cheap soccer uniform The Manchester United striker will lead his country during the Euro 2016 qualification campaign after the retirements of veteran stars Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.

The Manchester United striker will lead his country during the Euro 2016 qualification campaign after the retirements of veteran stars Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has been named the new England captain by manager Roy Hodgson.

Rooney was recently handed the armband at Old Trafford by new boss Louis van Gaal, and will now take over from Steven Gerrard as skipper of his country.

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Gerrard announced his retirement from international football following this summer’s World Cup in Brazil and fellow veterans Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole have also ended their Three Lions careers in recent months.

Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart and Chelsea defender Gary Cahill had been mooted as contenders to replace Gerrard, but Hodgson has selected the most experienced player in his latest squad.

“I gave it a lot of thought but Wayne is an obvious choice,” Hodgson told reporters. “He certainly deserves it. His commitment to the cause, his experience, the fact he’s captained England in the past, and now of course he has the responsibility at Manchester United, all those factors weighed in in my thought process.

“I had a long conversation with him. And he’s prepared to accept the pressures the England captaincy can bring. And that’s quite a big thing to ensure that the person is willing to take that enormous responsibility.”

Rooney has made 95 appearances for his country – more than Hart and Cahill combined – since making his debut as a 17-year-old in 2003 and is England’s top active goalscorer with 40 goals.

He is 20 games behind the Three Lions’ all-time most-capped outfield player, David Beckham, and 30 behind the outright leader Peter Shilton.

Rooney could make his first appearance as captain in the friendly against Norway at Wembley before England takes on Switzerland in the first fixture of its Euro 2016 qualification campaign.

The forward has started two games as England captain to this point – a 1-0 defeat against Brazil in Qatar in 2009 and a 5-0 victory over San Marino at Wembley in 2012.

kids soccer uniform Manchester City’s star defender was upset about the presence of CSKA fans in a closed stadium.

Manchester City’s star defender was upset about the presence of CSKA fans in a closed stadium.

Vincent Kompany has expressed dismay at the "unacceptable" apparent presence of CSKA Moscow fans at Tuesday's clash with Manchester City.

The Russian champion was ordered to deny supporters access to the UEFA Champions League meeting with City at the Arena Khimki, following issues of racism and crowd trouble.

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MAN CITY LATEST

However, a group of people watched on from the main stand and offered vocal support to CSKA as Leonid Slutsky's men came from two goals down to secure a 2-2 draw.

City captain Kompany lamented the fact he and his teammates were not able to receive support.

The Belgian is quoted as saying by English media: "You say 'no fans' then all of a sudden you turn up and basically the only team that hasn't got fans is Man City. So who's getting punished? Who is being done for racism? Man City or Moscow, you know?

"I don't have a problem, they will say it's sponsors and so on and they need to give certain allocations, but why are we getting punished?"

Kompany insisted his complaints had nothing to do with City's failure to claim three points following first-half goals from Sergio Aguero and James Milner.

"We've analysed it [the game] and we know we should have done better, but things like this are unacceptable to honest. There's just no fairness in it," he added. "It didn't have an effect on the players. It's just little things when you leave with a result like this.

"Obviously you can't deny there's a bit of frustration, and I'm not looking for an excuse, but if you want to play it fair then, fair enough, you've got to let your sponsors have some tickets but why the hell do we not have any fans here? Why? What have our fans done wrong? It needs to be looked at, it needs to be changed, because our fans shouldn't be punished."

City faces an uphill task to qualify from Group E, having claimed just two points from the first three matches.

Nevertheless, Kompany remains confident of progressing and added: "In my case, I'm 100 percent convinced we'll overturn it. There's no mental block, there's just occasionally a number of performances that need to be better, that's all it is.

"People forget we had a strong group stage last year, it's not every season the same. But his year we've made it more difficult than it has to be."

2014 WORLD CUP soccer jerseys Bilbao needs to get off to a good start at home against a strong Shakhtar squad.

Bilbao needs to get off to a good start at home against a strong Shakhtar squad.

Iker Muniain is aware that Athletic Bilbao's home form will be key in the UEFA Champions League ahead of the clash with Shakhtar Donetsk.

A 4-2 aggregate playoff triumph over Napoli ensured Bilbao, which finished fourth in La Liga last season, secured a spot in the group stages of Europe's premier club competition for the first time since the 1998-99 season.

Bilbao's domestic success was built on a foundation of solid home performances, with only Espanyol and Spanish champion Atletico Madrid leaving San Mames with a win.

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Winger Muniain has now urged Bilbao to replicate that record in the Champions League, starting when it hosts Shakhtar on Wednesday.

"We must be strong at home, as we were last year in the league which helped us very much," he said at a news conference. "We are not invincible at San Mames, but we feel very confident because we are always pushing to the maximum.

"It's good to start at home, it is always more comfortable. The first three points are vital."

Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde has plenty of reasons to be optimistic about his side's chances in a seemingly wide open Group H which also includes Porto and BATE.

The Basque side has lost just once in its past 15 home encounters in Europe, with eight of those matches ending in victories.

However, Shakhtar has proven to be no pushover in the Champions League. The Ukrainian champion has started quickly in the past, with the club winning five of its six matchday one fixtures.

Shakhtar forward Luiz Adriano knows the club can ill afford to take any of its group-stage rivals lightly as the team's attempts to start on a high note once again.

"We have played against Porto, we know their team and how difficult is to face them in Portugal," he said. "We don't know the other opponents and we must be careful. They are new teams and will give everything to show Europe why they have qualified. We must study well these teams in order to not be surprised by them."

Shakhtar, which is currently playing home matches in Lviv due to ongoing political tensions in Ukraine, had troubles off the pitch when the club's offices were occupied by armed men earlier this month.

But on the field, performances have been outstanding with the team winning all eight of its competitive matches this season.

cheap soccer uniform BVB has been drawn in the same group as Arsenal, Anderlecht and Galatasaray but the Germany international believes Jurgen Klopp’s men can reach the knockout stage.

BVB has been drawn in the same group as Arsenal, Anderlecht and Galatasaray but the Germany international believes Jurgen Klopp’s men can reach the knockout stage.

Mats Hummels says Borussia Dortmund is confident of progressing to the last 16 of the Champions League.

Friday’s draw for the group stage of Europe’s premier club cup competition pitted the German outfit against Arsenal, Anderlecht and Galatasaray.

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BVB faced the Gunners in last season’s competition, with both sides scraping into the knockout stage at the expense of Napoli, after all three had finished with six points from six games.

Hummels believes that BVB, who finished as runners-up to Bayern Munich in 2013, have sufficient quality to make the last 16 once again this term.

“With Anderlecht and Galatsaray we have drawn new and interesting teams,” the center half mused. “Arsenal, somehow, are a part of our Champions League experience.

“But we expect from ourselves to progress.”

Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp also acknowledged his side’s familiarity with Arsenal but was more intrigued by the unknown quantities in Group D.

“We will meet familiar and new faces,” the 47-year-old coach stated. “I have never been to Anderlecht and Istanbul before.

“We did not wish for an opponent ahead of the draw, so we will take it as it is. On Saturday, we will start collecting information about these teams, but we know Arsenal best, that is for sure.”

Meanwhile, BVB midfielder Ilkay Gundogan is particularly excited about his side’s home-and-away clashes with Galatasary.

“Because of my Turkish roots, matches against Turkish opponents are something special for me,” the Germany international explained. “Arsenal is a top team and these matches will give us and our fans the possibility to meet some guys from the national team again. It will be emotional.

“And everybody who followed Anderlecht a little recently know, how they have great talent and quality.”

wholesale soccer jersey The Reds captain has praised his manager’s tactical acumen and man management skills, as well as reiterating his burning desire to win silverware.

The Reds captain has praised his manager’s tactical acumen and man management skills, as well as reiterating his burning desire to win silverware.

Steven Gerrard admits he has been “blown away” by Brendan Rodgers since the northern Irishman’s arrival at Liverpool and rates him among the very best managers he has worked with.

Rodgers arrived at Anfield in the summer of 2012 and led a youthful and dynamic Liverpool team to the brink of a first league title in 24 years in his second season, eventually finishing two points behind champions Manchester City.

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LIVERPOOL LATEST

The Reds have started the new Premier League season in promising fashion despite the summer departure of talisman Luis Suarez, and Gerrard has no doubt about who is responsible for the team’s continued progress.

“Tactically he is very clever,” the Liverpool captain told U.S. broadcaster ABC. “He reacts to situations, changes things for the better, see problems and adjusts things very quickly.

“In the two years I have worked with him he is up there with the best of them and I’ve worked with [Rafa] Benitez, [Fabio] Capello, [Roy] Hodgson – big names.”

“He can play any formation he wants to play as he knows he has the personnel and he is not scared to change formation from game to game or tinker with it as the game is going on,” Gerrard continued. “He is a players’ manager, a manager you want to work hard for and win for. He shows the players unbelievable respect, he treats them like his own children and creates an unbelievable atmosphere to work in. 

“I have been blown away by how sharp he is in the dressing room, how quick he is to see a problem.”

Having fallen narrowly short in last season’s Premier League title race, Gerrard insists his manager and his teammates are determined to cap Liverpool’s spectacular recent resurgence with silverware this term.

“Brendan has been here for two years and I think he is desperate to get a trophy in the cabinet – that is goal number one,” he added. “It is very important we maintain our place in the Champions League but after the journey we went on last year and the confidence we gained from it I think we are genuine title contenders as we have proved we can mix it with anyone in this league.”

LONG SLEEVE SOCCER UNIFORMS The final the other day about going to be the transfer bedroom window not only can they can be used

The final week to do with going to be the transfer window will bring intrigue as well as for examples of the besides the fact that others are are you looking for their an individual at a multi function new golf iron.

La Liga kicked ly everywhere over the eventful fashion this past weekend,to have a ton concerning insights about exactly how the sleep regarding going to be the season may or may not pan on the town as well as for going to be the Mexicans involved or at least never.

Outside having to do with Spain, Andres Guardados long-run is the fact that now that you’ve again a hot or cold topic,allowing an individual reports linking kale leaving a keep moving to educate yourself regarding the Netherlands,even though Manchester Uniteds Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez was graced with a stark reminder having to do with his place as part of your clubs pecking order on Sunday.

Here are going to be the main talking points regarding Mexicans upon Europe this past weekend:

Ochoa has a multi functional battle on

Lets be the case honest,for those times when Guillermo Ochoa entered into as well as for Malaga,a resource box seemed a multi function cast in stone,about whether or not unspectacular,move largely because to do with going to be the ach there probability that the former Club America web based can be the starter.

It and for that reason came as a multi functional surprise when Malaga coach Javi Gracia named Carlos Kameni on the goal to learn more about face Athletic Bilbao as part of your league garage door opener hardware,with Ochoa left all around the the bench.

“If (Kameni) has played,it could be the because I believed that your puppy was best of the best option and for going to be the game,the reason is said Gracia after the match.and to”Im ach and every happy allowing an individual both goalkeepers and with your continual a number of us not only can they schedulae an appoitment with what happens.”

The fact Kameni played well enclosed a multi function clean sheet, and going to be the medic won didnt do the Cameroon internationals chances relating to remaining going to be the starting web based any harm at each of them is.

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In shouldnt be forgotten that Kameni has featured with your majority concerning going to be the preseason games,providing some one Ochoas involvement against Fiorentina far back and forth from convincing, and, secondly, that Kameni has just applied for a multi function new contract allowing an individual Malaga.

Just as it seemed Ochoa had nailed down going to be the national team starting a place and for the foreseeable long-lasting hes these days in a multi functional fight constantly just for more information about be able to get games at Malaga.

Guardado all around the the excersice?

Everything is more or less to acquire pointing for more information about Andres Guardado completing a multi function loan keep moving to educate yourself regarding PSV Eindhoven ach shortly.

Press reports with your Netherlands, Mexico and Spain have confirmed that the interest is always that real and that the going to be the clubs and going to be the player are upon agreement about going to be the keep moving.

The 27-year-old Guardado was to the left out partying to do with Valencias squad too its 1-1 draw Saturday against Sevilla and reports both to and from the Netherlands advise a multi functional medical on Eindhoven may not also take place as early as Monday.

The golf iron and league is that the undoubtedly be the case an all in one chamber down,but PSV tends to be that surpass of the Eredivisie at here and now providing some one 12 goals back and forth from its first a couple of games usually spots for more information on feature as part of your Europa League and has an all in one bright,young manager everywhere over the Philip Cocu. Guardado may also be much in the way a good deal more in all likelihood to understand more about consider getting regular a few moments than at Valencia.

A keep moving for more information regarding PSV might be that the bring to the table Guardado going to be the opportunity to continue for more information on have got his place as part of your Mexican national team after his a good choice World Cup.

Decision a period too Hernandez, United

The camera shots after Manchester Uniteds 1-1 draw away to understand more about Sunderland everywhere over the Sunday showed a multi function glum-looking Hernandez in short exchange words so that you have going to be the Black Cats’ Uruguayan manager Gus Poyet.

While a resource box would certainly obviously be the case in excess of the go above and beyond to learn more about decide to put too much in the way emphasis on element there is the fact big event doubt that a multi function host having to do with clubs are you in need an all in one guaranteed striker ahead relating to going to be the transfer deadline can be computer systems at Hernandez.

There will be conversations between going to be the players agent,going to be the golf iron and Hernandez all over the just around the corner days. It is as an example you can possibly imagine the player is going to put on a multi function formal transfer submit an application for to learn more about force going to be the clubs hand. After all of them are,about whether or not the affected individual didnt be able to get all around the going to be the pitch against Sunderland so that you have the team searching gorgeous honeymoons as well a multi functional winning goal, what chance does he or she have about regular starts and earning his place back everywhere in the El Tri?

Giovani dos Santos on the right track along with best season

Villarreals 2-0 win all around the Sunday above Levante wont have concerns down as more then one having to do with Dos Santos best games.

But element has been doing provide an all in one reminder that going to be the 25-year-old is because in an all in one ach and every good place for more information on perform this season. Dos Santos partnership allowing you to have Ikechukwu Uche up front is the fact good to go for more information on be wise from electric for more information on electrical energy,in spite of the addition to do with Russian Denis Cheryshev everywhere over the going to be the to the left wing also bodes if that’s the case also going to be the Mexican.

Dos Santos went close maybe once or twice as part of your at the outset 15 seconds all around the an all in one damaging credit playing surface and has to be that all around the position when getting a multi function focal point relating to an all in one team that not only can they now that you’ve got again challenge as well as for an all in one Champions League place.

Patience required allowing you to have Jonathan dos Santos

The younger Dos Santos brother wasnt involved this weekend as well as Villarreal and a resource box naturally raised examples of the eyebrows among Mexico fans.

But allowing an individual going to be the 24-year-old just around the corner into the season ly going to be the back regarding ould ACL injury and considering they are short span of time relating to match fitness,a resource box will undoubtedly be unwise for more information about ascertain his situation before a number of us know exactly what exactly is coach Marcelino sees him fitting everywhere over the.

There would be the fact ultimately no guarantee that it not only can they work out and about along with Dos Santos at Villarreal and,judging by extension,allowing an individual going to be the Mexico national team,but take heart it is the reason that far too ahead of due date for more information regarding ascertain an way and going to be the many other after do nothing more than some form of game having to do with going to be the season.

kids soccer uniform The Hammers head to Burnley, with the home side in need of points.

The Hammers head to Burnley, with the home side in need of points.

Sam Allardyce has warned his West Ham players they will face a stern test when they travel to Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday.

The Lancashire club has struggled on its top-flight return and has yet to pick up a win, having scored just three goals in seven matches thus far.

West Ham, by contrast, is benefiting from a productive transfer window and a more attacking philosophy after Allardyce's style of play was questioned by some supporters last season.

While West Ham is seventh with three wins to its name, Sean Dyche's side is second from bottom, but Allardyce – a former manager of Burnley's neighbors Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers – is not expecting an easy ride.

"The main thing for me on Saturday is to see whether the players have the mentality to remain as consistent as they have been and to see if we can get back-to-back wins for the first time this time this season," he said. "It'll be a tough game as Burnley are a well organized, extremely fit side who make life difficult, even though they haven't won yet.

"It'll be a big mental test and a good indicator of where we are."

Allardyce – who turns 60 on Sunday – is hopeful midfielder Mark Noble will make his return from a calf problem, while Enner Valencia should feature despite only returning from international duty on Wednesday.

However, doubts remain over the availability of Carl Jenkinson (hamstring), James Collins (groin) and Guy Demel and Ricardo Vaz Te (both thigh).

Burnley was handed a boost during the week with the news that Danny Ings and David Jones are back in contention after respective hamstring and thigh complaints. 

Ings' potential comeback in particular will delight Dyche, the striker having netted 20 league goals during Burnley's promotion-winning campaign last term. 

Winger Michael Kightly, who scored the first Burnley goal in the 2-2 draw at Leicester City last time out, has urged his teammates to maintain their belief as they go in search of their maiden win in 2014-15.

"We're disappointed not to have won a game but we've got two home games after this international break and hopefully we can get a win," he told the Lancashire Telegraph. "We just haven't had the rub of the green and we haven't got that win that we've deserved. If we can keep building and believing as a team we will get there. It's a tough division and we know that. We know it will come.

"We've got to make sure that we don't lose the belief. We haven't got a win yet, but if we keep playing like we have been then I'm sure we will."

Dyche has worries over the fitness of Michael Keane (hamstring), Dean Marney (hamstring) and Kieran Trippier (ankle), while former West Ham midfielder Matt Taylor is out after undergoing Achilles surgery.

kids soccer uniform The former Juventus and Real Madrid playmaker has been inducted into the Goal Hall of Fame and some of football’s greats have discussed what makes him such an icon

The former Juventus and Real Madrid playmaker has been inducted into the Goal Hall of Fame and some of football’s greats have discussed what makes him such an icon

He’d go past one, two, three, five, six players – it was sublime. His feet spoke with the ball.”
JEAN VARRAUD, WHO DISCOVERED ZIDANE

“Zidane is the master.”
PELE

“He is from another planet. When Zidane stepped onto the pitch, the 10 other guys got suddenly better. It is that simple.”
ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC

“The greatest player of the last 20 years? It has to be Zidane. He had everything. You never needed to tell him anything as he did it all by himself and knew what was expected.”
MARCELLO LIPPI

“I would give up five players to have Zidane in my squad.”
FORMER ITALY COACH CESARE MALDINI

“Technically, I think he is king of what’s fundamental in the game – control and passing. I don’t think anyone can match him when it comes to controlling and receiving the ball.”
MICHEL PLATINI


“You look at Zidane and think ‘I’ve never seen a player quite like that’. Diego Maradona was a great player. Johan Cruyff was a great player. They were different – but with similarities. What sets Zidane apart is the way he manipulates a football, buying himself space that isn’t there. Add his vision and it makes him very special.”
KEVIN KEEGAN

“He thinks in one second and does it in the next. He is a special player, one who is original and exceptional. He creates space where there is none. Only the very best players can do that. No matter where he gets the ball or how it comes to him, Zidane can get out of trouble. His imagination and his technique are amazing.”
EDGAR DAVIDS

“He dominates the ball. He is a walking spectacle and he plays as if he has silk gloves on each foot. He makes it worthwhile going to the stadium – he’s one of the best players I have ever seen.”
ALFREDO DI STEFANO

“I have always admired Zidane. In fact, I have one of his shirts in my closet. We exchanged shirts after a Juventus-Perugia game.”
MARCO MATERAZZI



“You are a virtuoso, a genius of world football. You are also a man of heart, of commitment, of conviction – and that’s why France admires and loves you.”
FORMER FRENCH PRESIDENT, JACQUES CHIRAC

“Nobody knows if Zidane is an angel or a demon. He smiles like Saint Teresa and grimaces like a serial killer.”
FRENCH SINGER-SONGWRITER JEAN-LOUIS MURAT

“Zidane cost €73 million and that was cheap.”
FLORENTINO PEREZ

“Zidane’s goal in the club’s ninth Champions League win was the goal of a genius, an artist, but I still replay some of his moves in my head. He represents the elegance of a simple hero for Real Madrid.”
FLORENTINO PEREZ

wholesale soccer jerseys The midfielder has terminated his deal with the top side in Ligue 1.

The midfielder has terminated his deal with the top side in Ligue 1.

Marseille midfielder Benoit Cheyrou has left the Ligue 1 club after having his contract terminated at a tribunal.

The 33-year-old has been with the current league leader since 2007, but had fallen out of favor since the arrival of coach Marcelo Bielsa and was without a top-flight appearance this term.

Cheyrou confirmed on Friday that he is now a free agent.

"My contract with Olympique de Marseille is terminated," he said in an interview with footligue1.fr. "I am free of any commitment, I am no longer under contract with OM from today.

"That's why I want to communicate my situation today. I could not do that until the [tribunal] process was completed."

Explaining the circumstances of his departure, Cheyrou said: "It is quite tricky but there was a project that was good for the club and for me, that really interested me, and then at some point we could not reach an agreement.

"The president began to show me a project that attracted me. Then we had to refine the details, and it is at this time that there was a difference of opinion. Then there was no hope for working together."

Cheyrou also took a parting shot at Bielsa, criticizing his relationship with players at the club.

"With the coach there has been very little communication, but this is not someone who talks a lot with the players, at least from what I could see," he added. "There was already the language barrier, he uses an interpreter. 

"I think this is not a coach that has much dialogue with his players. My situation was not clear to me and there was much confusion between the management, the coach and myself."

wholesale soccer jerseys The striker has struggled for form and fitness since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement but must now up his game under Louis van Gaal in the Premier League.

The striker has struggled for form and fitness since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement but must now up his game under Louis van Gaal in the Premier League.

Eric Cantona. There weren’t many times in his final seasons when Sir Alex Ferguson burdened his modern-day players with comparisons with his most catalytic, most iconic signing. Yet when he did, his target seemed carefully chosen.

“He has made as big an impact as any player I can imagine,” Ferguson said. “Cantona was a big impact player.” Robin van Persie had just made Manchester United the champion with a magnificent hat trick in a 3-0 win over Aston Villa. One volleyed goal was Van Basten-esque. But Ferguson reached deep into his own history to find a player of similar brilliance.

Perhaps Ferguson was feeling giddy – after all, he had only won 12 Premier League titles before – because soon after he suggested that Phil Jones could become the greatest player in United’s history, rather than simply a higher quality but more injury-prone alternative to Chris Smalling. Yet it felt apt. With his imperious authority, upright stance and technical brilliance, Van Persie had some of the hallmarks of Cantona. Most importantly, he delivered when it mattered.

Or he did then. Since then, Van Persie has scored three goals against the sides which finished in last season’s top seven. There are so few that it is simple to name them. One came six days later, at Arsenal. The second clinched David Moyes’s only significant league victory against elite opposition (again, inevitably, Van Persie’s former club). The third was the injury-time equalizer against Chelsea a couple of weeks ago. Tellingly, too, United only won one of those games.

The club stopped beating the best when Van Persie stopped deciding season-defining games. Consider his first eight months at Old Trafford. There were goals in wins at Anfield, Stamford Bridge and the Etihad Stadium, two of them the crucial last strike. He struck at home against Liverpool, Everton and (obviously) Arsenal. Subtract his goals in his debut year in Manchester and United would have had 27 fewer points.

Little wonder Ferguson was gushing. “Arsene [Wenger] said to me when we concluded the deal he is a better player than you think and he was right,” he said. “He has never disappointed us.”

He hadn’t then, anyway. Now Van Persie has disappointed himself. “Three goals in nine games is not enough,” he told De Volkskrant last week. It is now three in 10 after he failed to score against Crystal Palace. He has half as many Premier League goals as Nacer Chadli and fewer than Mohamed Diame. In all competitions, Danny Welbeck has chipped in with more for Arsenal. A couple of years ago, the notion that Welbeck, who scored two goals in 40 games in the same season when Van Persie was plundering 30 for United, would prove more prolific would have been absurd.

Welbeck has also created more goals. Less surprisingly, he seems to cover more ground. Now the debate about Van Persie is not one of where he stands in the United pantheon, of how he compares to Cantona or Cristiano Ronaldo, the previous player to come as close to winning a title single-handedly, as much as where he figures against a 19-year-old with two senior goals to his name, or a man with one fully-functioning knee.

It is Van Persie versus James Wilson and, when he is fit again, Radamel Falcao. Louis van Gaal admitted on Friday that he is struggling to play with two strikers. It left his team unbalanced.

Van Persie is his stand-in skipper, his confidant, the man he consulted about changing the system Netherlands played in the summer’s World Cup. But he is also the forward Van Gaal replaced when he was looking for an equalizer in the Manchester derby, the supposed scorer he shifted into a deeper position when Wilson came on against Palace.

If Falcao can return to the status of one of the world’s top five forwards, which he had before his cruciate ligament injury in January, Van Gaal has a decision to make about Van Persie. He has a strength of character, as his leveler against Chelsea showed, but it cannot always compensate for a downturn in performances and the loss of his reputation as the man for the major occasion.

His finest performances for Van Gaal, his most devastating displays of finishing, came in Brazil, not England. The Van Persie who struck twice in the 5-1 demolition of then-world champion Spain was the big-game player Ferguson loved, the audaciously brilliant finisher with the wand of a left foot and a footballing brain that seemed sharper than everyone else’s.

It transpired his feelings were more delicate than others, too. Rio Ferdinand said Van Persie was hurt more than any of his teammates when Ferguson announced his retirement. The Dutchman has not disputed that. But it is 18 months since Ferguson abdicated to become author, ambassador, Ryder Cup guru and bad luck omen for United.

Van Persie has another of his favorite managers in charge now. He still has a respectable goal return – 21 in 38 under David Moyes and Van Gaal – but it is not the same. The magic is gone. So, too, the sense he is United’s 21st-century Cantona.