Community Shield: Moyes eyes first United trophy
LONDON (AP) — After a brand-building slog around the Far East and Australia, the serious business of managing Manchester United is beginning for David Moyes.
The newcomer could excuse lackluster results on the preseason tour while getting acquainted with the United side he inherited from Alex Ferguson.
But starting Sunday, there’s little margin for error.
In the traditional curtain raiser to the English season, Premier League champion United faces FA Cup winner Wigan at Wembley Stadium.
Though the Community Shield is rarely considered a major piece of silverware, it presents Moyes the chance to pick up his first trophy as United manager.
Moyes’ only honor so far is the third-tier title he won with Preston in 2000 before 11 impressive but trophyless years with Everton.
He was hand-picked, though, by Ferguson to succeed him after a 27-year United reign that produced 38 trophies — including 10 Community Shields.
“I will be trying to make this the first trophy of many,” Moyes said. “But, if we win, it’s really something that will have been earned by Sir Alex.”
“It’s because of his good work in the Premier League last season that we’re in the Community Shield. I’ll do my best to finish off the job but it’s Sir Alex who will deserve a lot of the credit if we’re successful at Wembley.”
Moyes has already said it’s “impossible” to try to match the trophy haul of his fellow Scotsman.
The success, however, will have to continue.
“We’re almost there as far as preseason goes,” Moyes said. “I think we’d like to have a bit more continuity than what we’ve had. We’ve had one or two players dropping in and out because of injury, but the players have been great.”
Apart from Wayne Rooney, perhaps.
Frustrated at his playing time last season, the 27-year-old Rooney asked Ferguson toward the end of the season to be allowed to leave the 20-time English champions.
The striker, though, is being denied a move to rival Chelsea, with United rejecting two bids and stating that he won’t be sold.
“You don’t need to convince anybody to play for Manchester United,” was Moyes’ latest stance on Rooney’s future this week.
There is only a slim chance of Rooney facing Wigan, which was relegated to the second tier after winning the FA Cup, with United disclosing that he has a shoulder injury after missing the tour matches with hamstring troubles.
United won just two of its six preseason tour matches against the backdrop of the Rooney saga and the struggle to sign reinforcements.
Efforts to sign former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona seemed to hit a wall on Thursday, and Thiago Alcantara already opt to leave Barca for Bayern Munich instead of Old Trafford.
“We appreciate Cesc is a contracted player at Barcelona and completely respect everything Cesc has said,” United said Thursday after Fabregas said he wanted to stay with the Spanish champions.
Sunday’s game at Wembley will be the first time United has played at the national stadium since 1985 without Ferguson in the dugout.
Even Wigan’s manager will find it strange encountering Moyes instead.
“Sir Alex was there for a long time, particularly for football,” Coyle said. “The way football works, that time is probably worth 10 times that amount in any other walk of life.”
For Coyle, though, Moyes was the “natural successor.”
“It is great to see a home-grown manager evolving to that level,” Coyle said.
Wigan’s season has already begun because, after winning the FA Cup at Wembley in May, the team was relegated from the Premier League.
The trophy success saw manager Roberto Martinez enticed by Everton to replace Moyes, with Coyle taking charge at Wigan.