We have a squad!

(But it's neither the U21s of the senior squad, it's the U20s)

(How many bloomin' squads are there?!?)

Anyway, here's Aidy Boothroyd's U20 squad for a four-nation tournament in Holland next week...

Goalkeepers?: Christy Pym (Exeter City), Christian Walton (Brighton & Hove Albion), Joe Wildsmith (Sheffield Wednesday)

Defenders?: Dominic Ball (Tottenham Hotspur) Shay Facey (Manchester City), Kortney Hause (Gillingham, on loan Wolverhampton Wonderers), Lloyd Jones (Liverpool), Isaac Hayden (Arsenal), Matt Targett (Southampton), Fankaty Dabo (Chelsea)

Midfielders?: Ben Pearson (Manchester United), Paul Digby (Barnsley), John Swift (Chelsea), Harrison Reed (Southampton), Matty Grimes (Exeter City), Jordan Houghton (Chelsea), Josh Harrop (Manchester United), Callum Robinson (Aston Villa)

Forwards?: Jordon Ibe (Derby County, on loan from Liverpool), Chris Long (Everton), Josh Murphy (Norwich City), Kwame Thomas (Derby County) Chuba Akpom (Arsenal)

After so much early optimism under Louis van Gaal, a lot has been made of Manchester United's stuttering league campaign. But here's the good news for any Red Devils: you're not quite as bad as Liverpool.

Despite the fact that LvG has made a worse start to his Premier League campaign than David Moyes, Manchester United fans remain positive. The dark cloud of negativity seems to have blown down the M62 from Old Trafford and is currently hovering over Anfield hostage.

Here are nine reasons why Manchester United's season is now better than their rivals':


How do you replace the best? No matter which way you look at the situation, losing Luis Suarez has caused Brendan Rodgers a real headache.

When you compare that headache to Mr van Gaal's migraine you fully understand the severity of the situation. Unlike Rodgers, LvG's biggest problem is how to fit Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao into the same team...

Fixture Freedom

In 2012/2013, Liverpool finished in 7th position on 61 points, as the cries of "It'll be our year next year" being muttered from the back of the Kop.

It nearly was. A key factor to Liverpool challenging for the Premier League title last season was their lack of Champions League football, freeing up more time to prepare for league games.

Now the demands of midweek football seem to be causing issues already, while Manchester United only have three weekday fixtures penciled in after their League Cup omission. Roles reversed? 

LvG v Rodgers

There is no doubting the ability of Brendan Rodgers, but is he really in the same league as van Gaal?

LvG has won seven league titles in Holland, Spain and Germany, Champions Leagues, Uefa Cups, Super Cups, Manager of the Year, Coach of the Year and on and on and on...

Brendan Rodgers has won the Championship Play-Off final.


In your defense

Both Manchester United and Liverpool have been shambolic at the back. Liverpool's defensive epidemic has been rotting them from the bottom for well over 12 months now and is arguably the reason they fell short last season.

The acquisition of Manquillo, Moreno and Dejan Lovren suggested that Rodgers and Ian Ayre identified their problems and threw a bag of cash at it, a tactic that hasn't worked yet.

United have signed Rojo, but other than that, they are happy to rely on LvG to nurture British talent: Smalling, Jones, Blackett, McNair, Thorpe and James all coming into the fray. Both teams have conceded the same amount of goals...


Balotelli v Rooney

Wayne Rooney gets a lot of stick but the fact remains, he creates and scores plenty of goals.

Liverpool fans will defend Super Mario to the hilt, but when all you've got to cheer is Mario Balotelli chasing back or rolling around on the floor, well, you've found yourself a problem.

Despite the critics, Rooney has scored three goals in his first six games. He will end up being the Premier League's record goalscorer, Manchester United's top goalscorer and England's top goalscorer. Super Mario might struggle to reach 50 for Liverpool.

Goals win games

If you've got a dodgy defence, you'd better make sure you can score goals, something Liverpool did with Suarez and Sturridge last season.

This year, you know for certain Manchester United will find the net - a lot. Their three formidable forwards backed up with Di Maria, Herrera and Mata just screams goals.

Balotelli, Markovic, Borini, Coutinho just... doesn't.

It's all about the fear factor

Following on from the previous point, the mentality of how you set your side up is a crucial component in the winning mentality of a confident side.

All teams preparing to face Liverpool believe they can win. Gerrard admitted last night Basel wanted it more, their confidence is low and they're starting to doubt themselves.

In comparison, LvG is new to the job, he's implementing his own philosophy and it's a work in progress... Liverpool look like they've been found out.

Facts don't lie

Both sides have had a torrid start but Liverpool more so.

Based on the points gained in the first six games last season compared to the current campaign, Liverpool's are down 46%.

Manchester United are the lesser of the two negatives as their points tally has only decreased 20%.

Home is were the heart is       

The fans at Old Trafford haven't exactly seen the start they wanted, but consider this.

Liverpool recorded 16 wins at home last season. They will need to win all of their remaining 16 home games to improve on that.

Good luck with that, Brendan...

England boss Roy Hodgson has named a 21-man squad for the upcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers against San Marino and Estonia.

Southampton full-back Nathaniel Clyne has been called-up for the first time after impressing under Ronald Koeman this season.

It comes as defensive pair Calum Chambers and Luke Shaw - who both played with Clyne at St. Mary's - were demoted to the Under-21 squad.

Arsenal left-back Kieran Gibbs has been named in the squad, alongside Jonjo Shelvey who has been rewarded for his fine form with Swansea.

Hodgson has opted to name just three strikers for the fixtures, accepting Brendan Rodgers' demands to leave crocked striker Daniel Sturridge out.

Wayne Rooney, Rickie Lambert and Danny Welbeck are the frontmen selected in the 21.

England face San Marino at Wembley next Thursday before the trip to Estonia on Sunday October 12.

LIVE : Follow all the reaction to the announcement in our rolling blog

Full squad

Fraser Forster (Southampton), Ben Foster (West Bromwich Albion), Joe Hart (Manchester City) 

Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton), Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal), Phil Jagielka (Everton), John Stones (Everton) 

Fabian Delph (Aston Villa), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), James Milner (Manchester City), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Jonjo Shelvey (Swansea City), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Andros Townsend (Tottenham Hotspur), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal) 

Rickie Lambert (Liverpool), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Daniel Welbeck (Arsenal)

Hodgson opts against picking Sturridge for qualifiers
Surprise call-ups for Nathaniel Clyne and Jonjo Shelvey
Brendan Rodgers expected Sturridge to be left out
Liverpool seething at England training methods Continue reading...

Podolski: If I dont have competition a change must occur
World Cup winner has played 90 minutes just once this season
Match report: Arsenal 4-1 Galatasaray Continue reading...

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