Sport Gus Poyet’s team was the more balanced

Under former manager Paolo Di Canio, Lee Cattermole was lost – a totem of the the Italian’s dislocated relationship with his players

Smalling lauds Ferdinand's example as Romania await

The rise of Chris Smalling from Maidstone United to Manchester United via Fulham in the space of 18 months was the fairytale story of last season and now the 20-year-old England Under-21 international is finally getting the chance to demonstrate what all the fuss was about.

Under-21s: 'Massive miss' if Pearce's tyros fail to reach finals

The deflection off the Chelsea left-back Ryan Bertrand that allowed Romania an away goal in the first leg of Friday night's European Under-21 Championship play-off at Norwich could have serious consequences for English football. Even though Manchester United's Chris Smalling subsequently scored a late goal for a 2-1 victory, England Under-21s are under pressure going to the back of beyond for Tuesday's return game, which offers a passport to next summer's finals in Denmark.

Pearce's side face tough task in Romania after Wilshere is spirited away by Capello

England Under-21s: 2 Romania Under-21s: 1

Ferdinand unsure of his place for Liverpool despite fine comeback

Rio Ferdinand is not thinking about the Manchester United captaincy at present – he is more concerned about getting his regular place back. After three-and-a-half months out with the ankle injury he suffered in a freak collision with Emile Heskey on the first full day of training at the World Cup, Ferdinand finally made his United comeback on Tuesday night.

United suffer night of pain

Valencia's horrific leg injury adds to misery as Ferguson sees team held 0-0 by Rangers, while Tottenham shine early but throw away two-goal lead on Champions League debut

Manchester United rule out more signings

Manchester United chief executive David Gill has ruled out any more signing before the transfer window closes.

Ferguson blasts 'kamikaze' transfer spending

Sir Alex Ferguson has accused some of Manchester United's rivals of going on a "kamikaze" spending spree.

Eight United strikers but 'cocky' Macheda stays

Unless he is having to be defensive, Sir Alex Ferguson rarely feels the need to spend too long talking up the possibilities of the present, even with the attacking options he now has at his disposal.

United snap up Portuguese rising star Bebe for £7m

Manchester United last night revealed that they have added an eighth striker to their books with the £7m signature of the 20-year-old Portuguese Bebe, a prodigious talent who has come from nowhere to astonish scouts in his own country and who had been expected to sign for Real Madrid.

Premier League: It's London taking on Manchester, with only one winner

Chelsea do not look any stronger but City could be formidable and United may already have made the signing of the summer

Let the power games begin: Ferguson starts on back foot

Rooney, Carrick and Ferdinand join long list of worries to leave squad 'not in great position' / United manager admits that Chelsea are the team to catch in the title race this season

Ancelotti: age is no barrier for older, wiser Chelsea

Italian manager puts faith in experience as champions look to avoid a fourth straight pre-season defeat

Manchester United have money to spend says Gill

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been given the go-ahead to strengthen his squad with a player of "very high quality".

Ferguson blames inexperience for Manchester United defeat

Sir Alex Ferguson felt inexperience was to blame for Manchester United's surprise defeat by 10-man Kansas City Wizards.

Ferguson leaves door open for Vidic to exit Old Trafford

Sir Alex Ferguson has failed to end speculation that Nemanja Vidic could leave Manchester United this summer. The centre-back, 28, has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford for more than a year and has been targeted by Real Madrid, as well as both Milan clubs.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there