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17/12/2012 09:44

Papers: United's Messi

Martin Blackburn writes in The Sun...

O’Neill compares van Persie to Messi
Robin van Persie is getting used to compliments in the light of his sensational start at Manchester United - but how about this one. Martin O’Neill reckons the £22million striker is the Red Devils’ answer to Barcelona star Lionel Messi. It doesn’t get much better than that - but then things could hardly be going any better for the former Arsenal skipper at his new club. His opener against the Black Cats was his 15th goal already for United — but he is also becoming something of a talisman for them. Worryingly for Manchester City and other title hopefuls, Alex Ferguson believes his other players are still getting used to RVP. Yet O’Neill says he is giving United the kind of edge which Barcelona have had for years thanks to Messi. The Black Cats chief said: “With players of the calibre of Van Persie in your side, you always have a chance of winning football matches. Would, for instance, Barcelona have the same effect if Lionel Messi didn’t play? The number of goals Messi has scored is incredible. They are a very talented team but without him, you don’t know, because Messi is their talisman. Honestly, van Persie can get goals out of very little. It looks like nothing is happening and you have players there in the area. But all of a sudden he has opened up a gap.”

The Manchester Evening News says United were “banned” from watching Manchester City’s match with Newcastle prior to facing Sunderland on Saturday. The regional paper also carries quotes from Phil JonesChris Smalling and Sir Alex Ferguson - all of which were first published by ManUtd.com.

Elsewhere, many of today’s online editions include footage of van Persie and Shinji Kagawa performing karaoke during the players’ Christmas party on Saturday.

More: Reds hail Robin reliantGallery: Black Cats beaten | Vida boosts back four

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