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Everton vs Manchester United: Preview

After the international break normal domestic service is to resume and following the recent revelations about his private life, there is only one place for Wayne Rooney to answer his critcs and opposition fans, at Goodison Park where Manchester United take on Everton in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off.

The game itself will be dominated by the Rooney subplot, but whether or not you care is entirely down to yourself, ultimately it is Rooney’s performances in a United shirt that matter and given his showing with England, it shouldn’t affect him one bit.

Sir Alex Ferguson put the matter to bed during his press conference, “Let’s put it to bed straightaway. I am not discussing any of my players’ personal lives,” said the Scot.

David Beckham has also been speaking about Rooney’s situation and feels he is in the right environment to help him through a difficult time,

“He’s definitely at the right team and has the right manager to help him cope with any situation,” said the former United midfielder.

“I know that from my own personal experience of being at Manchester United for so many years, it is a club that puts its arms around you and supports you, so he’s got that.”

Whether or not Ferguson starts Rooney, remains to be seen but with Michael Owen, Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berabatov all vying for a first team spot, it may be he starts the game from the bench to save the red mist from descending.

United are also boosted by the return of Rio Ferdinand who has recovered from a knee injury, but Anderson suffered a slight knock whilst playing for the reserves so looks set to miss out on a first team comeback for the moment. Owen Hargreaves is still out, though Sir Alex expects him back at the club in a fortnight.

Given this is the toughes test so far this season, United should go into the match with a fairly settled side, Paul Scholes and Dimitar Berbatov will both be fresh after having a two week break, and both will be looking to continue where they left of against West Ham.

United have beaten the Toffees a total of 27 times in the Premier League more than any other club, so it seems omens are good.

Despite this, David Moyes the Everton boss does look forward to locking horns with the Red Devils,

“I do really enjoy the games against Manchester United – I’m not sure if the results suggest that – but I really do,” said Moyes.

“People seem to think there is some big relationship with me and Sir Alex but really we are from different eras. He was a manager at Aberdeen while I was a young player at Celtic and I remember that.

“Over the years I have got to know him better, but he wouldn’t do you a favour (with a result) that’s for sure, I wish he would!

“But he is a real gentleman. He is always the first on the phone if he thinks he can help any of the young managers. So from that point of view he is incredibly well respected.

“Not only because of what he does on the field but the way he conducts himself. There is a lot of stuff away from the camera the media doesn’t see and he does a great job encouraging and supporting people in the game.”

Everton are going into the game with a striker crisis, Louis Saha, Yakubu and Victor Anichebe are all out, leaving Jermaine Beckford as the only fit striker, so it may be Moyes plays Tim Cahill upfrom with Marouane Fellaini.

Jack Rodwell will also miss the match with damaged ankle ligaments that will keep him out the game for three months, also doubtful is Phil Neville.

To Everton’s credit they have not lost a league match at home since November, when Liverpool won 2-0 at Goodison, so a tough match will be had, whereas United have not lost away from home in the league since the 3-1 defeat to Everton in February.

Prediction: 2-1 United

Probable Line Up: van der Sar, O’Shea, Evans, Vidic, Evra; Valencia, Fletcher, Scholes, Nani; Berbatov, Rooney

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