Football

Everton Vs Manchester United, Sat 20 Feb 2010

Cahill setback for Toffees. (©PAphotos)

Everton have suffered a fresh injury blow with the loss of key midfielder Tim Cahill for up to three weeks.

The Australian was forced off with a calf injury during the Toffees' Europa League victory over Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday.

His absence further depletes boss David Moyes' options ahead of Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash against champions Manchester United at Goodison Park.

Everton learned earlier this week that another influential midfielder, Marouane Fellaini, will miss the rest of the season with an ankle injury.

John Heitinga is available after missing the Sporting tie through ineligibility and Steven Pienaar returns to Premier League duty after suspension.

Tony Hibbert (groin), Victor Anichebe (back) and loan signing Philippe Senderos (back) are still out but progressing and long-term absentee Phil Jagielka (knee) is also back in training.

Moyes has buried the hatchet with Wayne Rooney and admitted his former striker is destined to become one of the best in the world.

Moyes fell out with the Manchester United and England star prior to his acrimonious #27million move to Old Trafford in 2004.

The pair later became involved in a libel dispute following claims by Rooney in his autobiography but that was settled two years ago and Moyes now has the utmost respect for the 24-year-old.

Rooney has been in outstanding form for United, scoring 25 times this season, and he will be reunited with Moyes this weekend.

Moyes said: "I think Wayne is a top player and I think he is going to be a great player.

"He has added goals to his game, maturity, understanding - all the things you would expect from a maturing player.

"I think time will be the test of whether he becomes the best in the world but he is certainly getting very close to it."

One of Rooney's written criticisms was that Moyes was overbearing, but the player has since apologised.

Moyes now believes Everton can feel proud of the role they played in Rooney's development but he thinks the club have learned lessons from the way his situation was handled.

Rooney came through the Everton ranks and was tipped for stardom even before he burst into the first team at the age of 16.

Moyes said: "All credit to Wayne, he rang me to apologise about a year ago for all the things he wrote in his book.

"That was something that made me realise he was a maturing man.

"He realised what he had been given at Everton was great and his development, what we tried to do, was right.

"All in all, I think Wayne would probably look back on his time at Everton as being good.

"We probably weren't ready for Wayne Rooney at the time. I think we would be more ready now."


Manchester United



Nemanja Vidic will return to the Manchester United squad.

Vidic has yet to play in 2010 after suffering a nerve problem in a leg, but after expressing some exasperation about the situation earlier this week, Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed the Serbian will be available.

Anderson is also in the squad following a reserve team appearance on Thursday night, but Ryan Giggs is out with a broken arm, while Rio Ferdinand and Nani are both suspended.

Rooney returns to face his boyhood club with Ferguson convinced his star striker is now one of the world's best players.

By spending #27million to lure Rooney to Manchester United from the team he supported as a boy in 2004, Ferguson never had any doubts over Rooney's potential.

Yet there have been times during the intervening years when the 24-year-old did not appear to be developing as planned, especially compared to Cristiano Ronaldo's meteoric rise.

But, after dragging United along virtually single-handed for most of the campaign, Rooney's team-mates have come to his assistance in recent times, improving the Red Devils' performances to such an extent that their star man has been catapulted into the elite group alongside Ronaldo, Kaka and Lionel Messi.

"Over the last month or so his game has just taken off," said Ferguson.

"Confidence has something to do with it of course but he has been in absolutely incredible form over the last few weeks.

Before, we said that his goalscoring tended to come in bursts. Now he is far more consistent and goalscoring is the area you always want to be judged as a striker.

"It is the area of biggest improvement and with him doing that you have to put him in the same bracket as all the best players. The evidence is there."

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Manchester United
Everton

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