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Ralf Rangnick’s final decision on Mason Greenwood suggests he didn’t take Man United advice

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Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has conceded Mason Greenwood is a player he would ‘love’ to select from the start more often – but he has to earn it.

The young striker was omitted from Rangnick’s first starting eleven in charge of the Red Devils, though was eventually brought on just after the hour mark.

Greenwood immediately made an impact on proceedings, calmly assisting the much-maligned Fred for the only goal of the game despite being harried by a number of Crystal Palace defenders.

Given Rangnick is thought to favour a 4-2-2-2 formation, Greenwood could find himself enjoying plenty of game time under the former RB Leipzig boss as he is more-suited to a central role rather than occupying the right-flank – as was often the case under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

However, Greenwood has been warned that despite the new manager adopting a style far more suited to his own, he will still have to fight for his place in the side.

“Mason [Greenwood] did so well at the start of the season,” said Rangnick.

“I think he scored three or four goals in the first three games, he’s a very gifted homegrown player and I would love to give him more game-time in the future.

“But, of course, he has to deserve his game-time in training and, therefore, it was good to have him on the bench and bring him on the pitch.”

Rangnick’s wording in his assessment of Greenwood is interesting, particularly the word ‘deserve’, as it allows room for speculation that the England international has potentially let his standards slip in recent weeks.

Earlier in the season, when goals were flying in at a rapid rate for the 20-year-old, he was the subject of praise from a man who knows all about finding the net for United.

Dimitar Berbatov discussed whether Greenwood’s first team prospects would be harmed by the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, telling Mirror Football: “I hope not, because I like Mason Greenwood. I think he is a natural finisher and I hope he can learn a lot from Ronaldo.

Ronaldo has adjusted his game now that he has got older. He is a more of a centre-forward now.

“But when he was younger he was left, right, cutting inside, shooting, and this is what Mason is doing at the moment and he’s very good at it.

“So I hope he can go and ask Ronaldo for advice and just observe; see how he prepares, how he trains, how he stays after training sessions to train on the free-kicks and this cutting into the box and shooting.

“And for the moment, Mason is deserving. Nobody is giving him anything, he is deserving what he is getting with his performances and his goals and I want to see him playing as much as possible.”

Three months down the line, Greenwood has seemingly taken a step back in his development, reduced to cameo appearances off the bench with less than half an hour to go.

Only those around Carrington will know if Rangnick’s decision to bench the youngster stems from a lack of effort on the forward’s part, but the German has left the door open for Greenwood to play his way back into a starting spot.

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Rio Ferdinand issues major warning about Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag

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Former centre-back Rio Ferdinand believes it is still too early to judge whether Erik ten Hag is the right man to lead Manchester United back to the top, despite their unquestionable improvement under him this season.

United head into tomorrow’s Manchester derby against City at Old Trafford with the knowledge that a win will lift them to within a point and place of their neighbours in the Premier League table.

The Reds have lost just one of their last 18 matches since being battered 6-3 by City back in October, featuring a current run of eight wins on the bounce.

The Reds, such is the level of progress they have made under Ten Hag this season, are now considered as one of the favourites to qualify for the Champions League for next season.

They have made significant strides in a relatively short space of time and victories over the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur already this season have proven that they are capable of competing in the upper echelons of the table again.

However, despite heading into the second half of the campaign with form in their sails, Ferdinand insists the jury is still out on Ten Hag, despite him reaching 20 wins as United manager quick than any of his predecessors.

“I think it’s too early to say,” said Ferdinand to the Mirror. “We’ve been here with previous managers when it looks like we are onto something.

“We’ve got to be patient and give the man time. I think all the signs are very positive at the moment. He’s come in and seen what is happening, assessed how things are, looked at individuals and looked at the shape of the team.

“These were a bunch of players that were quite low. They were shot to pieces and he’s had to build, not only footballers, but men back up again. He’s had to build a lot of human beings back up and that takes time.

“The fact he’s now talking about qualifying for the Champions League so positively, he can sense a confidence coming back into this team. There’s a consistency of performance from the team that wasn’t there before and the signals and signs are all very promising.

“But they’re still not where they want to be. City are way ahead of where United are. The distance is a bit closer, but it’s still not anywhere near where we want it to be. There’s still work to be done.”

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Manchester United takeover bids ‘expected imminently’ with serious interest in Club

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Manchester United are expecting takeover offers from across the world as they are set to invite bids ahead of ‘mid-February deadline’.

The Telegraph have reported that the club have received ‘serious interest’ from consortiums based in the Middle East, Asia and the United States.

British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is also weighing up an offer, as the Glazers hope to the sell one of the biggest clubs in the world for over £5billion.

The report also adds that parties who had been interested in taking over Chelsea, before Todd Boehly’s £4.25bn takeover, are set to return with approaches for the Red Devils.

It’s expected that potential investors will go public with their attempts to buy United in the coming weeks with the clock ‘now ticking on a deal’.

Senior United figures will issue a mid February deadline for formal offers in order to help get get the takeover completed before the end of the season.

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Confirmed: Chelsea ready to make late bid to hijack another Arsenal transfer

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Chelsea will make a late attempt to scupper Arsenal’s hopes of finally signing Mikhailo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Gunners have submitted their third bid for the Ukraine international winger and hope an offer of £62m before add-ons, which take the deal closer to £70m, will be enough to break the deadlock between the two clubs.

Chelsea’s interest in the 21-year-old winger was earlier this week described only as ‘exploratory’ but ESPN now claim that Todd Boehly will test the waters and attempt to throw a spanner in the works for the Premier League leaders.

Shakhtar’s technical director Darijo Srna was pictured at Stamford Bridge last week as he watched Chelsea’s defeat against Manchester City and Boehly would have little issue with meeting an asking price which is closer to £88million.

Arsenal are said to be confident that their latest bid for Mudryk will be enough to finally secure the services of their No.1 January target, but have already been beaten to the punch once this month by their west London rivals.

Chelsea won the race to sign Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid amid competition from Arsenal and Manchester United, but the Portugal international’s promising debut ended in devastating fashion when he was sent off just shy of the hour mark for a dangerous challenge on Fulham’s Kenny Tete.

Felix will now miss the next three games through suspension as the problems mount for Chelsea’s under-fire manager Graham Potter.

‘It sums up where we are at the moment – everything that can go wrong, is going wrong,’ Potter said after Chelsea’s 2-1 west London derby defeat.

‘It was a forward’s tackle from Joao, there was no malice in it but I understand why it was a red. It is another blow the hits keep coming at the moment.

‘He was really good you could see his quality in the game so it is doubly disappointing for us because he was looking dangerous throughout.

‘I don’t think there was too much malice in it and it is an unfortunate action and we are going to lose him now for three games.’

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