Man Utd shocker: Rooney benched, Van Persie on

Sir Alex says Buttner will challenge Evra’s place

Sir Alex Ferguson is more than willing to wield the axe to make sure Manchester United do not let go of their title aspirations.

Robin Van Persie is to start today's game against Fulham and Wayne Rooney is on the bench.

Though Fergie may sugar coat his intentions, it is quite clear that those who do not perform will be on the scrap heap.

Fergie yesterday warned new signing Alexander Buttner will probably displace Patrice Evra.

He said: “We have to protect the future. That is sensible. Evra is 31 and Alex comes to challenge that position. 

“But nobody has played more games than Evra over the last five years. He has played with injuries — he has guts. 

“He has been up and down that touchline for five years. It’s 240 games he has played. Patrice has been an absolute soldier.” 

The 23-year-Buttner from Vitesse Arnhem and now joins Shinji Kagawa, Nick Powell, Angelo Henriquez and Robin van Persie as new additions to the United squad. 

Which makes the starting XI today against Fulham difficult to pick.

There is every indication that United may change their shape and with Kagawa’s classy debut, Robin Van Persie might find himself up front… alone. 

Which means Wayne Rooney could be on the bench. 

Fergie said of Van Persie: “I’m excited myself. He’s a very, very good player and he brings a maturity to us up front. 

“I am looking forward to starting him... when he starts. 

“It’s important that he brings something to the team. 

“His goal record last year was fantastic. I hope he can do this for us and give us more of an edge.” 

On Rooney, the boss added, “Wayne got 30-something last season and has been improving on his goalscoring for the last two or three years. 

“We need a contribution from all the strikers. Chicharito is capable and Danny gives us something different. 

“We have fantastic options — and that’s part of the attraction.” 

Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Rio Ferdinand are all still sidelined.


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