English League 1

Abbott quashes Harper rumours

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Tue, 28 May 2013 16:39:00

Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba says that he stood up to former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson to vent his anger at not being involved in the team.

The 20-year-old only made seven appearances in all competitions in his three-year spell at Old Trafford and he went on to join Juventus last summer.

Pogba has gone on to establish himself as a regular for the Serie A champions and the Frenchman insists that he did the right thing by confronting Ferguson.

"I never disrespected Sir Alex Ferguson, if anything it is the opposite, because I said things to his face," he told France Football.

"When I knew of Paul Scholes' return I understood that I would find it difficult to play and that I had to leave United.

"Ferguson told me that in Italy there is a lot of racism and that the fans were not like the Premier League's. I told him that there was no problem for me so I ended up on the team's fringes.

"My team-mates gave me the nickname of Nelson Mandela because I was opposed to Ferguson. But I would say no to Obama too.

"Conte, instead, told me that age is not important and that the best players would play. I want to become the best in the world and win the Ballon d'Or."

Adler is part of a weakened Germany squad currently touring the United States and they face the South Americans in a friendly in Miami before playing their hosts in Washington DC on Sunday.

The trip has been widely criticised as it comes straight after the end of the club season and because coach Joachim Low is without the lion's share of his usual squad, with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund involved in the Champions League final last Saturday.

Adler believes the trip is worthwhile, however, and is looking forward to picking up his 12th cap in Boca Raton against a side who lie second in South American World Cup qualifying and take on Peru in their next qualifier on June 7.

"I can't see anything negative about it," he said. "We need to get away from the criticism a little because I cannot understand it.

"This gives players the chance to prove themselves who would probably not normally get this chance.

"And if you look at the training here, then you will see there is a lot of quality. New players widen the options, also in view of the World Cup when you need a lot of players."

One of those new options is Freiburg forward Max Kruse, who is set to make his debut on Wednesday night.

"He has left a very positive impression in training," said Low.

"He has this cheek about him and makes some good runs. I think he's a clever striker who is hard to work out."

Kruse is not the only player set to pick up his first cap tomorrow night.

Bayer Leverkusen's Sidney Sam and Nicolai Muller of Mainz are in the squad for the first time, while Leverkusen's Stefan Reinartz is a candidate for a second cap and Werder Bremen's Aaron Hunt could play his third senior international.

"It is going to be all about finding the right blend of experienced and new, young players," said Low, whose elder statesmen will be Arsenal duo Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker.

"Of course you need experienced payers on the field who know what it feels like to play in an international game."

Miroslav Klose is such a player, yet after winning the Coppa Italia with Lazio at the weekend he is only due to link up with the squad ahead of the USA game.

"The significance of that game is higher because the Americans are celebrating their 100th anniversary and the stadium will be full, which will be an incentive to everybody," said Low.

"But Ecuador are tougher opponents."

Leverkusen forward Andre Schurrle may miss out on Wednesday due to a virus.

"We will have to wait and see if he is fit to play," said Low, who may turn to his team-mate Sam as an alternative.

Abbott revealed he is looking for a young goalkeeper to compete with number one Mark Gillespie at Brunton Park next season.

And the Cumbrians boss says he would not sign a player like Harper only to ask him to warm the bench.

"I think Steve Harper would be horrified if I said he was going to play second-fiddle to Mark Gillespie and spend another two years on the bench," he told the News & Star.

"If he is going to carry on playing, he will want to play, especially at a League One club. He has been a decent player and a top guy."

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