Tag Archives: ashley

England players sneak headphones back on despite FA ban

Those cans are banned! England strugglers sneak headphones on despite crackdown

By
Laurie Whitwell

PUBLISHED:

13:57 GMT, 28 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

14:11 GMT, 28 March 2013

England stars' shameless tactic of wearing headphones to avoid requests for interviews from reporters following international matches appears to be creeping back in.

Ashley Young was the latest star to cover his ears after England's 1-1 draw in Montenegro – despite Football Association rules specifically outlawing the practice.

In the aftermath of games, players pass through an area known as the mixed zone where journalists wait to talk about matters of importance and interest.

Ashley Cole

Wayne Rooney

Can you hear us Ashley Cole, Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott, Steven Gerrard and Ashley Young show off their oversized headphones last summer on England duty. They are often worn to dodge post-match interviews

Theo Walcott

Steven Gerrard

Ashley Young

There was a time when these discussions would be open and frank but then came the trend for certain players to wear headphones in order to swerve any post-game chat.

Last October, the FA issued wide-sweeping guidelines on player conduct and included a directive aimed specifically at stopping the practice. If there was a breach, it said, an investigation would be carried out by Club England.

The media clauses led to FA personnel ensuring England players did not go through the interview zone after England's match against Poland that month wearing headphones.

Mario Balotelli

It's not just England players who wear them: Mario Balotelli, Rio Ferdinand and Sergio Ramos with their cans

Rio Ferdinand

Sergio Ramos

Young, however, shuffled through following the disappointing draw in Podgorica on Tuesday. Ashley Cole has also been known to employ the tactic.

This latest headphone headache comes after last year’s Olympics ambush by Dr Dre’s popular brand of Beats headphones.

Customised versions with Union flag colours were delivered to members of Team GB, despite strict IOC rules regarding any non-rights holder advertising. Goalkeeper Jack Butland sent an ill-advised tweet praising the gear, leading to a reprimand from senior BOA officials.

Fabio Capello trains at Chelsea for Russia v Brazil while Luiz Felipe Scolari and Yuri Zhirkov also return

Capello arrives at Stamford Bridge with Blues looking for new boss… but he's here on official Russia duty

By
Rik Sharma

PUBLISHED:

13:18 GMT, 24 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:34 GMT, 24 March 2013

So Fabio Capello has arrived at Stamford Bridge this season after all.

But don't worry Rafa, he's not here for a secret meeting with Roman Abramovich – instead to take charge of Russia in their glamour friendly against Brazil on Monday night.

Capello took a stroll through Kensington on Sunday morning and then led a training session for his squad on Chelsea's pitch – though Yuri Zhirkov was already well acquainted with his surroundings having played there for two seasons.

At the Bridge: Fabio Capello took a training session for his squad at Chelsea's ground

At the Bridge: Fabio Capello took a training session for his squad at Chelsea's ground

Capello (right) gets his point across

All together now: Capello talks to his Russia players ahead of the glamour friendly

All together now: Capello talks to his Russia players ahead of the glamour friendly

The 18million signing failed to make an impact – with Chelsea favouring a 4-3-3 system which did not accomodate his favoured left midfield position position.

Perhaps his best spell came when Ashley Cole was injured – he slotted in at left-back and performed well.

Zhirkov departed for Anzhi Makhachkala in August 2011 for close to 13m.

Old haunt: Yuri Zhirkov played at Chelsea for two seasons but struggled to make a lasting impact

Old haunt: Yuri Zhirkov played at Chelsea for two seasons but struggled to make a lasting impact

View from the Bridge: Russia's players prepare to face the likes of Neymar, Kaka and Oscar

View from the Bridge: Russia's players prepare to face the likes of Neymar, Kaka and Oscar

Capello was focused on the job at hand and had no time to discuss speculation over a move to Chelsea.

He said: 'I know nothing about this. I am really happy with Russia and focused to qualify for the World Cup.'

Capello's counterpart, Luiz Felipe Scolari, has history at Chelsea.

The World Cup winner had an ill-fated spell with the club in 2008, taking over from Avram Grant with Jose Mourinho's shadow still looming over the club.

Scolari brought in Deco and Jose Bosingwa and although he started well, things fell apart sooner rather than later.

Struggle: Luiz Felipe Scolari (left) was booted out by Roman Abramovich

Struggle: Luiz Felipe Scolari (left) was booted out by Roman Abramovich

He was out on his ear by February 9, with Abramovich wielding the axe as Chelsea's form dropped off.

Guus Hiddink came in and salvaged the season, taking them to the infamous Champions League semi-final tie with Barcelona and an FA Cup triumph.

Brazil's squad features three current Chelsea players – Oscar, David Luiz and Ramires.

David Luiz

Oscar

Home: David Luiz, who captained Brazil against Italy, and Oscar, right, play at Stamford Bridge every other week

The latter turned 26 on Sunday and although he missed the country's 2-2 draw with Italy, thanks to a strained right adductor, will be re-assessed before Monday's clash.

Defender Luiz posted this picture montage of him and Ramires on his Instagram account to celebrate his compatriot's birthday.

History: Luiz played with Ramires at Benfica and the pair are good friends now at Chelsea

History: Luiz played with Ramires at Benfica and the pair are good friends now at Chelsea

P.S.

At Chelsea, Luiz has little competition in the 'wild hairstyle' stakes (although youngster Nathan Ake makes a good fist of it).

But with Brazil, he is in good company. He posted this picture of himself with defenders Marcelo, of Real Madrid, and Dante, from Bayern Munich.

I want curly hair too: Luiz (centre) with Marcelo (left) and Dante (right)

I want curly hair too: Luiz (centre) with Marcelo (left) and Dante (right)

New England Nike kit: "Leaked" image of rumoured away shirt

Is this the new England kit 'Leaked' image claims to be latest Three Lions' away strip…

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

13:59 GMT, 20 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

14:17 GMT, 20 March 2013

The new England kit will be launched next month but have fans already been treated to a first look at the away strip

A leaked image was posted on various internet sites, claiming that this red jersey will be worn by Roy Hodgson's men.

Sports manufacturing giants Nike are now in control of the Football Association kit sponsorship – including branding of the National Football Centre at St George’s Park – after replacing long-standing partners Umbro.

Is this the new England away kit This 'leaked' image claims to be the latest offering from sports giants Nike

Is this the new England away kit This 'leaked' image claims to be the latest offering from sports giants Nike

It is understood that Nike will officially unveil the new Three Lions' shirts on St George's Day, April 23.

The likes of Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott and Ashley Cole can look forward to wearing the new white home kit on May 29 at Wembley against the Republic of Ireland, with the away number to be debuted in Rio this summer.

England play Brazil in June as part of the FA's 150th anniversary celebrations, which plays a prominent part in the rumoured away design with a gold FA badge crest embroidered on the chest.

The minimalistic all-red jersey – pictured above – apparently has a polo collar with buttons to complete a smart look, that appears to be inspired by England's historic 1966 World Cup success.

All smiles: Wayne Roney

Training day: England's Ashley Cole and Glen Johnson

Kit special: Wayne Rooney, Ashley Cole and Glen Johnson – all Nike athletes – can look forward to the new strip

Nike, however, refused to confirm whether the 'leaked' image is the genuine article but admitted all will be revealed soon.

'Nike creates different design options and samples at different stages in the kit design process,' a spokesperson told Sportsmail.

'We will unveil the actual designs later this year and until then we cannot comment on images of England kit designs that are circulating on the web.'

England will play in the white Umbro home kit for the last time in the forthcoming World Cup 2014 qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro before switching to the Swoosh.

Farewell: England players will wear Umbro for their next two World Cup qualifying games for the last time

Farewell: England players will wear Umbro for their next two World Cup qualifying games for the last time

Players need to “stand up” says Lampard ahead of San Marino

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Ashley Barnes charged by FA

Brighton's Barnes could see four-match ban extended after being charged for trip on referee

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

16:47 GMT, 13 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

18:07 GMT, 13 March 2013

.

Brighton's Ashley Barnes has been charged by the Football Association for the apparent trip on referee Nigel Miller on March 9 at the Reebok Stadium.

Barnes appeared to make contact with Miller in the closing seconds of his side's 1-0 defeat by Bolton, an offence for which he was shown a red card.

His punishment was a four-game ban, one more than the standard three due to it being the striker's second dismissal of the season.

Scroll down to watch footage of the incident…

Marching orders: Barnes is dismissed by referee Nigel Miller

Marching orders: Barnes is dismissed by referee Nigel Miller

Lengthy ban: Barnes has been sent off twice this season

Lengthy ban: Barnes has been sent off twice this season

Lengthy ban: Barnes has been sent off twice this season already and his protests (below) fell on deaf ears

But, having considered the evidence, the FA have opened proceedings which could lead to an enhanced punishment.

The FA have ruled that the incident displayed 'truly exceptional circumstances' and as such it has been referred to an independent three-man commission who can recommend a further ban if they feel it necessary.

A statement today read: 'The FA has
charged Brighton and Hove Albion's Ashley Barnes following his side's
game against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday 9 March 2013.

'It is alleged that Barnes's
behaviour in relation to the match official, for which the player was
dismissed for violent conduct towards the end of the game, constituted
an offence whereby the standard punishment that would otherwise apply
was clearly insufficient.'

Close quarters: Miller and Barnes are just yards away from each other as Bolton clear

Close quarters: Miller and Barnes are just yards away from each other as Bolton clear

Trip: Barnes sticks out a boot as Miller sets off on a run

Trip: Barnes sticks out a boot as Miller sets off on a run

Whistle: Miller sticks up his hand as he stops the game

Whistle: Miller sticks up his hand as he stops the game

Barnes has been given until 6pm on Thursday to respond.

Speaking immediately after the match –
and before reviewing video evidence – Brighton manager Gus Poyet said:
'I would like to see it.

'Before I talk to him I'm going to have a look because if he's done something to the referee…let's wait and see.

'My way of managing this is I prefer
the player to calm down because if you go to the dressing room and you
ask them straight away then they will put their excuse in there and
blame somebody else.'

VIDEO: Watch Barnes's trip on referee Miller from 50 seconds in

Final moments of Bolton Wanderers 1-0 Brighton & Hove Albion

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Swansea players celebrate Capital One Cup victory with party

Let's get the party started! Swansea players hit the town to celebrate cup final victory

By
Riath Al-samarrai

PUBLISHED:

12:01 GMT, 25 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:06 GMT, 25 February 2013

Swansea City's Capital One Cup stars descended on one of central London's most exclusive drinking spots last night after crushing Bradford at Wembley.

Michael Laudrup's side celebrated their 5-0 win into the early hours, with most of the squad heading to their Hilton hotel base at Wembley for a post-match meal with wives, girlfriends and family before a smaller group headed to West End club Whisky Mist at 11.30pm.

Swansea players partying at Whisky Mist

Swansea players partying at Whisky Mist

Out on the town: Swansea players party in London after their Capital One Cup victory over Bradford

Swansea players partying

Swansea players partying at Whisky Mist

The group, which included captain Ashley Williams, Garry Monk, Wayne Routledge, two-goal hero Jonathan De Guzman, Leon Britton, Ben Davies, Kemy Agustien, Roland Lamah and Kyle Bartley, stayed in the Mafair club's VIP room until after 3am.

A source close to the club said: 'It was all very good natured and low key. No trouble.

'The lads had a great time after a great day. Leon Britton kept his medal on the whole time he was out.'

Swansea celebrate

Swansea

Backstage pass: Swansea stars pose with the Capita One Cup in the Wembley dressing room

Get the party started: Swansea celebrate in the dressing room at Wembley

Get the party started: Swansea celebrate in the dressing room at Wembley

swansea

FA Cup: Team news ahead of the weekend"s fixtures from the firth round and fourth round replay

FA Cup: The guide to all this weekend's fixtures from the fifth round and fourth round replay

PUBLISHED:

09:43 GMT, 15 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:06 GMT, 15 February 2013

The FA Cup returns to action this weekend as fourteen teams battle for a place in the quarter-finals while Chelsea host Brentford in a fourth round replay.

Here Sportsmail has teamed up with statistic giants Opta to bring you all the latest facts and team news ahead of ALL this weekend's fixtures, so keep checking this page throughout the day to see how your team will line up.

Dream ticket: Fourteen sides are battling for a quarter-final place this weekend

Dream ticket: Fourteen sides are battling for a quarter-final place this weekend

Fourth round replay

Chelsea v Brentford
David Luiz, Demba Ba, Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel are available for Chelsea's FA Cup fourth round replay with Brentford on Sunday after missing the Europa League win at Sparta Prague.

Luiz was suspended, Ba ineligible and Moses and Mikel rested, after winning the Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria, while John Terry and Ashley Cole were unused substitutes.

Cole had a cold and Terry was not risked after a setback in his recovery from a knee injury, but the captain is in line to return in defence against the Bees. Oriol Romeu (knee) is a long-term absentee.

Up for the cup: Chelsea's John Terry could feature having been rested for Thursday's win at Sparta Prague

Up for the cup: Chelsea's John Terry could feature having been rested for Thursday's win at Sparta Prague

Only
once in the last 14 years have Chelsea failed to reach the fifth round
of the FA Cup. The Blues are unbeaten in four matches (all competitions)
against Brentford (W3 D1).

Before last month’s clash, their only
previous FA Cup meeting came in 1950. Chelsea won 1-0. Brentford have
won just one of their last six (D3 L2).

Chelsea have lost only two of their
last 18 replays in the FA Cup; winning 13. Of the three that went to
penalties, they have twice been eliminated on spot-kicks.

Fernando Torres’ only goal in his last 12 appearances for Chelsea came against Brentford in the original clash.

Marcello Trotta, on loan from Fulham, has scored three in four for Brentford (all comps).

In just nine FA Cup games for Chelsea, Juan Mata has played a part in 10 goals (scored four and assisted six).

Frank Lampard has been involved in 23 goals (scored 14 or assisted nine) in his last 24 appearances in the FA Cup.

Provisional Chelsea squad: Cech, Turnbull,
Hilario, Ivanovic, Cole, Luiz, Ramires, Lampard, Torres, Mata, Oscar,
Mikel, Hazard, Ba, Ferreira, Marin, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta,
Benayoun, Bertrand, Ake, Moses.

Fifth round

Luton v Millwall
Millwall have won four of the five previous meetings between these two sides in the FA Cup; losing the other.

The Lions have won five and lost just one of their last eight clashes with Luton in all competitions.

In the last round, Luton became the first non-league side to win away at a top-flight team in the FA Cup since 1986 (Altrincham beating Birmingham City 2-1).

Luton are competing in fifth round for the first time since 1994.
The Hatters have progressed on five of their last six FA Cup fifth round ties; but never (from four meetings) when facing a team from a higher division.

Millwall have reached the FA Cup fifth round for the second time since they reached the final in 2004 (as well as last season).

Millwall have won 13 and lost none of their last 17 matches in the FA Cup against sides from lower divisions (excluding qualifiers).

Luton Town have won seven and lost none of their last eight games at home in all competitions.

The Blue Square Premier side have conceded just three goals in their last six at home; keeping three clean sheets in that run.
Millwall have won none of their last six on the road (in all competitions); losing four.

Arsenal v Blackburn Rovers
This is the seventh time that Arsenal and Blackburn Rovers have been drawn together in the FA Cup.

Arsenal have progressed on four occasions; although Blackburn were victorious in their last meeting (2007 Fifth Round) winning the replay 1-0 (after the initial match ended 0-0).

Arsenal are unbeaten in 34 games against lower ranked sides in the FA Cup (W27 D7).

The Gunners are also unbeaten in 34 FA Cup ties at home (W25 D9).
This will be Arsenal’s sixth appearance in the fifth round since winning the trophy in 2005. They have failed to progress on three of the previous five occasions.

Olivier Giroud bagged a brace in the fourth round for Arsenal and has scored five in his last five appearances for the London club.

Jordan Rhodes has bagged nine goals in his last 10 appearances for Blackburn in all competitions.

Rovers have won six and lost just one of their last 10 in all competitions.
Arsenal have won five of their last seven in all competitions at the Emirates (D1 L1).

Blackburn have lost three of their last four visits to the Emirates by at least four goals on each occasion (D1; all competitions).

The two games between Arsenal and Blackburn in the Premier League last season produced 15 goals.

MK Dons v Barnsley
This will be the first meeting between MK Dons and Barnsley in the FA Cup.

Three of the previous five meetings between the two clubs in all competitions have ended in draws.

This is the first time MK Dons have reached the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Karl Robinson’s side have won four and lost none of their last six home matches in the FA Cup.

Since beating QPR 4-2 in the fourth round, MK Dons have lost three of four matches (D1), scoring only two goals.

Barnsley have won six and lost none of their last seven in all competitions.
Jason Scotland has scored three goals in just 75 minutes of action for Barnsley this season (three sub appearances).

Izale McLeod, who returned to MK Dons in the January transfer window, scored for the Dons in the first ever clash between these two sides back in August 2004.

Oldham Athletic v Everton
Oldham are unbeaten in five matches against Everton in the FA Cup (W3 D2).

The last time the sides met, Oldham left Goodison Park with 1-0 win in the FA Cup third round in 2008.

Everton have won just one of their last five visits to Oldham in all competitions (D2 L2). Everton are unbeaten in their last seven away games in the FA Cup (W5 D2).

The Toffees have won four of their last six on the road (D1 L1); with their only loss in that run coming at Old Trafford last weekend.

The Latics have won just three of their last 12 (in all competitions). However, two of those wins have come in the last three.

Forward Lee Barnard has scored in each of his two appearances for Oldham signing joining on loan from Southampton.

Left-back Leighton Baines has scored four times in his last eight appearances for Everton in all competitions.

Manchester City v Leeds United
This will mark the sixth occasion that Manchester City and Leeds United have clashed in the FA Cup. Leeds lead the head-to-head with three wins to two.

The two teams met in the fifth round back in 1977. Leeds won 1-0 at Elland Road.

None of the last four matches between the two sides in all competitions have ended in an away win (three home wins and a draw).

The Premier League Champions have won six of their last nine in all competitions but are without a win in three (D2 L1)

Neil Warnock’s side have lost five of their last seven on the road (W1 D1; all comps).

The Whites have not kept a clean sheet away from home this season.
Ross McCormack has scored four goals in his last six for Leeds.

Manchester City have conceded just two goals in their last five home games in all competitions; keeping four clean sheets.

The last time the two teams met in March 2004, James Milner started in midfield for Leeds.

Huddersfield Town v Wigan Athletic
The only previous meeting between the two teams in the FA Cup was back 1977. Huddersfield won 2-0 at home.

Wigan have reached the fifth round of the FA Cup for the first time since 1987.

The Latics have won six of their last 10 away FA Cup matches against sides from lower divisions.

Roberto Martinez’s side have kept only two clean sheets in their last nine in all comps. Both were in the FA Cup.

Huddersfield have lost 11 of their last 15 FA Cup matches against top flight opposition (W1 D3). The victory (over Birmingham City) came in their last home match against Premier League opposition.

Town have lost two of their last eight (W3 D2), after going on a ten-match run without a victory (D5 L5).

The Terriers’ last seven goals in all competitions have been netted by different scorers.

Jordi Gomez has scored twice in Wigan’s three FA Cup matches this season. Shaun Maloney has netted in his last two games for Wigan.

Manchester United v Reading
The last two times Man Utd have beaten Fulham at Old Trafford in the FA Cup (as they did in the last round), they have gone on to win it (2004, 1999).

Manchester United are unbeaten in 12 matches in all competitions against Reading (W8 D4). The last time they lost to Reading was in the FA Cup in January 1927.

The Red Devils have won 15 of their last 19 home ties in the FA Cup (D2 L2). Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have conceded just one goal in their last five FA Cup matches at Old Trafford.

This is the third time in the last four years that Reading have reached the FA Cup fifth round; and only the eighth time in their history. On each of the last two appearances, they have progressed to the last eight.

Only once in the last 12 occasions that Reading have drawn against opponents from the same division in the FA Cup have they progressed to the next round.

Wayne Rooney has scored three goals in his last two starts against Reading.

Adam Le Fondre has scored seven goals in his last seven appearances for Reading in all competitions. He also scored against Manchester United earlier this season.

The clash between the two teams earlier in the season (in the Premier League) saw seven goals scored in the opening 35 minutes.

The Footballers" Football Column – Kevin Betsy: Watching Brazil was like buying a ticket to see Beyonce and ending up with Susan Boyle

KEVIN BETSY: Watching Brazil was like buying a ticket to see Beyonce and ending up with SuBo… England may have won, but the Thomas Ince tale reveals everything that's wrong with our game

PUBLISHED:

11:01 GMT, 13 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

12:02 GMT, 13 February 2013

Play Video

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Kevin Betsy returns for his second Footballers' Football Column fresh from scoring for Woking in the 3-0 win at Alfreton at the weekend. The Fulham Academy coach was at Wembley to watch England beat Brazil last week – but left disappointed with the team in yellow. Betsy is also quick to praise Ashley Cole but has some damning thoughts on the future of the game.

When the final whistle blew at Wembley last week, my love for the game had increased and I wished I could have my career over again. However, as I walked away from the stadium my mind was clouded with questions.

This England team has been much criticised in the past, yet against Brazil they played a superb tactical game accompanied with an excellence in technical ability. Something that you associate with the team that have five stars embroidered above their badge, not the team with just one.

The much hyped arrival of the Brazilian team to Wembley was one of the biggest let downs I have experienced as a football fan. Brazil are a team that lots of people
support as their
second nation. As a young boy in the park or on the
street it was a Brazilian, not an Englishman, I pretended to be.

Winning feeling: Wayne Rooney helped England secure their first victory over Brazil for 23 years

Winning feeling: Wayne Rooney helped England secure their first victory over Brazil for 23 years

Extravagance, flair and the Samba band are all associated with the yellow, green and blue, but even the band were as flat as their team.

It felt like booking tickets to see Beyonce and then finding out she had been replaced by SuBo. Sure she can sing, but that’s not what I signed up for.

Luiz Felipe Scolari picked a squad which left me a little perplexed, especially his decision to pick 29-year-olds Dante and Fred and Luis Fabiano, 32, ahead of their pool of younger stars.

Brazil’s endless supply of talent will never run out as the country has a system that is tried and tested and produces with distinction. Thiago Silva, Leandro Damiao, Marcelo, Romulo,
Hulk and Willian are just a few names of younger Brazilian players that
did not even make the pitch or were not in the squad, showing their strength in
depth.

Ronaldinho

Neymar

Big let down: Brazil's box office stars such as Ronaldinho and Neymar failed to live up to their billing

Jack Wilshere

Theo Walcott

The star performers: Arsenal duo Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott shone on the big stage

Enjoying the game: Kevin Betsy at Wembley

Enjoying the game: Kevin Betsy at Wembley

Neymar and
Ronaldinho, two box office players and favourites of mine, certainly put
bums on seats at an almost full 90,000 stadium, but it was two English
players Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott that stole the show and
allowed us to celebrate the English player.

In all honesty, I feel England did play well but it could be a case of Brazil not picking their best team that helped them to win for the first time in 23 years.

Brazil will always have the upper hand over England in the long term, as their youth have opportunity to develop and play from a young age in their clubs first teams.

The Brazilian Campeonato league is full of homegrown players, with only six per cent of players coming into the league from other countries.

If a young player shows any potential they are sold off to Europe. This has always been the economic model and a main source of export.

The players know this as they need to elevate their own career earnings. Third-party ownership is normal in South America, as clubs do not have the financial capabilities of their European counterparts and to keep their best players for longer. Clubs need aid to maintain a player’s salary instead of sponsoring the club, sponsor the player and receive a return their investment.

A large portion of Brazilians have moved to play in leagues to showcase their talents, obtain work permits and boost their transfer values, Ronaldo and Romario at PSV, Juninho Pernambucano, and Michel Bastos at Lyon and David Luiz and Ramires at Benfica.

The Dutch, French and Portuguese Leagues do not have the financial backing that the Premier League clubs enjoy and regulations are flexible on foreign players.

The French and Dutch leagues differ from Portugal at the moment, their main aim is also to develop their own players. They do this well and the road for a young player at the latter stages of development is far easier than in an English club, as they have fewer foreign players to compete with.

Clubs in countries such as these need to boost their revenue and elevate themselves to be able to afford one or two top foreign players to make their club more competitive to achieve Champions League status.

Beyonce Knowles

Susan Boyle

Not what I wanted: Betsy says watching Brazil was like paying to see Beyonce and ending up with Susan Boyle

Without mass spectator volume, TV deals in their league the need to sell young players becomes a way of survival.

In the case of Portugal, they have overloaded their sides with foreign players but have sold on for vast sums, Radamel Falcao moved for 41m, Axel Witsel for 35m, Angel di Maria for 25m.

On a business level this works very well, but in football terms their national team is ageing and if something is not done soon they will also struggle, as their young players have no way of developing.

The Premier League brand shaped by Richard Scudamore must be applauded for all of its work to make the Premier League global and attract the best players that continue to bring revenue to our shores.

But perhaps, with a few tweaks here and there, the national team will increase its quality and pool of players to choose from.

The Premier League has the highest percentage of foreign players with 65 per cent. Countries lower than us include Germany 49 per cent, Spain 37 per cent and Italy 47 per cent. They have all adopted further strategies to the benefit of their sides and we need to take note.

Outnumbered: The Premier League has a very high percentage of overseas players

Outnumbered: The Premier League has a very high percentage of overseas players

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VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

We have tried to implement and address with the likes of the ’homegrown rule’ but there are severe loopholes in this system.

Arsenal is a great example of this, with Cesc Fabregas, Nicolas Bendtner, Wojciech Szczesny all qualified as they have the required three years development in England, but they will never pull on a Three Lions shirt.

Despite the fantastic work that goes on at youth level and the improvements being made in Academies and Centres of Excellence up and down the country criticism is always upon us.

Yes, the standard of coaching needs improving and there are processes in place to improve this but the best coaching in the world will leave any individual stagnated and unchallenged and struggle to reach full potential if the environment doesn’t test them.

My work at a Premier League Academy sees our players come up against the best our country and our foreign counterparts. Our level in comparison is extremely high.

Regular sharing of ideas and discussions take place with coaches, home and abroad. There is no magic wand or hidden secrets. It is all quite transparent as a major factor in many European clubs is they leave room in their squads for predominately their own players.

Perhaps the problem may be just one thing: ‘opportunity’. If there is no sunlight for a flower to blossom it will die. Is there enough sunlight for our young English players That is the question.

Developed to a certain level placed in the professional game but sitting in squads with no real avenue to learn the trade and gain confidence.

The newly revamped Under 21 league introduced this season is aimed at bridging the gap that young players in England have faced. They offer competitive games with consequences and a challenge.

Holding games at first-team grounds aims to increase the number of spectators and give them experience of playing in those grounds. This is good but still not enough.

It’s still reserve football, no matter how much you dress it up. There is quite a difference in tempo, tactical learning, and spectator environment to a first-team game.

Hence many clubs prefer to send their youngsters on loan.

Barcelona’s B team play in Spain’s second division and this makes my point, the players are still developing but are under challenging pressure.

People say if you are good enough you will come through but there are only a few Wayne Rooneys in a generation. The rest have to work hard and be
lucky, under managers that are brave, have a vision and will
let them play and learn from any mistakes.

Sir
Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and recently Brendan Rodgers have shown
the way. I am not saying we need to change the Premier League as a
product but adjust the ingredients a little.

Maintain foreign players in the country, of course, but just adjust the quantity.

Special talent: Players like Wayne Rooney are the exception rather than the rule

Special talent: Players like Wayne Rooney are the exception rather than the rule

Some people say the ‘six-plus-five’ rule that FIFA suggested contravenes European law and I hear this idea has been abandoned.

But it does have benefits and something similar to this would enable more players to play in the top league on a regular basis and learn from the best players.

One thing is clear, it is not the manager’s fault that they recruit foreign players.

Michael Laudrup

Michu

Knowing the market: Swansea boss Michael Laudrup bought Michu for 2m having seen him play in Spain

Their survival is based on results, they don’t make the rules and why should they not favour players where they have in-depth knowledge of ability and value. You get more for your money abroad as some imports have shown already this season and English players are overpriced.

Showing shrewdness in the transfer market with loans, smaller buys is part and parcel of being a top manager. Swansea Manager, Michael Laudrup’s Spanish purchases, including Michu at 2m, are a prime example.

I’m sure If you asked any Premier League manager he would say, 'I would love a team of five or six English players'.

Both sides of the coin: Tom Ince is an example of how clubs can make good and bad decisions

Both sides of the coin: Tom Ince is an example of how clubs can make good and bad decisions

Bosses must favour the market they know but if you have a restriction on number it may be beneficial to the national game long term and this is the governing bodies' problem to safeguard our talents development not football club's managers.

Thomas Ince is just another player who shows all things wrong with English football and all things right.

This bit is right – Developed from a young age at a fantastic academy at Liverpool.

..but this is wrong – Sold to Blackpool for 250,000, then a reported 5m offer to buy him back almost a year later. Patience may have prevailed, the giving of opportunity.

Someone else who has reaped some recent rewards with his 100-cap milestone is Ashley Cole. After coming head-to-head with Ashley on a number of occasions I must say he is without doubt the best left backs in the world.

Big achievement: Ashley Cole won his 100th England cap against Brazil

Big achievement: Ashley Cole won his 100th England cap against Brazil

Tough opponent: Betsy comes up against Cole during his Wycombe days

Tough opponent: Betsy comes up against Cole during his Wycombe days

He has to be coming up against me. Ashley comes second to Roberto Carlos in all-time status. Carlos’s devastating shot and a World Cup winner’s medal tipped the balance for me.

Whatever people’s perceptions are of Ashley off the pitch, in reality you have to be extremely professional to have achieved all he has in football. No matter how talented you are.

In my experience he’s a humble guy. Another example of what a young Englishman getting games from an early age can achieve dispels the ‘we don’t produce players ‘ myth.

Watching Peter Odemwingie on TV the other day, turning up at Loftus Road was as cringeworthy as a guy getting a sea of red lights on Take Me Out [Paddy McGuinness's ITV show – Ed] . All jokes aside, this was not a laughing matter. How could a professional footballer of Odemwingie's standing be left to drive himself to London and also drive the deal to QPR Where was his agent

A deal as complex as this one needed driving by external sources. West Bromwich Albion didn’t want to sell
and QPR had not agreed the fee. Therefore as a player you may argue your
case to the chairman, chief executive or manager but until you get the
green light you have to sit tight.

Embarrassing: Peter Odemwingie drove to Loftus Road on transfer deadline day to try and force a move to QPR

Embarrassing: Peter Odemwingie drove to Loftus Road on transfer deadline day to try and force a move to QPR

Until you get a call to say the fee has been agreed and you are free to discuss terms.

I presume the agent's fee in this deal would have been quiet substantial; the least they could have done was drive him there.

But now it is done and I hope Peter recovers well from this and gets on with what he does best, playing football.

Ashley Cole deserves appreciation for reaching century of England caps v Brazil

Rival fans can't stand him and he even broke the heart of the nation's sweetheart Cheryl… but is it time we gave Ashley Cole a little love as he joins England's 100 Club

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Standing the test of time: Ashley Cole has turned in consistently excellent performances for England ever since his debut – against Albania in a World Cup qualifier back in March 2001. He is set to win his 100th cap – becoming the seventh player to do so – against Brazil at Wembley on Wednesday night.

THE 100 CAP CLUB

Peter Shilton – 125
David Beckham – 115
Bobby Moore – 108
Bobby Charlton – 106
Billy Wright – 105
Steven Gerrard – 100

They’re being told to just put aside for a few moments all that inherent, seething dislike of a man who’s been regularly vilified at grounds up and down the country for the best part of a decade, and show some appreciation, however forced, for a wonderful achievement.

Yesterday, fellow centurion Steven Gerrard had to appeal to the Wembley crowd to treat Cole with respect. The captain said that ‘nobody in the ground can take away that achievement’ and that the Chelsea player ‘deserves’ to be a hundred cap man.

Can you imagine a teammate having to go on the record to justify to England fans that Moore, or Charlton, or indeed any of the others, is ‘worthy’ of their accomplishment

As might be expected, the praise has been pouring in this week. Stuart Pearce called him the ‘best left-back that’s ever played for England’ and, continuing the theme, said that he would be ‘standing and cheering when his name gets announced.’

Best in the business: Cole has been hailed by a number of former England internationals as the best left-back to ever play for the national team

Best in the business: Cole has been hailed by a number of former England internationals as the best left-back to ever play for the national team

Glen Johnson said Cole was ‘one of the nicest guys you could ever meet’ and former Arsenal teammate Martin Keown said he was a ‘lovely fella.’

It’s extraordinary that Cole is so universally unloved that players past and present need to come out with such comments to justify why he’s deserving of a simple round of applause from a crowd of people.

Whatever Cole’s misdemeanours in the past, whatever his alleged shortcomings and infidelities as a person, husband, Twitter-user and work experience student mentor, nobody can dispute his status as a consistently world-class player.

The highs... Cole celebrates with David Beckham after the latter scored a free-kick against Ecuador at the 2006 World Cup

The highs… Cole celebrates with David Beckham after the latter scored a free-kick against Ecuador at the 2006 World Cup

And the lows... Cole is consoled by Roy Hodgson after England lose on penalties to Italy at Euro 2012

And the lows… Cole is consoled by Roy Hodgson after England lose on penalties to Italy at Euro 2012

You hear of Cole being run ragged by a winger or making a match-defining error so rarely that you’re led to believe that his performances have been flawless since the beginning of time. In a decade or more at the top of the game, Cole has faced all the best attackers in the world – and he’s never been mastered by any of them.

When these glamorous England friendlies roll round, it’s only natural to play that game where you try and fit English names into the opposition eleven. Who is good enough to play for Brazil, Argentina, France, Germany, Italy, whoever The truth is, all of those nations would love to have Cole in their team.

Cole’s reading of the game is second to none. His instinct to interpret and be in the right place at the right time is unrivalled. How many times has Cole saved Chelsea or England by winning a foot race to tackle a striker bearing down on goal, or been on the post to head the ball off the line

In Chelsea’s run to European glory last season, he cleared Christian Maggio’s goalbound effort from underneath the crossbar to prevent elimination to Napoli and he denied Barcelona a crucial away goal in the Stamford Bridge leg of the semi-final.

Indeed, his marshalling of Dani Alves in that game was up there with his shackling of Cristiano Ronaldo in the Euro 2004 quarter-final – both in Cole’s “pocket” as it were.

Shackled: Cole keeps a tight rein on Cristiano Ronaldo, then of Manchester United, in the 2007 Community Shield

Shackled: Cole keeps a tight rein on Cristiano Ronaldo, then of Manchester United, in the 2007 Community Shield

And in an age when wing-backs are expected also to fulfil attacking obligations, Cole excels. He tears up and down the flank tirelessly – a tackle here, an interception there, a whipped cross, a neat shimmy or flash of skill.

The breadth of his role on the left-side requires a slavish devotion to working on and developing every facet of his game. Cole’s professionalism in training and self-education in the ways of football have never been questioned.

Nor has his commitment. Unlike some others, he’s always been ready, willing and able to play for the national team. He’s never let the failures of the ‘Golden Generation’ discourage him from providing the kind of full-bloodied, lion-hearted performances England fans demand.

Medallion man: Cole (right) celebrates with Daniel Sturridge after winning the European cup for Chelsea last May

Medallion man: Cole (right) celebrates with Daniel Sturridge after winning the European cup for Chelsea last May

Cole has been rewarded handsomely for his ability, he’s won everything in the club game and it’s perhaps this doesn’t help his image. Cheats and ‘love rats’ seem to prosper, his detractors would say.

But Cole is having the last laugh. He’s long learned to live with the Pantomime booing on opposition ground and even from his own fans at Wembley – it doesn’t affect the consistently excellent performances he puts in. It doesn’t permeate the thick skin.

He can also retort by pointing to three Premier League, seven FA Cup, a League Cup and a Champions League winners medal in his collection with a smugness and a satisfaction.

And as he again soaks up the acclaim on this grand occasion of a century of caps, it’s time to get on our feet, applaud and cheer for one of the best left-backs the game will ever see. And mean it too.

Can we feel a bit sorry for unfaithful Cole Never, argues Liv Lee

Can you ever really appreciate a sportsperson purely for what they do on the field No.

No-one self-sabotages like a Premier League footballer.

They achieve it with impressive frequency. Admittedly, they have the eyes of the world on them, and when every mistake turns up the next day in national headlines, well, that can’t be easy.

So can we feel just a little bit sorry for Ashley Cole Absolutely not.

Split: Cole's reputation will always be tarnished by allegations he cheated on wife Cheryl

Split: Cole's reputation will always be tarnished by allegations he cheated on wife Cheryl

Everybody makes mistakes. Sleeping with someone who wasn’t his wife (allegedly) was probably a mistake, and he’s not the first person to betray a spouse. Sleeping with multiple people (allegedly), less so – unless you go down the Tiger Woods line of claiming an addiction to sex, multiple indiscretions can’t be ‘mistakes.’

But sleeping with people who he met in less than discreet circumstances and who went on to sell their stories in graphic detail (allegedly) – Phenomenally, unforgivably stupid.

He’s not the first. Wayne Rooney’s indiscretions have been made equally public, but when it comes to women paid for sex, you’d assume you were also paying for them to keep their mouth shut. Cole had no reason to expect that any one of his lovers would keep quiet.

And if only there was just the one reason to despise him.

Never forgiven: Cole helped Arsenal win silverware, but he's never been forgiven for the manner in which he left for Chelsea

Never forgiven: Cole helped Arsenal win silverware, but he's never been forgiven for the manner in which he left for Chelsea

‘I couldn't believe it when they [Arsenal] weren't prepared to pay me 60,000 a week.’ Need I say more

And he shot a work experience student. As I said, the capability to footballers to self-sabotage is just outstanding.

His achievements on the field will make sure he is remembered as one of the greatest players England ever bred. And his actions off the pitch don’t diminish those achievements in any way.

But the incidents surrounding Cole are inextricable from the man you see on the pitch. People love sport not only because of the basic viewing of a game, but also for the personalities involved, and the dynamic in teams and between oppositions that these personalities create.

It really would be great to love and respect that man for what he’s achieved, but he just makes it too damn hard.

England begin training for Wembley friendly with Brazil

England stars get down to business in training as they prepare to face the boys from Brazil

By
Declan Warrington

PUBLISHED:

11:16 GMT, 4 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

14:16 GMT, 4 February 2013

England have begun preparations for Wednesday's illustrious friendly at Wembley with Brazil.

The bad news for manager Roy Hodgson, however, is that only 11 outfield players were available to fully train today.

The withdrawals of the injured Jermain Defoe and Michael Carrick and the absence of the unfit Daniel Sturridge had significantly contributed to
the depleted numbers available to Hodgson to train, with others involved yesterday in the
Premier League instead limited to a warm-down session.

Put through their paces: The limited numbers available to England began training today

Put through their paces: The limited numbers available to England began training today

Elder statesman: Jack Butland is temporarily England's most senior goalkeeper

Elder statesman: Jack Butland is temporarily England's most senior goalkeeper

Watchful eye: Hodgson observes Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere and Ashley Cole in training

Watchful eye: Hodgson observes Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere and Ashley Cole in training

Joe Hart and Jack Butland remain the only
senior goalkeepers in Roy Hodgson's full squad but with Hart among
those only warming down, Middlesbrough's inexperienced Jason Steele has been added to
the training squad to aid preparations for Wednesday's fixture.

Hodgson is expected to announce further
squad changes today, incidentally, in response to the withdrawals of Carrick and Defoe and because of Sturridge's inability to train.

The forward has discussed his
fitness with the England manager and, though reluctant to do so, is expected to
accept that he will be unable to play any part against Brazil
and could therefore leave the England camp.

Heart-to-heart: Sturridge could withdraw from England's squad after this conversation with Hodgson

Heart-to-heart: Sturridge could withdraw from England's squad after this conversation with Hodgson

All as one: The England senior team alongside the U21s and U19s

All as one: The England senior team alongside the U21s and U19s

All smiles: Wayne Rooney shares a joke with Glen Johnson

All smiles: Wayne Rooney shares a joke with Glen Johnson

Safe hands Middlesbrough goalkeeper Jason Steele is entirely unproven at the highest level

Safe hands Middlesbrough goalkeeper Jason Steele is entirely unproven at the highest level

Ashley Cole, however, was among the 11 available to Hodgson today, meaning he remains on course to follow Peter Shilton, David Beckham, Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton, Billy Wright and Steven Gerrard and become the seventh England player to reach 100 caps.

His presence is a real positive for England given the intimidating prospect of facing both Ronaldinho and Neymar, but even for all of the latter's reputation as one of the world's greatest talents, another of Hodgson's defenders, Phil Jagielka, has revealed his international team-mates are yet to truly know what it is they can expect from him.

'I don't know a lot about Neymar,' Jagielka said. 'We don't see a lot of footage. He plays in Brazil so it is tough for us.

Limited numbers: But England's ranks are expected to swell before Wednesday's friendly

Limited numbers: But England's ranks are expected to swell before Wednesday's friendly

Coaching conference: Roy Hodgson, Gary Neville and Stuart Pearce in discussion

Coaching conference: Roy Hodgson, Gary Neville and Stuart Pearce in discussion

Midfield rivals: Frank Lampard, Leon Osman and Tom Cleverley will all hope to feature in England's midfield

Midfield rivals: Frank Lampard, Leon Osman and Tom Cleverley will all hope to feature in England's midfield

'But we have video analysis people when we meet up with England and they will have plenty of footage for us to review.

'They will pick out his good points and bad ones. I am sure the good points will be going on for hours.'

Ashley Cole had a go at Chelsea team-mates, claims Brentford striker Clayton Donaldson

I heard Ashley Cole blast his Chelsea team-mates, claims Brentford's Donaldson

.

Donaldson added: 'You couldn’t
really see that they were European champions. We set out to unsettle
them, and we did that. They didn’t really create that many chances,
which I am very surprised about to be honest, especially with the
quality of players they have got. That was down to our hard work.

'We’d
done our homework on them and we stopped them creating. We have to take
some credit for that. We’re confident, especially given their run of
form at home recently not having been the best. The pressure will be on
them again.'