United hope for a world of difference

David Moyes believes England success can fire recovery for Man Utd as Premier League restarts after international break.

    United hope for a world of difference
    United are back in business with an in-form Wayne Rooney, and have signed Adnan Januzaj to a new deal [EPA]

    After two weeks of international fixtures, most English Premier League managers would usually try to get their players' minds firmly back on domestic matters.

    Manchester United's David Moyes, however, appears to be hoping to use the afterglow of England's qualification for the World Cup to fire up his own team as they languish in mid-table.

    United have been stuck in ninth position, after their worst start in 24 years, ever since players left for international duty after the 2-1 win at Sunderland on October 5.

    Questions are already being asked of Moyes, who has the task of following Alex Ferguson's reign of 27 years at the club – although those asking the questions are perhaps forgetting that the man in charge during United's previous worst start was...Alex Ferguson.

    Moyes is one of the few managers in the Premier League who can call on a host of British players on a matchday, and believes the 2-0 win over Poland in midweek can work to his advantage against Southampton on Saturday.

    "We have a lot of England internationals who play for Manchester United and that's pleasing, as I'm sure it's a big boost for them and a big boost for the country as well," Scotsman Moyes said in his press conference on Friday.

    Southampton striker Ricky Lambert was an unused substitute in England's wins over Montenegro and Poland but will be the dangerman for a United defence that let in two goals in a defeat against West Bromwich Albion in their last home match.

    The Saints go to Old Trafford in fourth position in the table, four points above United, and a win would see them go top if Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea don't record victories.

    For United the man most likely to stop that scenario is Wayne Rooney, who has been in fine form for both country and club, scoring five goals in his last six United games.

    And they are also boosted by a player who could conceivably play with Rooney for England in future.

    Eighteen-year-old Adnan Januzaj, who scored both goals in the win over Sunderland, is of Albanian-Kosovan lineage and could technically represent Belgium or England.

    Adnan on board

    But whoever's badge he ends up kissing on international duty, his immediate future is in Manchester after he signed a five-year deal at the start of the weekend.

    "He is an outstanding talent. His balance, poise and ability to beat players is truly exceptional for a boy of his age," Moyes told the United website.

    Another team who have made their worst start in a while are Chelsea, but coach Jose Mourinho will not see third-place – two points behind Arsenal and Liverpool – as a crisis.

    The Portuguese is remoulding the Europa League winners after six years away from west London, and hosts promoted Cardiff City on Saturday.

    Andros Townsend has got a new deal at Spurs [GALLO/GETTY]

    Mourinho seems also to want more of his players to taste World Cup duty, after suggesting that John Terry might want to reconsider his retirement from the England team ahead of Brazil 2014.

    But with Terry in good form, it's at the other end of the pitch that Mourinho will hope that some of the old magic comes back.

    Fernando Torres has yet to recapture his blistering form of old with Liverpool and Spain, and now has Samuel Eto'o to contend with for a starting place.

    "Fernando Torres is ready, if selected," Mourinho told his pre-match news conference.

    "He has shown good dedication and good work in this period.

    "We have now the three (strikers) available, I want to have problems with players to choose from. Fernando, Eto'o and Demba (Ba) – all three are ready and I think we need that."

    Chelsea could be on top of the league by the end of Saturday, depending on the results of the surprise frontrunners to the start of the 2013-14 season.

    Liverpool will go top if they beat Newcastle United in the early game, but Arsenal would replace them again if the Gunners beat Norwich.

    Elsewhere fourth-placed Manchester City are hoping to claw back ground on the leaders, but they begin a run of four away matches having only taken one point from a possible nine on the road this season.

    Moyes' former club Everton can go into the top four if they beat Hull, after falling to their first defeat under new manager Roberto Martinez last time out.

    On Sunday, Tottenham Hotspur play Aston Villa, with Spurs having signed Andros Townsend to a four-year deal.

    Townsend – who has a more mature head on his shoulders than his 22 years would suggest in describing the coverage of Roy Hodgson's innocent faux-pas as "negative, silly news" – made his international debut in England's two qualification wins, scoring against Montenegro and hitting the bar against Poland.

    Week eight of this Premier League season appears to be commencing with the domestic game, for once, in harmony with the international scene.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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