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Premier League

Greenwood may switch international allegiance despite playing for England

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Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood could reportedly switch his international allegiance, despite already making his competitive debut for England.

Teenage forward Greenwood picked up his first England cap in the UEFA Nations League win over Iceland back on 5 September 2020.

However, the versatile attacker has not been selected by Gareth Southgate since he was withdrawn just days later from that squad after breaking coronavirus guidelines by bringing two girls into the team hotel with teammate Phil Foden.

Now, he is said to be considering his international future, and could still change his allegiance to Jamaica, according to The Telegraph.

Players under the age of 21 that have not made more than three competitive appearances are able to change the nation they represent.

Greenwood qualifies for Jamaica through his parents, and would be a welcome addition to Theodore Whitmore’s ever-improving squad.

A number of players from the Premier League and Championship have been targeted by Jamaica in recent years as they target a place at the 2022 World Cup.

The likes of Max Aarons, Demarai Gray, Ivan Toney, Liam Moore, Isaac Hayden, Ethan Pinnock, Mason Holgate, Rolando Aarons, Curtis Tilt, Jamal Lowe, Amari’i Bell and Kasey Palmer are all eligible and have been on the JFF’s radar.

Several of those names have been confirmed by JFF president Michael Ricketts, who says that the process of applying for passports is ongoing.

But Ricketts admitted that the pandemic had caused a significant delay.

“Looking at the list, I see Andre Gray, I see Demarai Gray, I see Isaac Hayden, who himself called the JFF to express his desire,” said the JFF president.

Mason Holgate, Liam Moore, who has actually acquired his Jamaican passport, Nathan Redmond, Kemar Roofe and Ivan Toney. All of these are in the process of acquiring their Jamaican passport.

“The process has become a little bit tedious because of course the Covid pandemic, but the process is ongoing and we are hopeful that we will get passports for these gentlemen in reasonable time.

“We have been having discussions with the secretary for sport and he has agreed to try and help us to facilitate and to expedite the process.”

Back in 1998, Jamaica poached seven top British-born players including Frank Sinclair, Robbie Earle and Marcus Gayle to be part of their squad for the World Cup that year, their first appearance.

The Reggae Boyz were knocked out in the group stage, but did record a 1-0 win over Japan.

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Manchester United

Manchester United injury latest as Ralf Rangnick waits on two players for Aston Villa

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Aston Villa return to action on Monday when they travel to Manchester United for an FA Cup third round clash at Old Trafford.

Both sides are expected to make a raft of changes as the Premier League takes a break after a hectic fixture schedule and coronavirus outbreaks caused havoc over the Christmas period.

The two teams happen to meet the weekend after in the Premier League at Villa Park and there is likely to be one eye on that game too.

Villa could switch things up and give game-time to fringe players like Anwar El Ghazi, Kortney Hause, Jed Steer and Cameron Archer.

United, meanwhile, may make changes but interim manager Ralf Rangnick is under pressure even at this early stage of his career following the 1-0 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier this week.

Rangnick will be keen to avoid another loss at Old Trafford with Villa already notching up a win at United this season.

He could bring back captain Harry Maguire into the starting line-up who, like his centre-back partner Victor Lindelof, missed Wolves.

Maguire missed the game with a chest injury picked up against Burnley last week with Raphael Varane and Phil Jones stepping in because of Lindelof’s absence and Eric Bailly missing out.

Lindelof returned a positive Covid-19 test and Bailly is set to join up with the Ivory Coast for the Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

Rangnick could therefore be without Lindelof, Maguire, Bailly and Paul Pogba, who is out injured with a thigh injury and will miss Villa.

Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay are suspended for the Premier League game meaning they will likely play in the FA Cup clash with Villa.

“Victor was still positive, so it was clear since yesterday morning that he would be out and Harry, he received that knock on his chest or whatever, in the game against Burnley so we thought he would be good again for tonight,” Rangnick said.

“But, yesterday, he was just trying and it was impossible. He even had too much pain when he was just standing around or sitting. It wasn’t possible for him to play.”

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Manchester United

Fred’s strike is United’s Goal of the Month

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Fred has deservedly won Manchester United’s Goal of the Month award for December 2021.

The Brazilian midfielder curled home a delightful effort from the edge of the area, to give the Reds a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at Old Trafford, in what was Ralf Rangnick’s first game as interim manager.

Our no.17 hasn’t been the most regular of scorers since signing from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2018, with that strike at the beginning of the month taking him to six in a red shirt, from 140 appearances so far.

As the man himself noted after the game, it was also a rare goal with his weaker foot.

“It’s always good to score in a game, but today we win 1-0 and it’s nice that my goal can be so important,” Fred told MUTV’s Stewart Gardner, in a post-match interview he conducted in English.

“With me being left-footed, sometimes I try with my right. Mason gave me a good ball and, in that moment, I just looked for the goal and it happened. I’m very blessed.”

Fred received 31 per cent of the vote from supporters in our poll, with team-mate Mason Greenwood second on 21 per cent, for his acrobatic effort against Young Boys in the Champions League.

Another long-range strike – Scott McTominay’s opener versus Burnley in last week’s 3-1 win – took third place.

While David De Gea was named Player of the Month once more, following on from Cristiano Ronaldo’s September-October double, we have now had five different winners in the Goal of the Month category for 2021/22.

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Premier League

‘Very important player’: Ralf Rangnick praises £31.5m Man Utd star after Burnley win

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Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick was pleased for Scott McTominay following his stand-out performance against Burnley in the Premier League.

The Scotland international was initially deemed doubtful for the game with an ankle issue, but he ended up playing the entire 93 minutes against Sean Dyche’s side yesterday.

The midfielder had a terrific outing. He opened the scoring after just eight minutes with a superb effort from the edge of the box to beat goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.

A Ben Mee own goal from a Jadon Sancho cross made it 2-0 in the 27th minute. Few moments later, Ronaldo handed United a three-goal cushion after McTominay’s shot was blocked.

The 25-year-old’s shot towards the top corner was fantastically saved by the Clarets shot-stopper, but Ronaldo was on guard to tap home from the resulting rebound.

A defensive mistake from Eric Bailly contributed to Aaron Lennon making it 3-1 before the break, but the Clarets were unable to reduce the deficit after the interval.

McTominay had the license to make regular forward runs with Nemanja Matic acting as the defensive midfielder. He excelled in his role with three shots from outside the box.

His third strike was also on target, but Hennessey showed terrific reflexes to deny him. McTominay could have quite easily bagged a hat-trick if not the Welshman’s solid resolve.

He told Manutd.com: “We only decided this afternoon at two o’clock that he would play because he still had some problems with his ankle that he suffered at Newcastle.”

“So it was good to have him available and in the team. At half-time, our team doctor said he would be struggling in the second half after the level of pain but it was important to have him in the team and he was able to play for 93 minutes. A very important player for us today.”

McTominay has been ever-present in the line-up since Rangnick took interim charge this month. Fred was recently the best-performing midfielder, but he was dropped after a poor display at Newcastle United.

Hence, the Scot can’t take things for granted. His performance was exceptional last night, but the onus remains on finding consistency and whether he can make replicate his latest performance.

McTominay has a keen eye for goal, having been a striker during his development years. He was offered plenty of shooting space yesterday, but can’t anticipate similar situations against better opposition.

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