Darren Fletcher’s importance to the Scotland national team has been outlined by new manager Gordon Strachan, who insists the midfielder has a part in the squad when he returns from injury.
Fletcher is currently recovering from chronic bowel disease surgery and is out of action for the rest of the season. That means that while he misses Manchester United’s campaign for another famous treble this spring he will also sit out of Scotland’s World Cup qualifiers against Wales, Serbia and Croatia.
These are three huge games for Scotland in their quest to resurrect some pride from their World Cup qualifying campaign and Fletcher will be sorely missed in the centre of their midfield.
“The quicker he gets back, the better for Manchester United and for me,” Strachan told BBC Radio Manchester. “If you look back at Manchester United over the last six or seven years – any time there's been a big game, Darren’s played in it.”
Indeed, many fans in the betting world over at Betfair Football feel Fletcher’s return to international football could help Scotland qualify if not the World Cup then at least Euro 2016. Under Strachan the team have started well, winning their opening friendly 1-0 against Estonia earlier this month to set the foundations for a successful tenure at the helm.
What Scotland need going forward is a voice in the middle of the park and although they have Scott Brown to bark out the orders he is a class below Fletcher. The United star has won four league titles and a Champions League medal during his 10-year stint at the club and has developed into a top quality defensive midfielder.
When he returns this summer Scotland will have their captain and leader back in the team and should start growing into their potential ahead of qualification for France 2016.
For more information on FA Cup betting, head over to:http://betting.betfair.com/football/fa-cup/
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Monday, February 25, 2013
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has warned his side that they cannot afford to take anything for granted despite their substantial lead at the top of the Premier League table.
After losing the title race last season, the Red Devils have bounced back in supreme manner this time around, sweeping everyone before them and now look almost guaranteed to win their 20th league championship. Indeedmany football betting news sites have already paid out on United winning the league once more.
However, they also found themselves in a similar situation this stage last year, only to lose form and eventually finish second behind bitter rivals Manchester City, following a dramatic last few weeks of the campaign.
Part of their problem last term was their lack of goals but they are currently the league’s top scorers charts, with summer signing Robin van Persie leading the way with 19 strikes.
He’s not been the only one on target though and Saturday saw goals from two unlikely sources, as Rafael and Ryan Giggs found the net to seal a 2-0 win away at bottom club Queens Park Rangers.
This moved them further clear at the top of the table but with 11 games left, there is still plenty of football to play, especially when you take into account that they are still to face nearest rivals City for a second time this season. Even if punters who bet on premier league markets have made their minds up.
Ferguson has now urged his players not to rest on their laurels and says they must continue to take things one game at a time.
"We're in a better position today (Saturday) than we were yesterday," the veteran boss told reporters.
"It's one game less and it's really important and the way we can approach it is by winning the next game and then trying to win the next game and seeing where it takes us."
Published by Alex Corcoran at 7:51 PM
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Manchester United’s chances of bypassing Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League tie have taken a severe blow after defensive midfielder, Phil Jones, limped off the Old Trafford pitch on Monday night.
Up against a spirited Reading side, United had to work hard for their victory in the FA Cup fifth round and Sir Alex Ferguson took a gamble in resting a number of his stars.
One man to survive the cull was Jones – who once again proved an integral part of United’s team – and had played his role well until the 40th minute, when Jobi McAnuff pounced on a miss-control and the two players collided.
Unfortunately, Jones came out far worse than his opponent and a scan on Tuesday revealed damage to his ankle. There is now serous concern he will not be fit for the Real Madrid clash next week, a major hurdle in Ferguson’s plans to take apart the Spanish giants.
For Jones put in a man of the match performance in Madrid last Wednesday and, were it not for his determination to cover open ground, Real would have created many more chances than they did.
He also proved his worth for the team during United’s 2-0 win over Everton three days before, setting an example to many other Premier League midfielders on how to man-mark Marouane Fellaini out of the game.
His loss would be a severe blow for Ferguson, who must find a replacement to cover the back four. Anderson has never proven quite up to it, meaning Michael Carrick will be trusted to holding that position just above the defence.
Carrick has the ability and concentration to fulfil this role but there is always the danger he will stray forward, forgetting his duties. Hopefully, United don’t need too much cover to outscore Real on the night, but with Jones out there is a weakness for Ronaldo and co. to exploit.
Published by Alex Corcoran at 8:06 PM
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Cristiano Ronaldo has spoken out in praise of his former manager Sir Alex Ferguson before the pair meet for Real Madrid’s clash with Manchester United in the Champions League next week.
Ronaldo, who played more than 190 games and scored 84 goals for United under Sir Alex, departed the club for a world record £80m back in 2009 and has grown into one of the best players in the world under the Bernabeu floodlights.
In the weeks leading up to this Old Trafford departure, there were reports he had fallen out with the United manager: the cocky young wonderkid seeing life differently to the fiery Scot. According to the player, however, there is no lasting rift:
“I still have an excellent relationship with him and it will be nice to see him again,” Ronaldo told reporters.
“He taught me the basis of football. I arrived in Manchester when I was only 18. He managed my career in the best possible way and for me he is one of the most important people in football.”
Great praise from the Real Madrid star, who’s exit from Manchester could have gone smoother and there is still a real chance he will suffer a torrent of abuse from Reds supporters when he faces his former club home and away this month.
Maybe this was Ronaldo’s way of deflecting the attention the media will bring to this Champions League clash and for once Ronaldo may want to stay out of the limelight before a game.
Fans betting on football on Betfair are already expecting exciting things when United travel to Spain next week and should the tie still be in contention come the second leg a wall of noise will greet the players at Old Trafford. Whether or not the United faithful have forgiven then former star for deserting them is unclear, but diplomatic statements like this one can only help Ronaldo’s cause.
For more information, including betting tips, ahead of the Real v Man United clash, head over to: http://betting.betfair.com/football/premier-league/
Published by Alex Corcoran at 9:14 PM