Sport Soccer

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Garcia rules out Strootman move

Manchester United's reported interest in Kevin Strootman has been knocked back
Manchester United's reported interest in Kevin Strootman has been knocked back

Manager Rudi Garcia has ruled out the possibility of Kevin Strootman leaving Roma for Manchester United.

United are understood to retain an interest in Strootman and reports in Italy claim the 20-time English champions have bid at least £30million for the Holland midfielder.

But Garcia insists the 24-year-old is going nowhere.

"Strootman is a Roma player. He will be a Roma player this year. There is no doubt about that," Garcia said on the eve of Roma's friendly against United in Denver.

"Only he can say whether he wants to stay but it was never an issue for him to go to another club. There is no question of it."

New United manager Louis van Gaal knows Strootman well from his time as Holland coach. However, Van Gaal had to do without the midfielder at the World Cup as he suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury in March.

United would need to see the player, who moved to Roma from PSV Eindhoven last summer, had made a full recovery before launching any bid.

Strootman is currently training in Boston, where Roma played Liverpool earlier this week, and will therefore not turn out against United on Saturday in Colorado.

"Strootman is following a normal recovery programme, he has stayed in Boston to work with our physios," Garcia added. "He will start running any time soon."

United will come up against a familiar face at the Sports Authority Field in the mid-west state of Colorado on Saturday night.

Ashley Cole has been included in the Roma squad following his free transfer from Chelsea.

Cole had offers from the United States, but he opted to move to the Italian capital because he said he wanted to "be part of something big", and not enjoy an "easy ride" in the MLS.

The move came as a surprise to some, particularly as Cole barely speaks any Italian, but Garcia is happy with how the former England defender is adapting to his new surroundings.

"He is keen to learn the language," the Roma boss said.

"He wants to communicate with his team-mates on the pitch in Italian and I like and appreciate his attitude."

Cole is expected to play against United on Saturday night, but he may not complete the whole game.

"At the moment he is struggling a bit with his physical preparation," Garcia said.

Van Gaal is expected to rotate his squad for the match, which is United's first group game in the International Champions Cup - a pre-season tournament involving some of the best clubs in Europe.

The Dutchman enjoyed the best possible start to life at United with a 7-0 warm-up win against the Los Angeles Galaxy on Thursday night, but he wants to see as many of his 25-man squad as possible while in the US.

One man who is likely to retain his place is Ander Herrera, who was named man of the match in Los Angeles.

The £28million signing from Athletic Bilbao gave United bite, energy and drive in midfield - an area where the team struggled for fluency last year.

The 24-year-old set up Ashley Young for both of his goals and he also had a hand in four others.

Darren Fletcher, who was captain for the night, was impressed with what he saw from the Spaniard.

"I think he is going to be a fantastic player for Manchester United," the Scot told

"I thought he was fantastic, he was full of energy and endeavour.

"He changed his role, in the first half he played a little deeper then in the second half he went into a more advanced role with some great assists and he got about the pitch.

"Hopefully there will be more of the same from him."

Press Association

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