Rice completely ruins his chance of Manchester United move

Editor F365
Declan Rice reacts against Manchester United

Boro have issued a non-BAN that has everything and nothing to do with Cristiano Ronaldo, while Declan Rice has infuriated Manchester United.


Crock of old shirt
Most of you will be aware that Middlesbrough play Manchester United at Old Trafford in the FA Cup fourth round on Friday evening. Many might not realise that Chris Wilder has forbid his players from one particular act.

“It’s not a sightseeing tour for our players. It’s not a shirt-swapping situation. I don’t want people to go into Old Trafford and enjoy the visit. I want them to play well. I want the players to play well. I want to give a good account of ourselves and make it really competitive and make it a dangerous night for Manchester United.”

Simon Bird of the Daily Mirror sensed gold and pressed the matter a little further, the specific bit of which can be seen here:

And that small excerpt of a 40-minute press conference – when Wilder agreed with a journalist’s throwaway comment that “if they want a shirt they’ve got to do it in the changing rooms after” – is obviously the headline news.

‘Middlesbrough boss puts in place Cristiano Ronaldo ban ahead of Man Utd tie’ is the Mirror website‘s take. Wilder, of course, never mentioned Cristiano Ronaldo. But clicks.

Still, at least their Caps Lock is working fine. The same cannot be said for this pair:

‘Boro boss BANS players from swapping shirts with Ronaldo & Man Utd stars’ – The Sun website.

Middlesbrough players are BANNED from trying to get Cristiano Ronaldo’s shirt’ – MailOnline.

You can SHOUT it all you want but that doesn’t change the FACT that all Wilder has done is tell PLAYERS to swap shirts in the DRESSING room and not the pitch if they absolutely must. And that he never once referred to RONALDO.


It seems that Neil Custis is afflicted with the same issue on The Sun website:

‘Pogba set to START as Rangnick tells contract rebel to remind fans how good he is’

Oh wow. Player who is available and has been back in training for over a fortnight could play. More as we get it.


It’s raining MEN
And we get it now, courtesy of the Manchester Evening News:

‘Manchester United give update on Paul Pogba’s future’

The floor is Samuel Luckhurst’s…

‘Paul Pogba’s future at Manchester United has not been discussed by interim manager Ralf Rangnick.’

The update: there is no update. Thrilling stuff.

While another headline from the same outlet of ‘Declan Rice makes Paul Scholes admission that Manchester United fans will hate’ promises so much, it delivers similarly little. Rice was asked to pick between Scholes or Steven Gerrard and chose the latter. That is the literal sum total of his ‘admission’ in a video that also featured him selecting Roy Keane over Patrick Vieira.

A reminder that Rice is a boyhood Chelsea fan who is adored by West Ham supporters. He will probably be alright if he joins Manchester United – as is the implication – despite preferring Gerrard to Scholes. Or maybe he should expect to be greeted with flares and vitriol on his next Old Trafford visit.


Training day
But back to The Sun website (sorry), who bring us this:

‘Man Utd stars back in training with no Greenwood in sight after being suspended’

Well yeah. It turns out that Manchester United weren’t just bluffing.


Hint in the eye
The bar for a ‘hint’ is lower than ever in football and this is a stone-cold classic from The Sun website:

‘Lacazette hints at Barcelona move in emotional farewell post to Aubameyang,’ reads the headline. It is immediately relegated to how the Arsenal striker ‘appears to have hinted at a future move to Barcelona’ by the first paragraph. This does not bode well.

Fortunately, the ‘hint’ is plain for all to see:

Because ‘see you soon’ can only possibly mean that Lacazette is also joining Barcelona; two people who have presumably grown quite close after working together for four years cannot hope to meet up in any other setting.


Brendan butter
‘EXCLUSIVE: Brendan Rodgers warned Liverpool “baggage” may cost him Man Utd job,’ is quite the way to package up some quotes from unattached manager Richie Wellens. Kudos to the Daily Mirror for that one.

But Mediawatch can find one sticking point: the baggage of Leicester being 10th with the sixth-worst defence in the Premier League ‘may cost him Man Utd job’ before anything else comes into the equation.


Merse code
“Now the dimensions are different, and he’s got to keep Everton in the Premier League for starters. It’s a simple as that. Everton are on a glass mountain with moccasin slippers on, at the moment. They are sliding and he needs to stop that.”

Textbook Paul Merson. Sky Sports presumably took out the mention of Revels for fear of it being a bit too much.