Wenger warned over Rooney move

Arsene Wenger has been warned against making a move for Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney.

Former Arsenal midfielder Stewart Robson suggested that the French boss would struggle to keep the 27-year-old under control.

The Premier League club have been linked with a move for the striker, who has 83 England caps to his name, as they seek to boost their attacking options following another trophyless campaign.

But Robson urged Wenger to turn his attentions away from Rooney and look elsewhere.

“Everybody says that the problem he (Rooney) had with Sir Alex Ferguson was with his fitness levels and how he was looking after himself,” Robson told talkSPORT. “I’m not sure Arsene Wenger is the sort of confrontational manager who is going to pull (him) to one side and say, ‘I’m not happy with this’.

“I think it might be a problem. Would he be a good player for Arsenal? Would he take them to the next level? I think he would improve them, I’m just not sure he’s the player Arsenal need to go on to become champions of Europe or champions of the Premier League.”

Robson’s advice for the manager who has won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups did not end there.

“Arsenal need a real strong backbone in that midfield. I would get (Marouane) Fellaini if he’s available,” he continued.

“I’ve seen him play many different roles for Everton. He does things on the ball. He’s not going to be an expansive passer but Arsenal have got those expansive players, they need to now get a balance between the creative side and the more destructive side, you can’t have one without the other.”

Sun 30 June, 2013
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Cardiff in for Ince

Blackpool boss Paul Ince has revealed that Premier League newcomers Cardiff have made a bid for his son Thomas.

The England Under-21 international’s stock has continued to rise and his 18 goals for Blackpool last season certainly did his future prospects no harm.

Cardiff are looking to strengthen ahead of their first top-flight campaign since 1961-62 and Thomas Ince appears to be top of their shopping list.

However, dad Paul has hinted that his son’s development may benefit from another season at Bloomfield Road.

“Cardiff have come in massively for Thomas and the chairman has accepted their offer,” he told TangerineTV.

“It’s a case of when he comes back, we’ll sit down and see what he wants to do.

“He loves it here and he said to me he’s not in any rush to get to the Premier League or to leave Blackpool.

“It’s 50/50 at the moment. It’s a tricky one for me because obviously you want your son to be playing in the Premier League but you also want him to be playing with you.

“I still think he has one or two, maybe three things he needs to improve. As far as improvement there’s still a long way to go – will he get that in the Premier League? I’m not too sure.

“I know what he needs because obviously he’s grown up with me. Another year at Blackpool wouldn’t hurt him.”

Sun 30 June, 2013
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McDermott: Byram wants to stay at Leeds

Sam Byram is set on winning promotion with Leeds United in preference to a Premier League move, according to his manager Brian McDermott.

Byram, 19, starred last season for Leeds, making 53 appearances in all competitions on either the right side of defence or midfield.

He scooped three awards at the season’s end, including the club’s Player of the Year gong, and as a result he has been the subject of reported interest from the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool.

McDermott, who took over at Leeds in April, believes that Byram would rather help the Elland Road club secure a top-flight return than earn himself of a big-money move.

“He’s got some real composure and he’s a great lad. He has the mentality to go as far as he wants to go,” McDermott told talkSPORT.

“He’s not just a talent, he works his socks off and wants to get better. He needs to be playing games for us and developing his career with us, in my opinion.

“It’s happened in the past when young lads, who are 18 and 19 and 20, and they have gone too early to so called big clubs and never get an opportunity.

“He played 44 games in the league for us last year, so I think the more games and experience he can get at our level and a big club like we are, then I think it the better it is for us.

“His ultimate ambition to be a Premier League player with Leeds United because Leeds United going back a long, long time, have been a successful Premier League side. That would be his ultimate ambition.”

McDermott also revealed that Leeds’ financial situation was still poor, with the club having to sell players to buy during the off-season.

Those comments came despite Leeds being linked with a move for Crewe midfielder Luke Murphy.

Leeds allowed striker Steve Morison to join Millwall on a season-long loan on Friday, wanting to use the player’s wages elsewhere.

“We’re in a situation at the moment where we have to wheel and deal a bit really. That’s where we’re at,” he added.

“We are wheeling and dealing and doing the best we possibly can to get in the players we need. One or two go out the door, that could happen as well.”

Sun 30 June, 2013
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Hearts allowed to keep Wilson

Hearts defender Danny Wilson will remain at the embattled club, the Scottish Premier Football League have confirmed.

The future of the centre-back was the subject of much conjecture after Hearts were placed in administration, which resulted in the club being placed under a transfer embargo.

Wilson, 21, was at the Edinburgh club on loan from Liverpool in the second half of last season, and he made 15 appearances for in all competitions.

The former Rangers player was out of contract at the end of the season and after impressing at Hearts, signed a three-year deal at Tynecastle in May, with the deal due to begin when his loan ended.

After the deal was confirmed, Hearts went into administration and doubt raged over whether Wilson would be allowed to actually join the club.

Hearts administrators BDO made John Sutton redundant on Thursday, allowing him to go to Motherwell, but Wilson has agreed to take a pay cut.

And the Scottish Premier Football League (SPFL) announced the deal would not be counted as a new registration, allowing him to remain at Hearts.

A statement on Hearts’ official website said: “Heart of Midlothian FC is pleased to confirm that Danny Wilson is to remain at Tynecastle following his period on loan from Liverpool.

“The Scotland international’s contract with the Anfield outfit expires (on Sunday) but he will keep featuring in maroon after the SPFL confirmed that his registration will continue.

“Although the current administration which the club is subject to has meant an embargo on new player registrations, as the 21-year-old is already registered with the club there is no restriction on his move from Liverpool to Hearts.”

Sun 30 June, 2013
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Caldirola tipped for greatness with Bremen

Luca Caldirola is expected to slot seamlessly into Werder Bremen’s defence next season, sporting director Thomas Eichin has claimed.

Caldirola, who captained the Italy Under-21 side into the final of the recent UEFA European Under-21 Championships, officially joined Bremen last Wednesday.

And Eichin has heaped praise upon the Italian, who joined from Cesena, insisting he will be an integral part of their defence.

“Luca’s already played a lot of games for his age. He’s now in a position to lead a back four,” he told Bundesliga.com.

“He has an excellent technique and a real flair for starting moves from the back.”

Caldirola began his career with Serie A side Inter before embarking on a number of loan spells which saw him play for Brescia and travel to Eredivise outfit Vitesse.

The young centre-back insisted he did not need to think twice about the move to Germany when the opportunity arose.

“When my agent told me Werder were interested, I said yes right away. They’re a great club with great tradition and I’m really looking forward to the years ahead,” he told the club’s official website.

Sun 30 June, 2013
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UEFA Champions League Preview: Hopefuls begin European campaign

Just four teams are in action when the first round of qualification for the UEFA Champions League begins on Tuesday.

An unfancied quartet will go head-to-head as they bid to come through the first of three two-legged qualifying rounds that would see them into the group stages of Europe’s premier cup competition.

First up, Armenian Premier League champions Shirak host their Sammarinese counterparts Tre Penne at the Gyumri City Stadium.

Shirak won the Armenian title by nine points ahead of Mika last term and will be strong favourites against Stefano Ceci’s men, who lifted the Campionato Sammarinese di Calcio by beating Libertas in the play-off final.

Ismael Beko Fofana will shoulder the hosts’ goalscoring hopes, with the 23-year-old Ivorian having netted on 14 occasions in 2012-13, and he will aim to lead his team to a second qualifying round meeting with Serbian champions Partizan Belgrade.

Elsewhere, Lusitanos, reigning champions of an Andorran league ranked 53rd out of 53 nations by UEFA, take on Faroe Islands outfit EB/Streymur.

Lusitanos, who sealed the second league title in their 14-year history last season, are recognisable due to the similarities between their badge and that of the Portuguese national team.

They also boast a Portuguese manager, several players from the Iberian nation and a legion of fans who have immigrated over to Andorra.

By contrast, their Faroese opponents’ entire squad and coaching team is made up of people originally from the Danish archipelago.

The teams are competing for a second-round clash with Georgian champions Dinamo Tbilisi.

Sun 30 June, 2013
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Where does Wayne Rooney’s future lie?

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney handed in a transfer request, but will he still be at Old Trafford next season?

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney handed in a transfer request towards the end of last season. Will he still be at Old Trafford next season?

Wayne Rooney’s situation at Manchester United is a confusing one. If you read any of the British tabloids, you will read conflicting reports.

The Sunday Mirror, states that Arsenal has made a £20million bid for the England star.

However, the People, a sister paper of the Mirror claims that Rooney is preparing to sign a new contract, but only on his current salary. It really is hard to understand whom to believe.

Meeting

David Moyes officially takes over as Manchester United boss tomorrow. One thing that seems certain is that the Scot will sit down and discuss Rooney’s future with the striker and his agent at some point in the next week.

It appears that Moyes wants the 27-year-old to stay at Old Trafford, despite the fact that at Everton the pair did not see eye-to-eye. In fact, Moyes sued Rooney over certain claims in the strikers’ autobiography.

It seems that the pair has now made up, and Rooney put in a transfer request prior to Moyes being announced as Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor at Old Trafford. It remains to be seen what the meeting will achieve.

Second fiddle

Wayne Rooney played a second fiddle to fellow forward Robin van Persie at United last season. The Holland international was considered United’s first choice striker and Rooney was moved around into different positions.

Rooney has never complained about the fact that he is no longer the star turn at Old Trafford, but there is a sense that Rooney is happier when he is centre stage. It seems that Rooney is frustrated at Manchester United, because Van Persie is considered the star player.

However, it will be difficult for Rooney to find a club where is again centre stage, as only major clubs will be able to afford him. Those clubs already have their own star turns in situ.

Speculation

There has been major speculation about the strikers’ future. Rooney has been linked with a move to a number of clubs including United’s arch-rivals Manchester City. The two latest links are that Rooney could move to Arsenal or Barcelona.

Brazilian superstar Neymar, who has just joined Barcelona, has encouraged the England international to join him in Catalonia, after the Catalan giants were linked with a £25million move for the striker in the Spanish.

Everybody at Arsenal seems to have sung the praises of Rooney this summer, from boss Arsene Wenger to shareholder Ivan Gazidis. The Gunners have also stated that they could afford to purchase Rooney, if they wished.

Both these moves look very unlikely to me. Firstly, Barca have just signed a forward in the shape of Neymar, who is a different sort of player to Rooney, but is still a forward nevertheless. If Barcelona does strengthen their attack this summer, then I would have thought they would look at signing a number nine, not another number ten like Rooney.

Spanish international David Villa looks set to leave the Nou Camp this summer, with believed interest from Premier League clubs Arsenal and Tottenham. In a way, Neymar has already replaced Villa in the Barcelona squad .

It would be difficult for Rooney as he likes to operate in the same areas that the likes of Andres Iniesta, Neymar and Lionel Messi and it could get very messy (pardon the pun).

I do however believe that Rooney is probably the only English player with enough technical ability and football intelligence that would have a chance of making it at Barcelona. The only thing that could let him down is his mentality, which has been questioned at times throughout his career, with allegations of Rooney’s general fitness being poor.

A move to Arsenal would be a very interesting one for Rooney and Arsenal. The Gunners are in desperate need of a striker, with attacking options very limited at the Emirates. However, a bit like Barcelona I think the Gunners could do with an out-and-out striker, rather than a Rooney-type player.

However, I do believe that Rooney would be a good signing for Arsenal. He would be a first choice striker again and the move may give his career fresh impetus. The apparent impending arrival of Gonzalo Higuain from Real Madrid could scupper the deal though.

Staying

Where Wayne Rooney’s future lies will be dictated by what happens when the striker talks to new boss Moyes in the next week. Ironically, after all the talk of a big money move I believe that the striker is more likely to stay at Old Trafford and be playing for Manchester United next season than elsewhere.

Putting in the transfer request may just have been Rooney showing the fact that he does not feel appreciated at Old Trafford and just like the William Shakespeare play of the same name, the story could be Much Ado About Nothing.

Where will Wayne Rooney be playing his football next season?

Sun 30 June, 2013
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Lahm: Bayern enjoying Guardiola influence

Pep Guardiola is already making a good impression on the Bayern Munich squad, according to the club’s captain Philipp Lahm.

The former Barcelona boss moved to the Bundesliga champions earler in June and oversaw a 15-1 victory over a local supporters club on Saturday.

While he is likely to face sterner challenges during his time at the Allianz Arena, Lahm believes the Spaniard’s input so far has been valuable.

“We’ve only been working together for three days, however, it is clear he is positively crazy about football and someone who keeps an eye on detail, who works really well with the team and who’s open minded,” the Germany international said.

Franck Ribery, who recently signed a new contract with the club which will keep him there until 2017, said there were noticable differences between Guardiola’s methods and those of former coach Jupp Heynckes.

“He’s good, he has many differences compared to Jupp, different exercises, different training methods, he’s a coach that talks a lot with the players and who’s always positive and wants to make the team better, which is always good,” said the Frenchman.

“Now we have to train better. It’s always difficult after a holiday, but it’s good.”

Guardiola learnt German ahead of his move to Munich and midfielder Thomas Mueller believes it has helped communication so far, even if there have been some teething problems.

Mueller said: “He speaks German very well, but from time to time he needs to write something down, if it’s getting to difficult.

“I think regarding the fact that he only learned the language six month ago and German is not really close to Spanish he’s doing a great job. But we all also speak some English, so if ever a word is missing than we say it in English and then it’s fine.”

Guardiola will be tasked with continuing the success Heynckes brought to the club, with Bayern winning the treble last season.

Sun 30 June, 2013
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Goal-line technology gets ref´s backing

A leading referee has given his backing to the goal-line technology that is set to be rolled out in the Premier League next season.

Dutch official Bjorn Kuipers will take charge of the FIFA Confederations Cup final between Brazil and Spain on Sunday, with the HawkEye system having been in place throughout the tournament.

The technology, which enables officials to tell if the ball has crossed the line, has not been called into action so far in the competition but will be employed again in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, as well as in the English top-flight from the 2013-14 campaign.

And Kuipers acknowledged that he could see the benefits of having goal-line technology in place.

“Until now we haven’t had to use it because there was no moments involving critical situations in this tournament,” he said.

“But we’ve had a very good explanation about this goal-line technology. We have a watch and when the ball crosses the line, it vibrates and beeps and that will be marked as a goal on my watch.”

Brazil’s showdown with world and European champions Spain looks set to provide the Confederations Cup with a fitting finale.

The tournament has featured a host of memorable matches and Kuipers is looking forward to his role in proceedings.

“These countries are great football countries – Brazil and Spain,” he added. “But in every match we prepare. We prepare match analysis, we look for the key players, we look about the style of playing, we look about who makes long passes, what they do with corner kicks.

“We analyse every single player and we analyse the matches, so we are prepared very well.”

Sun 30 June, 2013
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Uruguay 2-2 Italy (2-3 pens): Buffon inspired in shoot-out to clinch third place

Italy claimed third place at the Confederations Cup with a 3-2 penalty shootout victory over Uruguay after a 2-2 draw in an entertaining third-fourth place play-off at Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador.

Davide Astori slotted home Italy’s opener after an unfortunate deflection off the goalkeeper, before Edinson Cavani’s slotted finish restored parity.

Two brilliant free-kicks, from Alessandro Diamanti and Cavani late in the second half added to the score, before an entertaining match was settled on penalties after a competitive extra-time period.

In the shootout, Diego Forlan saw his effort saved by Gianluigi Buffon, before further misses from Walter Gargano and Martin Caceres saw Cesare Prandelli’s men claim third.

Despite the extra day of recovery, Uruguay were forced to defend early on in the contest with Giorgio Chiellini glancing a header narrowly wide after a good delivery from Diamanti.

Minutes later, Daniele De Rossi produced a fine pass to set De Sciglio free down the flank, with the latter supplying a dangerous low ball into the box, allowing Antonio Candreva to fire a tame shot at Fernando Muslera in the best of the opening exchanges.

But Italy continued to pose a few problems for la Celeste, and were deservedly ahead halfway through the first period, though who would actually be credited with the goal provided a bit of controversy and a moment of history.

Diamanti’s fine set-piece from the right slammed against the crossbar, before taking a cruel blow off the back of bamboozled goalkeeper Muslera. After bouncing on the line Astori made sure, tapping the ball into the net to hand the Azzurri the lead, with goal-line technology subsequently used for the first ever time to determine the goalscorer.

Oscar Tabarez’s side rallied following that setback. First, Luis Suarez fired a testing effort at Buffon which the Italy keeper smartly tipped over the bar, before Cavani’s headed goal from Forlan’s free-kick was ruled out for offside.

There continued to be chances at both ends. El Shaarawy picked up a loose ball from distance before striking on the half volley from 25 yards, only to see Muslera turn it behind. Uruguay then had a shout for a penalty after the ball bounced up on Chiellini, but referee Djamel Haimoudi thought otherwise.

Uruguay grew in confidence in the second half, and soon equalised. Walter Gargano led the surge through the midfield before picking out Cavani with a fabulous pass, slipping the ball behind the defenders, before the Napoli forward coolly curled a low finish past Buffon.

The South Americans continued in the ascendancy, and were somehow kept out by a supreme double save from Buffon. Forlan capitalised on a neat pass to launch a stinging effort at the Italy captain, who produced a world-class stop to keep Italy in the game.

But it was the Azzurri who then went ahead when Diamanti curled home a fabulous free-kick on 73 minutes.

Remarkably, just moments later, it was 2-2 with Cavani repeating the trick with a sumptuous 30-yard dead ball effort which beat Buffon as the game progressed towards extra-time.

The additional 30 minute period failed to separate the teams once more, but Montolivo was sent off for a second bookable offence following a clumsy trip on Suarez, though Uruguay failed to capitalise on their advantage as the match was eventually settled on penalties.

Emanuele Giaccherini capitalised on three misses from Uruguay to slot home Italy’s third in the shootout, and claim victory in what has been a positive tournament for Italy ahead of next year’s World Cup.

Sun 30 June, 2013
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