Date: 27th March 2008 at 10:50am
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I’ve been dreading this Wednesday of international friendlies for a while. Between two important league encounters, one week ahead of a Champions League quarter-final, United players scatter in the world to play meaningless friendlies.

Fortunately, Nani and Ronaldo pulled out of Portugal’s squad at the start of the week – minor injuries, according to the club, but you can bet they’ll be fit against Villa. Patrice Evra was not used in the desperately dire France v England game where Rooney played only 45 minutes while Hargreaves excelled. Brown completed 63 minutes with a poor performance, Rio did well as captain.

Nemanja Vidic also played, far from his best, as Serbia succumbed to a 2-0 loss against Ukraine and of course there was Anderson, coming on for the last half hour against Sweden at the Emirates, his every touch booed by those charming gooners. I don’t know how he did and I’m afraid the same charming gooners’ opinions count little with me.

The most important though is that no fresh injuries were reported and United have an almost full squad to choose from against Villa, the usual suspects (Gary, Silvestre) aside. Apart from this relief, the midweek games had little significance – in fact, they confirmed once again that midweek friendlies during one of the busiest part of the season are so useless, meaningless and pointless that it’s really not worth bothering with them.