Tag Archives: backline

Rio Ferdinand reminded of West Ham debut by Manchester United"s Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck

Feeling old, Rio Veteran United defender reminded of 'vintage' debut by team-mates Cleverley and Welbeck… who were aged just 6 and 5 at the time!



14:33 GMT, 26 November 2012

Young Hammer: Rio Ferdinand became a key West Ham player during the late 1990s

Young Hammer: Rio Ferdinand became a key West Ham player during the late 1990s

For most associated with Manchester United, May 5 1996 will go down memorably as the day the club sealed their third Premier League title after a 3-0 win at Middlesbrough.

Sir Alex Ferguson side’s triumph came after overhauling a 12-point gap to Newcastle, but for current United centre-back, Rio Ferdinand, the day was memorable for different reasons.

The future Red Devils star was making his professional debut for West Ham as a 70th minute substitute during a 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday at Upton Park.

Ferdinand tweeted earlier today that he didn’t know how to react when reminded by team-mates, Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck that they were only in primary school when he made his professional entrance.

In May 1996…

As Rio made his debut, George Michael's 'Fastlove' was No. 1.

Mission:Impossible broke opening Box Office records with 7.4m.

FIFA award the hosting of the 2002 World Cup to Japan/South Korea.

Ferdinand said on Twitter: @tomclevz23 + Welbz just told me they were 7 + 5yrs old when I made my debut for West Ham….didn't know whether to laugh or cry!#Vintage !

Cleverley's memory is not as sharp as one would suspect given he was six (and not seven) but it does put into context the vast experience Ferdinand has now gathered having featured a further 649 times in his club career since his debut

The then 18-year-old replaced Tony Cottee on the final day of the 1995/96 campaign before later going on to cement his place in the West Ham backline and sealing an 18million move to Leeds in 2000.

Sadly for Rio, his 20-minute cameo was not enough to convince Terry Venables to include him in the England squad ahead of Euro 96.

Brian O"Driscoll and Rory Best out of Ireland autumn Tests

Ireland dealt huge blow with O'Driscoll and Best ruled out of autumn Tests



15:59 GMT, 30 October 2012

Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll and hooker Rory Best have been ruled out of the upcoming Guinness Series fixtures against South Africa, Fiji and Argentina.

O'Driscoll suffered an ankle injury during Leinster's 59-22 over Cardiff Blues on Saturday and scans have revealed that the 33-year-old British and Irish Lion will require surgery to repair damaged ligaments.

The injury will require eight to 12
weeks rehabilitation so the centre should be back in time for the 2013
Six Nations Championship.

Crocked: O'Driscoll winces in pain as he receives treatment to his ankle during Leinster's clash against Cardiff Blues on Saturday

Crocked: O'Driscoll winces in pain as he receives treatment during Leinster's clash against Cardiff on Saturday

Best, 30, was also injured during a RaboDirect Pro12 game at the weekend competing for Ulster against Newport-Gwent Dragons. A scan revealed that Best has sprained ligaments in his neck and he will be be out for a period of four to six weeks.

Best's injury means that recently
qualified South Africa-born hooker Richardt Strauss is likely to start
the Guinness Series opener against the country of his birth on November

Already stretched by the loss of Rob Kearney to a back problem, head coach Declan Kidney must re-examine his plans for the backline.

Keith Earls was a candidate to replace Kearney, but O'Driscoll's absence is likely to see him moved to outside centre.

That leaves winger Tommy Bowe or Felix Jones, who is short of game time after recently returning from injury, as the options for the number 15 jersey.

Lions skipper Paul O'Connell will take the captaincy and it will be hoped he avoids injury given Best is third choice for the leadership duties.

Blow: Ireland will be without two of their most experienced players in Best (left) and O'Driscoll

Blow: Ireland will be without two of their most experienced players in Best (left) and O'Driscoll

Blow: Ireland will be without two of their most experienced players in Best (left) and O'Driscoll

Southampton target Spurs defender Michael Dawson

Saints target 7.5m Spurs defender Dawson to shore up leaky backline



07:17 GMT, 23 October 2012

Out of favour: Michael Dawson has been told he can leave Spurs

Out of favour: Michael Dawson has been told he can leave Spurs

Southampton are preparing a 7.5million swoop for Tottenham defender Michael Dawson.

The Saints want the 28-year-old centre half to shore up the Premier League’s worst defence, reports the Daily Mirror.

Dawson has been frozen out by manager Andre Villas-Boas and can leave in the January transfer window.

Saints have conceded 24 goals in just eight Premier League matches and boss Nigel Adkins is
keen to boost his defence with a 7.5m move for Dawson.

The 28-year-old remains a target for QPR, who almost signed him in the summer.

Dawson has made just three appearances for Spurs
this campaign, and played only one minute in the Premier League.

Derby 0 Brighton 0: Seagulls fluff their chances in lacklustre draw

Derby 0 Brighton 0: Seagulls fluff their chances in lacklustre draw



18:27 GMT, 6 October 2012

Derby and Brighton played out a lacklustre goalless draw at Pride Park in a game where the visitors enjoyed plenty of possession which they failed to convert into goals.

Brighton manager Gus Poyet

Tense draw: It was a frustrating afternoon for Brighton boss Gus Poyet as he watched his side waste a hat-full of chances

For Gus Poyet's men it's a third game without a victory following their five-match winning streak which had seen them lead the way in the npower Championship during September.

But aside from a 20-minute period after the interval where Brighton had a series of good chances, they were unable to find the net as they badly missed injured top scorer Craig Mackail-Smith.

Match facts

Derby: Legzdins, Brayford, Keogh, Buxton, O'Connor, Coutts, Hendrick, Hughes (Jacobs 46), Bryson, Sammon, Robinson (Davies 76).

Subs Not Used: Deeney, Tyson, Bennett, Gjokaj, Freeman.

Booked: Keogh.

Brighton: Kuszczak, Saltor, Greer,El-Abd, Bridge, Bridcutt, Buckley (Dobbie 34), David Lopez, Dicker, Orlandi (Hammond 61), Barnes.

Subs Not Used: Ankergren, Dunk, Calderon, Agdestein, LuaLua.

Booked: Bridcutt, Bridge.

Att: 22,059

Ref: Andy Woolmer (Northamptonshire).

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The home side struggled to break down
a stubborn Albion backline who have now conceded just three times in
five away league games this season, this despite having nine corners in
the game.

Brighton looked a real threat early
on with their patient passing game, but the best they could manage was
Andrea Orlandi trying his luck twice from distance.

The first goalkeeper to be called
into action was Derby's Adam Legzdins, who had to be alert to save David
Lopez's free-kick which he managed to get up and over the wall and saw
it bounce awkwardly in front of the Rams shot stopper.

Derby struggled to get a foothold in
the game in the opening quarter and their first shot only came on 21
minutes when Paul Coutts dragged a right-foot shot wide from 20 yards

Orlandi then headed over the crossbar
at the far post after a deep cross, before the visitors were forced to
make a change as Tuesday night's late goal hero in the 1-1 draw against
Ipswich, Will Buckley, hobbled off injured to be replaced by Stephen
Dobbie – who struck an effort wide just before the break after a flowing

After a disappointing first half,
Albion hit the crossbar minutes after the restart when Liam Bridcutt's
left-foot shot from the edge of the area took a deflection and had
Legzdins rooted to the spot as it came back off the woodwork.

The Rams defence then backed off to allow Dobbie the chance to turn just outside the area and send his shot just over the bar.

The visitors were doing all the
pressing at the start of the second half as they bossed possession and
Lopez was next to go close but steered just wide of the left post after a
neat lay-off by Dobbie.

Brighton were the team looking most
likely to break the deadlock and Gary Dicker's inswinging corner from
the left was met by the head of substitute Dean Hammond but Legzdins
parried away before Gordon Greer headed the rebound wide from six yards

This seemed to wake the hosts, who up
to this point had barely had a shot on goal but then forced Brighton
goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak into two fine saves in a matter of a minute –
the Pole tipping shots from distance by John Brayford and then Craig
Bryson behind for corners.

Both teams endeavoured to find a late
winner and the home side enjoyed a five-minute period of pressure
without ever further troubling Kuszczak as the game ended without a goal
being scored.

Wolves 1 Crystal Palace 2: Wilfried Zaha scores twice

Wolves 1 Crystal Palace 2: Zaha stuns hosts with inspired double



22:21 GMT, 2 October 2012

The journey from precocious talent to established star is not always a straightforward one but Wilfried Zaha appears to be treading the right path.

Turning a match on its head is never easy, especially against a defence which had not been breached for three successive games.

Zaha did that, and more, scoring two goals of exquisite individual quality to enhance his rapidly growing reputation.

Brace yourself: Zaha scored a second-half double as Palace came from behind

Brace yourself: Zaha scored a second-half double as Palace came from behind

Match facts

Wolverhampton: Ikeme, Foley (Edwards 82), Berra, Johnson, Ward, Peszko (Sigurdarson 69), Doumbia, Henry (Davis 58), Sako,

Subs Not Used: De Vries, Stearman, Batth, Forde.

Booked: Henry.

Goals: Ebanks-Blake 53.

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Delaney, Blake, Moxey, Williams (Parr 71), Garvan, Jedinak, Zaha (Ramage 88), Murray, Bolasie (Moritz 62).

Subs Not Used: Price, Goodwillie, Wilbraham, O'Keefe.

Goals: Zaha 67, 73.

Attendance: 19,561

Referee: Graham Salisbury (Lancashire).

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At the point that Zaha wriggled his way through a stubborn backline, Wolves were a goal to the good thanks to Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and surely expecting to make it five straight npower Championship wins.

Zaha is hardly a secret. The 19-year-old captured the imagination last season with his exploits against Manchester United in the League Cup and has been firmly anchored to Selhurst Park with a five-year contract.

Money, apparently, will not prise him away. According to manager Dougie Freedman, he will know when it is time to wave goodbye to the teenager.

‘I’ve known him since he was 14 so it’s more than a professional relationship, it’s a bit different,’ said Freedman.

‘The kid has got huge potential and hopefully can fulfil that. Off the ball he is getting better and if he develops his game he can play at the top level.

‘If I think the time is right and I can’t develop him then top clubs should take him on. We don’t owe any money so that’s not how it works.’

Zaha was at the centre of everything good about Palace. He also had a penalty appeal turned down in the first half.

One of the first people who should pat the striker on the back is Damien Delaney, who hesitated when Julian Speroni rolled the ball towards him.

Ebanks-Blake robbed the defender and duly collected his fifth goal of the season.

A tight contest looked to have been settled but that did not account for Zaha and his six-minute double.

Wolves boss Stale Solbakken insisted afterwards that the Palace striker was offside when he ran on to Glenn Murray’s knock-down but is was a close call and the finish was glorious.

For the second, Zaha took possession, left Stephen Ward for dead and produced a shot with far too much sting for Carl Ikeme.

There was sting in other parts of the pitch too. Jonny Williams and Karl Henry enjoyed a physical duel and Williams appeared to be lucky to get away with a tackle on Slawomir Peszko, which left the winger facing a six-week lay-off with a knee ligament injury.

Williams was substituted afterwards with Freedman admitting: ‘I know him inside out and it was not intentional. I just felt it was best to take him off as he has to learn how to channel certain aspects of his game. But he was getting kicked all night too.’

Solbakken said: ‘They had a match-winning player who scored both goals. I think we were unlucky.’

Swansea to sign Dwight Tiendalli

Laudrup makes move for ex-Twente defender Tiendalli to replace crocked Taylor



16:30 GMT, 9 September 2012

Swansea hope to solve their left-back problem by signing former Holland Under 21 defender Dwight Tiendalli.

Michael Laudrup has been left with a hole to fill in his backline since Neil Taylor was ruled out for the season with the badly broken ankle he suffered against Sunderland the day after the transfer window shut.

The timing of Taylor’s injury has forced Laudrup to scour the market for free agents and it is understood he will attempt to wrap up a move on Monday for 26-year-old Tiendalli, who was released by FC Twente at the end of last season.

In the market: Michael Laudrup hopes to solve his left back problem this week

In the market: Michael Laudrup hopes to solve his left back problem this week

Peterborough 1 Millwall 2

Peterborough 1 Millwall 2: Henderson back on song to give visitors first win of campaign



21:05 GMT, 21 August 2012

Darius Henderson got back on the goal trail to give Millwall their first win of the season.

Henderson, the Lions' top scorer with 19 goals last season, netted his first of this campaign to ensure the London club bounced back from their home defeat to Blackpool on the first day of the npower Championship season.

Millwall came from behind to take the points after Scott Malone had cancelled out George Boyd's opener for Peterborough, who have lost both of their opening league matches.

Unstoppable: Darius Henderson was in fine form against the Posh

Unstoppable: Darius Henderson was in fine form against the Posh


Peterborough: Olejnik, Alcock, Brisley, Zakuani, Ntlhe, Bostwick, Frecklington (Swanson 73), Newell (McCann 46), Boyd, Tomlin, Taylor (Sinclair 46).

Subs Not Used: Day, Little, Knight-Percival, Clarke-Harris.

Booked: Boyd.

Goals: Boyd 11.

Millwall: Maik Taylor, Dunne, Osborne, Lowry, Malone, Wright, Abdou, Trotter, Henry (Batt 85), Henderson, Keogh.

Subs Not Used: Forde, Shittu, Racon, Marquis, Feeney, Chris Taylor.

Booked: Lowry, Keogh.

Goals: Malone 43, Henderson 64.

Attendance: 6,188

Ref: Andrew Madley (West Yorkshire

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Posh boss Darren Ferguson again named an unchanged team.

After seeing his side thrash Southend
4-0 in the Capital One Cup last week, Ferguson stuck with that line-up
against Leicester on Saturday.

Posh were beaten 2-0 at the King
Power Stadium but Ferguson kept faith with the same players and gave
them a chance to redeem themselves.

Millwall made three changes. The
injured Jack Smith and Darren Ward were absent from the squad beaten 2-0
at home by Blackpool at the weekend, while fellow defender Danny Shittu
dropped down to the bench.

Alan Dunne and Karleigh Osborne came into the Lions' backline and Nadjim Abdou started in midfield.

Boyd missed from close range early on
but made amends in the 11th minute when he turned 12 yards out and
fired a left-foot shot into the bottom right-hand corner.

Millwall had most of the ball
afterwards and Andy Keogh, Josh Wright and Liam Trotter had efforts on
goal without really troubling Robert Olejnik in the Peterborough goal.

Lee Tomlin replied for Posh with an effort from the edge of the area as it looked like the hosts would go into half-time ahead.

However, the Lions deservedly equalised two minutes before the break.
The ball was deflected into the path of Malone who blasted a shot beyond Olejnik from the left side of the six-yard box.

Olejnik produced a good parrying save to deny Henderson at the start of the second half.

James Henry saw a shot hit a post after 54 minutes as Millwall had their tails up.

Olejnik then had to deny Keogh with his feet soon afterwards.

At the other end, Maik Taylor was called into a rare piece of action to keep out Craig Alcock's 18-yarder on the hour mark.

It was no surprise when Millwall went ahead four minutes later.

Keogh held up a long ball forward and laid it off to strike partner Henderson who struck it home from 12 yards out.

The margin of victory was almost
increased with 10 minutes remaining but Henry hit the woodwork once
more, this time striking the crossbar from long range.

Alex Song would improve Barcelona, says Sergio Busquets

Busquets happy for Barcelona to pursue Arsenal star Song as Catalans consider approach



13:57 GMT, 2 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Sergio Busquets has thrown his weight behind Barcelona's move for Arsenal star Alex Song.

Cameroon international Song has two years left on his Arsenal deal but is yet to open official talks on a new deal, although early indications are that the midfielder wants to be rewarded with a place among the club's top earners.

Barcelona's interest in Song was cranked up a notch this week when new manager Tito Vilanova sought the approval of staff and the team over a move for the player.

Sing up, Sergio: Barcelona's Busquets has hailed Arsenal star Alex Song

Sing up, Sergio: Barcelona's Busquets has hailed Arsenal star Alex Song

And after giving their private backing, one of the stars of the Catalan giants has gone public with his admiration.

Busquets would be in direct competition with Song should he move to the Nou Camp from north London, but Busquets insists he would welcome the challenge.

The Spain international said: 'Song is a very good player – young, a hard worker, with lots of physical power.'

Song is wanted in Spain due both to his prowess in defensive midfield, as well as his ability to drop into the heart of the backline.

Come and join us: Barcelona are desperate to win their title back in Spain

Come and join us: Barcelona are desperate to win their title back in Spain

Barcelona have lost Seydou Keita to Chinese club Dalian Aerbin, while they often played with Busquets and another midfielder, Javier Mascherano at centre-back last season.

Busquets admits the loss of Keita will have a big impact on the club and for that reason he is happy for strength in depth to be added.

'Barca lose a lot without Keita, both on and off the pitch,' he added. 'He was a much-loved player who gave us a lot of physical power.

'Another player in my position would be welcome, but either way I will keep working hard to win a place in the starting team.'

Mike Tindall rejoins Gloucester as player-coach

Tindall raises eyebrows again with shock return to Gloucester as player-coach



19:18 GMT, 25 June 2012

Second coming: Tindall (right) was last seen in a Barbarians shirt last month

Second coming: Tindall (right) was last seen in a Barbarians shirt last month

England centre Mike Tindall has rejoined Gloucester after agreeing a one-year deal, the club have confirmed.

Tindall resumes his career at Kingsholm in the new role of player-coach and will help oversee development of the backline and defence.

The 33-year-old had been searching for a club after failing to secure a new contract under former head coach Bryan Redpath, whose own departure has enabled his return.

Gloucester's new director of rugby Nigel Davies has a track record of encouraging internal progression from the playing squad into coaching roles – Simon Easterby and Mark Jones are examples at the Scarlets – and he is continuing that trend at Kingsholm.

'Mike has a lot of valuable experience and great loyalty to Gloucester Rugby and its supporters and understands what it means to be a part of this club,' said Davies, who has only been at Gloucester for two weeks.

'It's important to have people involved that underpin your culture and values as a playing group.

Mentor: Tindall will be expected to nurtured Gloucester's talented young backline

Mentor: Tindall will be expected to nurtured Gloucester's talented young backline

'That investment can stretch beyond rugby performance – it's about harnessing the strength, commitment and drive from people that have an inherent loyalty and ambition for the team and business to succeed in the long-term.'

And Davies is in no doubt that Tindall, who has been at Gloucester for the last seven years, will have a key role to play as he adds a new chapter to an already stellar career.

'He will be operating as player and backs coach for me in the coming year. I think he has a very strong tradition and heritage with the club and a very good rugby brain,' Davies added of the 2003 World Cup winner.

'I think it's very important to have a certain amount of continuity at any club with your senior players and I see Mike providing that continuity.'

Ben Kay: England to focus on attack in final game

The rugby analyst: England to focus on attack in final game of a bruising tour



22:25 GMT, 22 June 2012

England have picked a team to finish this series on the attack after the disappointment of the first two games.

Attention will be firmly fixed on scrum-half Danny Care who holds the key to giving centres Manu Tuilagi and Jonathan Joseph greater opportunities than last week.

Lancaster has resisted the option of bringing back Owen Farrell at inside centre in an effort to give the Tuilagi-Joseph combination another chance.

Key man: Danny Care runs with the ball during practice on Friday

Key man: Danny Care runs with the ball during practice on Friday

England have had a huge number of midfield pairings and Lancaster must realise he cannot go on chopping and changing.

Injuries have also helped Lancaster's selection especially at scrum-half where Care takes over from Ben Youngs who is sidelined for three months after damaging a shoulder last week.

England have an embarrassment of riches at scrum-half but Care’s form at present should enable him to give his backline the quick ball in an effort to play at a higher tempo.

The decision to bring in the ball-carrying No 8 Thomas Waldrom should also contribute to England ’s strategy to play with ball in hand.

Tom Palmer is a more athletic lock than Mouritz Botha while James Haskell at flanker, replacing the injured Chris Robshaw, will give England another line-out target.

Hoping for victory: England head coach Stuart Lancaster in Port Elizabeth on Friday

Hoping for victory: England head coach Stuart Lancaster in Port Elizabeth on Friday

England struggled in the line-out last week and need to improve if they are to stop the Springboks building the kind of momentum which has helped them to victories in the first two Tests.

New full-back Alex Good will be hoping to benefit from an improved England performance up front.

Besides giving Goode a deserved chance after his consistent performances for Saracens, the switch in the back three gives Lancaster another chance to see the versatile Ben Foden on the wing.

Lancaster started the tour firmly fixed on a plan to use Mike Brown at full-back. His injury in the first Test brought about Foden’s return to the No 15 jersey last week.

But now Goode has his opportunity. He needs to follow the example of Northampton ’s Tom Wood in the 2011 Six Nations.

Wood was looked upon as something of a stop-gap only to end the tournament being talked about as a future England captain.