TO RUSSIA WITH LOVE
Manchester United’s squad for the Europa League tie at Rostov flew out of Manchester Airport yesterday. The 20-man strong squad however did not contain the likes of Captain Wayne Rooney nor Luke Shaw who was impressive during the game at Bournemouth. Bastian Schweinsteiger is also out with a niggle. The squad though did contain Henrikh Mkhitaryan who has been nursing a hamstring injury for the past fortnight. Rooney is thought to have been given a rest so as to have him fit for the FA Cup fixture at the Bridge with Ibrahimovic injured.
THE SQUAD: De Gea, Romero, O’Hara; Valencia, Darmian, Smalling, Jones, Rojo, Blind; Herrera, Pogba, Carrick, Fellaini, Lingard, Young; Mkhitaryan, Mata, Ibrahimovic, Martial, Rashford.
The team also did not contain Eric Bailly. He misses out through suspension.
Ander Herrera is the latest player to be linked with a contract extension at Manchester United. United will activate a clause that enables the Spaniard to remain at Old Trafford for another year. Herrera who arrived in Manchester back in 2014 has become one of the first names on the squad sheets this season. The extension will keep him at the club until 2019.
Jose Mourinho is said to be unhappy over the condition of FC Rostov’s pitch. Freezing conditions in Russia has resulted in sparse grass over the playing surface leading to injury concerns in the United camp. But Rostov coach has dismissed all concerns and said that the pitch is same for both the teams.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has accepted the FA’s charge of violent conduct and will be suspended for 3 matches. The matches in question are the FA Cup quarter final at Chelsea, the trip to Middlesbrough and the home visit of West Brom. He was banned for elbowing Bournemouth defender Tyrone Mings.
Reports in Spain suggest that Atletico man Antoine Griezmann will stay in Madrid for another year. He has been convinced to stay for their first season in their brand new stadium. Diego Simeone’s decision to stay for at least another season is also said to be factor.
With reports of a stall in Griezmann’s switch to United, the Reds are reportedly targeting Monaco sensation Kylian Mbappe. The young striker has a knack of hitting the ball into the back of the net with Monaco as the chase this season’s Ligue 1 crown.