Paul Pogba shined as an under-pressure Manchester United stepped up their pre-season campaign with a 4-0 thrashing of old rivals Leeds yesterday. United had faced criticism after an unconvincing 2-0 victory over a depleted Perth Glory on the weekend.
In a much-needed tonic, the Red Devils clinically dismantled Leeds, who have high hopes of returning to the English Premier League for the first time since 2004.
Pogba, who has been linked with a move to Juventus and Real Madrid, starred in United’s dominant first-half and was part of a pretty chain of passing to set up 17-year-old Mason Greenwood’s first senior goal in the seventh minute. Greenwood’s energetic performance has the teenager in the frame for the Premier League opener against Chelsea on August 11, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said.
United broke through with a moment of magic in the 27th minute from Marcus Rashford, a livewire in the first half. After a wondrous dribble past the lead-foot defence, the 21-year-old expertly tapped it past Casilla. Solskjaer changed his entire lineup at half-time in a repeat of Saturday’s match against Perth. United continued to dictate, with Phil Jones scoring a thumping header from a corner kick in the 51st minute. Anthony Martial rounded out a spectacular performance in the 68th minute by converting a penalty after Tahith Chong was taken down in the box.
United will have further pre-season games against Inter Milan in Singapore on July 20 and Tottenham in Shanghai on July 25, while Leeds will head to Sydney to face Western Sydney Wanderers.
Former Belgium manager Waseige dies at 79
Former Belgium national team manager Robert Waseige died yesterday at the age of 79. The first Walloon coach in the history of the Red Devils had been hospitalised for a week with heart failure and kidney problems. Born on August 26, 1939 near Liege, Waseige, nicknamed the “Magician”, managed a string of Belgian clubs as well as Sporting Lisbon in Portugal and the Belgian and Algerian national teams.
He won only two trophies, the now discontinued League Cup in 1986 with RFC Liege and the Belgian Cup in 1990 with the same club. But he was named Belgian manager of the year three times.
Waseige took over as national coach in 1999 ahead of Euro-2000, where Belgium were joint hosts but were eliminated in the group phase. At the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan, the Belgians finished second to hosts Japan in their group and then lost, 2-0 to Brazil, the eventual champions, in the round of 16. His playing career was less distinguished. He appeared for RFC Liege, Racing White Brussels, KFC Winterslag and Genk between 1959 and 1973.
AS Roma sign defender
Mancini from Atalanta
AS Roma have signed Italy defender Gianluca Mancini from Atalanta in a deal that could be worth up to 23mn euros ($25.82mn), the Rome-based Serie A club said. Roma will sign Mancini on an initial one-year loan deal for a fee of 2mn euros but subsequently have to make the 23-year-old’s move permanent for an additional 13mn euros. The deal also includes a number of performance-related clauses worth a maximum of 8mn euros.
Mancini, capped twice by Italy, made 30 league appearances last season, scoring five goals. The Fiorentina youth product made his move to the Bergamo-based club permanent last year. If Mancini moves to another club, Roma will have to pay Atalanta 10% of any potential future profit made on the player.
West Ham break club transfer record to sign Haller
West Ham smashed their transfer record signing French striker Sebastien Haller from Eintracht Frankfurt. Haller agreed a five-year contract with the Premier League club for a reported £4mn (50mn), in a deal that surpasses the £42mn the Hammers paid to sign Felipe Anderson from Lazio last year.
The 25-year-old scored 20 goals in 41 appearances for Bundesliga club Eintracht last season. A former France Under-21 international who came through the ranks at Auxerre, Haller will replace Marko Arnautovic at the London Stadium after West Ham sold the Austrian forward to Chinese club Shanghai SIPG recently.
Andy Carroll and Lucas Perez have also left West Ham in recent months, making the signing of Haller vital. Haller played 75 times for Frankfurt during his two seasons at the club, amassing 32 goals.
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