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Rotation key to United’s success: Giggs

Ryan Giggs insists Alex Ferguson is having no problems keeping his large Manchester United squad happy ahead of the FA Cup third round clash at West Ham on Saturday.

Ferguson has rotated his players throughout the Christmas period, with David de Gea, Patrice Evra, Jonny Evans and Michael Carrick the only players to start each of their four league matches.

That run has seen United secure 10 points to preserve their seven-point advantage at the top of the Premier League.

Following the 4-0 win at Wigan on Tuesday Ferguson suggested there will be further changes for the Cup tie at Upton Park.

Giggs, 39, has been reduced to a supporting role this season, as has Paul Scholes, 38, and between them the two veterans have started just 13 league games.

But the Welsh midfielder maintains United’s players are used to Ferguson making the most of the options in his squad.

‘It is tough when you get yourself ready for a Wednesday game for example and you don’t play and you then have to get yourself ready for a Saturday game,’ Giggs said.

‘But it’s just a case of looking after your fitness and making sure you’re sharp and you’re not peaking in the middle of the week when you need to be prepared for a Saturday match.

‘A lot of players are in that position though because we have a big squad and you’re not going to play every game.’My role in the team has changed over the last five or six years. I’m an experienced player and a kind of elder statesman and it’s a position I’m quite comfortable with regard to helping the young players.

The United manager has recent memories of suffering a shock at Upton Park, having suffered an embarrassing 4-0 defeat in the League Cup quarter-finals two years ago.

West Ham midfielder Mark Noble is confident the hosts are capable of springing an upset.

‘It will be a great atmosphere for the fans and a great cup tie as they always are here,’ said Noble.

‘When you pluck Manchester United out of the hat you are over the moon, so whatever team the manager picks, I am sure it will be a strong one to have a right go at them and we will see what happens.’

West Ham’s Kevin Nolan and James Collins will feature after suspension.


CHELSEA COMPLETE BA TRANSFER

Chelsea on Friday announced that they had signed Demba Ba from Newcastle United, ending an 18-month spell at the Magpies during which he helped them to fifth spot in the English Premier League last season.

The west London club said that the 27-year-old had joined on a three-and-a-half year contract for an undisclosed fee and would be eligible to play in the Blues’ FA Cup third-round match against Southampton on Saturday.

‘It feels good to be here, I’m very happy and very proud,’ he was quoted as saying on chelseafc.com. ‘It was important for me, and for Newcastle, to get my future sorted and now we can move on. Now they have the whole month to buy someone and for me as well, the sooner the better. Now I am here I just need to get settled in.


JOE COLE SIGNS FOR WEST HAM


West Ham United on Friday said that they had signed Joe Cole from Liverpool, bringing the midfielder back to the club where he began his career. ‘It is a great move for me,’ he was quoted as saying. ‘Coming back here brings back all the memories of the pitches I learnt how to play on.’


‘ROONEY OUT FOR TWO MORE WEEKS’


Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson confirmed on Friday that Wayne Rooney will miss a further two weeks with a knee problem. Rooney has been absent since the 1-1 draw at Swansea due to the injury, which United initially expected to keep him out for a fortnight. But he has still not been able to return to training and has now been ruled out of the trip to West Ham and the home game against Liverpool the following week. Ferguson said: ‘Wayne Rooney is still injured. We’re surprised it’s longer than we thought. We expected him back training but he’s not. It’s nothing serious but if looks as if he’ll out for another two weeks or so. ‘He won’t be fit for that I don’t think. Hopefully two weeks will sort it but it’s a loss and although we’re in great form you want your best players available for the big games coming up.’
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