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Ed Woodward releases statement on Manchester United resignation but ignores Super League controversy

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Resigning Manchester United chairman Ed Woodward is convinced he has left the club with the foundations needed to win the Premier League, though he made no mention of the European Super League as he confirmed his departure.

Resigning Manchester United chairman Ed Woodward is convinced he has left the club with the foundations needed to win the Premier League, though he made no mention of the European Super League as he confirmed his departure.

The executive vice-chairman will step down from his role at Old Trafford at the end of 2021 amid backlash from fans, players, governing bodies and even politicians over the club’s participation in a breakaway competition.

Manchester City and Chelsea have already decided to back out of the Super League following the outrage and, just 48 hours after its inception, the competition is already on the verge of collapse.

Woodward appears to have paid the price for the controversial Super League plans, though United insist he was planning to step down anyway, and he made no reference to the controversy in his leaving statement.

‘I am extremely proud to have served United and it has been an honour to work for the world’s greatest football club for the past 16 years,’ said Woodward, who joined United in 2005 before taking up his current role in 2012.

‘The club is well positioned for the future and it will be difficult to walk away at the end of the year.

‘I will treasure the memories from my time at Old Trafford, during a period when we won the Europa League, the FA Cup and the EFL Cup. I am proud of the regeneration of the club’s culture and our return to the Manchester United way of playing.

‘We have invested more than £1billion in the squad during my time here and I am particularly delighted with the progress the players have made under the astute leadership of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his coaching team in the last two years.

‘I am sure that with the changes we have made on-field and to the coaching and football staff in recent years this great club will soon be lifting silverware again. It deserves to.

‘I desperately wanted the club to win the Premier League during my tenure and I am certain the foundations are in place for us to win it back for our passionate fans.

‘Our world-famous academy is flourishing again, with 34 players progressing into the first team since 2013, and it has been a pleasure to watch talents such as Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Axel Tuanzebe flourish in the first team environment. In the years to come the club’s production line of young talent will continue to push established first team players for their places. That competition bodes well for the future.

‘We have also established Manchester United women and their progress is further evidence of the demand for success at this great club.

‘The last 16 months have brought so many unique challenges and the club’s work in the community and around the world during the Covid-19 pandemic has been heroic.

‘The financial impact on football clubs has been severe, but United have been one of the most robust and resilient in the face of extraordinary financial pressures.

‘I would like to thank United’s passionate fans for their support during the good and bad times. I know this has been a challenging period in our history, but your support for the team has never, ever been in doubt.

‘Finally, it has been a pleasure to work with so many magnificent, talented and hard-working people.’

 

 

 

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Former Manchester United captain Antonio Valencia announces retirement

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Former Manchester United captain Antonio Valencia has announced his retirement at the age of 35.

 

Valencia spent 10 years at Old Trafford before returning to his home country with LDU Quito, where he played for one season prior to joining Mexican side Queretaro in November.

 

The ex-Ecuador international also represented El Nacional, Villarreal, Recreativo and Wigan Athletic during an 18-year career that will be best remembered for his time with United.

 

He amassed 277 starts for the Red Devils in all competitions and a further 61 outings as substitute, scoring 25 goals.

 

Valencia, who won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, two EFL Cups, three Community Shields and the Europa League, took to Twitter on Wednesday to thank United

At the age of 14, as a child, I left my village and my first team to travel to the capital of my country. I travelled with a lot of nostalgia bug full of hope,” he said.

 

“A few years later I was able to travel to Europe, something I had never dreamed of. I played in Spain, and then came to my second home: England.

 

“Wigan was a unique experience, and then God gave me the opportunity to join Manchester United. I will never forget everything I experienced at Old Trafford.

 

“I will never forget every goal, every trophy and the wonderful fans.

 

“I did not think this moment would come so soon, but my body has asked me to make this decision. I am announcing my retirement from football.

 

“I want to thank everyone who has been part of my career and life. God in the first place, for always blessing me. Zoila and my daughter Domenik who have been my pillars.

 

“My parents for giving me so much. To fans of all the countries where I have played, I always tried to give my best. Thank you for your affection and support.”

 

Valencia was voted United’s Player of the Year in 2011-12 and won the Players’ Player of the Year in that same campaign and again five seasons later.

 

The 2011-12 season was a particularly memorable one for the versatile right-sided player as he assisted 13 goals in 27 Premier League appearances.

 

Only Nani (14 in 33 appearances) and David Beckham (15 in 31) have assisted more Premier League goals in a single season for the club.

 

Valencia also holds the record for the most appearances of any South American player in the competition with 325, followed by Pablo Zabaleta (303) and Nolberto Solano (302).

 

The El Nacional academy product scored 23 Premier League goals for United and was not on the losing side in any of those matches, the Red Devils winning 95.7 per cent of them.

 

Only two players to have scored in at least 20 matches have a better such win percentage – Chelsea pair Pedro (96.3 per cent) and Florent Malouda (96.7 per cent).

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sends strong message to Man United board about summer signings

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has warned Manchester United’s board that the Red Devils will need to significantly strengthen their squad this summer if they are to challenge for the title next season.

Solskjaer’s side suffered a 2-1 home defeat by Leicester City in the Premier League on Tuesday night, a result which handed Manchester City the Premier League title with three games to spare.

 

Manchester United have shown signs of improvement under Solskjaer this season and they are currently second in the table and 10 points behind their bitter local rivals.

 

However, Solskjaer feels that the Red Devils will have to invest heavily in their squad this summer if they want to be able to challenge Manchester City for the title next term.

 

Speaking to BT Sport after Manchester United’s defeat by Leicester on Tuesday night, Solskjaer said: “If you want to take up the challenge with them we need to strengthen our squad.

Congratulations to them. They have had a fantastic season.

 

“I am very pleased with my boys that have made it to the last 10 days with a Manchester City side ahead of us that are lauded as the best in Europe.

 

“We want to take the next step and it might be that we need a couple more to strengthen the squad.”

 

Manchester United can still end this season with a trophy when they take on Villarreal in the Europa League final at the end of the month.

 

The Red Devils are back in Premier League action on Thursday night when they host Liverpool FC at Old Trafford in their rearranged fixture.

 

 

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Current West Ham player highly likely to return to Man Utd

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Jesse Lingard is allegedly set to return to Manchester United next term, as West Ham United can’t afford to sign the midfielder outright.

The 28-year-old star has managed to get his career back on track since signing for the Hammers on loan in January and has even caught the eye of England head coach Gareth Southgate, who has reintegrated the player into his first team squad ahead of this summer’s UEFA Euro 2020 tournament.

David Moyes is keen for Jesse to stay beyond this term, but according to the Daily Mail, the Irons cannot afford his £100,000 per week wages, as they have suffered financial losses over the past year caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Hammers recorded losses of £65 million last season and a greater financial hit is set to follow for this season.

The West Ham United hierarchy are unwilling to negotiate new big-money contracts with current stars or new signings at present until they receive more clarification from the Government of the United Kingdom about the return of fans to stadiums.

Lingard has made 13 top-flight appearances during his loan spell with the London Stadium outfit, scoring nine goals and providing four assists.

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