EPL

Woodward proud to have served Man Utd as Old Trafford exit is confirmed

By Sports Desk April 20, 2021

Ed Woodward is proud to have worked for Manchester United, as his departure from the club at the end of 2021 was confirmed.

It has been a remarkable 48 hours across football, with United – and their owners the Glazer family – key players in a 12-team European Super League which was announced, to much derision, on Sunday. 

Yet two days later, following widespread condemnation from national governments, football associations, UEFA, FIFA and fellow clubs, the breakaway league appears to be crumbling, with United's neighbours Manchester City the first team to officially withdraw.

Chelsea, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are also rumoured to be set to follow suit, while Liverpool's players have gone on a social media campaign – spearheaded by captain Jordan Henderson – to show their displeasure with the proposals.

News broke on Tuesday evening, UK time, that Woodward, a hugely divisive figure during his time as United's executive vice-chairman, was to resign from his post, with hisdeparture was subsequently confirmed on United's official website.

"I am extremely proud to have served United and it has been an honour to work for the world's greatest football club for the past 16 years," Woodward said.

"The club is well positioned for the future and it will be difficult to walk away at the end of the year.

"I will treasure the memories from my time at Old Trafford, during a period when we won the Europa League, the FA Cup and the EFL Cup. I am proud of the regeneration of the club's culture and our return to the Manchester United way of playing.

"We have invested more than £1bn in the squad during my time here and I am particularly delighted with the progress the players have made under the astute leadership of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his coaching team in the last two years.

"I am sure that, with the changes we have made on-field and to the coaching and football staff in recent years, this great club will soon be lifting silverware again. It deserves to. 

"I desperately wanted the club to win the Premier League during my tenure and I am certain the foundations are in place for us to win it back for our passionate fans."

Woodward went on to credit United's work on the academy, while also praising the club's community work during the COVID-19 pandemic – a crisis cited as a major reason for the development of the proposed European Super League in the competition's initial announcement.

"The financial impact on football clubs has been severe, but United have been one of the most robust and resilient in the face of extraordinary financial pressures," Woodward added.

"I would like to thank United’s passionate fans for their support during the good and bad times. I know this has been a challenging period in our history, but your support for the team has never, ever been in doubt.

"Finally, it has been a pleasure to work with so many magnificent, talented and hard-working people."

Under Woodward's leadership, United have hired and fired David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, while also breaking their transfer record for Paul Pogba in 2016. Their highest Premier League finish since Alex Ferguson left in 2013 has been second place under Mourinho in 2017-18.

United co-chairman Joel Glazer said: "Ed Woodward has served the club with great distinction. On behalf of everyone at United I would like to place on record our sincere thanks for his tireless work and dedication.

"His contribution to the club has been massive, and he will always be welcome at Old Trafford as a part of the Manchester United family."

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    Germany recorded the biggest opening-game win at a European Championship, with Florian Wirtz, Jamal Musiala, Kai Havertz, Niclas Fullkrug and Emre Can scoring.

    The result made Nagelsmann just the second coach to win his first Euros game by four or more goals, after Sweden's Lars Lagerback in 2004 (5-0 versus Bulgaria).

    It was also Germany's biggest victory at the Euros, and the first time Scotland had conceded five or more goals in a competitive game since they were trounced 6-0 by the Netherlands in a Euro 2004 qualifier 21 years ago.

    Germany endured a troubled build-up to their home tournament, with Nagelsmann only having eight games to prepare after Hansi Flick was sacked last year.

    He believes they did an excellent job of handling the pressure that comes with a home opener, telling ITV Sport: "I'm happy, I'm satisfied. 

    "In the first game as the home country… we looked back at the first games of the last tournaments and there can be a kind of pressure.

    "Especially in the first 20 minutes, we were brilliant, we had great ball possession and great counter-pressing. 

    "I was happy with the performance and we stayed focused for the whole game.

    "We conceded one goal, but in the end it's okay. Our players were complaining about conceding that goal, which is a good sign when we were already four goals in the lead."

    Scotland did not attempt a single shot on target and failed to register an effort of any kind until Scott McKenna forced an own goal off Antonio Rudiger in the 87th minute.

    Nagelsmann admits he was expecting more from Clarke's team, who found themselves three goals and a man down by half-time as Ryan Porteous was sent off for a horror challenge on Ilkay Gundogan. 

    "I was kind of surprised that Scotland weren't that aggressive in the first 20 minutes," Nagelsmann said.

    "I think they were surprised by our possession, which was really concentrated. They started the game very well and made one mistake in the first 15 minutes.

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    After a brilliant season for Bayer Leverkusen, in which he was named the Bundesliga's Player of the Season, Wirtz came into Euro 2024 as one of the standout youngsters.

    His first-time finish to put Germany ahead in Munich on Friday, a cute side-footed effort that Scotland goalkeeper Angus Gunn could only help in off the post, proved why everyone is so excited to see how Julian Nagelsmann gets the best out of a player who scored 18 goals and set up 19 more in all competitions in 2023-24.

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    Having lashed in a wonderful second goal for the hosts, Musiala ran the show in the final third, and played a key role with a wonderful pass when super-sub Niclas Fullkrug made it 4-0 midway through the second half.

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    Wirtz is the youngest player to score the opening goal at a Euros, and the youngest player to net for Germany at the tournament. 

    Once Musiala drilled home, Germany became the first team to have two players aged 21 or younger score for them in the same Euros match.

    But it was not all about the flair of youth at the Allianz Arena, where the only blemish on Germany's copybook was an Antonio Rudiger own goal as Scotland mustered a meagre 0.01 xG and failed to have a shot on target.

    Kroos, in the first game of his swansong, led the game for touches (108), and completed 101 (99 per cent) of his 102 passes. It was his crossfield pass that opened up the pitch for Joshua Kimmich to cut inside from the right and lay on Wirtz's opener.

    Gundogan nipped around, linking the play; the Barcelona midfielder won the penalty from which Kai Havertz made it 3-0 – and which led to Scotland defender Ryan Porteous becoming the second Scottish player sent off at a major tournament, after Craig Burley in the 1998 World Cup against Morocco. 

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    There was a healthy balance all around the pitch for Germany, as Nagelsmann became only the second manager to win by four goals in his first game at the European Championship, along with Lars Lagerback in 2004 (Sweden 5-0 Bulgaria).

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    Fullkrug's club-mate Emre Can, a late call-up, rounded matters off late on. 

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    Backed by a vocal travelling contingent in Munich, Scotland were chasing their first major tournament victory since the turn of the century but were torn apart by Julian Nagelsmann's side.

    Florian Wirtz, Jamal Musiala and Kai Havertz netted as Scotland went into half-time three goals and a man down, having seen Ryan Porteous sent off for a wild challenge on Ilkay Gundogan.

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