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Aldo back for another bet
We spoke to Liverpool and Ireland goal scoring great John Aldridge in Australia this week, as he gave us his latest sundayworld.com charity bet.
Aldo played for a Liverpool legends side led by Steven Gerrard in an exhibition match in Sydney, with his late goal confirming he still hast he scoring touch at the age of 57.
Amid his busy week, Aldo found time to phone in his weekly bet in association with Paddy Power, as he donates all profits to Dublin's Temple Street Children's hospital.
While Premier League games have been tough to predict this season, FA Cup matches featuring much changed teams are even tough to call, but he is backing Tottenham to see of Leicester on Sunday.
"Jamie Vardy is out for Leicester and that will be a big blow to them," Aldo tells us.
"I love the way Leicester have gone about their work this season, but Tottenham may have too much for them at White Hart Lane and could be a decent bet fro the FA Cup this season."
Here is Aldo's latest bet in association with Paddy Power:
€50 on Tottenham to beat Leicester 3-1 on Sunday at 12/1 (possible returns €650.00)
You can read Aldo's exclusive postcard from Australia in this weekend's Sunday World newspaper.
Rodriguez caught the eye in Champions League games against United this season
Ricardo Rodriguez could emerge as Manchester United’s top defensive target in the January transfer window, amid claims that they are set to make a £30m move for the Wolfsburg full-back.
German publication Bild are reporting that United are expected to lodge a formal bid for Rodriguez after making initial enquiries, with the extravagant fee evidence that the Swiss international is a player in demand.
Real Madrid have also been linked with Rodriguez in recent weeks, with United's interest adding to the suspicion that he may not see out this campaign at Wolfsburg.
With stricken defender Luke Shaw unlikely to play a significant role in what is left of this season, United boss Louis van Gaal has been forced to use makeshift players to fill the void.
A move for Rodriguez would appear to be an obstacle to Shaw's hopes of re-establishing himself in the United side when he make his comeback from a double leg break.
Yet Van Gaal may have decided he needs to bolster his defensive options immediately as he looks to make progress in the FA Cup and strengthen United's hopes of challenging for the Premier League title.
Meanwhile, Van Gaal has hinted he will not make too many big signings in this month's transfer scramble, as he suggests this is the wrong time of year to make signings.
"I don't see January as the ideal time to do business," he wrote in his programme notes for Saturday's FA Cup tie against Sheffield United as he added:
"We will look to do something if the opportunity arises."
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Louis van Gaal 16.jpg
Louis van Gaal has criticised his players for creating a cosy atmosphere within the Manchester United dressing room.
While the pressure on Van Gaal is now not as intense as it was towards the end of 2015, when his team went on their worst run in 26 years, an early exit from the FA Cup at the hands of Sheffield United this weekend would shift the spotlight back on to the Red Devils boss.
Van Gaal took the flak for that sequence of eight matches without a win, but his players must take a portion of the blame too.
The United manager hinted on the eve of Saturday's third round tie that life had almost become too easy for his players.
The Dutchman is, quite understandably, keen to foster a harmonious environment within his squad, but claims there should be plenty of room for constructive criticism at Carrington and Old Trafford too.
"No I don't think so," Van Gaal said when asked if the players' mood had been lifted following a win over Swansea and a draw versus Chelsea.
"I think the atmosphere in our dressing room is very good. Maybe too good because they are always protecting the dressing room, their colleagues.
"That is very good, until a certain point."
Paul Ince once cited the double-winning team of the 1993-94 season as the best of Sir Alex Ferguson's time at United thanks to the constant pursuit of perfection from the likes of himself, Eric Cantona, Peter Schmeichel and Roy Keane, who would not hesitate to call out anyone in the dressing room that they felt were not up to the task.
"That 93-94 team was Fergie's best because there were so many opinionated people, we had rows but we came together on the pitch," the former United midfielder said in 2008.
Van Gaal has also revealed he has taken steps to ensure the dressing room is more democratic.
The United boss has started asking his players for more input with regard to tactics and game plans in an attempt to turn the club's fortunes around.
"We have also changed our approach to the players to make it easier to take responsibility," he said.
"I have stimulated them to think about football. The game is a brain sport and now you can let them think with you and therefore you can change your approach and so the players take the commitment, for example, for the game plan and other kinds of decisions and then the commitment is higher and bigger.
"But we have to see how it shall work."
One manager known for his man management skills is Pep Guardiola.
The highly-rated Catalan manager announced on Tuesday his intention to move to the Premier League when he leaves Bayern Munich in the summer.
Van Gaal insists he does not feel threatened by the former Barcelona manager's declaration.
''I'm at the end of my career so for me it's not so interesting," said Van Gaal, who managed Guardiola during his two spells as Barca manager.
"For me it is interesting how I take care of Manchester United in my contract and after this season I still have one year to go.''
A few weeks ago it seemed unlikely Van Gaal would have the chance to see out that contract.
The 64-year-old appeared to have ridden out the troubles until Adidas chief executive Herbert Hainer rocked the boat with his take on United's playing style this week.
Hainer, who signed off a £750million sponsorship deal with United last year, said United's style is "not exactly what we want to see."
Van Gaal insists he has a "very good" relationship with Hainer, who was on the board at the time the Dutchman was in charge of Bayern, and played down the significance of the criticism.
"I don't think I have to respond to that kind of remark," Van Gaal said.
"I do think that is more the function of my chief executive (Ed Woodward) to respond.
"I have a very good relationship (with Hainer). He was on the front row when I was at Bayern Munich (earlier this season) at a sponsor's event.
"He is more interested in revenues and these were very good."
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