Wed, Aug 15, 2007 - Page 18 News List

Tevez to debut for United in today's Portsmouth match

AFP , MANCHESTER, ENGLAND

Striker Carlos Tevez will make his Manchester United debut at Portsmouth today in place of injury victim Wayne Rooney.

Tevez, 23, was paraded on Monday by manager Alex Ferguson after finally concluding his long-running transfer on Friday.

Ferguson had hoped to hold the Argentine forward in reserve until Sunday's Manchester derby when United travel to face near neighbors City.

But the manager admitted that with Rooney sidelined for up to two months after fracturing his left foot in the season opener against Reading, his new signing would be thrown straight into the action against Pompey.

"I think Carlos will go straight into the team on Wednesday. I would have preferred to have left it until Manchester City next Sunday to give him another few days rest and training," Ferguson said.

"But he has trained very hard on Saturday and Sunday so he will just do light training now to get him ready for Wednesday's game," he said.

Ferguson is relieved to have completed the deal that was delayed due to complications over the third-party ownership of the former West Ham United striker's registration.

United have agreed to a two-year loan deal with the player and the company that owns Tevez's economic rights with an option to make the signing permanent for a pre-arranged, undisclosed fee during or at the end of that period.

The controversy surrounding the player's registration has sparked a debate about the role of third-party ownership and calls for the arrangement to be banned.

Ferguson, though, insisted he was more concerned with finally signing the player whose goal against United at Old Trafford secured a victory and Premier League survival for West Ham on the final day of last season.

"There was competition for him, but I think Carlos wanted to come here and that settled it," the Scot said.

"We declared our interest as soon as we became aware of his situation and yes, it's been a long time but I think it's worthwhile waiting for him," he said.

"The most important thing is he has proved himself in the English game. There's no question in my mind that his contribution for West Ham saved them from relegation," he said.

"That single contribution impressed me greatly. I watched most of the run-in and to win seven games out of nine was championship form for West Ham and most of that was down to Carlos," he said.

"The platform was there for him to use and he used it fantastically well and he showed what a world class player he is," he said.

Tevez admitted his relief at the conclusion of his move and admitted the long-running saga had been frustrating.

"It would have been impossible not to know what was going on over the summer but I only started to realize how difficult it was towards the end of the Copa America, as each game passed and the situation wasn't resolved," he said.

"I never thought I would stop playing football," he said. "It's different sides of the coin. I suffered the bad part during the end of the transfer."

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