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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football Briefs: Lukaku to cut short vacation to help depleted Man United

Football Briefs: Lukaku to cut short vacation to help depleted Man United

Last updated on: August 01, 2018 16:00 IST

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Romelu Lukaku

IMAGE: Manchester United's Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has curtailed his vacation and will join Manchester United at the start of their Premier League campaign, manager Jose Mourinho has said.

Mourinho called for the club's World Cup participants to shorten their rest days after last month's tournament to help United, who have also been hindered by injuries, avoid a poor start to the league season.

England duo Phil Jones and Marcus Rashford were already set to return early and United will now be boosted by Lukaku's decision as they prepare to host Leicester City in their first league game on Aug. 10.

 

"We will have (Victor) Lindelof who started training two days ago," Mourinho said after United's 2-1 win over Real Madrid in the pre-season International Champions Cup (ICC) on Wednesday.

"Marcus Rashford, Jones and Lukaku, because they gave to the group and to the team three days of their holidays, so they are coming back three days early to try to be available for the team."

The Portuguese boss praised his senior players for the intensity they showed in United's pre-season tour but insisted the fixtures did not reveal anything new strategically.

"I didn't learn anything (tactically). I know what (Ander) Herrera is, I know what (Juan) Mata is, I know what (Alexis) Sanchez is, I know what they are... I know the kids need time to grow up," Mourinho said.

"The boys tried everything, they gave everything, they know we have to try to fight for the best result but tactically it means nothing."

United have won two of their five pre-season fixtures so far and will be keen to make a quick start in their quest to win silverware this season.

Mourinho was unsure, however, if Anthony Martial would return in time to play Sunday's final friendly against Bayern Munich after the Frenchman left the team's pre-season tour early to attend the birth of his daughter.

Managers to be shown yellow, red cards for misconduct: FA

Managers in English soccer will be shown yellow and red cards for misconduct in the technical area during competitive fixtures in the new season, the Football Association (FA) said on Tuesday.

Cards will be issued in the FA Cup, English Football League, EFL Cup, EFL Trophy and National League. Managers and coaches in the Premier League, however, will not be issued cards, but given verbal warnings instead.

The decision comes after a review of the technical area code of conduct by the stakeholders of the English game.

"Stage one warnings" will be issued to occupants of the technical area for inappropriate language and gestures towards match officials, the FA said.

Other forms of "irresponsible behaviour" that could result in a yellow card or warning include kicking or throwing water bottles, coats or other objects in a show of dissent as well as sarcastic clapping.

An automatic one game suspension will be triggered when an individual reaches four warnings.

Eight warnings carry a two-game ban and 12 warnings will result in a three-game ban.

The FA will hand misconduct charges to individuals accumulating 16 warnings, with a regulatory commission determining subsequent sanctions.

Atletico sign defender Arias, loan Vrsaljko to Inter

Atletico Madrid have signed Colombia right back Santiago Arias from Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven to replace Croatia's Sime Vrsaljko who has been loaned to Inter Milan.

"Atletico Madrid and PSV Eindhoven have reached an agreement to transfer Santiago Arias to our club. The right back becomes a new Atletico player after signing for the next five seasons," said a statement from the Liga side on Tuesday.

Arias, 26, joined PSV in 2013 after a two-year spell with Sporting in Portugal and won the Eredvisie title three times, being named the league's Player of the Year in his final season. He started all four of Colombia's games at the 2018 World Cup.

The signing of Arias was announced at the same time as the loan agreement with Inter for right back Vrsaljko, who also impressed in Russia, starting six of Croatia's seven games on their run to the World Cup final, where they lost 4-2 to France.

"Our club has reached a deal with Inter Milan, subject to the formalisation of documents and a medical, for the loan of Sime Vrsaljko," said a separate statement from Atletico.

"After two seasons defending our club, in which he has demonstrated his talent and sacrifice, we want to wish him all the luck in his new era with Inter, who have an option to buy the player."

Europa League holders Atletico are on a pre-season tour in Singapore and play in the UEFA Super Cup against city rivals Real Madrid on Aug. 15 in the Estonian capital Tallinn.

Rowett hopes Butland stays at Stoke

Stoke City manager Gary Rowett hopes goalkeeper Jack Butland would resist any offers from top-level clubs and stay with the Championship side as they prepare for their league opener at Leeds United on Sunday.

Butland, who has won eight caps for England and was part of their World Cup squad, featured in all but five of Stoke's 41 matches in all competitions last season.

Their relegation from the Premier League last season prompted speculation that several top-tier sides were keen to sign Butland but Rowett said there had been offers worth considering.

"I expect him to stay, I hope he stays," Rowett told BBC Radio. "I'm also pragmatic enough to know it's football and anything can happen in the last few days of the window.

"... We haven't had an offer which the club feel is financially viable - or I don't think any strong offer yet.

"Jack has never made any real moves to want to leave and he's contracted to us and we're not even a week away from the first game."

Everton sign defender Digne from Barcelona

Everton have signed defender Lucas Digne from Spanish champions Barcelona on a five-year contract, the Premier League club said on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old France international joins Everton after two seasons in Barcelona, where he made 46 appearances across all competitions, as the Nou Camp outfit won the La Liga last term and retained the Spanish Cup.

"I want to show my best football here and discover the best league in the world. Everybody loves the Premier League. I am loving the fact I am coming here," Digne told Everton's website.

"I am not afraid, I am excited. For me, it is a new challenge to discover a country, a league, people and a great club such as Everton. It is fabulous."

Digne, who missed out on France's World Cup squad this year, previously played for French top-flight side Paris St Germain, winning two Ligue 1 titles, and also completed a loan spell at Italy's AS Roma.

Everton manager Marco Silva praised Digne's attributes and welcomed the competition with Leighton Baines at left-back.

"He is a high-quality player, aggressive, with good technical ability and... he has demonstrated his clear quality in Barcelona," Silva said.

"Lucas is a player who will add competitiveness in a position where we only had Leighton Baines last season and he is accustomed to winning. This is his mentality having captured titles in his career and having these on his resume."

Everton travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers in their opening league match on August 11.

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