ECB extend residency qualification to seven years

England hopefuls face extended wait as ECB raise residency qualification to seven years

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UPDATED:

17:45 GMT, 30 April 2012

The qualification period for cricketers born overseas to play for England has been extended from four years to seven.

The new regulation is to apply to all male cricketers who begin residence in England after their 18th birthday. For those who start to live in this country before they are 18, the period of qualification will be four years.

The England and Wales Cricket Board published an amendment to the regulations for qualification, stipulating the extra period of residence, effective as of April 25 2012.

Qualifier: A number of players born overseas - including Pietersen - have become regulars in the England set-up

Qualifier: A number of players born overseas – including Pietersen – have become regulars in the England set-up

England have fielded a succession of cricketers, in recent years, born abroad but who qualified to be capped by their adoptive country under the four-year rule.

South Africa-born Kevin Pietersen, for example, produced his 2005 Ashes-clinching heroics at The Oval five years after beginning his county career with Nottinghamshire.

Irish eyes: Eoin Morgan came from a non-ICC full member country

Irish eyes: Eoin Morgan came from a non-ICC full member country

The amendment cannot be applied retrospectively and contains a caveat for ECB discretion to reduce the residence period to four years for prospective players who either hail originally from a country which is a non-International Cricket Council full member or who arrived in England before April 25.

That may potentially apply to, among others, Irish players hoping to follow in the footsteps of Dublin-born Middlesex and England batsman Eoin Morgan.

Gary Hooper wants to stay at Celtic

Hooper pledges future to Celtic despite continued interest from Southampton

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UPDATED:

17:31 GMT, 30 April 2012

Gary Hooper is happy to stay at Celtic and fulfil his Champions League ambitions.

Speculation over a move to Southampton resurfaced after Hooper's former Scunthorpe manager Nigel Adkins led Saints to the Barclays Premier League.

Celtic rebuffed Southampton's interest in January and Hooper is content to remain at Parkhead this summer.

Main man: Gary Hooper (left) has been in fine form for Celtic this season

Main man: Gary Hooper (left) has been in fine form for Celtic this season

Hooper scored on his Celtic debut in a 2-1 Champions League qualifying win over Braga last season but the Portuguese side had won 3-0 in the first leg.

So the 24-year-old is eager to get a chance in the group stages by helping Celtic emerge through two qualifiers in the champions route in July and August.

Speaking about the Southampton speculation, Hooper said in the Evening Times: 'There are always rumours about that.

'But I have two years left on my contract, I am scoring goals and I am loving my football.

'There is a big chance for us to play Champions League football next season and that has been a personal ambition of mine for a long time.

Derby delight: Celtic celebrate Hooper's goal against Rangers on Sunday

Derby delight: Celtic celebrate Hooper's goal against Rangers on Sunday

'I loved playing in the Europa League this season and I think the game away to Udinese is one of the highlights of my career. I would love the chance to sample the Champions League now.'

The Englishman, who scored his 24th goal of the season in Celtic's 3-0 win over Rangers, added: 'I am happy playing for Celtic and yesterday just underlined that.

'The crowd, the atmosphere, the feeling when you score at Celtic Park – I think it is amazing.'

Hooper backed manager Neil Lennon's riposte to critics who say they fall down on the big occasion.

In charge: Neil Lennon (centre) led Celtic to the Scottish Premier League title

In charge: Neil Lennon (centre) led Celtic to the Scottish Premier League title

'A lot of people have said we can't handle big games, but I think we dominated the game and kept the ball and I don't think Rangers had many chances at all,' Hooper said.

Meanwhile, Charlie Mulgrew enjoyed a night to remember after being named Celtic's player of the year after heading the opening goal against Rangers.

The defender, who has scored eight goals this season, also won the players' player of the year prize at the club's annual awards night.

Winger James Forrest collected the young player award and Dylan McGeouch won the goal of the season trophy for his solo effort on his debut against St Mirren at Parkhead.

Roy Hodgson has England interview at Wembley

Done deal, Roy After four-hour interview for England job, Hodgson leaves Wembley with document of FA plans for future

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UPDATED:

18:59 GMT, 30 April 2012

Roy Hodgson was grilled at Wembley for four hours in his bid to prove he is the right man for the England job.

The West Bromwich Albion manager arrived in a silver Mercedes at around 2.45pm for his interview for the national job.

He did not leave until close to 7pm after lengthy discussions with the FA hierachy – and he had a copy of the FA's 'draft itinerary' by his side as the car sped off.

Although he has yet to be confirmed as the manager, that is yet more evidence that the FA believe they have found their man.

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All over: Roy Hodgson is driven away from his interview at Wembley

All over: Roy Hodgson is driven away from his interview at Wembley

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Big plans: The official FA document on England's future lies next to the boss

Enlarge

Roy's papers

Big plans, Roy The proposed England boss left the FA headquarters with his 'draft itinerary'

WHAT THE PLAYERS HAVE SAID:

West Brom midfielder Keith Andrews: 'The gaffer is being linked with England for a reason — the reason is he’s very good. If you ask the players, or players who’ve worked under him at previous clubs, the feedback is positive.'

West Brom defender Steven Reid: 'Obviously those in the press who have hammered Hodgson have never met or worked with the man.'

Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic: 'Fair play to Roy Hodgson. Great manager and would be a great appointment for the FA! #classact'

It comes as Harry Redknapp says his hopes of becoming England manager are all but over after the FA moved to talk to Hodgson.

The Tottenham boss says he is not
expecting a call from the FA anytime soon and is already planning for
the future at White Hart Lane.

He insisted that he holds no grudges over his apparent snub, given that he was the overwhelming favorite for the job.

The FA confirmed on Sunday evening that Hodgson is the only man they have approached.

The move for Hodgson comes as a surprise
to many as Redknapp had been the overwhelming favourite for the
England post since Fabio Capello's resignation in February.

There have also been calls from supporters for the FA to provide clarity on the issue and explain why Redknapp has not been interviewed for the position.

David Davies, former chief executive
of the FA said: 'I think Harry will be upset about it. Certainly some of
those around him will be upset, because he’s a real footballing person.

'Having said that, that is not to in
any way to demean Roy Hodgson. Roy was considered on other occasions in
the past when I was more closely involved – Sven was chosen and before
that Kevin Keegan. Roy has gone on building up his CV.

Happy chappy: Hodgson looks delighted as he heads home from talks

Happy chappy: Hodgson looks delighted as he heads home from talks

Silver lining: Hodgson looks on from the back of the Mercedes at Wembley

Silver lining: Hodgson looks on from the back of the Mercedes at Wembley

'My understanding is there was a
shortlist this time as well, of more than two people. No there weren’t
other interviews, but there was lot of research and a lot of talking to
other people in the game.

'The FA believe, as I understand it,
that they have learnt the lessons of the past and they’ve carried out a
very discreet process with no beauty parades. No secret locations.'

Redknapp has insisted that he has never received any contact from the FA regarding the vacancy and does not anticipate a call now that Hodgson has been approached and said he has no bad feelings.

'I don't hold grudges, I don't feel like that,' said Redknapp, speaking at Tottenham's training ground on Monday morning.

Let's go: FA chairman David Bernstein waves to the photographers as he arrives at Wembley

Let's go: FA chairman David Bernstein waves to the photographers as he arrives at Wembley

'I'm very fortunate. I'm so lucky to be working here [at Spurs], working with fantastic players every day. It's dragged on but it's no problem and hopefully we've got a good end of the season to come.

'There's no problem. If Roy takes the job I wish him all the best. He's a great guy. I'm sure he'll be a big success.

'I still think England's got some great players, I really do. I think there's some fantastic players in this country, some young players coming through, some great experienced players.

'I'm looking forward to the European Championships, looking forward to watching it. Life couldn't be better, the sun's shining, my health is good, very lucky man.'

Redknapp added: 'I've woken up in a great mood today
(Monday) on the back of a great win yesterday. I will be
concentrating on Tottenham as I have done all along.

'I can't see it (the England job) coming up for me now,' Redknapp told The Times on Monday.

Back to work: Harry Redknapp arriving at the Tottenham's Spurs Lodge training ground

Back to work: Harry Redknapp
arriving at the Tottenham's Spurs Lodge training ground

No hard feelings: Redknapp wished Hodgson well with the England job

No hard feelings: Redknapp wished Hodgson well with the England job

'Good luck to Roy. Everyone else was saying I might get it but I never spoke to Daniel Levy (the Spurs chairman) about England.'

The former Portsmouth manager is now turning his attention to his job at White Hart Lane and is waiting to learn whether he will be offered a new contract.

He added: 'I've got a great job at Spurs and I'd like to continue that for as long as I can. It's up to Daniel whether I get a new contract but I'd like to stay on.

Best of luck: Harry Redknapp has given his support to Roy Hodgson

Best of luck: Harry Redknapp has given his support to Roy Hodgson

Top choice: Hodgson will speak to The FA on Monday

Top choice: Hodgson will speak to The FA on Monday

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'We've had a few difficult weeks but it's been a great four years. I will plan the future here.'

But the appointment of Hodgson may not be as straight forward as the FA hope as he is understood to be expressing concern that he is not the popular choice.

Earlier this season the 64-year-old insisted he did not want a repeat of his Liverpool experience. He said: ‘I don’t think the Liverpool people thought I was a particularly bad manager, they just wanted somebody else. So having taken on a job in the face of public opinion, I suppose I wouldn’t want to do it again.

End of the dream: Redknapp accepts he will never be England manager

End of the dream: Redknapp accepts he will never be England manager

ENGLAND'S FIXTURES

FRIENDLIES:

NORWAY (A): Saturday, May 26
BELGIUM (H): Saturday, June 2

EURO 2012:

FRANCE (N): Monday, June 11
SWEDEN (N): Friday, June 15
UKRAINE (N): Tuesday, June 19

'I would rather hope that, if I was ever going to be offered the England job, it would be with the backing of the important people. And that would of course be the people like yourselves, who represent the fans, and the fans themselves of course. Otherwise, it’s going to be a very difficult job for anyone who takes it.

'Because even if you’ve got the competence, even if you are the right person, you need to be perceived as the right person. And the perception of my Liverpool appointment was not right and as a result, of course, you end up paying for it.’

The FA remain confident that Hodgson would accept the job despite the fact that Redknapp has received the public support of senior England players as well as members of the FA board.

Redknapp's plight has been compared to Brian Clough by some observers.

Clough did not get the England job either when he was overlooked in favour of Ron Greenwood, which in retrospect looks like a huge mistake.

However, England fans' spokesman Mark Perryman does not believe the comparison is valid.

The FA's man: Chairman David Bernstein says Roy Hodgson is the only man they have approached

The FA's man: Chairman David Bernstein says Roy Hodgson is the only man they have approached

Three Lions: Hodgson is set to take charge of Parker and Co this summer

Three Lions: Hodgson is set to take charge of Parker and Co this summer

HODGSON'S INTERNATIONAL RECORD

SWITZERLAND (1992-1995)

Hodgson took his first international post after impressing in the country's domestic competition with Neuchatel Xamax.

He succeeded in winning qualification to the 1994 World Cup, progressing from a tough group that included Italy and Portugal. His side took four points off the Azzurri, who went on to reach the final.

Hodgson next led the team to qualification for Euro '96 but left before the tournament to take charge at Inter Milan. His final game was a 3-1 friendly defeat to England.

At their peak, FIFA ranked Hodgson's Switzerland No 3 in the world.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (2002-2004)

Hodgson returned to the global stage at the unlikely outpost of the UAE, where he took over responsibility for both the national and Olympic sides.

He remained for 20 months, taking the side to one tournament – finishing fifth in the Gulf Cup.

He later said of the experience: 'That was a period where I didn't know where my career was going. But all these experiences enrich you and it was good to know I could get my message to players who many say are uncoachable.'

FINLAND (2006-2007)

Hodgson took on the task of leading Finland to their first major international tournament and was close to achieving that unlikely feat in qualification for Euro 2008.

He won just six of his matches in charge of the side, but all of those victories came in competitive fixtures.

Notable results included a 3-1 victory at eventual group winners Poland and a 1-1 draw with Portugal.

Finland finished just three points away from qualification but Hodgson opted not to sign a new deal, instead resurfacing at Fulham.

'It is a ridiculous comparison,' said Perryman

'Harry Redknapp has been a manager for 30 years and won one FA Cup.

'Brian Clough won two European Cups and lots of other trophies besides.

'To link the two doesn't stand up at all. Clough was the greatest manager never to manage England. Harry is the populist choice, but so was Kevin Keegan and what an unmitigated disaster that turned out to be.

'Roy Hodgson will be a steady hand on the tiller.

'He took Fulham to the Europa League final, which was a magnificent achievement and on the basis that the best three managers around just now, Marcelo Bielsa, Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, wouldn't want the job, Hodgson is a good choice.'

FA Chairman David Bernstein said: ‘Roy is the only manager
we have approached and we remain on course to make an appointment within
the timescale we set-out soon after Fabio Capello’s departure.’

The news came out in what amounted to an amazing development, FA chairman Bernstein contacted West Brom chief Jeremy Peace asking for permission to speak to the former Switzerland and Finland coach.

Sportsmail understands Bernstein and his three Club England colleagues — director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking, FA general secretary Alex Horne and Club England managing director Adrian Bevington — only informed the FA board on Sunday night.

/04/30/article-2137236-12D0A2DE000005DC-971_634x423.jpg” width=”634″ height=”423″ alt=”Thumbs up from me: Owen Coyle has backed the decision to talk to Roy Hodgson” class=”blkBorder” />

Thumbs up from me: Owen Coyle has backed the decision to talk to Roy Hodgson

Hodgson, however, will cost nothing and is out of contract this summer.

And Bolton manager Owen Coyle has backed the FA's decision to speak to Hodgson, he said: 'It didn't surprise me,

'I always felt it was between the two of them. There was the clamour for Harry and we all understand why.

'But it didn't surprise me that they then tried to approach Roy.

'I am absolutely thrilled. If Roy decides to take the job, there is no doubt he ticks every box in terms of what England are looking for.

'He has a proven track record and international experience. Obviously people made a lot of Harry being the favourite, and I think you have two outstanding candidates there. If it is an English manager you are looking for, then those are the two you certainly would have been looking to choose between.

'Harry was always going to be a difficult one because of the compensation involved, but Roy is a terrific manager, someone I have a lot of time for, and I have no doubts he can bring real success to the England national team.'

Roy for England: An in-depth look at the man set to take charge of the Three Lions

Italian job: Hodgson took charge of Inter in 2005

1947: Born on August 9 in Croydon.
1965-75: Player with Crystal Palace, Gravesend and Northfleet, Maidstone and South African side Berea Park.
1976: Starts managerial career with Halmstad in Sweden, winning two championships.
1980: Joins Bristol City as assistant manager.
1982: Appointed manager at Ashton Gate but dismissed within four months after poor run of results when club is taken over by new owners. Returns to Sweden, where he manages Orebro and then Malmo, who won five consecutive championships and two Swedish Cups under him.
1990: Leaves Sweden for Switzerland, taking over at Neuchatel Xamax.
1992: Becomes manager of Switzerland, whom he takes to the 1994 World Cup finals in the United States. Also in charge when they qualified for Euro 96.
1995: Appointed manager of Inter Milan.
1997: Agrees to become Blackburn manager (left) in the summer. While still at Inter, his side lose to German club Schalke in the UEFA Cup final on penalties.
1998: May: Takes Blackburn into European competition for the first time since 1995 but Rovers win only two of their final 11 Premier League matches to fail in chase for title.
November: Sacked by Blackburn with the club bottom of the Premier League, having taken just nine points from 14 games.
1999: Shortlisted for Austria job. Returns to Inter on April 27 as technical director until the end of the season.
Joins Swiss side Grasshopper.
2000: Appointed coach of Danish side FC Copenhagen. Linked with England job after resignation of Kevin Keegan.
2001: May – Takes Copenhagen to the Superliga title.
August: Takes over as coach of Serie A club Udinese.
December 10 – Udinese and Hodgson part company.
2002: April – Appointed manager of the United Arab Emirates.

Handy: Hodgson took Fulham to the Europa League final

2004: January – Sacked after leading side to fifth place at the Gulf Cup.
May – Joins Norwegian side Viking FK.
2005: August – Agrees to take over as boss of Finland national team.
2007: November 30 – Quits after failing to secure qualification for Euro 2008.
December 30 – Appointed Fulham manager.
2008: Fulham win four of their last five Premier League games of the season to stave off relegation.
2009: Guides the Cottagers to their highest ever top-flight finish, seventh, and ensures Europa League qualification.
2010: March 18 – Oversees a stunning second-leg comeback against Juventus in the Europa League quarter-final as a 4-1 win takes Fulham into the quarter-finals 5-4 on aggregate.
May 12 – Hodgson's side go down 2-1 to Atletico Madrid in extra-time in the Europa League final in Hamburg.
July 1 – Announced as new manager of Liverpool on a three-year contract.
September 23 – Dumped out of the League Cup on penalties at Anfield by League Two side Northampton.
October 3 – Poor form continues with a 2-1 defeat to newly-promoted Blackpool – again at Anfield.
October 15 – US company New England Sports Ventures, owner of the Boston Red Sox, complete their takeover of Liverpool.
December 29 – Criticises Reds fans after another home defeat – this time 1-0 to Wolves.
2011: January 8 – Liverpool announce Hodgson has left the club.
February 11 – Takes over as West Brom coach after the Baggies part company with Roberto Di Matteo.
May – Takes West Brom to 11th in the table after a strong end-of-season run.
2012: April 22 – Leads his side to a 1-0 win over Liverpool on his first return to Anfield.
April 29 – West Brom grant the Football Association permission to speak to Hodgson about the vacant manager's position.

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Nick Barmby suspended by Hull

Chaos at the KC! Barmby suspended as owners fume with outspoken boss

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UPDATED:

18:18 GMT, 30 April 2012

Bubble burst: Nicky Barmby has been suspended by Hull

Bubble burst: Nicky Barmby has been suspended by Hull

Hull City manager Nick Barmby has been suspended by the Championship club pending an internal investigation by owners, Assem and Ehab Allam.

Barmby, who has been in charge since Nigel Pearson’s return to Leicester in November, questioned the Allam family’s ambitions in a recent local newspaper article after narrowly missing out on the play-offs.

The former England international was suspended on the day former chairman and chief executive Adam Pearson, one of his chief allies in the Yorkshire club’s boardroom, walked out.

Fans’ favourite Barmby is expected to remain away for a fortnight as officials investigate his comments in an interview on April 12 in which he was critical of the Allam family, owners of a Hull-based generator firm and 214th on the Sunday Times rich list.

But his future looks ominous and former Wolves boss Mick McCarthy and ex-Derby manager Billy Davies are the first to be linked with the job.

Anne Keothavong out of Budapest Grand Prix after defeat to Klara Zakopalova

Keothavong suffers early exit in Budapest after defeat to fourth seed Zakopalova

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UPDATED:

15:23 GMT, 30 April 2012

Anne Keothavong was knocked out of the Budapest Grand Prix in the first round by fourth seed Klara Zakopalova.

The world No 75 from London had chances to spring a surprise but let a set point slip in the first set and was eventually beaten 7-6 (7/3) 3-6 6-2 in two hours 38 minutes.

With Zakopalova serving at 3-5 in the first set, Keothavong missed a break-point opportunity and was then broken for the fourth time as a see-saw set went to a tie-break.

Early exit: Anne Keothavong suffered a first round defeat in Budapest

Early exit: Anne Keothavong suffered a first round defeat in Budapest

Alex Kay Talks Tennis

She led 2-1 with a mini-break only to drop three points in succession and lose the breaker 7/3 and the set in an hour and four minutes.

The second set saw Keothavong level the match, two breaks of serve setting up a 6-3 success.

She was broken in the fourth game of the decider and though she immediately hit back, that was to be the last game she won as two more breaks carried Zakopalova to victory.

Brendan Rodgers"s son charged with sexual assault and voyeurism

Son of Swansea boss Rodgers is one of four players charged with sexual assault and voyeurism

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UPDATED:

16:38 GMT, 30 April 2012

Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers’ son is one of four players charged with sexual assault and voyeurism.

Brighton trio Anton Rodgers, Lewis Dunk and George Barker have been charged by Sussex Police in relation to an alleged incident on July 17 last year.

Father: Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers

Father: Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers

Bournemouth defender Steve Cook, who was playing for Brighton at the time, has also been charged.

Dunk and Barker, both 20, Rodgers, 19, and Cook, 21, have been bailed to appear at Brighton Magistrates Court on May 11.

Brighton defender Ben Sampayo, 19, has been told no further action will be taken against him over the alleged incident after he was arrested.

A sixth player, Seagulls midfielder Tommy Elphick, 24, was released without charge following the original arrests in January.

The charges come after a four-month investigation by Sussex Police.

London 2012 Olympics: Great Britain dodge America in basketball draw

Team GB dodge mighty Americans as basketball groups drawn in Rio

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UPDATED:

15:37 GMT, 30 April 2012

Great Britain will play Spain, Australia, Brazil and China in the first round of the Olympic men's basketball tournament in London after the draw was made in Rio de Janeiro.

The United States were drawn into Group A, along with Argentina, France and Tunisia, and the first and second teams in the world qualifying tournament, which will be played in Venezuela in July.

Spain are sure to be a tough test for Team GB, having been runners-up to the US in the Beijing Games. The group will also include the third qualifier in Venezuela.

Fate sealed: The basketball draw took place on Monday in Rio de Janeiro

Fate sealed: The basketball draw took place on Monday in Rio de Janeiro

Out of the hat: FIBA director and former basketball star Lubomir Kotleba (left) draws Britain next to former Brazilian basketball players Maria Paula Goncalves da Silva (centre), also known as 'Magic Paula', and Hortencia Marcari

Out of the hat: FIBA director and former basketball star Lubomir Kotleba (left) draws Britain next to former Brazilian basketball players Maria Paula Goncalves da Silva (centre), also known as 'Magic Paula', and Hortencia Marcari

The American women's team were drawn into Group A along with China, Angola and the first, second and fourth teams from the qualifying tournament played in Turkey in June. Group B includes Australia, Brazil, Britain, Russia and the third and fifth qualifiers.

Nice touch: The draw balls resembled miniature basketballs

Nice touch: The draw balls resembled miniature basketballs

Snooker World Championships 2012: Matthew Stevens beats Barry Hawkins to reach quarter-final

Stevens keeps Crucible dream alive after beating Hawkins to reach quarters

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UPDATED:

17:05 GMT, 30 April 2012

Matthew Stevens held his nerve to fend off Barry Hawkins and edge through to the Betfred.com World Championship quarter-finals.

His second-round match against Hawkins was close throughout, as the man from Dartford refused to be shaken off.

Eventually Welshman Stevens crossed the winning line, sealing a 13-11 success, with a break of 57 in a final-frame victory march.

Big break: Matthew Stevens is through to the quarter-finals at The Crucible

Big break: Matthew Stevens is through to the quarter-finals at The Crucible

More to follow…

Edged out: Barry Hawkins was sent packing in Sheffield despite his best efforts, losing 13-11

Edged out: Barry Hawkins was sent packing in Sheffield despite his best efforts, losing 13-11

World Snooker Championship 2012: Judd Trump defeated by Ali Carter

Crucible favourite Trump dumped out in shock 13-12 defeat to Carter

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UPDATED:

16:49 GMT, 30 April 2012

UK Champion Judd Trump has been dumped out of the World Championships in the last 16 by Ali Carter in a stirring 13-12 defeat at the Crucible.

Last year's runner-up was 12-9 ahead but lost the match 13-12.

Trump had chances in a marathon deciding frame and at one stage needed four snookers, getting three of them. But Carter crossed the line, claiming a famous win.

He's had a stinker: Trump's world title shot has ended in the quarter-finals

He's had a stinker: Trump's world title shot has ended in the quarter-finals

Trump fell short on a maximum break attempt in the 19th frame of the match, when he reached 96 after 12 reds and blacks.

He said: 'The maximum attempt summed up the match. It didn't happen for me.

'I never felt good out there. I never really got going in either of my matches.'

Heading through: Carter is into the last eight after his shock win

Heading through: Carter is into the last eight after his shock win

Carter bemoaned his luck during the
match, clapping one shot sarcastically when Trump missed with a
high-pace pot but somehow found a snooker.

'I've played the game a lot of years and I felt when it mattered at 12-12 it was going to turn for me,' Carter said.

Famous victory: Carter celebrates while Trump finds it too difficult too watch

Famous victory: Carter celebrates while Trump finds it too difficult too watch

Famous victory: Carter celebrates while Trump finds it too difficult to watch

Trumped! The favourite for the tournament has been knocked out

Trumped! The favourite for the tournament has been knocked out

Everton want Steven Pienaar permanently

Everton make Pienaar the priority as they prepare for new season

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 29 April 2012

Everton will make re-signing Steven Pienaar a priority at the end of this Premier League season.

Pienaar, a catalyst in the club’s push for an eighth top-eight finish in David Moyes’ decade in charge, is currently on loan from Tottenham, having quit for White Hart Lane 15 months ago.

Sportsmail understands that the South Africa playmaker’s permanent return will be sanctioned if Spurs recoup their 3million outlay.

Return: Steven Pienaar has excelled during his second spell at Goodison Park

Return: Steven Pienaar has excelled during his second spell at Goodison Park

Pienaar, 30, has made just five league starts for the north London club and his virtuoso display against Fulham suggested his heart remains on Merseyside.

He had a hand in all four of the goals — the assist for Tim Cahill’s volley on the hour the piece de resistance — as Everton registered four goals in three consecutive league games for the first time since 1964.

‘After the season finishes, we’d like to keep him,’ admitted Everton manager David Moyes. ‘I actually think Steven would like to stay. If that’s the case, there’s a chance we could make it happen.

‘He was terrific. He looks as if he enjoys his football here. What he does is exceptional.’

Fulham forward Clint Dempsey is also on Moyes’s summer wishlist but the American was overshadowed by Nikica Jelavic, whose double took his tally to 10 goals in as many starts since a 5m switch from Rangers in January.

It has been a prolific opening to the Croat’s career in England but Moyes was modest when asked if he had made the signing of the season.

Superb: Nicika Jelavic has been a great signing

Superb: Nicika Jelavic has been a great signing

‘That’s for other people to decide but he has given us a real lift,’ he said.

‘To sign a centre forward who scores goals in the Premier League would normally cost you a bundle of cash.

‘I remember thinking, “Will he, won’t he What would 5m get you in the Premier League, in terms of a centre forward”

‘You could try to get the best centre forward in the Championship but that might cost you more.’

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