Sun, Aug 19, 2007 - Page 24 News List

Ferguson says fans won't sway decision on Heinze

AFP , MANCHESTER, ENGLAND

Sir Alex Ferguson has insisted that the growing animosity from Manchester United's supporters towards Gabriel Heinze will not sway his decision over whether to select the transfer-seeking Argentinian defender.

Heinze, 29, is set for a Premier League hearing tomorrow that will clarify whether or not he is within his rights to demand a move to United's bitter rivals Liverpool.

The former Paris St Germain full-back claims that United gave him permission to seek a transfer for a fee of ?6.8 million (US$13.5 million dollars) earlier while United, who admit to giving Heinze written permission to move, insist that they made it clear that they would not sanction a move to a domestic rival.

stand-off

The stand-off between player and club has led to Heinze so far being omitted from the first-team squad this season and many United fans have turned on a player who was once hugely popular at Old Trafford.

However, with United due to face Manchester City at Eastlands today, manager Ferguson has vowed not to be affected by the fans' feelings towards Heinze.

"Whether Heinze plays will be my decision and I won't be worrying about that [fans' reaction]," Ferguson said.

"He wasn't fit to play at Portsmouth on Wednesday night, but he is training and I would pick him if I needed him," he said. "There is no update on his situation, but the meeting about him is on Monday, so we will know more after that."

tendinitis

Owen Hargreaves, a ?17 million summer signing from Bayern Munich, has so far played just two friendly games for United after being affected by a tendinitis problem.

The England midfielder will again be absent from the squad for the trip to local rivals City, but Ferguson insists there is no cause for alarm over the 26-year-old's continuing absence.

"Owen is still having the problem with the tendinitis, but he has done a bit of training with the first-team," Ferguson said.

"There had been a possibility that he would have an injection to help sort it out, but he hasn't had that and we feel that it will be better to let it sort itself naturally," he said.

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