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    Man Utd legend Bryan Robson says Harry Maguire is the new ‘Captain Marvel’ as he leads Red Devils on title charge

    BRYAN ROBSON earned the right to be called Captain Marvel.
    He wore the treasured armband of England 65 times and over 13 years became the longest-serving skipper in the history of Manchester United.

    Bryan Robson earned the nickname ‘Captain Marvel’ during his epic careerCredit: Getty

    He believes Harry Maguire has all the attributes to become a modern-day marvelCredit: Getty

    Bones were broken and blood spilled for both causes and few are better qualified to recognise a fellow lion heart than him.
    And in Harry Maguire he sees a kindred spirit.
    Robbo is convinced that the £80million central defender has all the right stuff to make himself a modern-day marvel as captain of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
    So much so that he has even been acting as a mentor to him on the values of leadership and responsibility.

    The pair have had several conversations together and a warm bond has built up between them.
    The 64-year-old says: “Harry is a really good listener. He’s a man’s man – very much his own man – but he likes advice.
    “You can see that when he’s having discussions with the commercial people, to agents, to people around the club.
    “You can see he listens and takes on board what he thinks is right, that he’s a decent lad who has time for everybody.

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    “I first got to know him through his agent, someone I really like – I didn’t realise he was on his books until Harry came to Old Trafford.
    “So I’ve met Harry quite a few times from where he was just getting used to people around the club and we’ve had a good few chats about things.
    “You can always tell when lads are captain material – you can feel it.
    “Harry wants to learn more and understand more – about the game, about the club, about his team-mates, about people around him.
    “There is the other side of Harry within the club that the public don’t really see.
    “There are a lot of things the players have been doing for the community and for charity and it’s been led by him and the senior pros.
    “They’ve got together to keep feeding money through to the NHS.
    “They have been doing quite a bit behind the scenes even though it has been manic with the number of games – that’s all been led by Harry.”
    Yet it is Maguire’s leadership on the pitch that is beginning to most impress the Old Trafford legend who also used to go by the name of Captain Marvel.

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    Robson became the first to lead a club to back-to-back titles in the Premier League era and his vast experience tells him Solskjaer is onto a winner with Maguire.
    He says: “I saw when Harry first arrived that he needed to organise people and communicate a bit more but he has grown into the job.
    “Now you see him pointing and directing and helping people out. And a few of the new players have followed that lead – such as Bruno Fernandes, Edinson Cavani.
    “You can see them working hard to pull the side together and get the team’s shape back when they lose the ball.
    “Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay have taken that on board as well so the team as a whole is improving on that side of things.
    “Harry, he’s a top player. The only thing he might get criticised for is pace but he reads things really well, gets great blocks in, he’s brilliant in the air defensively.
    “It just took him a little bit of time to get the confidence to come into a club like Manchester United and demand from people around him.
    “Sometimes you go into a club and it takes you a little bit of time to settle down.
    “You don’t want to look as if you’re bucking for captain and demanding and shouting at people when you don’t know them that well.

    Robbo helped Manchester United end their long-wait for the title in the 90sCredit: Getty
    “Part of what Harry had brought has been missing from United over the last four or five years is that players haven’t demanded from each other.
    “The Class of ’92, my team that had Paul Ince, Roy Keane, Steve Bruce, Eric Cantona – we demanded off each other and that’s why we got success.
    “You can’t just go on a football pitch and look after yourself.
    “You’ve got to demand not only from yourself but the others and push them to the limits. Sir Alex built three teams who did that.
    “Now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is going down that same direction and the right lines are that every player has to want more of himself and everybody around him. To win things that’s what you’ve got to do.
    “It’s not upsetting people for the sake of it – it’s about helping those around you to give that bit more to win things.
    “And hopefully the team can keep on those lines with Harry and the other boys.
    “Doing that you get a good team spirit going and the next thing then is just to win something to give that extra bit of confidence. Harry is going to be central to that.”
    ⚽ Read our Man United live blog for the latest news from Old Trafford

    Harry Maguire says Man Utd are the biggest team in the world and that’s why everybody loves seeing them lose More

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    Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury hope to sign blockbuster fight deal NEXT MONTH even if venue is not confirmed

    ANTHONY JOSHUA and Tyson Fury hope to sign their £200million fight deal in the next month without a confirmed venue in a bid to beat Covid-19.
    The English heavyweights are desperate to start what boxing fans hope will be a two-fight rivalry ASAP and over half-a-dozen nations are ready to stump up mega money to host.

    AJ and Tyson Fury are close to agreeing their £200m super fight

    Eddie Hearn says the location could be the final thing to be agreedCredit: PA:Press Association

    But the ever-changing coronavirus rules and regulations mean AJ promoter Eddie Hearn predicts the location could be the last thing that gets agreed upon, to stay ahead of the pandemic.
    The Matchroom boss saud: “We will say, hopefully in the next three or four weeks, ‘deal done’.
    “When everybody’s on board and signed we’ll collectively go out and speak to these sites we’ve had approaches from and look to do the best deal for the fighters – not just from a financial perspective but from a logistical point of view as well.  
    “And everything is changing. One country is all of a sudden coming out of the pandemic, they’re really aggressive, they’ve got a lot of money for tourism, they want to say, ‘we’re back’. And then two weeks later they go into a lockdown.

    “So it’s very very difficult at the moment to move with that much confidence or certainty and it’s not a great time to be discussing international sporting events.
    “But we’re at that period – end of May, early June – where people are a lot more confident that they will be in a better place to stage it.”
    The March 6 rematch between Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin could be headed abroad with tiny Gibraltar a shock candidate host.
    The tiny British territory in the deepest south of Spain has a popularity of just 32,000 but could offer up a venue for fans to watch the heavyweight grudge rerun.

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    Hearn, who has just announced five shows to run from February 13 into April, said: “We’re looking to stage all of those fights in one location, with perhaps only the Dillian Whyte fight going international.
    “At the moment that’s an option but we haven’t made any decisions yet.
    “We’ve spoken to some quite interesting ones, a couple in the Middle East and we’ve also spoken to Gibraltar and also to Monaco. 
    “The feeling from Dillian is he would like crowds for that fight.
    “It’s a big fight for him and he would prefer that fight in front of some kind of crowds but even in the territories I mentioned there’s no guarantee that would be the case either. There could be crowds in Gibraltar.”

    Anthony Joshua shows off brutal left hook in gym workout More

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    Sir Alex Ferguson says Wayne Rooney has the ‘presence’ to be a top boss as Man Utd legends retires to take Derby job

    SIR ALEX FERGUSON believes Wayne Rooney has the skills to become a successful manager.
    Rooney, 35, officially retired yesterday to become full-time boss of Championship Derby, signing a deal until the summer of 2023.

    Sir Alex Ferguson thinks Wayne Rooney has what it takes to become a top managerCredit: PA:Empics Sport

    England and Manchester United’s record goalscorer had a glittering playing career, including five Premier League titles and the Champions League under Sir Alex at Old Trafford.
    And Ferguson said: “His knowledge of the game is not in question and he has a presence about him.
    “I really do hope he goes well. It is a big step early on. He is a wealthy young man and doesn’t need to go into management to look after the family.
    “He wants to do it and that’s the important thing.

    “There is no point being a manager because someone has asked you to.
    “He knows more than most that he needs results. He has started well and it is what he wanted so hopefully he does well.”
    Rooney, who replaced the sacked Phillip Cocu in November, has overseen nine games, winning three and drawing four.
    And current United boss and former team-mate Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also believes he has what it takes to be a success.

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    He said: “Great news for Wayne and I really wish him all the best.
    “I think he’s got everything going for him to be a good manager.
    “He’s had a very good career, he’s got a very good personality and he wants success.
    “He’s played under some top managers and I’m sure he’s over the moon at the moment, so congratulations to him.”
    David Moyes was Everton boss when Rooney burst on to the scene as a precocious 16-year-old.
    Rooney, who also played for DC United in the US, is now joining his mentor in the coaching ranks.
    West Ham boss Moyes said: “It makes me feel old when I think he was 16 — where have all the years gone that he is now starting his career in management?
    “Wayne has had enough experience as a player to see good things, but he has to watch out that he doesn’t fall into the category of being a good player who doesn’t become a good manager.

    Wayne Rooney’s playing career

    Wayne Rooney has retired from playing after an illustrious 19-year career.

           Games Goals
    Everton (2002-04) 77 17
    Man Utd (2004-17) 559 253
    Everton (2017-18) 40 11
    D.C United (2018-20) 52 25
    Derby (2020) 35 7
    TOTAL        763 313
    International
    England (2003-18) 120 53

    “He needs to learn a completely different skill set. He should watch that he doesn’t try to do things too quickly.
    “Quite often you need to earn your stripes as a manager. It doesn’t happen often that you get things right straightaway.
    “Most managers have worked their way up and learnt how to do things at a lower level.”
    In similar fashion to Rooney, Moyes finished playing at Preston and then managed the club before moving to Everton and then teaming up with his former striker again at Old Trafford.
    And Moyes believes the young manager has the strength of character to dish out the hairdryer treatment when needed.
    Moyes added: “Wayne is a winner all day long.
    “When he left Everton he was only a boy, by the time I got to United he was a winner.
    “I can imagine him demanding high standards from the players. The biggest thing Wayne has is his attitude.
    “I always say to my players to do their badges early, go on the coaching courses early and don’t hang about because sometimes it is too late.”
    ⚽ Read our Man United live blog for the latest news from Old Trafford

    Wayne Rooney says he can help Derby move forward as new manager More

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    Champions League and Europa clashes can go ahead as government gives sporting exemption after ‘travel corridor’ closure

    ARSENAL will have a sporting exemption to travel and face Benfica in the Europa League following the Government’s strict new travel restrictions.
    Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the current ‘travel corridors’ will be closed from 4am on Monday except for those who have had a negative Covid test in the previous 72 hours.

    Champions League and Europa League games can go ahead after the Government confirmed a special sporting exemptionCredit: Reuters

    The decision means Arsenal will be able to travel to play Benfica in the Europa LeagueCredit: Kevin Quigley-The Daily Mail

    All arrivals to the UK will have to self-isolate in quarantine for ten days.
    But the Government confirmed to SunSport there will be an exemption for elite sports which follow Covid-19 protocols.
    That means Arsenal, as well as the six other Premier League sides due in European action next month, WILL be free to travel — and rugby union’s Six Nations has also got the green light.
    There had been fears the dispensation would not apply to Portugal after the clampdown introduced to guard against the Brazil mutant strain.

    That would have led to the two Europa League games against Benfica being moved to a neutral venue where no restrictions apply.
    Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal are due to travel to Lisbon for the first-leg of their last-32 clash on February 18 with the Portuguese team visiting London a week later.
    The Government action is similar to the approach taken in November when they banned arrivals from Denmark, putting England’s Nations League clash with Iceland at risk.
    But the FA negotiated a last-minute exemption with authorities for the Wembley clash to go ahead.

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    Elsewhere, Ray Parlous still dreams Arsenal will sign ‘special talent’ Wilfried Zaha.
    Ex-Gunners boss Unai Emery claims he wanted the Crystal Palace attacker ahead of Nicolas Pepe in August 2019 – and Zaha himself admits he would ‘love’ to have joined.
    Parlour told Stadium Astro: “I’m sure Emery would have loved to have someone like Zaha but again it’s down to the board and money available.
    “Pepe, they did that in a staggered way, probably paying £15million a year, which suited the French side where he came from.
    “Probably Crystal Palace wanted the money up front, which Arsenal couldn’t have done at that time, because if you lose your best player you need to replace him.”
    ⚽ Read our Arsenal live blog for the latest news from The Emirates

    Solskjaer says he is excited as Man Utd prepare to play against Liverpool at Anfield More

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    Danny Rose is ready to snub West Brom free transfer as Spurs outcast eyes LaLiga or Bundesliga switch

    DANNY ROSE is eyeing a move abroad, despite interest from West Brom boss Sam Allardyce.
    The England left-back Rose has been frozen out of Jose Mourinho’s squad.

    Danny Rose is set to snub Sam Allardyce’s West BromCredit: Getty

    And he is likely to end his 13-year association with Tottenham this month.
    His Spurs contract expires in June and could be cancelled by mutual consent.
    Allardyce is desperate to bring in Rose.
    But with money tight at the Hawthorns he might have to off-load Kieran Gibbs first.

    Spanish and German top-flight clubs have also shown interest in Rose, 30.
    And he is believed to prefer a short-time switch overseas to revive his career.
    After being left without a squad number by Mourinho, Rose has knuckled down in training and played in several Under-23s fixtures for Spurs as he keeps fit in hope of an escape route.
    Rose has been capped 29 times by England.

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    He is Tottenham’s longest-serving player after arriving there from Leeds in 2007.
    But his White Hart Lane career is set to end without fanfare after a serious personality clash with Mourinho.
    Big Sam’s Baggies are currently six points adrift of safety. 

    England left-back Danny Rose unveiled as mystery donor who gave £19k to hospital that treated him at Tottenham amid coronavirus fight More

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    Chelsea’s flop £35m transfer Danny Drinkwater set to join Turkish side Kasimpasa on loan until end of season

    CHELSEA midfielder Danny Drinkwater is close to completing a loan switch to Turkish club Kasimpasa until the end of the season.
    Drinkwater, 30, has made just 23 appearances for the Blues since his £35million move from Leicester in 2017.

    Chelsea outcast Danny Drinkwater is set to join Turkish side Kasimpasa until the end of the seasonCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    The £110,000-a-week man has not featured in the first team since the 2018 Community Shield against Manchester City and has been forced to train with the Under-23s.
    After failing to impress on loan at Burnley and Aston Villa, he’s been seeking an overseas loan move since the summer.
    He will head to Turkish capital Istanbul and put pen-to-paper with the club who sit 13th in the Super Lig.
    He still has 18 months left on his deal at Chelsea with boss Frank Lampard eager to get him off the wage books.

    Drinkwater is eager to reignite his career that has taken a dramatic fall from grace since his move to Stamford Bridge.
    He has made just 23 appearances and hasn’t made a senior appearance since March 2018.
    Drinkwater had loan spells with both Burnley and Aston Villa but made six appearances between them.
    During his time with Villa, he was sent away from the club’s training ground after headbutting team-mate Jota.

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    His problems persisted off the field after being charged with drink-driving in April 2019 and was battered by six thugs outside a nightclub just months after.
    Just last month he was sent off in an Under-23 game for kicking out at Tottenham youngster Alfie Devine.
    In November, Drinkwater was pictured enjoying a Harry Potter themed night while his team were in Champions League action.
    ⚽ Read our Chelsea live blog for the very latest news from the Bridge

    Wayne Rooney named permanent Derby manager as Man Utd legend retires from playing to sign two-and-a-half-year deal More

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    Phil Neville’s England replacement Sarina Wiegman will bring Dutch of class to Lionesses in trophy hunt

    PHIL NEVILLE will soon be packing his flip-flops and factor 40 for the tough gig that is Miami.
    While we are all freezing in our isolated world, Neville has left England’s women’s team and bagged himself a Florida foxhole.

    Former Holland boss Sarina Wiegman is taking Phil Neville’s England Women jobCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Neville is off to manage Inter MiamiCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Lucky man! Not so much Miami Vice, as Miami, hmmmm, very nice. Good luck to him.
    His record as boss was mixed.
    A 2019 World Cup semi-final berth — only losing to eventual winners USA 2-1 — was countered by really poor form since then, with the Lionesses losing five of their last nine games.
    Enter a woman!

    The replacement for 43- year-old Neville is former Holland boss Sarina Wiegman.
    These are exciting times for women’s football and Wiegman comes with a cracking CV.
    She won Euro 2017 with Holland and was runner-up at the 2019 World Cup.
    I confess I was surprised when Neville was appointed as he hadn’t managed a team before.

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    Surely you need a certain level of experience before becoming the focal point for a nation’s hopes and fears.
    Mind you, some of the best men’s managers in recent years barely kicked a ball in anger.
    Arsene Wenger, Gerard Houllier and Rafa Benitez spring to mind and Jose Mourinho was a translator under the late Sir Bobby Robson at Barcelona.
    As for Wiegman, she ticks both boxes, with 104 caps for the Netherlands as a player.
    The 51-year-old is renowned for her professionalism and high standards and takes over just before the 2022 Euros on our home soil.
    We all know the galvanising effect Euro 96 had on the men’s game — Three Lions on the shirt and all that — and, hopefully, the same can happen with the women.
    Wiegman, who is set to take over after this summer’s Olympics — assuming they go ahead — has all of our best wishes as the England team have been bridesmaids but never the brides.
    Runners-up in Europe twice and World Cup semi-finalists twice, Neville and others before him could not find the key to the trophy cabinet. Now, where have we heard that before?

    England’s women are about to embark on a new path without NevilleCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    OUT OF TOUCH
    I HAVE to admit that I am bemused by this constant berating of footballers for celebrating goals by hugging.
    As far as I am aware you cannot catch Covid from someone who has tested negative — no matter how close you get. And all the players on the pitch have tested negative.
    Premier League players are now tested three times a week, making them, I would think, among the most tested people in the country.
    Scoring a goal is one of the great pleasures of being a footballer and a fist pump or elbow bump doesn’t really have the same effect as a pure instinct goal celebration.
    But, of course, we will all comply with the rules. No matter how little they make sense sometimes.

    The hugging ban during celebrations makes no sense to meCredit: Getty – Pool
    EFL DEBT OF GRATITUDE
    WEST HAM received a letter from the chairman of Northampton Town last week, writing to thank us and all Premier League clubs for their assistance with the EFL bailout.
    He recognised that all of football is struggling through this pandemic and suffering significant losses, so the bailout was ‘much appreciated’.
    He’s not wrong.
    Three Premier League clubs recently posted significant losses — Man Utd £23million, Spurs £67.7m and Southampton £76m, no doubt with more to follow. The Prem collectively is losing £100- a-month.
    He said that ‘Northampton Town wanted to just recognise the role of the Premier League clubs in helping’.
    A thank you goes a long way, so a touch of class from Kelvin Thomas.

    I appreciated Kelvin Thomas writing to thank Premier League clubs for their contributions to the EFL bail outCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Wayne Rooney named permanent Derby manager as Man Utd legend retires from playing to sign two-and-a-half-year deal More

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    Man Utd forwards Rashford and Fernandes can exploit Liverpool’s problems at centre-half without crocked Van Dijk

    MANCHESTER UNITED will travel to Anfield knowing they can exploit areas in this Liverpool side that are normally watertight.
    And that will be music to the ears of United’s attacking threats, in particular Bruno Fernandes.

    Marcus Rashford can worry Liverpool’s under-strength defenceCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Bruno Fernandes will look to supply Rashford at every opportunityCredit: Rex Features

    ⚽ Read our Man United live blog for the latest news from Old Trafford
    It begins with Liverpool’s centre-half problems. The absence of Virgil van Dijk is huge not just defensively but for his pace to recover ground consistently and effectively.
    In previous games Jurgen Klopp has opted for experience with players who are unfamiliar to the role, such as Fabinho and Jordan Henderson.
    This is hardly ideal and, as a defender, if you know you are up against players with great pace like Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, you will drop deeper.

    But Klopp’s teams are front-foot orientated, so the midfield will continue to press high up the pitch, as well as the two full-backs, leaving the centre-backs exposed.

    At times in their 1-0 loss away to Southampton, they had just two men behind the ball who were uncomfortable having to cover so much ground around them.
    This is not to say Liverpool have been ‘bad’ defensively this year. Only five teams have conceded less in the division so far.
    And in the 12 Prem games since the 2-2 draw with Everton in October, they have not conceded more than one goal in a game. But on the other hand, they have only had four clean sheets in the process.

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    How Liverpool have fared with and without Van Dijk since his debut in 2018 up to his injury against Everton
    And in the last six games where they have conceded just one, they have drawn four, lost one and won just one.
    So, take away Liverpool’s ability to keep a clean sheet, and they are struggling. That’s very unlike the Reds.
    As is the space left around their defenders. If the midfield push high to win the ball back and leave the centre-backs sat deep, that will leave a huge space for Fernandes to drift into.
    Alternatively, if the front three press high and the midfield drop off to protect their defenders, a space for Paul Pogba — who played that role against Burnley — will open up.
    So for United, it is all about the transition and where they focus their attacks when they get the ball back.

    To Fernandes, to Pogba — or whoever plays that deeper role — or out wide to the likes of Rashford or Martial with Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold going forward.
    With the right defence, Liverpool can play their pressing game and have that space covered by an intelligent and speedy centre-back. But right now, he is missing.
    Their saving grace has been their home form — one thing United should not take for granted.
    Liverpool have five more points than anyone else at home this campaign, scoring the most goals. Played eight, won seven and drawn one.

    A lot of teams have gone to Anfield and tried to play exactly how United will likely play and failed.
    United may be joint-top of the away-form table, and the onus may be on Liverpool, but the Red Devils cannot afford to take their opponents lightly and drop too deep, encouraging Klopp’s men to attack.
    Ultimately, this game will be about which team is best set up for when they lose the ball
    Which means for Klopp he has some big decisions to make on his understrength backline.

    Liverpool vs Man Utd combined XI: Salah and Bruno Fernandes make joint side but Pogba misses out ahead of Prem clash

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