Italy legend Paolo Maldini doesn’t understand why Roy Hodgson omitted left back Ashley Cole from the England squad for the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil.
The former AC Milan icon played at the very top level for the Italian giants till he was 40 years old and he believes Cole is one of the best left backs of his generation and should have been picked for the event.
Maldini also hailed the Chelsea full back, who is out of contract this summer for his commitment and his attitude in playing big games, where he has excelled against top teams more often than not.
The former Italian skipper said that Cole would have been the first name on his playing eleven were he the manager of England and believes Roy Hodgson made a potentially fatal mistake in not picking him for the FIFA World Cup 2014.
The Italian, who won over 100 caps for his country before retiring in 2002, said that Cole is without a doubt one of the greatest left backs and he has not seen anything from him to suggest that he is not at the top of his game right now.
Maldini admitted that the England manager might have his own train of thought but if it were up to him, Cole would have been an automatic selection in the side.
The legendary left back said that not only was Ashley Cole one of the best players for England in big games, but he has always handled whatever task given to him and he has kept some of the biggest names quiet in matches when England were pitted against them.
Hodgson picked young Southampton full back Luke Shaw for the FIFA World Cup 2014 prompting Cole to retire from international football after more than a decade.
Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis has already played a pivotal role in the title race after his team managed a 1-0 shock win over Chelsea at Selhurst Park. Since taking over at the club amidst relegation fears, Pulis has done an excellent work by actually guiding the team closer to the top half of the table. Still, he is not happy with the question of the club with four matches remaining. As a result, he says that Crystal Palace will be going all the way towards reaching the magical 40 point mark, which will guarantee them safety.
Pulis has received a lot of plaudits for the work he has done at the club amidst relatively low-budget compared to their counterparts. The club are seven points above the drop zone having been in the relegation zone for most of the campaign. They have won the last three matches without exception and this has pushed to them into a good position with four matches remaining. However, they still remain three points away from achieving the magical 40 point mark and with matches against Liverpool and Manchester city to come, Pulis is not taking any chances.
Pulis may not have won plaudits for his football style, but he is once again proving that there are none better at getting results.
“That goes for a lot of the clubs trying to get over the line to stay in the league for next season, and for those clubs trying to win the league. We play Man City and Liverpool at home but our focus is not worrying about whether we stop them from doing anything, our focus is making sure we cross the line. I’m just thinking about Everton, and how we can get up there and try to take points. I don’t care as long as we stay up,” said Pulis.
Melbourne Victory suffered a 4-0 loss against Melbourne Heart as they played at the Aami Park and the head coach of the team, Kevin Muscat stated that his team has to stop giving their opponents the chance on scoring so many goals because of mistakes made by his own team.
Kevin Muscat and his men played against Guangzhou for the Asian Champions League and arrived back from China only some days ago but despite having a fairly busy schedule, Muscat stated that travelling does not gift the opposition goals.
“You can’t tell me that travel and fatigue gifts the opposition goals,”
“It was the worst possible start we could have had considering the week we’d had. We give away a goal to Orlando Engelaar trying to play out and then the second goal by Mate Dugandzic was, well, we’d given the ball away, but it was an accident, a miskick. Then Strebre took over.” Muscat said.
Kevin Muscat had stated that despite losing against Guangzhou Evergrande, his team still was upbeat and were ready to play the derby with Melbourne Heart but despite the positive statements that was made by Muscat; his side still suffered a 4-0 loss.
”The boys are upbeat; I think it’s a perfect game to come back to. It saves us from training too much,” he said. ”We are looking forward to tomorrow night now. You can bring in travel, fatigue and all that, but it won’t count for anything tomorrow night.” This was the comment that Muscat said prior to their match against Melbourne Heart.
The busy schedule of Melbourne Victory continues on with Central Coast Mariners being their next opponents as they are scheduled to play on March 7 at the Aami Park.
Inter Milan’s 2nd half of the season can be boosted if their new owner Erick Thohir decides on giving Walter Mazzarri a sizeable budget for him to recruit new players and help them for the remainder of the season.
Rodrigo Palacio was signed not too long ago and since his arrival, the player has made a significant impact in the team but the same cannot be said to Diego Milito who is struggling just to stay in shape.
Daniel Osvaldo cannot find a regular starting place in Southampton and has been linked with a possible to move Inter Milan as well as Fiorentina. Guiseppe Rossi of Fiorentina has left Vincenzo Montella without many options left for him on the attacking department of the team and Osvaldo is on their radar.
Alessandro Matri of Ac.Milan failed to secure a regular and consistent place on the squad which is now led by Tassotti but Inter Milan could use them as a backup player and will be willing to offer Zdravko Kuzmanovic in exchange.
Chelsea are leading the race for Fredy Guarin and despite no official approaches of bids having been made to the public according to Thohir, the Colombian player may soon be seeing his way out of the club.
Thohir told the Indonesian site Liputan6.com: “Guarin is an excellent player and we’d like to keep him, but when there are offers from big clubs you need to take it into consideration. We can’t force him to stay if his heart isn’t in the club.”
Thohir is eager to turn Inter Milan into a squad that can fight not only for Serie A but also the Champions League and he has already stated that before he can make any signings he will have to sell some of his own players first.
Sunderland barely made it out from the relegation zone during the last season as they finished it only 3 points ahead of the relegated team Wigan Athletic and things haven’t changed in this new season as they are sitting in the 19th spot with 7 points only being able to claim 2 victories so far.
Their current situation is so dyer that the coach said they will not renew contracts of the players due to the relegation struggles they are going through.
“We [within the club] have started talking about it I think in this situation, the players are clever enough to realise it’s going to take time.
“We might not be able to do it earlier because at the end of the day, we don’t know where we’re going to be. I think for the players it’s good as well. We can see how they do’’.
“Those who play week-in, week-out will have it easier than those who are not. But overall, yes we’ve got too many players who are out-of-contract and we’ve got to slowly start sorting it out. Depending on who you are, you might get a contract quicker than others’’.
“We are in constant contact with the players. Every player knows where he stands’’. The Uruguayan coach said.
Sunderland are scheduled to play against Chelsea, Tottenham, Stoke City and Aston Villa in their next Premier League matches which makes it even harder for them to make a turn but if the change does not happen then there is no doubt that a number of players will be offloaded during the next transfer window as their head coach already confirmed.
Celtic made an offer for Peterborough United striker Lee Tomlin when he was playing a match for his club. Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson has criticised the Scottish club for this offer. Tomlin had to be substituted at half-time, and Ferguson claimed that the striker was unsettled after the arrival of the bid during the match. Ferguson has also gone on to reveal that Celtic made a total of three bids during the day, but he has insisted that the player will not be sold.
Peterborough have made a good start to the League One campaign by managing to get 12 points from the opening five matches. This has put them third in the table and they are on course to being one of the promotion contenders at the end of the season. They were relegated from the Championship last season and they will be hoping to get back into the second division of English football on the first asking. The transfer deadline day in Scotland is set two days ahead of the English transfer window. This is believed to be the reason behind Celtic’s pursue of the player during the match.
Celtic have already sold a number of key players and they are looking to strengthen their squad once again.
“I can confirm that Celtic have made a bid on the day of a game – three times. In fact, they made one bid during the game. It completely unsettled my player, but he’s going nowhere. If that’s how they do their business, a big club like Celtic, then so be it. It’s completely unsettled him clearly in his performance, but he’s not for sale, so they can bid as much as they want. I’m not being critical of Lee at all,” said Ferguson to the BBC after the match.
Manchester United are one of the favourites to win the Premier league in the coming season despite the absence of Sir Alex Ferguson from the dugout. David Moyes, who replaced the Scot a few months ago, has had a difficult pre-season tour in which United have lost a couple of matches to inferior opposition. Despite this, defender Rio Ferdinand thinks that United will be one of the strong forces in the coming season mainly because of their experience. Even though the United team features a number of youngsters like Rafael Da Silva, the club still has the likes of Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs in its squad.
These are players who have been part of the United team that has tasted a lot of success in the last two decades. Ferdinand believes that this experience will give them a great advantage over the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea. Even though United’s form in the pre-season has not been great, Ferdinand thinks that they will be able to find their rhythm once the season starts. United have been given a difficult run of fixtures in the first few matches, as they will be facing the likes of Chelsea. Ferdinand, who recently signed a one-year contract extension, is looking forward to the start of the Premier league.
“We’re confident. If we had to go into the season with the players that we’ve got now I’d be more than confident and with high hopes of doing well and winning trophies. If the manager adds to that and chooses to add to that, then great – but it remains to be seen. I’m taking away a great experience of my first trip with Manchester United in general and what the football club means around the world. But I’ve also had a chance to get to know the players,” said Ferdinand.
One moment James Derbyshire is wearing the famous colours of Manchester United and dreaming of being the next big thing the next he is preparing for life at Miramar Rangers.
The 19-year-old midfielder has been released by the English Premier League champions after 10 years and has just signed with the Wellington football club. Derbyshire, who arrived in Wellington yesterday, made 12 appearances last season for the Red Devils’ reserves, who are coached by former Norwegian striker and Old Trafford legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
And with the Wellington Phoenix still chasing a couple more signings before the new A-League season starts, Derbyshire could give fans a reason to get excited.
“When the English PFA [Professional Footballers Association] contacted me about this, it was an opportunity I couldn’t really say no to,” Derbyshire said. “I thought it would be fantastic for me, experiencing a different type of football in a different country. I’m excited.”
Originally from Warrington, near Manchester, he joined United as a nine-year-old and was part of the club’s academies and youth teams until his release. Miramar coach John Cameron was on the lookout for a big signing when he was alerted to Derbyshire last week. The signing was made with help from Team Wellington, who contributed to the cost of bringing him out.
United’s official website describes Derbyshire as a “versatile and extremely useful player with plenty of skill”. His preferred position is in the central midfield. He said United was a “fantastic” club but it was time for a change.
“I’ll see what doors open for me but I’m really excited about it. I’m just eager to meet the boys here and play.” Although he would appear to be better suited to a bigger team, he and the Phoenix are being cautious about an A-League career. “I’m just seeing how things go. I don’t want to think about that just yet. I just want to do my job with Miramar Rangers for now.”
The Phoenix were unaware of his move to the capital, but chief executive Tony Pignata said yesterday: “A kid at that age and on our doorstep, we’ll be having a look at him.”