Blue and red Manch­ester ri­vals’ route to the top

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Football - Phil Neville was speak­ing on be­half of TalkTalk, which has ex­tended its part­ner­ship with Sal­ford City FC to in­clude the Sal­ford City Lionesses

but it was con­sid­ered en­tirely out of char­ac­ter for the City mid­fielder.

His pro­fes­sion­al­ism, at­ti­tude and ap­pli­ca­tion are qual­i­ties Pep Guardi­ola val­ues as much as his skill set and, hav­ing re­cently talked the player up to South­gate, the City man­ager is cer­tain to feel let down by Fo­den’s ac­tions, par­tic­u­larly given the re­spon­si­bil­ity he is about to af­ford the player now that David Silva has de­parted the club.

Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer, the United man­ager, will be equally dis­mayed, given his glow­ing ap­praisals of

Phil Fo­den

Born Stock­port, May 28, 2000

St Bede’s Col­lege (fees paid for by Manch­ester City)

Ed­u­cated Club ca­reer

Joined City aged eight. Made de­but at 17. Has made 41 ap­pear­ances, scor­ing six goals

Eng­land ca­reer

Has rep­re­sented Eng­land from all aged lev­els from un­der-16. One se­nior cap

Ma­son Green­wood

Born Brad­ford, Oct 1, 2001.

Ed­u­cated

Ash­ton on Mersey School

Club ca­reer

Joined United aged six. Made de­but at 17. Has made 34 ap­pear­ances, scor­ing 10 goals

Eng­land ca­reer

Un­der-15 up­wards. One se­nior cap.

Spe­cial bond: Phil Fo­den (far left) and Ma­son Green­wood play for ri­val clubs, but have formed a close friend­ship on Eng­land duty

Green­wood’s char­ac­ter and tem­per­a­ment. He had just handed the striker the No11 shirt at Old Traf­ford, a re­ward for a star­tling de­but campaign in which he be­came the first teenager in United’s his­tory to score 18 goals in a sea­son, but also recog­ni­tion of the faith the club have in him.

Given their na­ture, Fo­den and Green­wood will learn from this, and learn fast, but this was not the way ei­ther would have en­vis­aged start­ing the big­gest sea­son of their ca­reers.

Phil Neville, the Eng­land women’s man­ager, has backed home­grown play­ers in the Women’s Su­per League to thrive this sea­son be­cause of the wealth of for­eign tal­ent that is flood­ing the top flight.

The WSL at­tracted high-pro­file sign­ings ahead of re­sum­ing af­ter a 195-day ab­sence last week­end and more could be on the way be­fore the trans­fer win­dow closes on Thurs­day, amid re­ports that Manch­ester United are poised to sign United States strik­ers Tobin Heath and Chris­ten Press.

The Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion will in­tro­duce a rule next sea­son that clubs must name eight home­grown play­ers from a max­i­mum squad of 25.

“I al­ways say peo­ple are wor­ried about the English-qual­i­fied play­ers not get­ting enough ac­tion be­cause of the in­flux of world-class play­ers, but ul­ti­mately world-class play­ers will make the English player bet­ter and the English player has to be bet­ter to get in their teams,” Neville said. “I think this year will be the

Ever­ton have signed Colom­bian James Ro­driguez from Real Madrid in a deal they hope will el­e­vate the club’s stand­ing on and off the pitch.

Ro­driguez’s ar­rival was con­firmed last night, the 29-year-old sign­ing a two-year con­tract with the op­tion for a third. Ever­ton are not dis­clos­ing the fee, but it is be­lieved to be just un­der £20mil­lion.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to achiev­ing great things here – and win­ning things,” Ro­driguez said.

Ro­driguez’s ar­rival demon­strates the power of man­ager Carlo Ancelotti. He pre­vi­ously worked with the at­tack­ing mid­fielder at Real Madrid best WSL that we’ve seen, prob­a­bly since it was started, in terms of com­pe­ti­tion, qual­ity and depth.”

West Ham’s fix­ture against Ar­se­nal on Satur­day has been se­lected as one of the pi­lot events to test the re­turn of spec­ta­tors to elite sports fix­tures.

“Be­cause our crowds are slightly smaller, I think we could prob­a­bly get sup­port­ers back into sta­di­ums quicker than the men can in the big­ger sta­di­ums,” Neville said. “Hope­fully we’ll start to see the rein­te­gra­tion of sup­port­ers, be­cause if you speak to man­agers and play­ers, that’s what makes foot­ball. That at­mos­phere takes you on that ex­tra mile.”

Eng­land, who have not played since the SheBelieve­s Cup in March, face Ger­many in a friendly

and Bay­ern Mu­nich. “One of the big rea­sons [I signed] was the pres­ence of Carlo Ancelotti,” Ro­driguez said. “I have en­joyed some great times with him pre­vi­ously.”

With Brazil­ian Al­lan se­cured over the week­end, there is an ex­cit­ing look about Ever­ton’s mid­field ahead of their open­ing Pre­mier League game against Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur on Sun­day.

As well as rais­ing the qual­ity of the squad, the club hope Ro­driguez’s pres­ence will en­able them to cap­i­talise off it.

Ro­driguez is ranked the eighth most pop­u­lar sports­man on so­cial me­dia, with 96.9 mil­lion on­line fol­low­ers via Twit­ter, In­sta­gram and Face­book. Of those foot­ballers still play­ing pro­fes­sion­ally, only Cris­tiano Ron­aldo, Lionel Messi and Ney­mar eclipse those num­bers.

Ever­ton will waste no time seek­ing to max­imise the com­mer­cial op­por­tu­ni­ties of Ro­driguez’s sign­ing. The club will soon be open­ing a in Wies­baden on Oct 27 in their first match since Neville an­nounced he would be step­ping down as head coach next sum­mer to be re­placed by Dutch­woman Sa­rina Wieg­man. Just four days later the resched­uled Women’s FA Cup fi­nal takes place at Wem­b­ley.

“If I was a pro­fes­sional foot­baller and I was think­ing about want­ing to play at the top level, play­ing Ger­many on the Tues­day and play­ing in an FA Cup fi­nal on the Satur­day is what I would dream of do­ing,” Neville said.

“We’ve just had six months with­out foot­ball and now we’re talk­ing about rest­ing play­ers for some of the big­gest games. I think that’s the re­al­ity of what we’ve wit­nessed over the past few months. We took the big­gest games against the best op­po­si­tion in the big­gest sta­di­ums for granted. Now the op­por­tu­ni­ties will be there, I want my play­ers to grab them.” club HQ in ei­ther Mi­ami or Cal­i­for­nia, where they are reach­ing out to His­panic com­mu­ni­ties al­ready in­ter­ested in the club’s con­tin­gent of South Amer­i­can play­ers, such as Yerry Mina, Richarli­son and Bernard.

But Ancelotti’s top pri­or­ity is the on-field im­pact. “James, as ev­ery­one knows, is a fan­tas­tic player with a lot of qual­ity and a lot of abil­ity to make as­sists for the strik­ers,” the man­ager said.

Ever­ton have also asked about Va­len­cia’s Uruguayan striker, Maxi Gomez, who would be avail­able for be­low the £13mil­lion paid to Celta Vigo last year.

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