Managing the differences for club and country

Posted by Mark Payne

Premier LeagueGettyImagesRio Ferdinand's exile from the England team has been ended

The relationship between player and manager is not always an easy one. Many bosses are famously unpredictable and players are often petulant. It is no surprise that these fragile relationships can affect team selections and results. Most of United's players are internationals and, as such, have more than one boss to keep happy. Their experiences can vary wildly.

Rio Ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand's England recall is a real boon for the Manchester United defender. After being snubbed for Euro 2012 he was denied his last chance to play at a European Championships. Ferdinand is made of stern stuff and has responded by knuckling down and returning to the kind of form he produced consistently in his pomp.

- Rio and Cole urged to mend relationship

Two short years ago there were serious concerns about his ability to compete at all, such was the severity of his back problems. He deserves much credit for his resurgence, it is borne of hard work and perseverance. He has actually started more Premier League games (20) than any other United centre-back this season.

Rio's contract is running down and there have been rumours of a move to either the MLS or China. Now that England manager Roy Hodgson has not only selected him for international duty, but also named him as "a contender for 2014", he can be expected to stick around for another year or two. He is still the best defender at the club.

David de Gea
Being underappreciated in the workplace is a feeling many can relate to. Having your every move scrutinised viciously is downright unpleasant. Nobody doubts the quality that former United captain Gary Neville brings to his new job as a TV pundit, but the hatchet job he did on de Gea after United had played Spurs recently was over the top.

Thankfully, Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque wasn't listening and De Gea has been called up for the national squad. This is a tremendous accolade for the United number one and he is having a terrific campaign. The pressure he has been under is ludicrous, but he has made great progress with his game. He will continue to do so too. After some indecision early in the season, Fergie has stuck with de Gea consistently since November. This latest call up for Spain is further vindication of that decision.

Patrice Evra
The France left-back is having one of his better seasons at United. His defending has become tidier as the campaign has progressed and he has always provided the team with an outlet going forward. This season he has even pitched in with four goals.

However, there is no love lost between Patrice and France coach Didier Deschamps. Evra was blamed for his role in Les Bleus embarrassing player revolt at the 2010 World Cup and was often left out of the side after that. This week, three years later, although back in the squad, Deschamps said: "He won't be captain under me and he knows why."

The wispy winger has really been running the gauntlet at Old Trafford this past couple of years. It is no secret that he can occasionally irk his team-mates by not passing enough and frustrate his manager by not applying himself. He is also a bit of a poseur.

However, Nani is a wonderful footballer and when he turns it on can win matches United. It was his performance off the bench that saw off this weekend's opponents in the FA Cup a few weeks ago, and he wants more of the same this Saturday.

"Over the next few games I can surprise a few people," he said this week. "This is my time and I think I can be important for the team." Whilst still not a world champion in the realm of humility, the coming match could be a good opportunity for Nani to prove he really does know the meaning of the word teamwork.

If he does so, Fergie might not sell him in the summer.

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