Club England Team of the Year: England Women

England Women

VIDEO: Backstage at the awards

Manchester United put through their paces at Qatar training camp… but what are Van Persie and co doing wearing a tea-towel kit?

Manchester United put through their paces at Qatar training camp… but what are Van Persie and co doing wearing a tea-towel kit

By
Declan Warrington

PUBLISHED:

12:51 GMT, 22 January 2013

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UPDATED:

13:45 GMT, 22 January 2013

It's difficult to argue Manchester United have done badly by swapping Britain's freezing conditions for the warmth and sun of Doha, Qatar.

What's more questionable, however, is their choice of attire.

Robin van Persie and company have already been pictured wearing Bugs Bunny pyjamas, and today that controversial taste appears to have extended to their training kit.

Checkmate: United cannot be accused of not doing things as a team

Checkmate: United cannot be accused of not doing things as a team

Comfortable: Nor do they look unhappy with their choices - Danny Welbeck (centre) is particularly convincing

Comfortable: Nor do they look unhappy with their choices – Danny Welbeck (centre) is particularly convincing

Now it shouldn't be overlooked that in Sir Alex Ferguson's time there have been some bad clothing choices – one grey away kit was ditched after a 6-3 defeat at Southampton in 1996 – but there's a chance that these are the worst yet.

United's next fixture is in the fourth round of the FA Cup at home to Fulham on Saturday.

And staying in Doha's luxurious Aspire Academy – albeit without Ferguson who still has commitments in Britain – where Bundesliga sides Bayern Munich and Schalke have also trained is surely one of the finest ways to prepare.

Prolific: United's front two show different levels of happiness at the kits

Prolific: United's front two show different levels of happiness at the kits

Prolific: United's front two show different levels of happiness at the kits

One who might be particularly uncomfortable is goalkeeper David de Gea, however. Ferguson is thought to have run out of patience with the difficulties he has experienced in adjusting to English football, so any kit may well be the least of his concerns.

De Gea is understood to be homesick and keen to be re-united with pop star girlfriend Edurne in Madrid, where he played for Atletico before his transfer in the summer of 2011.

Despite clearly improving following a particularly uncertain start to his United career, errors remain within De Gea's game and most recently during Sunday's 1-1 Premier League draw at Tottenham, where his unconvincing punch led to Clint Dempsey's stoppage time equaliser.

Contrast: Anderson's enthusiasm is different to Scholes', who's never been one with an interest in off-field matters

Contrast: Anderson's enthusiasm is different to Scholes', who's never been one with an interest in off-field matters

Contrast: Anderson's enthusiasm is different to Scholes', who's never been one with an interest in off-field matters

Regardless of any goalkeeping changes, United are thought to be on the verge of sealing the 12million arrival of forward Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger today insisted he had never had an interest in the 20-year-old, despite previously suggesting otherwise, leaving United as the firm favourites to secure his signing.

'We were never in for Zaha,' Wenger said. 'I don't know if he will go to Man United. If he goes to Man United, good luck to him.'

Classy: Even Carrington is unappealing compared to this during the winter months

Classy: Even Carrington is unappealing compared to this during the winter months

Relaxed: United's hotshots stretch in the sunshine

Relaxed: United's hotshots stretch in the sunshine

Bibs No need for those with tea-towels on hand

Bibs No need for those with tea-towels on hand

Sir Alex Ferguson, meanwhile, was in far less salubrious parts of the world. The boss was pictured with Instagram user Oliver Regis at Peterborough train station, making his way back to Manchester after a function in London.

In the cold: Ferguson was unable to join his squad in Qatar

In the cold: Ferguson was unable to join his squad in Qatar

Bebe leaves Manchester United for Rio Ave loan deal

Manchester United's 7.4m flop Bebe heads for exit again with loan at Rio Ave

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UPDATED:

12:58 GMT, 27 December 2012

Struggle: Bebe hasn't made an impact at Old Trafford

Struggle: Bebe hasn't made an impact at Old Trafford

Portuguese side Rio Ave have sealed a loan deal for Manchester United misfit Bebe.

The 22-year-old striker, who joined United for 7.4m, had an unsuccessful spell on loan at Besiktas last season.

Rio Ave are fifth but 14 points behind leaders Benfica.

Bebe joined Manchester United from Portuguese side Vit Guimaraes in 2010 and looks set for a return to his homeland.

The 22-year-old has found it hard to get a look in this season with Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck and new-signing Robin van Persie all ahead of him in the pecking order.

Sir Alex Ferguson to rotate striker for Manchester United"s festive programme

Fergie ready to rotate up front for busy festive programme

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UPDATED:

22:59 GMT, 22 December 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to break up his dream team pairing of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney over Christmas, despite their goals firing Manchester United to top spot and heading towards a Premier League scoring record.

Ferguson, who has avoided rotating his 50million strikers so far, feels he has to change his policy to cope with a run of four games in 10 days, starting against Swansea City on Sunday afternoon.

Fringe players including Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck, Phil Jones and Ryan Giggs can be expected to play a part in fixtures against Swansea, Newcastle United, West Bromwich Albion and Wigan, with Ferguson confident that a maximum 12 points over the holiday period will lead to them reclaiming the title from Manchester City.

Quite an understanding: Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney may be split up over Christmas

Quite an understanding: Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney may be split up over Christmas

‘December has already been a hectic month and now we have this run of four games in 10 days — and then the FA Cup begins. That’s quite a programme,’ said Ferguson. ‘Using our pool of players will be important for us.

‘It will be a different team every game, absolutely no doubt about that. All the players will be involved, I will definitely be making changes.’

Any rotation would carry some risk. Van Persie and Rooney have blossomed as a partnership by playing regularly together and have netted 19 of United’s 43 league goals this season.

Van Persie has scored in each of United’s last four games — all of which have been won — and Rooney has also netted five times in the same period.

With the league campaign approaching halfway, the scoring spurt of 11 goals in four games — including a famous 3-2 derby triumph against City — has given Ferguson’s men a chance to eclipse the Premier League scoring record of 103 set by Chelsea in 1999-2000.

Ready for a game, lads Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck are likely to feature for United over the festive season

Ready for a game, lads Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck are likely to feature for United over the festive season

United’s best in the modern era is 97 goals in 1999/2000, when they had their great strike quartet of Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham.

It is unlikely Ferguson will start with his star men against Swansea and then Newcastle at Old Trafford on Boxing Day, which will give Hernandez a chance to shine after falling out of favour this season.

However, Ferguson admits United will have to be on guard at the other end, with Swansea’s 2million surprise package Michu starting the weekend as the joint-top scorer in the league alongside Van Persie.

‘It was first-class business by Swansea to cherry-pick Michu. I’d never even heard of him — I think I should have a word with my scouting department,’ joked the United boss.

‘He can play up front or drop into the middle, so it could give us a problem. We need to be aware. He’s shown he is a good finisher, his goals against Arsenal were composed even when he went through on the keeper.’

United captain Nemanja Vidic is likely to be held back following his recovery from knee surgery until Boxing Day’s game against Newcastle.

Federico Macheda bound for Spain or Germany in January loan move

Macheda bound for Spain or Germany in January loan move

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UPDATED:

11:26 GMT, 15 December 2012


On the move: Manchester United forward Federico Macheda is heading out to Spain or Germany on loan in January

On the move: Manchester United forward Federico Macheda is heading out to Spain or Germany on loan in January

Manchester United striker Federico Macheda is unlikely to move to another English club in January, instead favouring a loan move to Spain or Germany.

The 21-year-old Italian had been linked with Championship sides Blackpool and Hull City having fallen out of favour at Old Trafford.

Macheda has made just three substitute appearances in all competitions this season and is behind Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez in the pecking order.

He has had previous loan spells at Sampdoria and Queens Park Rangers, and now his agent Giovanni Bia has revealed he could be on the move again.

He told calciomercato.it: 'Federico obviously wants to play more and also Manchester United agree to let him go.

'Blackpool and Hull City No, he definitely won't go to one of them. We're talking with two or three clubs in Spain and Germany, which I don't want to name.'

Manchester United"s academy fifth best in the world behind Rennes

United's academy in world's top five… but not as good as Rennes!

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UPDATED:

23:00 GMT, 14 December 2012

Manchester United produce more first-team players for Europe’s five big leagues than any other club in England – but not as many as French side Rennes.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s academy is the fifth best in the world behind those at La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid as well as Ligue 1’s Lyon and Rennes, according to research by Sporting Intelligence.

Twenty players who spent their formative years at Old Trafford are currently appearing in either the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga 1 or Ligue 1. For Rennes it is 21.

Stalwarts: Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes both came from Manchester United's academy

Stalwarts: Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes both came from Manchester United's academy

Highly rated midfielder Yann M'Vila came from the Rennes academy and is still at the club

Highly rated midfielder Yann M'Vila came from the Rennes academy and is still at the club

The top 10 academies in the world:

Leading-producers-of-Big-5-talent.jpg

Click here for the full table

Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Darren Fletcher, Jonny Evans, Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck are some of the home-grown players still in the squad.

Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross, Sunderland’s Phil Bardsley and Everton’s Phil Neville are other Premier League performers to have left, while Paul Pogba and goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler went further afield, to Juventus and Hannover 96 respectively.

Players to come out of Rennes include QPR midfielder Stephane Mbia, former Milan forward Yoann Gourcuff, and French international Yann M’Vila, who is still at the club.

A club is deemed to have primarily produced a player if they spent three or more years there between the ages of 15-21.

The figures were provided by CIES Football Observatory in Switzerland, who studied 2,286 players at the 98 clubs in Europe’s top five divisions.

Unsurprisingly Barcelona came top, producing 36 players, with Lyon second on 31. Real Madrid were third with 27.

In England, Aston Villa came second behind United with 15 players, Arsenal have 14, while Tottenham and West Ham each produced 13.

World leaders: Barcelona produced 36 players for Europe's big leagues

World leaders: Barcelona produced 36 players for Europe's big leagues

Michael Essien came from Lyon's academy before a big-money move to Chelsea

Michael Essien came from Lyon's academy before a big-money move to Chelsea

Nick Harris, Sporting Intelligence editor and Mail on Sunday writer, complied the numbers and found that some smaller clubs were punching well above their weight.

Conference team Luton have four academy players plying their trade in the top-flight, including Leon Barnett at Norwich and Matt Taylor at West Ham. League One Crewe, meanwhile, sold Nick Powell to United this summer, while David Vaughan is at Sunderland.

Boca Juniors are the highest ranked non-European side in the world list. They have produced 15 players currently competing in one of Europe’s big five leagues.

Robin van Persie reveals the secret of his success at Manchester United

Secret of my success: Van Persie at the top of his game… but he's learning from the kids

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UPDATED:

08:29 GMT, 12 December 2012

Manchester United hot shot Robin van Persie has revealed how his career has been reinvigorated by his young strike partners

The 29-year-old has been in sensational form since his 24m summer switch to Old Trafford from Arsenal.

Hots hot: Robin van Persie has already scored 16 goals for United

Hots hot: Robin van Persie has already scored 16 goals for United

Van Persie scored his 16th goal in 23 appearances when he grabbed a dramatic late winner against Manchester City to send United six points clear at the top of the Premier League.

And he credited his success to the likes of Javier Hernandez, 24, and Danny Welbeck, 22 keeping him fresh.

'It goes both ways – I can learn from them as well,' Van Persie told MUTV.

'For example, I love Chicharito's (Hernandez's) enthusiasm, I love how he plays and trains and does his work off the pitch after training.

New regime: Van Persie has upped his game in training

New regime: Van Persie has upped his game in training

'A couple of weeks ago he wasn't playing as much but he was in the gym every day doing extra work, and that sets a big example for everyone.

'Danny, too. He's not playing in his favourite position at the moment but we need him and he's working hard.

'When you have four strikers being so professional, it sets the tone for the others.

'Everyone realises we are all in it together and we all need to do our bit.'

Manchester derby: End coin-throwing now – Ian Ladyman

Time to tackle thug element! End the coin-throwing now, or expect some more serious damage

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UPDATED:

23:10 GMT, 10 December 2012

During a lunch with Manchester City's former winger Mike Summerbee back in 2009, he offered the following recollection of life as a footballer in the North West in the 1960s.

'The United fans hated me,' he said. 'They really got stuck in to me. I went over to take a corner once in a derby at Old Trafford and the United fans threw coins at me.

'So I picked them all up and put them in my pocket. I got 4.50 from them that day. Which was nice.'

Shocking: striker Danny Welbeck remonstrates as United players, including Rio Ferdinand (right) are showered with coins (circled)

Shocking: Danny Welbeck remonstrates as United players,
including Rio Ferdinand (right) are showered with coins (circled)

So there we have it. No longer can we pretend that what we witnessed at City's Etihad Stadium on Sunday is a new problem. A meeting of Manchester's two football clubs has long since roused extreme passions.

It has, it appears, long since prompted people standing on the terraces or sitting in the stands to do things they really should not. What made it different this time was that somebody got hit.

Rio Ferdinand didn't have the opportunity to bend down and put the smattering of 2p coins into his pocket as he was too busy holding a hand to the blood gushing from his left eyebrow. It was going to happen eventually, of course. Some idiot was always going to hit the bullseye.

Struck down: Commentators have tried to apportion some of the blame on Ferdinand for his celebrations

Struck down: Commentators have tried to apportion some of the blame on Ferdinand for his celebrations

What matters now is not how loud
people shout about this but what football does. In the 12 hours or so
that followed the derby, there was certainly lots of shouting; lots of
pained, anxious voices.

Gordon
Taylor of the PFA called for the introduction of netting in front of
some fans and warned that football is in danger of edging back towards
the dark days of mass hooliganism in the 1980s.

Taylor's
first suggestion has some merit and is worthy of investigation. At Old
Trafford, for example, netting hangs behind one goal to protect
disabled spectators from the ball. It is almost invisible and there have
been few complaints.

Pitch invader: Ferdinand was also targeted by a fan who raced onto the field

Pitch invader: Ferdinand was also targeted by a fan who raced onto the field

Pitch invader: Ferdinand was also targeted by a fan who raced onto the field

His
other, rather more sweeping, statement is categorically untrue. Taylor
was still trundling along the wing for Bury in 1980 so maybe he wasn't
aware of exactly what used to happen on England's crumbling terraces.

To
summarise, it was tribal, unchecked, organised and often terrifying.
Minorities were not tolerated and violence was. For a while, the 1980s
English football scene was so ugly that many stopped going.

Our
modern game is barely recognisable from those dismal days and, given
the advances made on and off the field, there is no chance of us
returning there.

On
days like this, wild exaggeration doesn't help. Perspective does. There
were 13 arrests on Sunday. Greater Manchester Police are satisfied with
that. I would be, too. What happened on Sunday happens often. There is
no point pretending otherwise.

United front: Ferdinand was celebrating in front of the United fans and Rooney receives abuse (below)

United front: Ferdinand was celebrating in front of the United fans and Rooney receives abuse (below)

United front: Ferdinand was celebrating in front of the United fans and Rooney receives abuse (below)

Across
Europe, supporters throw missiles at each other and on to the field. In
Spain, the president of Real Madrid once forbade Luis Figo from taking
corners when he returned to former club Barcelona because he was
terrified of losing his prized asset to a smack on the head from a golf
ball.

According to
those among the visiting supporters on Sunday, City and United fans
hurled coins at each other throughout the game and, by all accounts, it
wasn't just Ferdinand's blood that was spilled.

Look
at the TV footage and you will see an object land behind Wayne Rooney
as he celebrates his second goal. Wind forward and you will see Rooney
standing among detritus as he prepares to take a corner.

Had
Ferdinand not been hit, these incidents would have appeared only as
footnotes in the coverage of a splendid Barclays Premier League game.
It's only when the blood starts to run that people get interested.

Clubs,
meanwhile, only scour the CCTV footage for the ones with the better
aim. Maybe, on reflection, it is this that needs to change. Maybe the
stance – from all clubs – needs to be stronger when it comes to those
supporters who have more money than sense and decide to start lobbing it
towards the pitch.

Once
the stewards begin to point out, and then throw out, everyone spotted
behaving this way then the message may begin to permeate the brains of
the idiots. Certainly to blame the players in this instance is quite
wrong. Footballers, and managers, need to understand their
responsibilities.

Ugly scenes: The fans directed abuse at each other as well as the players

Ugly scenes: The fans directed abuse at each other as well as the players

Ugly scenes: The fans directed abuse at each other as well as the players

There
have been times when they have crossed the line of what is right and
celebration has morphed into provocation, most notably when Emmanuel
Adebayor – then of City – sprinted the length of the field to
celebrate a goal on his knees in front of supporters of his previous
club Arsenal.

On
Sunday, however, United's players were quite within their rights to
celebrate in front of their own supporters. Goodness me, they had earned
it.

Former United
player Pat Crerand has been lampooned for the vigorous nature of his
comments on BBC 5 Live yesterday morning. Yet the core of his argument –
that Ferdinand did nothing wrong – was absolutely correct.

Ugly scenes: The fans directed abuse at each other as well as the players

Coin: The United defender was struck in the head

Those
who wish to deride our players over this should remember that a day out
at the football was never meant to be akin to a trip to the theatre.
Its visceral characteristics have always been part of football's unique
charm.

So, yes, let's
find the moron who wounded Ferdinand and, while we are at it, let's
view the footage and find his co-conspirators. Let's also look properly
at the issues surrounding safety netting and let's continue to remind
players and managers of what is acceptable.

Above
all, let's be vigilant. But let's not pretend we are sliding back
towards the age of Doc Marten boots and organised tear-ups outside
train stations. Because, quite simply, we are not. We remain better than
that.