Jones May Yet Start In Macedonia & Initiative That Mata-ers

Afternoon Bulletin

X-FACTOR PAUL

Many in the footballing fraternity believe that Paul Pogba would be key to a sustained title push from United. Denis Irwin too came out in support of this and said: “’I expect Paul Pogba to be a really powerful player this year. I expect Manchester United to challenge for the title. More consistency is needed. We drew too many (last season) and I think more goals are needed from different areas.” Irwin also revealed that he expects young Marcus Rashford to score more goals than last campaign.

PROVISIONAL CLEARANCE

Manchester United told UEFA that they intend to appeal the ban given to Phil Jones for verbally abusing a doping control officer in the aftermath of the UEFA Europa League Final in Stockholm. Jones was given a two-match ban meaning he would miss the Super Cup and the first match in the Champions’ League group stage.

The appeal would provisionally clear Jones to play on Tuesday against Madrid. There is the risk of the ban being extended should the intended appeal fail.

UP FOR PLAYER OF THE YEAR GONG

The Manchester United trio of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Paul Pogba have been nominated for the player of the year gongs in the Europa League. The trio powered United to the title and secured a spot in the Champions League. Ibrahimovic’s nomination despite not playing in the semi-finals and final due to injury speaks volumes of the Swede’s contribution in helping United win the trophy.

The United trio will be only nominees on the three-man shortlist. The winner will be announced by UEFA on August 25th during this season’s Europa League group stage draw.

COMMON GOAL

Juan Mata launched an initiative to give 1% of his £140k a week salary to charity and called upon his fellow professionals to do the same. Mata hopes to create a Common Goal XI where the aim is to create an entire team of players who contribute a sum of their pay to charities. Mata said: “Football is much more than a sport. It really is a tool to change the life of millions of people around the globe. So let’s try to use that power for the better.”

Mata has been unanimously praised for his initiative on a number of platforms and the player hopes to genuinely change the lives of people around him.

AC MILAN IN FOR THE KING

AC Milan are trying to convince Zlatan Ibrahimovic to resign for the club ahead of completing his recovery from an ACL injury. Ibrahimovic will stay in Europe for this season at least after LA Galaxy revealed he would stay in Europe, for now. United remain favorites to resign the Swede despite interest from the Italian Giants.