Sport

Roy Hodgson to wrap Fergie’s men in cotton wool and honour Manchester United’s crunch tie with Real Madrid

By Dean Wilkins

With a juggernaut tie against Real Madrid on the horizon for Manchester United, Roy Hodgson intends to do Sir Alex Ferguson a personal favour and wrap his players in cotton wool.

As England prepare to face five-time World Cup winners Brazil in a mouth-watering friendly tonight, Hodgson is set to deploy Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverley and Chris Smalling.

But if any were to return to Old Trafford with an injury ahead of their crucial Champions League knockout clash at the Bernabeu, Sir Alex would surely not thank his England counterpart.

“I am aware that Manchester United are playing an important Champions League game,” he said.

“I haven’t spoken to Sir Alex Ferguson but I don’t need to.

“I was a club manager myself and it’s pretty obvious Alex would like me to look after his players.

“I appreciate the way these top class managers have made sure we have full access to the players for the qualifying games. It’s up to me to keep in mind what’s going on in their heads.”

Although the friendly tie will give Hodgson a chance to rotate his squad in a relatively relaxed environment, the Three Lions are still gunning for victory – but not at the expense of players’ fitness.

“This is a friendly, a very important one, and we want to win it,” Hodgson added.

“But I don’t want to do that at the expense of players missing important games and their managers being reluctant to release them in future.”

Picture courtesy of Mikhail Slain, with thanks.

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