RoM's Best Articles

Contributing Writer

Daley Blind: reading between the lines

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Quality comes in many forms. Not every player is able to flash their calibre through such self-evident acts of brilliance as a decisive finish, a last-ditch tackle, a defence-splitting pass or some mazy dribble past multiple markers.

Defensive midfielders seem particularly prone to going overlooked and unloved by those unable or unwilling to appreciate the less immediate parts of the game.

Angel di Maria: A perfect No. 7

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What does it take to assume the mantle of the number seven shirt at Manchester United? Talent, obviously, though a footballer needs more than just quality in order to live up to the lineage associated with the jersey.

The right kind of player doesn't heave the burden of history up onto their shoulders and amble forward like a contestant of World's Strongest Man.

Di Maria – Real Madrid’s Most Important Cog Is Now At United

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Angel Di Maria may not be the man to provide the "miracle" Louis van Gaal is looking for to enable United to become serious title contenders this season, but he will ensure a big step in the right direction following a tumultuous few years at Old Trafford.

The fact that the vast majority of the usually hard-to-please Madrid supporters wanted the Argentine international to stay says it all.

Louis van Gaal: Who wouldn’t want to see a 90s revival?

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Of all the attempts to knock the enthusiasm out of Louis van Gaal's arrival at Old Trafford, the least cutting jibe of them all has been the one about the Dutchman being some throwback who was only big in the 90s.

Besides being inaccurate—his post-2000 title-winning spells with AZ Alkmaar and Bayern Munich, and the Netherlands' success at the World Cup this summer are all achievements that would enhance the CV of any manager—it seems odd to try and use the decade that birthed the Premier League as the frame of reference through which to criticise the new manager at Old Trafford.

TOP 5: Manchester United shirts

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5. 1892, Newton Heath home shirt – a green and gold classic

Not so much "Green and Gold till the club is sold", more "Green and Gold and really old", United's kit before we were United was a thing of beauty. Two panels, one yellow, one green, with the yellow intruding onto the green around the neckline.

Louis van Gaal – a managerial heavyweight

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With the pressure that owners, boards of directors and fans seem to put on their managers in modern football growing year by year, managerial cycles seem to become shorter and shorter. Consequently, it's now harder to become a so-called managerial heavyweight: a manager who instils respect and awe mixed with a mild dose of fear when someone as much as mentions their name; someone, in short, like Louis van Gaal.

Liverpool bringing joy to season of failure

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Around the start of April, it all seemed to be incredibly bleak. Manchester United were persevering with David Moyes. Moyes was a disaster, and it didn't seem that he was learning. If anything, it seemed like a substandard manager had made things so bad that he'd never get out of the deepening hole.

Herrera – A major part of Van Gaal’s rebuilding process

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It's fair to say that Guillermo Varela, David Moyes' first signing, hasn't made a great impact at Old Trafford. But you can expect much more from Ander Herrera. As his £29 million fee suggests, the Basque midfielder will be major part of the rebuilding process under Louis van Gaal.

Herrera starred as a dynamic number 10 for Athletic Bilbao last season, dictating the flow of games as they secured Champions League qualification.

From the terraces to the boardroom

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Over the last twenty years the notion of what it means to be a football fan has undergone a radical transformation in this country. For most of the game's history fans were customers, happy to limit their involvement at the club to paying at the gate. The board were free to run things as they saw fit, without oversight.

Jonny Evans – The Frank de Boer of Belfast

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It's been a quietly remarkable couple of years for Jonny Evans.

Following the departures of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, he is now the most senior and dependable central defender at Manchester United; quite the turnaround for a player who was all but written off by those too impatient or pessimistic to give youth a chance two seasons ago.

TOP FIVE: Manchester United Players’ World Cup Moments

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As with any good list, some ground rules are needed. The first is that the player in question had to be playing at United at the time at which their World Cup moment happened – sorry Fabien, you don't make the cut, though I suspect the fact that you won the thing probably eases the pain.

The second is that it has to be a moment of glory, so no David Beckham getting sent off in 1998, albeit that is an iconic moment.

Nani: Sporting Connection Set To See Nani Thrive At The World Cup

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Portugal go into their eighth successive major tournament at the upcoming World Cup. Reaching three semi-finals (Euro 2000, WC 2006 and Euro 2012) and one final (Euro 2004) in the last decade and a half is a remarkable achievement for a country that is among the nani poorest and smallest in Western Europe.

Valencia – “The Amazonian Express”

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On the world stage, Antonio Valencia is unarguably the most famous Ecuadorian footballer of all time. He is the only man from his country to have played in a Champions League final and the only one to have won a pair of league titles in one of Europe's biggest leagues. His achievements are a great source of pride for his countrymen and it is Valencia who will lead Ecuador into this summer's World Cup as national team captain.

Ryan Giggs – the end of an era

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For Manchester United fans of my generation, this week we experienced the end of an era. It was a day of conflicting emotions, with the appointment of Louis van Gaal, a man who clearly possesses the qualities demanded of the manager of this great club, a cause for celebration, but tainted with an enormous pang of sadness at the retirement of, arguably, the club's greatest servant, Ryan Giggs, who finally called time on his most glittering of playing careers.

Amsterdam Bluff: Van Gaal is the man for United

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Is Aloysius Paulus Maria van Gaal an arrogant man? Probably. When playing for the Ajax reserves, the Amsterdam-born midfielder claimed that he deserved a chance in the first team, as he was better than the star man occupying the striker position Johan Cruyff.

While Louis van Gaal never emulated Cruyff as a footballer, he has been similarly successful as a manager.

Louis van Gaal – a formidable guy

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There's no bigger challenge in football than succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson. Knowing Louis van Gaal, it's one he will relish. Like the great Scot, he's a serial winner: treating triumph and disaster as the same.

A title winner at each of his four previous clubs he is the most decorated Dutch manager in history.

Ben Pearson – Giving the midfield a bit of bite

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A brave new world awaits under the stewardship of Louis van Gaal next summer, but regardless of who the Dutchman moves for in the summer, an existing flaw looks set to carry through into his reign: a weakness in midfield.
Even if reports are to be believed that Kevin Strootman could be on his way from AS Roma—a deal that Manchester United somehow failed to combat, let alone hijack—it will take more than one man to suitability protect the middle from the secondary threats of injury crises and suspensions.

After beating Liverpool, U-21s only have Chelsea left to beat…

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Last Friday night saw U-21 travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool in the U-21 play off semi final. United got this far after a nail biter in the last league game of the season, needing a win at Reading, United trailed 2-1 with less that 10 minutes to go but managed to pull a goal back and then in the 3rd minute of injury time up popped centre half Paddy McNair to sidefoot the winner from the edge of the area, one of the coolest finishes this season.

The Month: Giggs!

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Manchester United saw out April last year as Premier League champions; this year, as the team in seventh. Everyone knows that, of course. But it's important to know, because it's why David Moyes lost his job. He was committed, though. He didn't really have the chance to build his own squad. His players should have performed better.

Giggs as United manager… a year from now

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As rumours grow over the possibility of Jose Mourinho taking over as the manager of Manchester United, Ryan Giggs must be experiencing a strange and unsettling sense of déj vu. This time last year he was shadowy figure waiting in the wings for the current incumbent to exit left. Now he must prepare for the weekend's make-or-break game with Louis van Gaal's Spurs with ghosts of past, present and future haunting his every thought.

Top 5: David Moyes mistakes

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As we hurtle ever quicker to a world in which Liverpool and their favourite racist, Luis Suarez, become Premier League champions for the first time ever, there are several things that you might wish to consider. The first, most obvious one, is suicide if you're dead, you can't hear You'll Never Walk Alone, for instance.

Manchester United

United’s record with youth compared to Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Blackburn

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In response to Mike Phelan's claims that Manchester United had "lost their way" following the sale of Danny Welbeck, Jason Burt wrote for The Telegraph about United's history of youth team players. He claimed "it is a myth that United have always had a team overbrimming with local players and youth team products".

Is United’s focus on youth a “myth”?

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The sale of Danny Welbeck has prompted a lot of discussion over the past few weeks in regards to Manchester United and their tradition of bringing through young players.

Mike Phelan claimed "they have probably lost the way of Manchester United a little bit", as if Welbeck was the first former academy player to be sold, and that "the thread has been broken".

Glazers and Woodward risk leading club in to decline

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Manchester United finished last season as the 7th best team and have since lost several key players. Nemanja Vidic, the captain, Patrice Evra, the vice-captain, as well as two of the most experienced players in the squad, Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand. When you consider that takes away three of our back four, as well as last season's only cover for left-back, Alexander Buttner, United would need to buy five players just to break even.

Reaction to Rooney captaincy

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I used to love Wayne Rooney. I knew he joined the club as an Everton fan but he seemed to really get what playing for United was all about.

Rooney would repeatedly talk about how he wanted to spend his entire career here, how he wanted to be viewed by the fans in the same way Giggs was, and how much he hated Liverpool.

Don’t go, Danny

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Days after Danny Welbeck was first linked with a move away from Manchester United, David Moyes was sacked. Coincidence? I think not.

Getting embarrassed by our rivals, failing to qualify for the Champions League, employing dire football, showing little to no tactical nous and dithering over transfer targets might be the popular understanding for why Moyes lost his job, but it doesn't take a genius to work out that upsetting our Danny meant the former Everton boss had taken it one step too far.

How “player power” might have saved Manchester United

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Following the sacking of David Moyes, there has been a lot of criticism for our players, suggesting that they contributed to him losing his job. The fact that he didn't mention them or thank them in his parting statement, where he did express gratitude to the fans and staff, suggests Moyes probably agrees.

Should the players be ashamed of themselves?

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Manchester United are not a sacking club.

It's easy to make statements like that when you've shown faith in a manager in the 1980s, when you were in the relegation zone, and he's gone on to prove himself as one of the greatest managers of all time.

When David Moyes struggled, the board, the fans and the players all stuck by him publicly.

Should Moyes have had more time?

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Had David Moyes showed signs of progress during his first season as Manchester United manager it is likely that the board and fans would have shown more patience.

The club were determined not to become a "sacking club" so persevered with Moyes longer than any club would. To drop six places after spending £60m is an awful return and despite Moyes' claims today that the squad needed "fundamental rebuilding", these players were good enough to win the league weeks before the end of the season last year.

United

STATS: Danny Welbeck compared to other strikers at his age

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One of the biggest criticisms against Danny Welbeck is that for a striker he doesn't score enough goals. Even the biggest Welbeck enthusiasts can't argue with that. He's scored 20 goals in the league over the past three seasons, which is still more than £50m man Fernando Torres, but nowhere near what you would expect for a quality forward.

Are United fans making a fuss over nothing where transfers are concerned?

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For the first time since 2010, the anti-Glazer movement has begun to take shape again, with fans becoming frustrated with the lack of investment.

Under the leadership of Sir Alex Ferguson, who repeatedly worked miracles with our players, many fans have grown apathetic to the Glazer ownership.

Luke Shaw – Overpriced?

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If last summer taught me anything, it was not to get excited about any transfer, regardless of how certain it appeared to be, until the contract was signed and pictures were posted of the player awkwardly posing with our shirt.

Cesc Fabregas wanted to leave Barcelona and was interested in a move to United, yet the club opted to bid just £25 million for him.

EXCLUSIVE Rio Ferdinand interview – Disappointed to miss out on LvG doing things differently at United

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Rio took time out of his busy schedule helping to promote EA SPORTS UFCto talk to us at RoM.

As some of you may know, Rio is a huge fan of the UFC andhe recently took part in a training camp with the UFC's Brad Pickett whotaught him what it really means to Feel The Fight!

In part three of RoM's exclusive interview with Rio Ferdinand, our former defender talks to Noorudean Choudry about life after United.

EXCLUSIVE Rio Ferdinand interview – What happened with Kenyon and Chelsea

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In part two of RoM's exclusive interview with Rio Ferdinand, who was speaking to promote the launch of EA SPORTS UFC, our former defender talks to Noorudean Choudry about life at United.

Ferdinand's popularity amongst the fans took a hit when negotiations over a contract were fairly drawn out in 2005, following his eight month ban.

EXCLUSIVE Rio Ferdinand interview – Leaving Leeds for us and wanting to stay forever

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Rio took time out of his busy schedule helping to promote EA SPORTS UFCto talk to us at RoM.

As some of you may know, Rio is a huge fan of the UFC andhe recently took part in a training camp with the UFC's Brad Pickett whotaught him what it really means to Feel The Fight!

Rio spent 12 years at United and won a ridiculous number of trophies, including six league titles and the European Cup.

Class of ’92 return is gift to suffering fans

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If 1999 never happened and you watched a film that told the same story, you would spend the duration rolling your eyes and tutting. As if that could happen. As if you could get a group of local lads, playing for one of the biggest teams in the world, go on to achieve something no English team had before.

Wayne Rooney

STATS: If only Rooney fulfilled his potential…

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It should come as no surprise that Wayne Rooney was on the receiving end of plenty of stick from England fans following Saturday night's defeat against Italy.

Rooney didn't have a good game, being shifted around in a variety of different positions, and struggled to provide Leighton Baines with much cover when on the left.

Top Journo Amazed By The Bile Rooney Attracts

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Speaking to RoM for the World Cup preview, Sam Wallace, the chief football writer at The Independent, has discussed at length the importance of Wayne Rooney to England.

It never ceases to amaze how much bile he attracts. You might say Rooney's curse was to be born English at the wrong time.

The Rest

Racist bins off Liverpool after dragging their name through the dirt

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Luis Suarez has left Liverpool for Barcelona just six months after signing a new 5-year-deal with the Merseyside club.

"I am delighted to have agreed a new deal with Liverpool and have my future secured for the long term," said Suarez at the time. "I believe I can achieve the ambitions of winning trophies and playing at the very highest level with Liverpool.

EXCLUSIVE Rio Ferdinand interview – I hope Holland win World Cup for Robin’s sake

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Rio took time out of his busy schedule helping to promote EA SPORTS UFC to talk to us at RoM.

As some of you may know, Rio is a huge fan of the UFC and he recently took part in a training camp with the UFC's Brad Pickett who taught him what it really means to Feel The Fight!

In part four of RoM's exclusive interview with Rio Ferdinand, our former defender talks to Noorudean Choudry about the World Cup.