Falcao looking to extend United stay

Radamel Falcao has admitted he is looking to turn his loan deal at Manchester United into a permanent switch at the end of the season despite a tough start to life in the Premier League.

The Colombian striker joined United on summer deadline day from Monaco on an initial season-long loan deal, with the option for the Red Devils to make the deal permanent for £43.5 million. Continue reading Falcao looking to extend United stay

STURRIDGE LEFT OUT

England manager Roy Hodgson will not be selecting Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge for the upcoming Euro 2016 qualifying matches against Estonia and San Marino, but the former Liverpool boss has denied suggestions that this decision has been based because of the pressure from Brendan Rodgers. The current Liverpool manager is reportedly concerned about the fitness of Sturridge, who has played only three Premier league matches since the start of the season. The return of the 25-year-old is vital for Liverpool and their ambitions of remaining in the Champions League.

Sturridge’s first major injury concern this season came when he was with the England national team during the first international break. Since then, he has already missed several matches, but a setback in recent weeks has pushed his return date further. It is now looking likely that he will be fit in time for the matches against San Marino and Estonia, but Hodgson will not be taking him as a precaution. Hodgson has rejected suggestions that he has decided to omit the striker due to pressure from Rodgers. Rodgers also hinted that the training methods of England were dangerous. Hodgson did not take long to hit back at him on this regard as well.

“The interesting thing for the session where Daniel got injured is that he was quite keen to take part because he was such an important part of it, and we were trying to develop a new system of play. He was the forward who understood it best. He was more than happy to come in and help us to get our points over. I understand Brendan being unhappy. We are never happy when we send a player back injured, but we do our best,” said Hodgson. England are top of their group with nine points from the opening three matches.

Pogba commits himself to Juve

Paul Pogba has ended speculation linking him with a return to Manchester United by signing a new contract with Serie A champions Juventus. The Frenchman’s previous deal with the Italian giants had been set to expire in 2016, but the midfielder has now committed himself to Juventus until June 2019 after signing a new contract worth a reported £70,000 a week.

The former Manchester United youngster had been linked with a number of European football’s biggest clubs in recent months, most notably a potential return to Old Trafford. This new contract has calmed those fears, however, and Juventus fans will be delighted to know Pogba isn’t looking to leave the Italian champions. Continue reading Pogba commits himself to Juve

Arsenal need to learn from Manchester United’s mistakes

The day will eventually arrive when Arsene Wenger will have to walk away from Arsenal, whether that is due to retirement, in the quest of a new challenge or down to being pushed out of the club.

It is difficult at the moment to put a date on when Wenger and Arsenal will part company. Not many people expected Sir Alex Ferguson to do the same just after his side had wrapped up the Premier League title in the 2012/13 campaign to reward bet fair punters who had backed the Red Devils to win the trophy. Continue reading Arsenal need to learn from Manchester United’s mistakes

Everton still searching for first win

Everton were expected to be one of the challenges for a top four place this season after managing to strengthen the squad substantially during the summer with signings like Romelu Lukaku and Gareth Barry. However, the start to the season has proven to be tough affair for the toffees, who are still searching for their first victory of the season. Many would have expected Everton to finish with at least six points from the opening nine matches given that there are playing against one of the newly promoted teams with the rest of the two matches at home.

However, Everton could manage only a 2-2 draw with Leicester on the opening day of the season and they have since followed that up with a draw and a defeat. The 2-2 draw against Arsenal was especially tough on Everton given that they were leading 2-0 going into halftime before throwing away the lead in the second half. They managed to put up a spirited performance against Chelsea before ending up in the wrong side of a nine goal thriller at Goodison Park. The 6-3 defeat just before the international break left Everton just one place above the relegation zone.

Hence, there is real pressure on Martinez and his men to deliver three points when league action resumes with Everton taking on West Brom away from home. “The Hawthorns is always a tough place to go. If we remember last season we had a very good performance for a long period but then they reacted really well in the second half, and their fans got behind them. We expect a tough game, We know a lot of the individuals there and obviously the manager had been a part of our fabric for a long time so you can imagine that it’s going to be a lot of understanding between the two teams,” said Martinez.

Lampard Still Available For England Squad

Chelsea legend Frank Lampard recently sealed a free transfer to New York City FC, who will be joining in the new MLS campaign from the 2015 season. At 36 years of age, he has managed to secure a two-year contract with the North American club. However, there have been rumours that Lampard’s international career is effectively over after this move since it follows the path taken by several former England stars like David Beckham. Beckham struggled to maintain his international career after the move to LA Galaxy in 2007. It was a combination of a lower level of football and huge distances involved in returning back to Europe.

Lampard, though, says that he will still be available for selection if England manager Roy Hodgson decided to take him for the national team duty. Hodgson is believed to be of the opinion that Lampard has a lot to offer even at this age. This belief was widely evident from the decision to take the 36-year-old to World Cup 2014 despite the squad being oriented towards youngsters. Lampard scored more than 200 goals for Chelsea in all competitions. He represented them for 13 years during which time he won numerous titles including the Champions League.

He has maintained throughout his career that he will never turn his back on the England national team as long as he was playing. “I need to think about England, I haven’t got a complete answer on that at the moment. Now I know where I’ll be playing my football next year, I can make that decision. I’m going to keep fit, that’s the main thing,” said Lampard. The midfielder was even made as the vice captain at the World Cup. He recently returned to England after securing a six-month loan spell with Manchester City in order to maintain his fitness.

ROONEY TO CAPTAIN ENGLAND

Wayne Rooney might be appointed as the captain of the England national football team pretty soon.

After England’s disastrous campaign in the FIFA World Cup 2014, the two senior most players of the English side i.e. Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard are believed to be planning to quit international football.

Gerrard is 36 years of age at the moment; while, Lampard is a couple of years older than him and the next big assignment for the Three Lions is the Euro Championship 2016. Neither of these two players can be backed to remain totally fit and in peak form to make the squad for that tournament.

In fact, you could have bet with William Hill on World Cup 2014 that Lampard wouldn’t even make the squad this time around, let alone 2016!

So, perhaps, this is the perfect time for both of them to hang their boots. If they do so, which is highly expected, it’s Rooney who is tipped to be given the responsibility of captaining the side.

Currently, at 28 years of age, Rooney is a senior member of the Three Lions squad and he is also at the peak of his game. He has received his fair share of criticism for his recent World Cup performances, but, no one would argue that he is still one of the best attacking options that England has. So, he deserves captaincy at least till the next Euro Championship.

If the sources are to be believed, Rooney himself is also interested in taking over as captain and he has made the manager Roy Hodgson aware of his desire.

Rooney has led England a couple of times in the past. The most recent occasion when he had gone on the ground to represent his country with the captain’s armband on was in 2012. It was the game against San Marino.

Rooney, in total, has played 95 matches for England in which he has scored 40 goals.

Hodgson Cautions Against Italy

England boss Roy Hodgson has stated that the team must be extremely cautious when they take on Italy in their opening match of the World Cup 2014. England have been given a tough group stage draw since they will be meeting teams like Italy and Uruguay at this stage. However, the team has been getting a lot of confidence in the warmup friendly matches, while manager Roy Hodgson has also called up a young team. Only a couple of experienced players have been included in the squad. As a result, Hodgson has been trying to give all his experience to the team in the last few weeks.

A couple of players like Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling have caught the eye in the warmup and training prior to the tournament. However, Hodgson has stated once again that there needs to be a rethink about the expectations from this young squad. Only after a couple of matches will the world be able to judge their performances according to Hodgson. England will not have a lot of matches to impress at the World Cup. They have to win their opening group match against Italy in order to stand a good chance of reaching the knockout stages. Their final match in the group will be against Uruguay.

“Let’s see good performance in an England shirt before we say they’re world-beaters. I must advise caution. As yet they have not had the chance to show in an England shirt that that potential will be realised – we think it will be, but they have not had that chance yet. We have more pace, more mobility, a lot of technical players. I’m not trying to play down the fact that the future looks quite bright and there are interesting times ahead. This is the World Cup and we are also going to need our more experienced players,” said Hodgson.

ENGLAND TIPPED

England are one of the contenders to win the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2014 according to Brazil’s technical director Carlos Alberto Parreira. Even though England come into the competition after not having won major tournament outside their home, Parreira reckons that the team has enough quality in order to become a real challenger for the title itself. England have not reached the semifinals of the World Cup since 1990 and many believe that the club are one of the favourites to get knocked out at the group stages itself.

This is because England have been given a tough group – at least on paper – with former champions like Uruguay and Italy also eyeing a place in the knockout stages. Chile are the other team, who are expected to be no pushovers since they have come in leaps and bounds over the last few years. Parreira managed to win the World Cup in 1994 and he says that England should be considered as a potential challenger. Roy Hodgson comes into the tournament with little pressure on him. This is unlike the stage that previous England managers found themselves in since there was usually a lot of expectation on the national team.

However, repeated failures appears to have brought about a change.

“The group is very tough … nobody can say right now who is going to survive in this group. If [England] survive they can go very far in the competition. We played them twice, we lost one and we drew the second one. The team is very good, I rate them as one of the favorites together with Spain, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Germany. I like Gerrard very much; he is, for me, a wonderful player,” said Parreira. He also stated that Steven Gerrard would be in the Brazilian team without a shadow of doubt.

1966 AND ALL THAT

In a bid to win the first World Cup since 1966, England will be resorting to the services of a psychiatrist for the upcoming World Cup 2014. England manager Roy Hodgson confirmed this news in a recent press conference. This has been followed by the arrival of Dr Steve Peters, who has done exceptionally well with the British cycling team that managed to win gold at the recent Olympics. He has already worked with several players at Liverpool, while also helping Ronnie O’Sullivan – a snooker champion. Peters is also worked with Tour de France winners as well.

Hodgson says that he is the perfect man England need right now since the national team has found the capabilities on the pitch. However, they need to strengthen a lot in terms of mental abilities, which will help them overcome their past failings. England have not managed to get past the quarter-finals of recent major tournaments, and it is understood to have become a huge mental block on the players. Hodgson decided to bring in a number of new players for the friendly against Denmark. Even though it was not an exceptional match, the new and young players managed to get a crucial 1-0 win thanks to a late goal from Daniel Sturridge.

Hodgson believes that he has a group of winners in his hands, but needs a psychiatrist to tune them properly.

“He has got a fantastic record. We are happy we have got the man we wanted. He is someone who can understand the footballing environment rather than just lecturing to the players. We have to make sure that all benefits that might help us win more matches and go further in the tournament are exploited. He will really come into his own when we are in the tournament and he has time to work with the players,” said Hodgson.