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David McCourt’s Midweek Football Is Back

Normal service resumes after Olympic highs

Written by . Published on August 15th 2012.


David McCourt’s Midweek Football Is Back

FOOTBALL has returned. Well, there was football at the Olympics, and we had the Euros in June, but I mean proper football.

Here’s a roundup of what’s been happening over the past week.

“It's been one of those situations where you say: 'Let's see how he does because he has had a really difficult time in the last year'.”

Darren Fletcher made his first appearance for United in 10 months yesterday during a 2-1 testimonial defeat to Aberdeen.

The 28-year old, who has been suffering from ulcerative colitis – a chronic bowel condition – has not played for the first team since November last year.

The midfielder has been training with the Scotland squad ahead of their friendly against Australia today, and came on to a loud reception as a second-half substitute at Pittodrie.

Sir Alex Ferguson told MUTV: “It's been one of those situations where you say: 'Let's see how he does because he has had a really difficult time in the last year', but he's got to the stage now where he feels he needs a game.”

United’s midfield received a further boost this week as Tom Cleverly announced he’s ready to make his mark for both club and country.

Cleverly, who struggled with foot and ankle injuries for most of last season, hopes to make his England debut tonight against Italy.

"It's a big season for me." he said. "I want to play as many games for United and England as possible."

But are Cleverly and Fletcher the answer to United’s central midfield problems?

It would seem rash of Ferguson to pin his hopes on two players who only played a handful of games between them last season, but it wouldn’t be the first time the United boss has neglected this area of his team. He’s always got Paul Scholes’ number, I guess, just in case.  

City have snapped up England midfielder Jack Rodwell from Everton for an initial fee of £12m.

The 21-year-old signed a five-year deal that could rise to £18m.

Jack Rodwell 1Jack Rodwell signs for Man City for £12m

Rodwell, who becomes Roberto Mancini’s first signing of the summer, showed early promise at Goodison Park but battled injury for most of last season, falling behind Fellaini, Gibson, Cahill, and even Phil Neville, in the midfield pecking order.

Rodwell is clearly brimming with talent, but the deal seems to be one both clubs have reason to feel they have gotten the better deal out of.

Micah Richards will miss the start of the Premier League Season and could be out for up to a month with an ankle injury.

The City defender picked up the knock playing for Team GB in the Olympic quarter-final defeat to South Korea.

The back injury that saw Joe Hart miss City’s Community Shield victory over Chelsea at the weekend doesn’t look as serious, and the number one keeper has a chance of playing on the opening day of the season.

Oldham Athletic have made an early exit from the League Cup after blowing a 2-0 lead at home to Sheffield Wednesday – Chris O’Grady scoring twice against his former club to give the Owls a 4-2 win.

Jordan Slew and Jean Yves Mvoto put the Latics in control before Jermaine Johnson’s long-range effort pulled one back for Wednesday. Substitute O’Grady then came on to deal the decisive blows, with Antonio curling in a fourth to seal the win.

Chris_Ogrady_2151295BChris O'Grady back to haunt his old club, Oldham Athletic

League football has already begun for Greater Manchester’s Conference Premier sides and Stockport County are enjoying a good start.

County lie second in the league with maximum points after wins over Alfreton and Grimsby – Danny Whitehead’s last-minute winner last night at Blundell Park preserving the 100 percent record.

Macclesfield sealed their first points of the season last night with victory over Wrexham at Moss Rose.

Waide Fairhurst and Arnaud Mendy scored either side of half-time to give The Silkmen a 2-0 victory.

Macclesfield climb to tenth in the table after losing to Hereford on the opening day.

You can follow David on Twitter @DavidPMcCourt

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