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Radamel Falcao’s former agent claims the Colombian striker has been driven to tears by his Manchester United predicament. Falcao signed for United in a big-money season-long loan deal from Monaco on transfer deadline day in September, but has struggled to make an impact at Old Trafford, and was selected to turn out for the under-21 team against Tottenham last week. But his former agent Silvano Espindola has told AS Colombia that Falcao did not understand the decision, and is deeply upset by the position he has found himself in. “I am not going to say that he feels happy because he isn’t. We talk a lot and we cry together,” Espindola said. “It’s not an easy situation because every player wants to play and every goalscorer wants to score goals.” United manager Louis van Gaal has insisted the decision to select him for the under-21s was not a humiliating one for Falcao, but Espindola said the 29-year-old was clearly upset when he and the frontman spoke ahead the match, in which Falcao struggled and was replaced after 71 minutes. “When he was going to play this match with the youth team he called me,” Espindola said. “We talked for 20 minutes while he was arriving at the stadium and he told me, ‘I have never experienced anything like this, I don’t know how to manage the situation. I feel weird’. “Furthermore he was a bit scared because these matches scare him – the matches with young teams and from the second or third division. In these matches they are accustomed to fighting and going in hard. It was like this when he was injured in France, against a team from the fourth division.” Falcao missed much of last season and the World Cup with a knee ligament injury – the second of his career – but Espindola does not believe that is a factor in his Old Trafford struggles. ” The injury is forgotten,” he said. “The main problem is the intensity of the game. He has to get this intensity back. The problem isn’t fear of another injury, it’s a lack of rhythm.” Falcao has scored only four goals in 21 appearances for United, but Espindola was critical of Van Gaal’s handling of the player. “He is a coach that kills your confidence,” Espindola said. “He destroys it. He is working with other great players that were at a great level and with Van Gaal they are now less so.” United paid a reported £6million loan fee for Falcao, as well as covering his hefty wage, and must decide whether to take up a £43.5million option to make the deal permanent in the summer. Press AssociationRead More
The Manchester United defender has been given his first taste of top-team action at Old Trafford by new boss Louis van Gaal this season. Now he is set to follow that up by making his international debut in Glasgow when Michael O’Neill’s side take on the Scots at Hampden. Paddy McNair admits he will fulfil his boyhood dream if he earns his first Northern Ireland cap against Scotland on Wednesday night. “It’s going to be tough,” he said. “It’s a game against another home nation and both teams want to win. It won’t be a friendly. “It’s a game we can definitely win, though. We showed in the games in the qualifying group we can beat anybody. “Scotland have some very good players. I’ve played against Steven Naismith earlier on this season and you can see why people rate him so highly.” McNair can also expect to come up against another familiar face clad in Dark Blue, with former United midfielder Darren Fletcher likely to line-up for the hosts. The 31-year-old – who quit the Red Devils in January after 12 years to sign for West Brom – played an influential dressing-room role while McNair was making his way through the Old Trafford ranks. And the youngster happily admits he owes the four-time Premier League winner a huge debt of gratitude. “Darren really helped me a lot and have to thank him a lot for that,” said McNair. “When I first broke into the team he gave me a lot of advice and really did help me settle in. “When you come through at Manchester United, it is such a big club with so much pressure on you. “Darren was in the same position I’m in now at one stage so he would often come up to me before games and have a word to make sure my head was on right. “Darren is a great player and I’m very happy to see him back playing regularly with West Brom.” In the 13 games McNair has racked for Van Gaal’s side this term, he has done enough to leave the Dutchman so impressed that he reckons the Ballyclare youth could be a mainstay of the United line-up for the next decade. But McNair himself is trying not to look too far ahead. He said: “I don’t think I will really realise how good a season I have had until the end of the season when I look back at it, but so far I’m very happy. “Am I surprised at how quickly things have gone this year? Yeah a little bit. “Sometimes you just need a bit of luck to get your chance. But I was confident that once I got my chance I could take it.” Press Association The 19-year-old was forced to pull out of his first involvement with the national team last October due to injury, while he was an unused substitute a month later as the Irish lost 2-0 away to Romania. But he is expected to finally pull on the green jersey in the midweek friendly clash that will serve as a warm-up ahead of Sunday’s crucial Euro 2016 qualifier with Finland at Windsor Park. “It would be a dream come true if that happens,” said the teenage centre-half. “As a young boy it is a dream to play for your country. “I went to a few Northern Ireland games when I was very young but I don’t remember too much about them. I can remember the atmosphere and hoping that one day I would be out there as well, so if I can do that on Wednesday I will be very proud.” Wednesday’s match will be just as important to the Scots as it is O’Neill’s troops as both countries look to end their long absences from major tournaments by claiming a slot at next year’s European Championships in France. While Northern Ireland are just a point off the summit of Group F after taking nine points from the first 12 available, Gordon Strachan’s side are very much in the hunt themselves. They sit third in Group D, three points behind leaders Poland and level on seven with Germany and the Republic of Ireland. With that in mind, McNair does not expect an easy introduction to the international game.Read More