Manchester United players ‘scared’ and Old Trafford has ‘lost the fear factor’, says Rochdale defender Jimmy McNulty after Carabao Cup clash

26 Sep

It’s fair to say Manchester United aren’t in the best shape right now, but you know it’s bad when a League One player says the fear factor has gone from Old Trafford.

That’s exactly what Rochdale defender Jimmy McNulty told talkSPORT after their Carabao Cup clash on Wednesday night.

United players left the pitch breathing a sigh of relief as they needed a penalty shootout to see off a side currently sitting 17th in the third tier on English football.

Manchester United named eight internationals and World Cup winner Paul Pogba in their side to face Rochdale
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer named a much-changed, yet still undoubtedly strong, team featuring the likes of Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Phil Jones and Fred.

And while they avoided a similar upset to when United were knocked out of the League Cup by Southend United in 2006 – doo doo doo dooFreddy Eastwood – they still failed to produce a performance to give supporters any shred of hope that good times are around the corner.

What positives there were came from United’s youngsters, with 17-year-old striker Mason Greenwood scoring his second goal of the season, 21-year-old defender Axel Tuanzebe named captain for the evening, and £15million summer signing Daniel James netting the winning spot kick.

But there is a sense United are beyond the ‘transitional period’ many have labelled this season.

In fact, Solskjaer looks like he has a full blown rebuilding job on his hands.

McNulty says Rochdale were ‘proud’ to take the 20-time champions of England to penalties with a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes, after a first professional goal from 16-year-old star Luke Matheson.

But he admitted the visitors were helped by the overwhelming sense of dread, uncertainty and nervousness that emanated from the Old Trafford stands.

“Truthfully, there is definitely not the fear factor [at Old Trafford] right now,” the Dale centre-back told Natalie Sawyer and Glen Johnson on talkSPORT.

“I’m so proud to say that I’ve played there. It’s an incredible arena. It really does feel like you’re in a giant’s den. We very rarely go into a stadium like that and we were very humbled by it.

Jimmy McNulty says playing at Old Trafford was one of the highlights of his career, but that Rochdale were not intimidated by the Theatre of Dreams
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“We seemed to gain more and more support from the fans as the night went on, and even some of the home supporters applauded our performance. It was a special night for us. It was a shame we didn’t go all the way and dump Manchester United out on penalties but it was very special nonetheless.

“When we saw the team line-ups we were truthfully very happy; Ole had gone almost as strong as possible, and we felt he needed to do that after the West Ham game.

“We didn’t want to get ahead of ourselves and say that we were going to beat Manchester United, but we felt that it was as good a time as any to go and face them.

“There was definitely a feeling that once they hadn’t blown us away in the first 20 minutes, you could hear and feel the doubt and the pressure kicking in.

CUP ROUND UP: West Ham thrashed by minnows, Liverpool win, Chelsea score seven

“You can sense changes in stadiums, and to be fair a lot of United fans stuck with them and I thought it might get a bit volatile, but certain sections did change.

“I almost felt that the United players became very scared to be that player who gave the ball away, and they started taking fewer risks.

“All that helped us all out. We needed as much help as possible, our task was enormous.

“I’m glad they put almost a full complement out against us; it was great for our lads to head off against the likes of Pogba, Lingard and Wan-Bissaka. It was a great night and we almost did it.

“We did ourselves proud.”

Listen back to talkSPORT’s interview with Rochdale defender Jimmy McNulty

Oxford United 4-0 West Ham: Squad players blew their chance to prove themselves, says Manuel Pellegrini after shock Carabao Cup exit

26 Sep

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini says his squad players wasted their chance to prove why they should be playing more regular football, after they suffered a Carabao Cup exit at the hands of Oxford United on Wednesday.

The Hammers were hammered 4-0 by the League One side, who outplayed their Premier League opponents in every department on a night of humiliation for the London club.

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West Ham’s £8million summer signing Albian Ajeti failed to make an impact against League One Oxford United[/caption]

Both sides went into the clash on a high, with West Ham beating Manchester United 2-0 and Oxford breaking records with a 6-0 win at Lincoln City at the weekend.

But Pellegrini made nine changes from that victorious team against the Red Devils, and the much-changed line up could barely string two passes together as Oxford progressed into the fourth round for the first time in 22 years.

CUP ROUND UP: West Ham thrashed by minnows, Liverpool win, Chelsea score seven

The Hammers boss took most of the responsibility following the defeat, but sent a message to his under-performing stars that they, too, are to blame for underestimating their opponents.

“Nobody expected us to lose this game 4-0,” he told talkSPORT.

“It’s very easy to say we played badly, but they played very well from the first minute of the game.

“So the fact we lost this game is firstly on the merit of Oxford, and second it’s because I think we didn’t believe that they are a difficult team [to play], and the motivation of a League One or League Two to beat a team of the Premier League is high.

“We made too many mistakes. The whole team didn’t play well. Not only did we concede four goals, but we didn’t create too many chances. We missed too many passes from the beginning.

“The responsibility is first on me because I picked the players and second of course on the team that didn’t compete.

“We talked enough with all of them to understand that the competition was different, the team was different and to play now against Oxford, who were in a good moment after winning 6-0 in their last game.

“The players must understand, but I repeat we couldn’t do it because in front was a team that played very well. I don’t want to take anything away from Oxford because they played very well.”

West Ham did not look prepared to face the in-form Oxford team
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Only Issa Diop and Pablo Fornals retained their starting places from the win over Manchester United, but Pellegrini introduced Felipe Anderson and Sebastien Haller off the bench early in the second half.

And he defended his team selection at the Kassam Stadium, following criticism from fans that he should have picked a stronger side.

He added: “In England, if you want to play in all the competitions you have to use your whole squad, you cannot just continue to play with the same players that pay on Saturday.

“We must demand performances from them and they have the option to demonstrate why they should be playing, but tonight they didn’t do that, the performance was not good.”

Listen back to talkSPORT’s post-match interview with Manuel Pellegrini above

From a goal against Man United, Rochdale kid Luke Matheson now has to sit psychology test

26 Sep

What were you doing at 16? Not scoring at Old Trafford, I would wager.

Rochdale’s teenage starlet Luke Matheson told talkSPORT he was ‘ecstatic’ at scoring his first professional goal – against Manchester United at Old Trafford of all places.

The young defender smashed in a late equaliser for the Dale, cancelling out 17-year-old Mason Greenwood’s earlier opener, to take the 20-time English champions to penalties in their Carabao Cup third round clash.

United ultimately won the penalty shoot-out to progress in the competition, but Rochdale fans gave their side a standing ovation after a dogged performance and one which will remain firmly in the memory for Matheson.

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Stubborn Rochdale proved a tougher test for Manchester United than they probably expected[/caption]

It’s been a whirlwind of a 12 months for the teen, who became his club’s youngest ever player aged just 15 years old when he made his first-team debut in September 2018.

One month ago he collected his GCSE results, and did rather well, and now he’s a goalscorer at Old Trafford.

Asked to try and put the feeling of scoring at the Theatre of Dreams at his age into words, he said: “Wow, amazing, all the good words you can use!

“I don’t think I can actually pick a phrase to describe the feeling from the group of players in that celebration. The excitement was something I’ve never experienced before and I don’t think will ever experience again. It was something special, you could just tell how much it meant to us.

“It was a special moment to score in front of thousands of people at Old Trafford at only 16, it was a dream come true. Anyone would be ecstatic with scoring at Old Trafford , so to do that was very special.”

However, his celebrations will not last long – he’s back at school on Thursday afternoon for an exam.

Matheson goes to school just two miles away from Old Trafford, at the Trinity Church of England school where former United academy graduate Danny Welbeck also studied.

“I’ve got a psychology test, so I can’t wait for that,” he added.

CUP ROUND UP: West Ham thrashed by minnows, Liverpool win, Chelsea score seven

“It’s in the afternoon, though, so at least I can get some sort of lie in!

“Last year I was juggling GCSEs and football, so I’m kind of used to it. It’s what I’ve been doing for the last few years. Trinity and Rochdale have been fantastic in the support they’ve given me and supporting my education, so I can’t thank them enough.”

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Matheson – who swapped shirts with young Man United striker WIll Greenwood – is congratulated by Rochdale’s Spanish goalkeeper Robert Sanchez[/caption]

Hailing from the Manchester superb of Fallowfield, you’d assume Matheson was either a United and City fan and that, for different reasons, scoring at Ole Trafford would be a dream come true.

But, asked if he’s a red or a blue, the Rochdale youngster gave a surprising answer…

“I’m yellow,” he said. “I’m a Norwich fan!

“My dad’s from Norwich, he brought me up with Norwich all my life.

“But to play at a stadium like Old Trafford or the Etihad, it’s always a dream for anyone. To play in front of 50,000-plus people, that’s always amazing regardless of the team you support.

“I’m just thankful I got that opportunity, I grasped it and hopefully that sort of success can continue.”

Listen to talkSPORT’s interview with Rochdale starlet Luke Matheson IN FULL above

Wally Downes: AFC Wimbledon suspend manager after he’s charged by Football Association over alleged breach of betting rules

25 Sep

AFC Wimbledon manager Wally Downes has been suspended by the club after receiving a Football Association charge over an alleged breach of betting regulations.

The charges relate to a series of eight bets Downes made between 2013 and this summer.

Downes took charge of Wimbledon in December 2018
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A statement on AFC Wimbledon’s official website read: “Club manager Wally Downes has been suspended from first team duties pending further notice.

“The club has been informed that Wally has been charged by the FA for Misconduct under FA Rule E1(b) in respect of 8 bets placed on football matches between 30 November 2013 and 12 July 2019.”

The statement continued: “Given the seriousness of this breach in FA regulations, the club has decided to suspend Wally with immediate effect, giving time for the club and Dons Trust boards to look at the allegations more closely and make a further announcement in due course.”

Downes, 58, a much-travelled coach, has been in charge at the Cherry Red Records Stadium since December 2018.


Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

  • MK Dons vs Liverpool (Wednesday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT
  • Manchester United vs Rochdale (Wednesday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Stoke vs Nottingham Forest (Friday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Sheffield United vs Liverpool (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • QPR vs West Bromwich Albion (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Chelsea vs Brighton (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Everton vs Manchester City (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT

The Dons currently sit just one place off the foot of the League One table with three points from their 10 games to date and no win in 12 matches in all competitions this season.

He kept the club up on goal difference last season as they finished with a run of five wins and five draws in their final 11 games.

However, they are without a win in 12 outings in all competitions to date during the current campaign and have collected only three league points from a possible 30 to sit a point off the foot of the table with only Bolton, who have had 12 points deducted, worse off.

Assistant manager Glyn Hodges will take charge of team affairs for Saturday’s trip to Peterborough.

Portsmouth vs Southampton: Danny Mills lists 33 derbies bigger than South Coast clash amid claims it’s one of football’s fiercest games

24 Sep

Danny Mills is not a popular man on the south coast, after he laughed at suggestions Portsmouth vs Southampton is one of the fiercest derbies in football.

The historic and bitter rivals will meet at Fratton Park in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night, with LIVE commentary of the clash on talkSPORT.

It will mark the first time the Premier League and League One clubs have played each other since 2012.

4. Southampton v Portsmouth
The South Coast rivalry has maritime origins, particularly after Portsmouth sailors took the place of their Southampton counterparts following the Titanic disaster. In footballing terms, Pompey’s devoted fan base ensures an uneasy atmosphere for Saints players on any trip to Fratton Park. The rarity of their meetings, especially now they are at opposite ends of the football league pyramid, amplifies the hostility when they do play.

Ahead of the match, Jamie Redknapp caused a stir by claiming the Hampshire derby was the fiercest game he played in during his career.

Despite having also played in some of England’s most hostile matches, including the north London derby for Tottenham and the Merseyside derby and Liverpool-Manchester United derby for the Reds, Redknapp says Saints vs Pompey was the ‘most intimidating’ atmosphere he experienced.

Jamie Redknapp on the South Coast derby

“The most intimidating fixture I ever played in? It was Southampton versus Portsmouth.

“In April 2005, I went to Fratton Park. There were just over 20,000 fans there, but it felt more like 200,000.

“The hatred towards us was like nothing I have ever experienced.

“What added to the vitriol was my dad was Southampton boss, having previously managed Portsmouth!”

Redknapp has said the South Coast derby is the most intimidating match he has played in
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But former Manchester City and England defender Mills is not having it, insisting there are plenty of derbies across world football that are bigger than the South Coast clash.

And he believes it so adamantly that he came up with a list to prove it – and it’s a very long list.

Speaking on Tuesday’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, he said: “When you look at some of the big derbies around the world, you think about Glasgow, Istanbul and Rome.

“Hampshire? It doesn’t stand out as one of the nastiest. Oh, a nice little derby down in Hampshire.

“I get that it’s big derby in Hampshire, but if you’re a football fan and you’re thinking, ‘I’m going to go to some of the biggest derbies around the world’, where on the list does Portsmouth vs Southampton come? I would suggest on page seven.

“If I’m going around the world, it’s way down. It’s page seven or eight before you get to Pompey vs Southampton.

“I’ll give you six that a bigger – El Clasico, Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid, Sunderland vs Newcastle, Liverpool vs Everton…

El Clasico is viewed by many as the biggest match in world football

“I’m even going to go as far as saying Wolves vs West Brom is bigger, and West Ham vs Millwall – that’s six just for starters!

“No way, I’m not having it.”

See Danny Mills’ list of football derbies bigger than Portsmouth vs Southampton in the video above!

Celtic legend Henrik Larsson in line for Southend job as retired striker spotted in the stands at their game against MK Dons

21 Sep

Henrik Larsson was spotted at Southend’s clash against MK Dons amid reports he could be appointed their new manager.

Southend are searching for a new boss following the departure of Kevin Bond as they have made a disastrous start to the season.

They only picked up their first win of the season on Saturday with a 1-0 victory over MK Dons.

Henrik Larsson has been looking for a new job after leaving Helsinborg last month
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Before Saturday’s fixture, they had only picked up one point from eight matches with Bolton the only side below them by virtue of their points deduction.

Southend had reportedly identified former Celtic striker Larsson as a potential candidate for the vacant job.

Southend Echo chief sports reporter Chris Phillips tweeted a picture of Larsson at the match in Milton Keynes.

Larsson, who also played for Manchester United and Barcelona has been looking for a new challenge after he quit as Helsingborg boss last month.

He is believed to have walked away after receiving verbal abuse.

The 48-year-old has been in management since 2009 but has only ever had jobs in his native Sweden.

As well as his role at Helsingborg, he has previously managed Landskrona and Falkenberg.

Larsson had a prolific career as a player scoring 434 clubs goals in 769 games.

Michael Appleton: Lincoln appoint former Portsmouth, Blackburn, Blackpool and Oxford boss as Danny Cowley’s replacement

20 Sep

Michael Appleton has been appointed the new manager of Lincoln City, the League One club have announced.

The 43-year-old has signed a four-year deal and replaces Danny Cowley, who left to become Huddersfield boss last week.

Michael Appleton (Leicester City assistant manager) - 7/2
Appleton’s last job saw him take temporary charge of Leicester in the Premier League

Lincoln said on their Twitter account: “The Imps are delighted to announce the appointment of Michael Appleton as Lincoln City’s new first team manager.”

Chairman Clive Nates added: “Michael has all the qualities we have been searching for to continue our progress as a club.”

Appleton has previous managerial experience with Portsmouth, Blackpool, Blackburn and Oxford.

Lincoln achieved two promotions in three seasons under Cowley and are currently ninth in League One, although they have picked up just one point from their last three games ahead of Saturday’s visit of Oxford.

Appleton, a midfielder who was on the books of Manchester United but did not play a competitive game for them, featured in more than 100 games for Preston before joining West Brom in 2001.

He also had a caretaker manager role at The Hawthorns in 2011 and was involved with the club last season, taking the role of first team coach when James Shan was in caretaker charge.

His last managerial position saw him take temporary charge of Leicester City in the Premier League in October 2017 before they hired Claude Puel.


Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this weekend

  • Leicester vs Tottenham (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Leeds vs Derby (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Everton vs Sheffield United (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Newcastle vs Brighton (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • West Brom vs Huddersfield (Sunday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2

Stoke City fans first for football-related offences in 2018/19 season, while number of hate crimes at matches across England and Wales rose

19 Sep

The Home Office has revealed a drop of 10 per cent in football-related arrests for the 2018/19 season compared to the previous campaign, though hate crimes at matches have risen by 47 per cent.

The latest figures published on Thursday morning showed there were 1,381 football-related arrests in England and Wales last year.

Stoke City fans were the club with the highest number of football-related arrests across 2018/19
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The clubs with the highest number of arrests were Stoke (80), Leeds (49) and Aston Villa (42) according to the data.

Of the 1,381 arrests under Schedule 1 of the Football Spectators Act 1989, the most common types of offence were public disorder (38 per cent) and violent disorder (19 per cent).

The number of new football banning orders in force during 2018/19 increased by 19 per cent compared to the previous season.

Just under a third (31 per cent) of the total banning orders in force at August 1, 2019 were issued during the 2018/19 campaign, which for the purposes of the data covered the period August 1, 2018 to July 31, 2019.

There were 1,771 football banning orders in force on August 1, 2019, a decrease of three per cent compared to the same date in 2018, when 1,822 were in force.

The duration of a banning order can range from a minimum of three years up to a maximum of 10 years.

Stoke supporters were issued the highest number of new banning orders during the 2018/19 season with 46.

Their Staffordshire neighbours Port Vale were second on the list with 31.

Newcastle have the most banning orders in force overall at 71, eight fewer than in the previous season.

The statistics are supplied by the 43 police forces in England and Wales and British Transport Police (BTP) to the United Kingdom Football Policing Unit (UKFPU).

In addition to the 1,381 football-related arrests, a further 155 were made by BTP and there were 347 ‘other’ arrests at football matches which did not fall under Schedule 1 of the Football Spectators Act.

Supporters of Premier League sides Sheffield United (41), Manchester City (39) and Manchester United (36) were fourth, fifth and sixth respectively in the football-related arrests statistics for 2018/19.

Stoke statement

The Championship side explained they are working to help rid the game of anti-social behaviour

“The latest Home Office statistics do not make for pleasant reading, but to provide some context, 62 of the 80 arrests were as a result of anti-social behaviour that occurred both during and after the Checkatrade Trophy fixture against Port Vale in December 2018.

“Of the other 18 arrests, only five of those were made at home fixtures at the bet365 Stadium where, working in partnership with the police and authorities, we are continuing to do everything we can to try and eradicate anti-social behaviour from football.”

However, the number of matches where a hate crime was reported increased from 131 to 193 matches.

Of the 193 games, 79 per cent of the reported hate crime incidents related to race.

The Home Office report stated that some of the increase was likely due to improvements in recording.

Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the National Police Chief’s Council Football Policing Lead said: “Home Office statistics show football disorder remains at concerning levels – over the past two seasons, incidents reported are at more than 1,000 fixtures, and worryingly, this is becoming the new normality.

“Interestingly, higher levels of disorder are being seen in the lower leagues, and this could be attributed to the fact there is often a reduced police presence.

“With the absence of police officers to witness and respond, we are reliant on supporters and other agencies to report matters to us, so there could be a lot that goes unreported. There is also a reluctance from the leagues to share safety officer’s reports with us at a national level.

“Notably there are a greater number of arrests made in the lower leagues, despite lower crowds, with four out of the five clubs with the most arrests from the Championship.

“This is also reflected in the fact that Grimsby Town, a League Two club, has the second-highest number of banning orders, rising from 50 to 61 over the past two seasons.

“A lower number of arrests in the Premier League is likely related to the fact these clubs have greater security measures in place, and a police presence at matches.”

DCC Roberts added: “Hate crime is also on the rise, and this reflects some of the high profile incidents reported over the past season.

“The 28 per cent increase in arrests by British Transport Police shows the levels of disorder away from the stadiums.

“We are committed to working with the leagues and clubs to tackle these issues but that will take a sustained focus on security from all concerned.”

Former Burton Albion player Kelvin Maynard shot and killed in Amsterdam

19 Sep

Former Burton Albion defender Kelvin Maynard has been shot dead in Amsterdam.

The 32-year-old was fatally attacked by two men riding a motorbike while he was driving his car in the Langbroekdreef region of the Dutch capital.

Maynard made nine appearances for Burton during his spell in England
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Maynard attempted to escape the attack by driving towards a nearby fire station, according to De Telegraaf, but his vehicle hit the front of the building and he later died of his injuries.

Police are appealing for witnesses as they search for the two suspects.

“We can confirm that the fatal victim of the shooting incident on Langbroekdreef last night was 32-year-old Kelvin Maynard,” read a statement from Dutch police. “The investigation into his death is in full swing.”

Maynard played for Burton Albion from 2014-2016, having been signed by fellow countryman and then manager Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink from Antwerp.

The right-back helped Burton to win the League Two title during his first season at the club but injury ruled him out of action the following season.

Maynard returned to Holland in 2016 with SV Spakenburg and recently played for non-league Dutch club Alphense Boys.

Southend eye former Manchester United and Celtic striker Henrik Larsson for managerial role – reports

18 Sep

Southend want to appoint Henrik Larsson as their next manager, according to reports.

Kevin Bond resigned as Shrimpers boss earlier this month after losing all six of the club’s opening games in League One.

Larsson could take the reins at Roots Hall as Kevin Bond’s successor

Southend are yet to win in the league this season after eight attempts and are five points from safety.

The Daily Mail claim Larsson is on the club’s managerial wishlist as they hunt for Bond’s successor.

The former Manchester United and Celtic striker has only managed in his homeland of Sweden and is believed to be considering the Southend vacancy.

Helsingborgs were relegated under Larsson’s stewardship in 2016, and his son, Jordan, was attacked by the club’s supporters afterwards.


Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

  • Olympiakos vs Tottenham (Wednesday, 5:55pm) – talkSPORT
  • Shakhtar Donetsk vs Man City (Wednesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT
  • PSG vs Real Madrid (Wednesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Eintracht Frankfurt vs Arsenal (Thursday, 5:55pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Leicester vs Tottenham (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Leeds vs Derby (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Everton vs Sheffield United (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Newcastle vs Brighton (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • West Brom vs Huddersfield (Sunday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2

Despite the unsavoury scenes, the 47-year-old returned to the club for a second spell earlier this year, but quit after just two months following online abuse he received.

Shoring up Southend’s leaky defence will be Larsson’s number one priority if he takes the job – no team has conceded more league goals (24) than the Shrimpers this season.

Larsson is a Celtic legend after scoring 242 goals in 313 games for the Scottish giants.

His outstanding form earned him a move to Barcelona in 2004, and he would later join Manchester United on loan three years later.

He netted three goals in 13 appearances for the Red Devils, becoming a cult hero despite his very short spell at Old Trafford.