Thursday, 10 February 2011

Denmark 1 - England 2

Our photo source is a bit of a problem at the moment.....

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Carroll can prove he is the man for Liverpool and England

Liverpool took a massive £35 million risk when they opted to sign Andy Carroll on transfer deadline day. With a chequered past to say the least, Carroll has the opportunity to become an Anfield legend – or be consigned to the bin marked “expensive flops”.

Tottenham Hotspur certainly thought Carroll was overpriced and baulked when a sum north of £30 million was mentioned. But at such a young age – the Gateshead-born lad is 22 – he can offer a different type of return on Liverpool’s investment and establish himself in the England set-up for some time to come.

For the Andy Carroll Liverpool experiment to work, he must offer a long-term return for his club and country.

Fabio Capello certainly believes Carroll is the man for England in the long run. Earlier in the week he declared Carroll along with Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere as the future for England. But his temperament means and the baggage that comes with him means that off-the-field matters come as part of the parcel with Carroll.

He has a police caution for an assault involving a woman from 2008, and was involved in a nightclub fight in 2009. Before his move to Liverpool he was forced to live with team-mate Kevin Nolan after being accused of assault by a former girlfriend. It is fair to say that Carroll needs to develop both on and off the pitch for Liverpool to able to justify spending such a large sum on him and for England to place their trust in.

But in Kenny Dalglish and Fabio Capello he has the ideal mentors to help develop his career. Capello, known to rule with an iron fist, will not accept any trouble from him. He made an example of John Terry when his off-field antics interfered with his game, while a man who commands as much respect as Dalglish does from the Liverpool faithful will not be likely to put up with ego’s or out of line behaviour.

Carroll can contribute positively to the fortunes and help rebuild both Liverpool and England. He has talent and a presence most other big men in the Premier League lack. His 11 goals this season have marked him out as a striker that has an eye for goal with the ability to hold the ball up well – a rare combination.

He will not give Liverpool three excellent goal-filled season’s like Fernando Torres did, that is not his game. What he can do is bring the play of Liverpool together; to provide a target for Steven Gerrard’s accurate passing and holding up the ball for the marauding Raul Meireles to latch on to. The same applies for England – his ability to link the midfield and attack mean he can be equally as useful as Torres for Liverpool and Rooney for England, but in a different manner.

He will not get a headline grabbing goal tally, but he can prove he is a £35 million player if he performs consistently over a long period. All he has to do is stay out of trouble and do what he does best. He is currently out injured have damaged his thigh after falling off a bar stool drunk. Dalglish and Capello will not see the funny side of this.

Lord Triesman points finger “weak” FA

Former FA Chairman Lord Triesman has told a Parliamentary select committee investigating the way football is run, that he believes it was “impossible” to implement any changes during his time in charge to help the game.

Triesman became the first independent in 2008, but resigned from the role last June. He was also Chairman for England’s failed 2018 World Cup bid but was forced to step down after he was caught up a tabloid sting.

Triesman, who was appearing before MPs on the culture, media and sport select committee, Channel 4 chairman Lord Burns and former FA chief executive Graham Kelly, hinted at deep rooted problems within the FA that are affecting their ability to run the game.

He said he believed it was “impossible to make the changes” for the good of the game, and added that the FA were struggling to maintain power over the running of football in England.

Triesman said the FA’s governance was “thoroughly unsatisfactory", and added "apart from onfield discipline,(the FA) has backed out of regulating completely".

Speaking to BBC Sport, he said the chief reason the FA were struggling to maintain authority was due to the Premier League, who he said is the “ultimate authority” in English football.

The decisions that really decide what is going to go on in English football are taken by the Premier League," Triesman said.

"The control of the huge resources flows largely through them. It naturally enjoys a great deal of authority. But I have always thought that football is one sport.”

"The interests have got to reach from Old Trafford right through to football played by kids organised in parks. You can't have just one interest dominating it.”

The amount of money that the Premier League generates puts them in control of how the game is run in this country, and means the two bodies are in “competition” with each other.

The committee will hear further evidence before deciding if its report will suggest major changes to how the sport’s governing body operates.

Perhaps it is time for football fans across the country to check out Scratch Cards Online and win the money to run the Premier League themselves?

Monday, 7 February 2011

England squad hit by injury

England suffered a blow ahead of their friendly against Denmark at Wembley on Wednesday after Steven Gerrard, Peter Crouch and Ben Foster were forced to withdraw through injury. Gabriel Agbonlahor will also miss the game for personal reasons. England manager Fabio Capello has called up Rob Greene and Carlton Cole as replacements.

Liverpool Captain Steven Gerrard, who would have also captained England on Wednesday, picked up a groin injury in his side’s 1-0 victory over Chelsea which has ruled him out for around a week, while Crouch and Foster have both been released from the squad after a medical assessment on Sunday night.
Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish insists Gerrard will miss the game, but he will still undergo a medical assessment by England doctors today. Dalglish said: “He has to go so they (England) can have a look at him but we've spoken to England and he'll not be playing."

With Gerrard out injured, and Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand also unavailable, Capello will be forced to name a new Captain for the midweek friendly. Ferdinand was announced as Captain last February but a knee injury which ruled him out of the World Cup meant Gerrard stepped into the role from his position of vice-captain.
The role will likely be given to Chelsea’s Frank Lampard or Wayne Rooney. Rooney lead the side during their friendly against Brazil in Doha, but after Lampard was elevated to vice-captain after Ferdinand missed the World Cup in South Africa last year, he will be favourite for the position.

Previous captain John Terry was removed as captain after revelations about his personal life last year. Terry’s alleged affair with then team-mate Wayne Bridge’s ex-girlfriend meant he was forced to give up the armband.

Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere will likely step into Gerrard’s midfield position behind Rooney if Capello opts to play a lone striker, or may occupy a deeper position alongside Frank Lampard if the Italian opts to play two strikers.

Check out the latest Scratch Cards information this week and perhaps you could win the money to buy your place in this depleted England squad!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

England hope Rooney continues good form ahead of Denmark match

England boss will be a relieved man after star striker Wayne Rooney found his scoring boots again as he fired Manchester United to a 3-1 over Aston Villa last night.

Rooney capped an excellent performance with two well taken goals. His first goal was a masterpiece in execution, latching on to a Van Der Sar long ball, the former Everton man took the ball down excellently before driving a fierce shot past Brad Freidel after just one minute, before doubling his tally when Nani found him with an excellent cross.

The manner of the performance will please Capello more than the goals, although the Italian will be happy Rooney is back amongst the goals after a barren spell. Rooney’s goals against Villa meant he doubled his tally for the season, and after missing games over the crucial Christmas period Rooney is now hoping to get back amongst the goals. He said: “I have been happy with my play but obviously I want to score”.

“As a striker you want to score goals but I have been happy with my performances, apart from the Blackpool match last week.” He added.

Rooney was impressed with the service he received during the game and will now hope the likes of Ashley Young and Aaron Lennon will be able to provide a similar standard of delivery for the striker. Although he struggled in an England shirt recently, he is still amongst the favourites with bigfreebet to finish his country’s top scorer in the European qualifying campaign.

The Manchester United man endured a torrid time during England’s doomed World Cup campaign, failing to score and publicly berating supporters for criticising his performances. An ankle injury meant he was sent to America by his club to recoup. The biggest controversy of the season came however, when the 26-year-old handed in a transfer request to his club. He soon retracted his request and is now looking to recapture the form that saw him score over 30 goals in the 2009/10 season.

Big free bet will likely see his odds for finishing as top scorer for United as long after Dimitar Berbatov’s 19 goals so far this season.

England play Denmark at Wembley on February 9th ahead of the resumption of their crucial European Championship campaign against Wales in March. Capello will need to complete an immaculate qualifying campaign if he is to regain the trust of a nation, and needs Rooney to be fit to help him do so.