The Insider: Moyes's fitness management under renewed scrutiny

The Manchester United manager's strenuous training regime has taken its toll, with the likes of Robin van Persie and Michael Carrick suffering injuries in recent times

After six straight wins, David Moyes could have been forgiven for thinking that his teething problems were behind him but defeat against Tottenham and a clutch of injuries to his overworked senior players have created further headaches for Sir Alex Ferguson's successor.

The Manchester United boss's approach to fitness management has not gone down well with Robin van Persie, who has suffered with a series of toe and groin injuries this season and has only featured three times for his club since November 10.

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By contrast, Wayne Rooney has been an advocate of Moyes's methods - and yet the England striker and his international colleague, Michael Carrick, have now succumbed to injury and fatigue as a direct consequence of the Scot's increased emphasis on endurance training and a willingness to play his star men through the pain barrier.

Rooney has been struggling with a groin injury for several weeks and will now miss at least Sunday's FA Cup tie against Swansea City.

Moyes had been keen to give the 28-year-old a rest over the festive period but Van Persie's ongoing travails rendered that impossible and, as such, the United manager could now be without his two best players for several more weeks.

Similarly, Carrick was diagnosed with an Achilles strain in December and was ruled out for six weeks.  A back complaint that brought forward Marouane Fellaini's wrist operation, however, prompted Moyes to recall the 32-year-old two weeks ahead of schedule for the visit of Spurs, which saw Carrick have to be withdrawn after just over an hour.

With results all-important, but his squad resembling the walking wounded, the Red Devils boss's fitness management is under even greater scrutiny.


Manchester City are refusing to give up hope of resurrecting a deal to sign Nigerian teenager Kelechi Iheanacho.

Goal revealed on Boxing Day that the transfer was on the verge of collapse over a dispute centering on bonuses for which the 17-year-old striker would not be eligible until he turns 18.

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Iheanacho's parents had been seeking a deal and more favourable terms with both Porto and Sporting Lisbon but, with the Portuguese clubs unable to match City's offer, the Premier League club are back in with a chance of securing one of Africa's brightest talents.

City are currently in talks with immigration with a view to securing a visa for Iheanacho, who won the Golden Ball at the Under-17s World Cup last year with six goals, and for his parents to visit as well as establish a work permit.

A £250,000 transfer fee had been agreed, with a further £300,000 for the Taye Academy in Owerri and £350,000 to Iheanacho's father, James.

City, who have already invested heavily in teenage talents Zacharias Faour, dubbed the new Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Real Madrid youngster Jose Pozo and Malaga's Brahim Abdelkader, expect Iheanacho's 17-year-old compatriot, Chidi Nwakali, to sign imminently after arriving at the club for talks last week.