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By James Ducker



LAST seen sloping away from the celebrations that followed Manchester United’s Carling Cup triumph on Sunday, Ruud van Nistelrooy emerged in the Netherlands yesterday to deny that he was angered by the decision to leave him out of the starting line-up.

The Holland striker, who was not even brought off the bench by Sir Alex Ferguson, has been linked for the past couple of years with a move to Real Madrid or Barcelona, but he insisted that he planned to stay at Old Trafford.



“I understand Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to pick Louis Saha and I accept it,” he said from his team’s international camp. “Of course I am disappointed, every player is when they are not playing, but I expect to play against Wigan (in the Barclays Premiership) on Monday. Everybody can see how many goals I have scored for United this season. I want to stay at United.”

Van Nistelrooy is the Premiership’s leading scorer with 19 goals, even though he has not hit the form of the 2002-03 season, when he scored 44 goals in all competitions as United won the title.

Ferguson claimed that he selected Saha because of his goals in the previous rounds in the Carling Cup and Van Nistelrooy, despite his premature exit from the post-match celebrations, could be seen mobbing United’s scorers at the Millennium Stadium as they built up their 4-0 victory over Wigan Athletic.

“People have said I wasn’t happy at the game, but you can see me celebrating those goals,” he said. “If I was acting, I must be the best actor in Holland.”

Alan Smith watched the victory over Wigan on television, having suffered a broken leg and dislocated ankle against Liverpool eight days earlier, but the Football League indicated last night that it would be happy to give the 25-year-old a medal, provided that the club put their request in writing.

This matter is now finished :thumbsup:
 

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on a day when the biggest front-page headline news was goerge micheal smoking weed, this story is obviously going to get blown out of proportion.
 

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*OZ* said:
on a day when the biggest front-page headline news was goerge micheal smoking weed, this story is obviously going to get blown out of proportion.
:dielaugh::dielaugh::dielaugh::dielaugh:
 

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Nah, maybe I was too rude or something before for what I am sorry.

I just thought this thread is pointless because we already have similar thread open with the same discussion on-going and it is harder to follow two threads for some (like myself) who come on this page once in a while trying to read some usefull thoughts of other posters...

Cheers :thumbsup:
 

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muf is harmless, he's our little newswire so maybe we should appreciate him more for bringing all the latest news fresh and on the spot! :D :flirty:
 

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James Lawton: Van Nistelrooy turns vanishing man as Ferguson sharpens vision of new United
Published: 28 February 2006
When Lester Piggott, the winner on Roberto, was booed at the Derby after jocking off a much loved veteran rider Bill "Weary" Williamson, the old horseman Lord Oaksey speculated, "there might be no man on earth less susceptible to the sound of a hostile crowd".

The same is surely now true of Sir Alex Ferguson, both in facing down the noise of a mob - or an individual.

Certainly, the indignant body language of Ruud van Nistelrooy must rank low down on the scale of Ferguson's concerns.

Above everything else he is a pragmatist. At times his optimism knows no bounds, and his belief that United are destined to win every game they play has been a fundamental part of his and the team's success. But he also knows when to fold his cards in certain situations. He knew well enough when Roy Keane's time was up and we shouldn't swallow easily his public line that the omission of Van Nistelrooy, the scorer of 22 goals this season, from the League Cup final, was simply a matter of keeping faith with Louis Saha.

Utterly irrelevant, you have to believe, was the fact Saha just happened to have had particular success this season in the competition which Ferguson would normally evaluate pretty much as one disenchanted vice-president of the United States rated his ostensibly high office - "it's not worth a pitcher of cold spit," he said.

If the League Cup hadn't been Fergie's one last chance of getting his hands on some silverware this season, Saha's regular appearance in the competition could only have been seen as a rebuke rather than a vote of confidence. However, a new wind is necessarily blowing through Old Trafford and if Van Nistelrooy's scoring figures have remained consistent this hasn't always been true of his overall performance - or apparent commitment on the field.

Last week in the rather more significant FA Cup action at Anfield, Ferguson was so despairing of the Dutchman's potential to ruffle the iron-clad Liverpool defence that he sent on Saha. Now, the sweet cohesion struck up by the Frenchman and Wayne Rooney has surely put a question mark against Van Nistelrooy's future at Old Trafford.

Inevitably, his situation has to be compared with that of Thierry Henry, whose likely defection to Real Madrid or Barcelona can only have been hugely enhanced by his beautiful performance at the Bernabeu last week.

Both long ago proved themselves wonderful signings; Henry has been the perfect expression of Arsène Wenger's work as both coach and teacher and creator of fine football at Arsenal; Van Nistelrooy has been a sustained cutting edge in a Manchester United team that Ferguson, with the acquisition of players such as Juan Sebastian Veron and Laurent Blanc, was supposed to move on to a new dimension.

You couldn't fault Ferguson on his conception; Blanc had a sublime hauteur which the United manager thought could still be perfectly expressed in the more measured football of Europe, but the great Frenchman had slowed, critically by Premiership standards, and Veron, while still capable of spasmodic brilliance, was simply not what he had advertised.

Van Nistelrooy was the redeeming confirmation that Ferguson's appetite for the big signing was still sound, a reality underlined by the certainty with which he pursued Wayne Rooney and his frustrated attempts to bring Ronaldinho and Arjen Robben to Old Trafford.

Now it is not so hard to sense that both Van Nistelrooy and Henry have their eyes on new horizons.

Maybe they feel that they have had the best of days at Old Trafford and Highbury and that in each of their cases there is left one big new challenge ... and pay deal. When the partings come, there is surely a strong case for amiability and respect. They are in their late twenties, time maybe for the last adventures, projects that can be undertaken with the certainty that when their blood was up they served their old employers superbly well.

However it works, we can be sure that Ferguson's need to win Sunday's game against the brilliantly motivated Wigan Athletic was the overwhelming consideration when he drew up his team sheet. Can anyone seriously imagine Ferguson picking less than what he considered his best team in a match that had come to be probably his most important of the season?

His decision speaks of a belief that Van Nistelrooy is judged not to be the player, or at least the Manchester United player, he was when he represented a striking arm of such force and tremendous reliability.

There was also the Dutchman's intense and palpable need to succeed. It transmitted itself in more than exuberant celebration of the inevitable goals. It was like a shot of electricity. But not at Anfield recently, and not in too many critical games. Some tough professional assessments say that Van Nistelrooy has lacked his finest cutting edge for at least a year now.

Maybe Ferguson in his relentless way does see the League Cup triumph as a statement, albeit a modest one, about the potential of a new United, with a burgeoning relationship between Rooney and the highly skilled Saha, and a significant strengthening of the midfield in the summer. In this eternally hopeful picture, the outline of Ruud van Nistelrooy is inevitably blurred. Soon enough, you have to suspect, it will be gone.
 
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