Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

April 11, 2006

Three wise men can come to Rooney’s aid

Filed under: EURO 2008 — Ivan @ 6:39 am

The News Review:

* Sutton signs for Villa
* Owen off the crutches and looking ahead
* All eyes on rising star McGeady
* Three wise men can come to Rooney’s aid
* Shevchenko happy with London life despite poor start
* Celtic can’t afford a below-par game by even one man
* Newcastle rule out O’Brien loan
* Scots stall on a new deal for Smith
* Doyle takes dip in fitness bid
* Todorov out of Bulgaria squad
* Carr drives Ireland deeper into crisis
* McDonald ready to stand in for Staunton

Sutton signs for Villa
Telegraph.co.uk – Apr 10, 2006
Craig Bellamy has been picked to captain Wales in their Euro 2008 qualifiers against Slovakia and Cyprus. Liverpool striker Bellamy is a controversial choice as he faces a potential three-day court appearance in Cardiff between the two matches on a charge of assault, which he denies. Wales manager John Toshack has opted to appoint Bellamy, 27, in the absence of an injured Ryan Giggs. It is a surprise decision by Toshack, who only last month expressed concerns that Bellamy’s preparations for the matches might be affected due to the court case, even without the captaincy to add to his responsibilities. “We have the situation with Bellamy… “I would hope and expect him to play in both matches, knowing him as I do. But it is something we will have to think about. I am not sure how we will handle the training situation with Craig. He will be in court while we are working, I will look into how we manage that. “England striker Michael Owen has not ruled out playing again this season. Owen ruptured his knee ligaments in England’s match against Sweden at the World Cup and has not played since. He said: “I have targets.

Owen off the crutches and looking ahead
Telegraph.co.uk – Apr 10, 2006
The next steps will be walking, then swimming and running. The ultimate target is to play in a match, but that’s still some time away. “Owen has not played since rupturing knee ligaments at the World Cup and still faces up to nine months out. I have a specific game, which is probably miles off. It gives me something to focus on,” Owen, 26, said… “One thing he did say when I was leaving was, ‘If you ever had to retire through injury the last thing it would be would be because of your knee’. “Wayne Rooney will be granted a licence to roam behind Peter Crouch against Macedonia at Old Trafford on Saturday, according to head coach Steve McClaren. Suspended for two Euro 2008 qualifiers following his World Cup expulsion, Rooney returned to England training at Carrington with speculation rife over whether he should start against Macedonia given his lacklustre form for Manchester United. McClaren quickly dispelled the doubts. “Wayne Rooney, believe me, will be in the team as long as he’s fit,” he said. “Players have to be playing well and have to be in form, but Rooney is a world-class player and can make the difference at any given moment. He’ll be an asset for us.

All eyes on rising star McGeady
Telegraph.co.uk – Apr 10, 2006
Yesterday Neil Lennon, his captain at Celtic, was backing the decision McGeady, 20, made in his mid-teens to throw in his lot with the country of his paternal grandparents, turning his back on his Glasgow roots to wear the green of Ireland. It is still not a decision supported in pockets of Scotland, but Lennon said: “Whatever a few people in Glasgow might think about it, he did it for his own career. I have no doubt it will be to his benefit. “If he gets his chance for Ireland he will go as an established Celtic player and a guy who is much more mature than the frail kid we saw a couple of years ago,” Lennon said… I have no doubt it will be to his benefit. “If he gets his chance for Ireland he will go as an established Celtic player and a guy who is much more mature than the frail kid we saw a couple of years ago,” Lennon said. “Going forward, he can be a dream at times and the delivery he provides the strikers is excellent. I see nothing but good times ahead for Aiden. “Not so good for manager Steve Staunton was the news that Alan Quinn, the Sheffield United midfielder called up at the weekend to cover a growing injury list, has had to withdraw following the death of his mother on Monday.

Three wise men can come to Rooney’s aid
Telegraph.co.uk – Apr 10, 2006
A creature of instinct, a footballer who learnt his game in rumbustious street kickabouts in Croxteth, now fears his naturally combative approach to football leads only to referees’ bad books. The street footballer finds himself trapped in a cul-de-sac. Self-analysis does not come easily to Rooney. Where others would dissect the problem and get their show back on the road, Rooney seems to be wandering through games like a ghost, almost scared to make a challenge for fear of angering another official and triggering another avalanche of reproving headlines. There were times during… ” Rooney was unfortunate that Pepe milked the accidental contact and Bossen was conned. When the FA’s independent disciplinary commission then added further insult to iniquity and banned Rooney for three games, England’s best player must have felt the world was against him. As Rooney returns from injury and suspension to the England fold, joining up with his colleagues at the squad’s Salford base tonight, it is important that this gifted footballer receives help before the Euro 2008 qualifiers against Macedonia on Saturday and Croatia next week. Fortunately, ‘International Rescue’ is at hand. Three wise men can turn Rooney’s season around, guiding him out of the doldrums and back under the velvet ropes of the limelight club: Steve McClaren, Steven Gerrard and Bill Beswick. England’s head coach has publicly backed Rooney, even castigating the FA for the lack of justice in imposing the three-match ban.

Shevchenko happy with London life despite poor start
Telegraph.co.uk – Apr 10, 2006
“Players go through difficult times and it happens to everyone,” said Shevchenko, who celebrated his 30th birthday last week, “but I feel young and full of energy. “I chose Chelsea and I will continue on this path. Nothing can change my choice. Life goes beyond football… He said: “Chelsea are a strong team, who fight to win everything just like Milan. “But while Shevchenko believes the goals will return to help Chelsea protect their title, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger yesterday claimed he will resume league action confident his side can wrest the title from Stamford Bridge. “It’s satisfying to think that Chelsea are not the only ones who can be successful, even with money,” Wenger said. “Chelsea can be beaten this year in England. I’m convinced of that. And I believe we can beat them. “Wenger said his major achievement of the past decade was to have transformed the club’s image, from “boring Arsenal” into a spectacular side.

Celtic can’t afford a below-par game by even one man
Telegraph.co.uk – Apr 11, 2006
The most obvious example of a player out of sorts was Gary Caldwell, who put Benfica ahead with an own-goal after only 10 minutes as he tried to divert a dangerous cross away from the on-rushing Nuno Gomes. Caldwell, generally a consistent performer – and scorer of Scotland’s winning goal in the qualifier for Euro 2008 against France at Hampden Park last month – seemed so unnerved by this that he compounded his misfortune by utterly misjudging a mighty punt down the field by Quim, Benfica’s goalkeeper. He made the fatal error of turning his back on the lob as he retreated towards his penalty area and was horrified to see, as he glanced back up, that the ball was on him. It skipped off his shoulder straight into the path of the lurking Nuno Gomes and the forward, whose scoring record for Portugal is close to a goal every two games, demonstrated his predatory efficiency by firing a bullet-like strike past Artur Boruc, before the exposed goalkeeper could react. Caldwell was lucky not to be punished even more harshly for subsequent errors in dangerous situations – he was also nutmegged by the shot from which substitute Andrei Karyaka scored Benfica’s third – and anguish was plain to see on his features throughout the journey home and his understandably swift exit from Glasgow Airport. The defender’s performance was bad, but his team-mates shared varying degrees of culpability… He made the fatal error of turning his back on the lob as he retreated towards his penalty area and was horrified to see, as he glanced back up, that the ball was on him. It skipped off his shoulder straight into the path of the lurking Nuno Gomes and the forward, whose scoring record for Portugal is close to a goal every two games, demonstrated his predatory efficiency by firing a bullet-like strike past Artur Boruc, before the exposed goalkeeper could react. Caldwell was lucky not to be punished even more harshly for subsequent errors in dangerous situations – he was also nutmegged by the shot from which substitute Andrei Karyaka scored Benfica’s third – and anguish was plain to see on his features throughout the journey home and his understandably swift exit from Glasgow Airport. The defender’s performance was bad, but his team-mates shared varying degrees of culpability. Perhaps the most troubling consequence of Celtic’s impotence in Lisbon was the failure to score at all after having netted three times against the same opposition two weeks previously. Had Celtic and Manchester United both won in Group F on Wednesday, the pair would already be able to contemplate possible opponents in the knockout stage. Instead, the group is replete with possibilities and menace – for Celtic in particular.

Newcastle rule out O’Brien loan
Ireland Online – Apr 10, 2006
uk: ?I cannot afford to let any of our young players move out on loan, even though some of the young lads would benefit from regular games. ?We are competing on four fronts this season, and we have a few injuries at the moment. It is no secret that we do not have the biggest squad, and I do not feel I can let any of my players leave at this moment in time.

Scots stall on a new deal for Smith
Telegraph.co.uk – Apr 10, 2006
On Saturday they meet France at Hampden Park and travel to Ukraine next Wednesday. Scotland’s last appearance at a major tournament was in the World Cup finals in France eight years ago. Smith’s current agreement expires at the end of this qualifying campaign but, though his assistant, Tommy Burns, has suggested that the SFA act before Smith is headhunted by a major club, Taylor has not scheduled talks. “He’s happy with the contract,” Taylor claimed. “It’s not a subject of current talk… Smith’s current agreement expires at the end of this qualifying campaign but, though his assistant, Tommy Burns, has suggested that the SFA act before Smith is headhunted by a major club, Taylor has not scheduled talks. “He’s happy with the contract,” Taylor claimed. “It’s not a subject of current talk. It’s very much a matter for Walter himself, as to what he feels he wants to do. All the indications are that he’s happy, it’s a job that appeals to him and it’s a job he’s doing well and that he feels comfortable with. I think he’s exceeded expectations. “Smith evaded the contract issue yesterday.

Doyle takes dip in fitness bid
Ireland Online – Apr 10, 2006
The Reading forward sustained an ankle strain in Sunday?s 1-0 win at West Ham, making him a serious doubt to face the Cypriots at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia. To hasten his recovery, Doyle yesterday, and again today, took a dip in the icy water off the coast at Malahide. Doyle, who has enjoyed a superb start to the Barclays Premiership campaign in the wake of the Royals? promotion with three goals to his name, later joined the rest of the Irish squad on the flight across to Cyprus… Let?s just say he is in with a chance. ?If Doyle fails to make it, it is likely Ireland captain Robbie Keane will be partnered by Crystal Palace?s Clinton Morrison. Morrison sat out most of yesterday?s training session as a precaution with a tight calf muscle, but showed no ill effects during today?s work-out. Goalkeeper Paddy Kenny was also involved in a full training session at Malahide United?s Gannon Park after the Sheffield United number one was predominantly rested yesterday due to a recent thigh problem.

Todorov out of Bulgaria squad
Ireland Online – Apr 10, 2006
Todorov, who missed a penalty in Sunday?s 2-1 defeat at Blackburn, is struggling with a muscle strain and has returned to Wigan for treatment. Andrew Webster?s latest run-out in the reserves, meanwhile, ended in disappointment last night when the defender scored an own goal in a 3-0 defeat to Manchester City. Webster, who endured a protracted transfer from Hearts over the summer due to complicated UEFA laws that freed him early from his contract at Tynecastle, conceded the third at the Regional Athletics Arena. Webster has still to make his senior debut for the Latics as he is behind in his fitness following the transfer saga, not helped by a couple of niggly injuries… Andrew Webster?s latest run-out in the reserves, meanwhile, ended in disappointment last night when the defender scored an own goal in a 3-0 defeat to Manchester City. Webster, who endured a protracted transfer from Hearts over the summer due to complicated UEFA laws that freed him early from his contract at Tynecastle, conceded the third at the Regional Athletics Arena. Webster has still to make his senior debut for the Latics as he is behind in his fitness following the transfer saga, not helped by a couple of niggly injuries.

Carr drives Ireland deeper into crisis
Ireland Online – Apr 10, 2006
Already without Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given, midfielders Steven Reid of Blackburn and Sunderland?s Graham Kavanagh, as well as Black Cats striker Stephen Elliott, Newcastle right-back Stephen Carr has now withdrawn with a hamstring problem. To add to Staunton?s woes, striker Kevin Doyle is a serious doubt for Saturday?s clash with Cyprus in Nicosia with an ankle injury sustained in Reading?s 1-0 win at West Ham on Sunday. However, if Doyle does miss the Cypriot clash at the GSP Stadium, there is still a chance he could be fit for next Wednesday?s Lansdowne Road visit of the Czech Republic… To add to Staunton?s woes, striker Kevin Doyle is a serious doubt for Saturday?s clash with Cyprus in Nicosia with an ankle injury sustained in Reading?s 1-0 win at West Ham on Sunday. However, if Doyle does miss the Cypriot clash at the GSP Stadium, there is still a chance he could be fit for next Wednesday?s Lansdowne Road visit of the Czech Republic. Staunton confirmed: ?Stephen?s hamstring is not right so he has stayed back in Newcastle. As for Kevin, he didn?t train with the rest of the squad yesterday and is struggling for Saturday, but he should be all right for Wednesday. ?Sheffield United goalkeeper Paddy Kenny, who only returned to the Blades team for Saturday?s 2-1 win over Middlesbrough following a three-match lay-off with a thigh problem, took part in only half of the training session at Gannon Park as a precaution. It was a similar story with Crystal Palace striker Clinton Morrison, who has a tightness in his calf, although both he and Kenny are expected to be fit to face Cyprus if called upon.

McDonald ready to stand in for Staunton
Ireland Online – Apr 10, 2006
MacDonald takes charge of the team for Saturday’s clash against Cyprus in Nicosia due to Staunton serving a one-match touchline ban. The Ireland manager was handed the suspension by UEFA after being dismissed from the dugout during his side’s 1-0 defeat to Germany in Stuttgart early last month. Under UEFA rules, Staunton will not be allowed any contact with the team or member of his coaching staff from the moment Ireland enter the GSP Stadium. With Bobby Robson, Ireland’s international football consultant and Staunton’s right-hand man still recuperating from surgery to remove a small brain tumour, MacDonald will be the man holding the reins… MacDonald takes charge of the team for Saturday’s clash against Cyprus in Nicosia due to Staunton serving a one-match touchline ban. The Ireland manager was handed the suspension by UEFA after being dismissed from the dugout during his side’s 1-0 defeat to Germany in Stuttgart early last month. Under UEFA rules, Staunton will not be allowed any contact with the team or member of his coaching staff from the moment Ireland enter the GSP Stadium. With Bobby Robson, Ireland’s international football consultant and Staunton’s right-hand man still recuperating from surgery to remove a small brain tumour, MacDonald will be the man holding the reins. Aston Villa’s reserve team coach will be assisted by Alan Kelly and Pat Devlin against the Cypriots, leaving Staunton to look on from the stands. MacDonald, though, has no qualms about taking on the role given his coaching experience over the years, spending over a decade with Villa after previously working at Leicester.

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