Pardew not ruling Redknapp out

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew says Harry Redknapp can still lead England at Euro 2012, but hailed Roy Hodgson as an ‘outstanding’ candidate.

West Bromwich Albion manager Hodgson has been approached by the Football Association for talks regarding the position.

The 64-year-old is the first to be spoken to about taking the vacant post, but Pardew said on Monday a line should not yet be drawn through Tottenham manager Redknapp’s name.

“First and foremost, the media have concentrated on the fact that he (Hodgson) has got the job, and as far as I have seen he has got an interview, which is a little bit different,” Pardew said.

“I think for Harry Redknapp it might be that they’re waiting till the end of the year to talk to him because he’s obviously still playing for something.

“With all due respect to Roy, their (West Brom) season is relatively over, so that might be something to do with it. Obviously we’re all guessing.

“Just touching on Roy, I still think he’ll be an absolutely outstanding candidate for the England job and, if he was to get it, I would wish him well, but still think maybe there’s an opportunity for Harry Redknapp somewhere here.”

Newcastle slipped to fifth in the Premier League after suffering a shock 4-0 loss against Wigan on Saturday, and face Chelsea in a huge clash on Wednesday.

Pardew said he was eager for his team to impress in big matches as they look to secure a surprise European spot.

“This team doesn’t need to measure itself against anybody. We’ve proven that all year, but these are big games and we want to perform well in them for our fans,” he said.

“We want to give our fans an end to the season that makes them proud because we have done absolutely brilliantly.

“And the performance in the first half against Wigan wouldn’t have made anybody proud, so we’ll make sure we’ll put in a performance that’ll send our fans home proud regardless of the result.”

Mon 30 April, 2012
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Dalglish maintains league focus

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has urged his players to focus all of their efforts on their upcoming Premier League clash with Fulham.

With the Reds unable to earn Champions League qualification and having already claimed a Europa League berth next term, Dalglish is keen to remind his players that there is still plenty left to play for this season.

Liverpool have an FA Cup final meeting with Chelsea to look forward to on Saturday, and Dalglish sees Tuesday’s home clash against Martin Jol’s side as a last chance for his players to earn selection for the Wembley showpiece.

“We’ve said to all of the players we want to give you the best possible chance to be available for selection on Saturday,” Dalglish told the club’s official website.

“We want the strongest possible squad we can to pick from for Saturday’s game, and there are many ways we can do it.

“If someone needs a break we’ll give them a break and if someone needs a game we will give them a game, because every single one of them are more than capable of playing in a cup final for this club.”

The Scot added that he is yet to finalise his plans for the FA Cup showdown, reiterating that the Fulham match will be an audition for players wanting to feature.

“It’s going to be a difficult selection as it always is but it’s a difficult selection for tomorrow night as well,” Dalglish said.

“Everybody will be treated fairly and equally and everybody will be allowed to put their CV in for selection on Saturday.”

Mon 30 April, 2012
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Musonda ready for Arrows return

The Golden Arrows are set to welcome back Joseph Musonda after the defender’s two-month absence because of a knee injury.

The reliable 34-year-old, who recently reached 100 appearances for Zambia, limped off inside the opening 10 minutes of his team’s Africa Cup of Nations final victory over Ivory Coast in February.

Musonda is back to full fitness, and his return is likely to be crucial for the Arrows, who are struggling in the South African Premier Soccer League.

“I am fit and ready for action and have no pain whatsoever,” Musonda told Kickoff.com.

“It has not been an easy time because this was the longest time I had ever been out of action due to injury in my playing career.

“I thank God and the staff at Arrows for all the help during my recovery.”

Mon 30 April, 2012
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Advocaat to step down after Euros

Russia coach Dick Advocaat has revealed he will step down after the European Championship this year.

The Dutchman’s contract expires after the tournament in Poland and Ukraine.

Advocaat says that he will not take up an offer of a two-year extension.

“After the European Championship, I’ll go,” the 64-year-old told Sport-Express. “I haven’t told the players yet, but I’m sure it won’t affect our preparation for the tournament.

“We will make every effort to have a successful campaign.

“I can’t tell you the reasons yet, but knowing about all the speculation, I’ll say right now it’s not about the money.”

Advocaat succeeded countryman Guus Hiddink in May 2010, and has led Russia successfully through qualification for Euro 2012.

Russia will compete in Group A in the tournament alongside Poland, Greece and Czech Republic.

Mon 30 April, 2012
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Is Roy Hodgson set to be unveiled as England boss?

Reports in the English media are suggesting that West Brom manager Roy Hodgson is set to be named as the new England boss.

The appointment of the veteran boss will come as a bit of a surprise as Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp was considered the heavy favourite for the job.

Surprise

It has seemed for a long time that England had chosen Harry Redknapp and nobody else was really considered for the position.

Tottenham’s recent blip in future and Redknapp’s off the field controversy may well have contributed to him not getting the job.

Grudge

The Tottenham boss claimed that he holds no grudges towards the former-Liverpool for getting the job. He told Sky Sports News HD: “No problem. I wish Roy, if Roy takes the job, all the best. I’ve got a great job here.

“I am going in today working with some fantastic players, had a great result yesterday and played ever so well. I am very lucky to be working at such a good club as Tottenham, very fortunate.”

Experienced

Hodgson is one of the most experienced bosses in the English top flight. The 64 year-old not only has experience of coaching in the Premier League but also has experience in European and international football. Not only has he been an international boss, but Hodgson has also been an advisor to FIFA.

That means that Hodgson has a far greater knowledge of international football than his counterpart Harry Redknapp. In fact Hodgson has a fantastic knowledge and intelligence about the world game.

Unpopular

Roy Hodgson seems to be a very unpopular choice with the media and the fans. Everybody was expecting media darling Redknapp to get the job and it will now prove even harder for Hodgson because of the apparent snub of Redknapp.

The media have a habit of criticising and chastising England bosses and the British press is merciless when it’s not going England’s way. Hodgson himself has stated that he would only want the job if the fans want him. Unfortunately for Roy I don’t think the majority of England fans want him.

Pressure

When Roy Hodgson was the manager of Liverpool he felt the pressure of being at a high-profile club. The fans and press were very quick to turn on him when the team struggled in his short tenure at Anfield. He only lasted 28 weeks at Liverpool and his time on Merseyside really did damage his reputation.

Hodgson struggled with the pressure from the media and fans. The veteran boss will get far more pressure as England boss, simply because he is not Harry Redknapp.

Safe

Roy Hodgson is regarded as the safe appointment by the FA. A person with experience and a tactical awareness that will produce solid results for the Three Lions. Roy Hodgson apparently fit’s the FA’s bill of what an England manager should be.

Dwelled

The FA have taken a long time to select on a new manager. It’s been three months since Fabio Capello left his position, yet the FA still have yet to confirm a new boss. This dwelling could cost England at this summers European Championships.

If Roy Hodgson does get the job then he will have just over a month to prepare for the tournament in Poland and Ukraine. It’s really not an ideal situation heading into a major international tournament. The FA shouldn’t avoid criticism for their decision to wait this late to appoint a new boss.

Decent

I really do think that Roy Hodgson will be a decent appointment as England manager. He will be the sort of manager that will be able to keep the team solid. However I am just not sure if the British media will give him any leeway to do his job.

If England are going to be successful then the country needs to get behind the team, whoever the new manager is. The England team need support to achieve anything. Good luck Roy, you’re going to need it!

Is Roy Hodgson the right choice for England boss?

Mon 30 April, 2012
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Marin thrilled with Chelsea move

Chelsea signing Marko Marin has spoken of his delight at securing a move to the English Premier League giants.

The German international will move from Werder Bremen to the Stamford Bridge club when the transfer window opens in June after the Bundesliga side accepted a fee of around eight million euros.

Marin told Bild: “There is nothing greater than Chelsea. I’m very happy the transfer worked.”

Meanwhile, Bremen sporting director Klaus Allofs said Marin had not developed into the player they had expected after signing him from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2009.

“Marko’s development was not what we had imagined. He has his strengths, but they are not the ones we need at the moment. A (contract) extension was not an issue as he indicated to us,” Allofs said.

Allofs went on to rule out Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku coming in the other direction, but suggested another player could be on the move from the Champions League finalists.

“Chelsea have other plans, but I will not rule out another player coming to us,” he said.

Mon 30 April, 2012
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Allegri sure of Milan stay

AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri believes he will keep his job despite reports he will be sacked if his team fail to win the title.

Allegri, 44, has dismissed rumours AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi and chief executive Adriano Galliani are considering firing him.

“I will be the coach of Milan next season. I’m 100 percent sure about that,” Allegri said.

“Berlusconi told me again this morning that he’s satisfied with my work, and I don’t think that he also needs to say it publicly.”

Allegri’s side sit second on the Serie A table, three points behind unbeaten Juventus with three matches remaining.

Juve’s resurgence this season has been inspired by former AC Milan midfielder Andrea Pirlo.

Allegri has received criticism for allowing Pirlo to leave the San Siro, but maintains the decision was the right one.

“Pirlo is a great champion, but we have absolutely no regrets whatsoever about him leaving Milan and joining Juventus,” Allegri said.

“Pirlo also wanted a three-year extension of his contract, but the board wouldn’t give him that.

“Besides, he needed new challenges to motivate him. Perhaps he wouldn’t have had such a good season if he had stayed at Milan.”

Mon 30 April, 2012
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Guidolin: Udinese worthy of three points

Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin insists his team deserved their win over Lazio on Sunday despite the controversial finish to the encounter.

The hosts were leading 1-0 when Roberto Pereyra netted the sealer in contentious fashion in stoppage time at Stadio Friuli.

A whistle from the crowd confused Lazio players, with Pereyra carrying on with the game and scoring into an empty net to give Udinese an important 2-0 win.

Players and officials were involved in a push and shove on the sidelines afterwards, with Lazio defender Andre Dias sent off.

Despite the controversial finish, Guidolin said his side were the better team and deserved the three points.

“I would have preferred the game to end with a 1-0 victory and without that fight at the end, we didn’t need that, but that doesn’t make us any less satisfied with the great game we played,” he said.

“We deserved the victory. Now we’re fourth on the table, level with other three super teams and I’m really proud of that.”

Guidolin, whose team are level on points with Lazio, Napoli and Inter Milan in the race for the final Champions League spot, said he had not heard the whistle that caused several players to stop.

“It’s simple. A whistle was heard, or more like three whistles, and the Lazio players got angry and protested for that and then a fight started,” he said.

“Personally, I was annoyed by the fact that some of the Lazio players accused me of not being honest, because they asked me if I had heard the whistle and I told them I didn’t hear it, probably because I was shouting at that moment.

“I really didn’t hear the whistle, I swear it. I felt someone judging and questioning my honesty. That’s what I was annoyed by.

“Then I learnt there had been a whistle, and my players confirmed that to me too, but with or without that whistle the game was already close. That’s all.

“The referee gave the goal. It would have been better to end the game at 1-0, without that final goal and the fight that followed, the game was already over. It was 10 seconds from time. We had the ball and the game was finished.”

Lazio coach Edy Reja refused to face the media after the game in protest at the decision.

Mon 30 April, 2012
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Montpellier star welcomes Manchester United link

Montpellier defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa admits he is flattered by reports linking him with a number of high-profile sides.

The France Under-21 international is already playing his fifth season as a first team regular at Stade de la Mosson and it appears that he will be looking for a new challenge in the summer.

The 22-year-old is regarded as one of the best centre-backs in French Ligue 1 and he has seen his name linked with a host of big European clubs.

Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool are being mentioned as potential destinations and the player is not prepared to rule out any options.

“To play for Manchester United would be a great satisfaction and a dream which could become reality,” Montpellier captain told Canal +.

“Arsenal, also, is a big team. Marseille, also, despite of their difficulties, remains very attracting. I would never have thought that Marseille would follow me.”

The highly rated defender is enjoying a brilliant season with Montpellier, with Rene Girard’s side currently sitting five points clear of their rivals at the Ligue 1 summit.

Yanga-Mbiwa has been one of the most consistent performers in the side this term, having featured in 30 Ligue 1 games.

Mon 30 April, 2012
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Quagliarella pens Juve extension

Fabio Quagliarella has signed a new contract with Juventus that will keep him in Turin until the end of the 2014/15 season.

The striker still had two years to run on his previous deal with the club but has now put pen to paper on a 12-month extension.

Quagliarella joined the club on loan from Napoli in August 2010.

He made a blistering start to his Juve career, scoring nine goals in his first 17 Serie A appearances before tearing his anterior cruciate ligament midway through the season.

Juventus still opted to sign the forward on a permanent basis, a decision that has been vindicated by the Italian’s impressive form this season.

Antonio Conte’s Juventus top the Serie A table and are three points clear of second-placed AC Milan with three games remaining.

Mon 30 April, 2012
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