In a surprise revelation, the Daily Mail claim that Jose Mourinho turned down the opportunity to manage the Red Devils in 2013 after snubbing Ed Woodward in a secret meeting in Madrid in the aftermath of Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to retire. Woodward hoped that the personality of Mourinho would be enough to maintain the glory days at Old Trafford.
However, the then Real Madrid manager was already in talks with Roman Abramovich and Chelsea over a return to Stamford Bridge and felt that he must remain loyal to his former employer. Woodward was forced to turn to David Moyes and Mourinho would have to wait until this summer before getting another opportunity to take charge of the club.
One of Mourinho’s biggest moves to date has been to drop club captain Wayne Rooney, and now England manager Gareth Southgate is set to follow in his footsteps ahead of tonight’s clash with Slovenia. Southgate told the press:
We’ve looked at the way Slovenia play, which we did midway last week, and we profiled the kind of midfield we wanted to play. It is in no reflection to Rooney’s performance at the weekend, in fact we were happy with the way he played. It was not an easy decision to make but we felt it was the right one. Not only did he accept the news with professionalism but he immediately said he wanted to talk to you today. I didn’t necessarily think that was the right decision. But he is still captain of this team while I’m in charge. This week has only reinforced him as the leader of this group.
It’s a blow for Rooney who has seen his place as a regular for both club and country lost in the space of weeks, with Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson taking on the captain’s armband for tonight’s fixture. Rooney will now need to resurrect his career at club and country level, and it may take a revival at Old Trafford to spark his return to form for England too.
The Mirror claim that 18-year-old defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah will sign a new contract at Old Trafford when he returns to Manchester after international duty with Holland. Having made his debut last season, the versatile defender has featured less regularly under Jose Mourinho but clearly still has a long term future at the club.
Currently the second choice right back at the club ahead of Matteo Darmian, Fosu-Mensah can also play centrally and in holding midfield, and will see his new deal go far beyond his current deal which is set to expire next summer with a number of big European clubs monitoring the situation.
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