Tag Archives: calibre

Big Sam has big plans for Hammers, but new rules could mean it takes a while…

Big Sam has big plans for Hammers, but new rules could mean it takes a while…

By
Laurie Whitwell

PUBLISHED:

21:03 GMT, 5 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:03 GMT, 5 April 2013

Sam Allardyce has declared his desire to build the ‘best ever’ West Ham team – but warned supporters that Financial Fair Play rules mean it will be a long process.

Allardyce, in negotiations over the finer details of a new three-year contract, is already contemplating the calibre of player required when the club move into the 54,000-seat Olympic Stadium in 2016. But, he says, vast improvements will not come rapidly.

To the skies: Allardyce has big plans for West Ham, but holds fears at the same time

To the skies: Allardyce has big plans for West Ham, but holds fears at the same time

The West Ham boss, who was yesterday sporting four stitches above a bruised right eye after falling into a marble work surface at home, said: ‘There is a big motivation for everybody to get West Ham to be the biggest club it’s ever been.

'When you’ve decided to move into a fantastic venue the size of the Olympic Stadium, that demands you try and get the best you possibly can.’

But he added: ‘The days of huge money thrown at transfers look like they might be restricted. So the growth of West Ham might not be as quick as we would all like.

Grounds for optimism: The Hammers' move to the Olympic Stadium has brought new hope for the future

Grounds for optimism: The Hammers' move to the Olympic Stadium has brought new hope for the future

Grounds for optimism: The Hammers' move to the Olympic Stadium has brought new hope for the future

'Certainly me. We have to be very aware that we might not be able to be as free spending as perhaps we’d want.’

Premier League rules, voted in earlier this year, will limit the total amount of television money clubs can spend on players’ wages to 60million by 2016, as well as capping losses at 105million for three-year cycles.

Allardyce added: ‘What we’re telling the fans now is that it might be a problem, because we can’t spend it (the TV money).

'We’re not allowed to. In the end the fans will take a while to understand that. I certainly know the players and the agents will.’

Tenure: Allardyce has been in charge at West Ham since June 2011

Tenure: Allardyce has been in charge at West Ham since June 2011, and hopes for a healthy future at the club

Frank Lampard will leave Chelsea at end of season

Lampard is leaving Chelsea in the summer, reveals England star's agent

By
Joe Ridge

PUBLISHED:

22:01 GMT, 3 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

22:03 GMT, 3 January 2013

Frank Lampard will leave Chelsea at the end of the season with Italy his most likely destination, his agent has revealed.

The 34-year-old England midfielder will not be offered a new deal by Chelsea and has recently been linked with a move to Serie A sides Inter and Lazio.

Come and get me: Lampard's agent says he is definitely leaving Chelsea in the summer

Come and get me: Lampard's agent says he is definitely leaving Chelsea in the summer

Chelsea diehards are adamant he has much more to give to the club even though he has turned 34

Fans' favourite: Chelsea diehards are adamant he has more to give to the club even though he has turned 34

And when his agent Steve Kutner was
quizzed by the Italian media on the possibility of Lampard heading to the country in the summer, he admitted that the ex-West Ham man will definitely be leaving
Stamford Bridge when his contract expires and talked up the possibility of a move
to Italy.

'At this moment, Lampard is
exclusively thinking about the present, in other words Chelsea,' Kutner
told Cittaceleste.it. 'As for the future, the only certainty is that he
will change team at the end of the season. Frank wants to pay for a
great side, capable of challenging for important targets and where he
could win more trophies.

Lampard has admitted what he wants more than anything is to add to his cabinet of trophies

Silverware: Lampard has admitted what he wants more than anything is to add to his cabinet of trophies

'We won’t rule anything out. The only thing that counts is that the player is happy and can continue playing at a high level.

'A champion of Lampard’s calibre
deserves the biggest stage. Serie A Why not Only time will tell if
Lazio could be the ideal destination.'

Wigan hoping for repeat win over Manchester United – Roberto Martinez

'Desperate' Wigan are out to repeat historic victory over United, warns Martinez

|

UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 31 December 2012

May 13, 2012, will go down in Premier League history as the day Manchester United lost the title on goal difference with practically the last kick of the season.

Those who witnessed United's alarming collapse over those final few weeks, however, know that it began long before Sergio Aguero's unforgettable goal for Manchester City left Sir Alex Ferguson and his players bereft on the pitch at Sunderland.

April 11, to be precise. United were eight points clear with six games left and odds-on for the title when the wheels began to come off on a fateful Wednesday night at Wigan, Shaun Maloney's second-half strike condemning the champions to a shock 1-0 defeat that turned the title race.

Desperate: Wigan has warned Sir Alex Ferguson that his Wigan side are desperate for points

Desperate: Wigan has warned Sir Alex Ferguson that his Wigan side are desperate for points

United go back to the DW Stadium on Tuesday with a seven-point advantage knowing they can ill afford another slip with second-placed City once again leading the chase.

Roberto Martinez is convinced the secret behind one of the most famous results in Wigan's history was sheer desperation to win points in their own battle against relegation, which made his players focus on their own game rather than the calibre of their opponents.

Worryingly for United, the Wigan boss believes they are just as desperate this time around.

'Nobody could have expected what was going to happen in the following weeks,' said Martinez. 'But last season we had such a massive need to get points we couldn't afford to look who we were playing against. Too many times in the past we'd played Manchester United and that affected us.

'That day we learned we had to play Wigan Athletic.

Next in town: Alex Ferguson and his players will try to avenge last season's defeat at the DW

Next in town: Alex Ferguson and his players will try to avenge last season's defeat at the DW

In the spotlight: Ashley Young and Co will be expected to leave with all three points

In the spotlight: Ashley Young and Co will be expected to leave with all three points

'The desperation factor is still there. We need to understand that 18 points at this stage of this season is desperation.

'We're not happy with that points tally, it's nowhere near good enough. There is desperation going into every game left at home this season, and Manchester United is no different.'

Wigan's impressive financial figures for the year ending May 31, released on Monday, underline the gulf between the two clubs. Despite adding to the squad, their wage bill has dropped to 37.7million compared to a whopping 160m paid out at Old Trafford.

Soaring: Wigan battered Aston Villa 3-0 away from home

Soaring: Wigan battered Aston Villa 3-0 away from home

Easily done Emmerson Boyce celebrates after scoring the second at Villa Park

Easily done Emmerson Boyce celebrates after scoring the second at Villa Park

Indeed, before Maloney's stunner in April, United had never dropped so much as a single point to their opponents in 13 encounters. The aggregate score for the previous five was 21-0.

Normal service was resumed when United won 4-0 at Old Trafford in September, and Martinez has warned his players not to dwell on the events of last season.

'It would be very dangerous to think what happened that day will happen again,' he said. 'If we do that we're in for a very long game.

'We have that recent picture of what's required to beat a team like Manchester United but I don't think the result last season will change the way they approach the game.

'They're going to come here believing they're the team that's going to win the title and to get the three points. You need to overcome that feeling of superiority.'

Remember this, Fergie Shaun Maloney fired home the decisive goal last season

Remember this, Fergie Shaun Maloney fired home the decisive goal last season

Remember this, Fergie Shaun Maloney fired home the decisive goal last season

If there is any encouragement for Wigan, it is that an alarming number of the 28 Premier League goals conceded by United this season have been against teams in the bottom half of the table.

'We've conceded 28 and it's only New Year,' said Ferguson. 'I remember one season with Peter Schmeichel we conceded a lot less than that over the whole season.

'We're stretching ourselves all the time. We've been forced to up the ante all the time because we're losing goals. If we stop giving them away we've got a great chance.'

Toby Flood: No one saw that coming – not even England"s players!

No one saw that coming – not even England's players!

|

UPDATED:

21:26 GMT, 1 December 2012

If you'd have predicted last week
that England were going to score 38 points against the All Blacks and
win by almost 20 points, you'd have been locked up!

Let's be honest, I don't think
anybody saw that coming and even England's players will have been
surprised by the margin of victory.

I've been in touch with a few of the
lads this week and they were pretty tired and stressed after what was a
harrowing defeat to South Africa.

Proud moment: Chris Robshaw poses with the Sir Edmund Hillary shield after the victory over New Zealand

Proud moment: Chris Robshaw poses with the Sir Edmund Hillary shield after the victory over New Zealand

To turn it around so spectacularly makes it even more special. It was a phenomenal performance.

I'm just gutted I wasn't able to be part of it. But I'm so pleased for Chris Robshaw after what was a traumatic week for him as captain.

He was under the spotlight and received a huge amount of unfair criticism for the decision to kick at goal in the dying minutes last week.

Against the All Blacks, Chris did what he does best – he led from the front. His tackling was phenomenal, as was the entire team's, and the example Chris set showed exactly why he is so highly respected within the squad.

Leading from the front: England captain Chris Robshaw tackles New Zealand's Kieran Read

Leading from the front: England captain Chris Robshaw tackles New Zealand's Kieran Read

The way the players responded to him since last week's game shows the esteem in which he's held.

The key to victory was that England were able to dominate the breakdown.

They tackled like men possessed and did not allow the All Blacks to gain a foothold.

The pressure exerted clearly had an effect, and even a player of Dan Carter's calibre will struggle when you get in his face.

From one to 15, England showed a commitment and desire the All Blacks couldn't match. England reminded me of the great Wasps teams of old, when they would pressure opponents into making mistakes.

Big performance: England's Owen Farrell

Big performance: England's Owen Farrell

Owen Farrell can be enormously proud of the way he went toe-to-toe with Carter, the world's best No10, and came out of it with plenty of credit.

Owen did what he does best. He controlled the game superbly, made all his tackles and kicked his goals.

The most important thing is that we build on this win. It makes me even hungrier to get fit and back in that shirt.

Lucas Leiva makes comeback for Liverpool Under 21s

Lucas closing in on Liverpool comeback as midfielder plays 45 minutes for Under 21s

|

UPDATED:

16:41 GMT, 23 November 2012

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva has stepped up his fitness battle after coming through 45 minutes of action for the Reds Under-21 team.

The Brazilian has been sidelined with a thigh injury since August 26, his second serious injury in a year after he missed a large portion of the previous campaign with a knee problem.

But on Friday he showed the touch and positional sense of before as he impressed in the first half of the match against Middlesbrough.

On the mend: Lucas Leiva in action for the Liverpool youngsters on Friday afternoon

On the mend: Lucas Leiva in action for the Liverpool youngsters on Friday afternoon

Speaking before that match, boss Brendan Rodgers revealed he hopes to be able to call on Lucas for the visit of Southampton at Anfield on December 1.

He said: 'I think after today and a good week's training, next week he should be ready.

'He'll be a big player for us. He's got a wonderful football brain, knows the ideas we're trying to implement here and he's a real good man.

Back in the mix: Lucas could be in line to face Southampton in early December

Back in the mix: Lucas could be in line to face Southampton in early December

'He's worked very hard. He was unfortunate that he got the injury right at the start of the season having worked so hard on his knee, but indirectly his movement is a lot better now with his knee. He's had extra working time to prepare that and now he looks really strong and fit.'

Rodgers added: 'We've got good players in there. Lucas is a top professional, an international player, and he's got good experience in this country.

'He knows exactly what we're trying to do, so when you've got someone of that calibre coming back, it certainly makes you better.'

Luis Suarez is the best striker in the Premier League, says Jamie Carragher

Suarez is the best player in the Premier League… better than Van Persie, claims Liverpool team-mate Carragher

|

UPDATED:

12:02 GMT, 13 November 2012

Jamie Carragher claims Luis Suarez has been the best footballer in the Premier League over the past year, putting him above the likes of fellow strikers Robin van Persie and Sergio Aguero.

The 25-year-old has been Liverpool’s stand-out performer so far this season, scoring 11 goals in all competitions.

The Uruguayan hitman netted a crucial equaliser against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday which put him joint top of the Premier League top goalscorer’s list alongside Manchester United’s Van Persie.

The best Jamie Carragher believes Luis Suarez, pictured (left) in training with Uruguay on Monday, is the best player in the Premier League

The best Jamie Carragher believes Luis Suarez, pictured (left) in training with Uruguay on Monday, is the best player in the Premier League

Carragher also puts Suarez above Sergio Aguero, who hit Manchester City's title-winning goal against QPR last season, because Suarez isn't surrounded by the same calibre of talent at Liverpool.

The Liverpool defender believes Suarez, who has deputised as a lone striker for a Reds side in transition under Brendan Rodgers, leads the pack when it comes to Premier League strikers.

Suarez has carried Liverpool with his goals, but despite his eight so far in the league, Liverpool remain in 13th place after earning a point at Stamford Bridge.

Carragher said: ‘I’ve said for 12 months now that he’s the best player in the Premier League because he’s maybe not playing alongside the kind of players that, for example, the Chelsea players can play alongside.

‘He’s one of the best players in world football and we are delighted to have him. He does things in a game that we see him doing in training on a daily basis.

‘There’s always that question, I think being asked unfairly, of whether he scores enough goals, but isn’t he the (joint) top scorer in the league at the moment

‘And that’s in a team that hasn’t won that many league games this season, don’t forget.’

Suarez has claimed more than half of Liverpool’s 14 league goals, as well as setting up two others, and questions have been raised about whether the Reds are over-reliant on the striker.

Carragher rejected this suggestion. He said: ‘People say that we are dependent on Suarez, but listen. Look at (Lionel) Messi at Barcelona, (Cristiano) Ronaldo at Real Madrid. Don’t get me wrong, Manchester United have had a lot of goalscorers from different positions.

Another one: Luis Suarez has scored eight of Liverpool's 14 league goals this season

Another one: Luis Suarez has scored eight of Liverpool's 14 league goals this season

Gotcha: Suarez netted Liverpool's equaliser against Chelsea on Remembrance Sunday

Gotcha: Suarez netted Liverpool's equaliser against Chelsea on Remembrance Sunday

‘But every team will have a standout player, and Luis is one of them, not just in the Premier League but in the world.’

Veteran Carragher made his first Premier League start of the season at Chelsea and managed to lay claim to an assist after nodding the ball on for Suarez to knock in.

The 34-year-old believes the result against Chelsea was an important one, and wants his side to kick on from there and climb up the table, according to the Chester Chronicle.

He added: 'We need to start getting wins.'

'We might look at the Chelsea draw as a good result, but it’s not as good if we only draw our game at home (to Wigan) next weekend.

Better than him Carragher says that Suarez is the best in the league, over Manchester United's Robin van Persie

Better than him Carragher says that Suarez is the best in the league, over Manchester United's Robin van Persie

And him Sergio Aguero shone for Manchester City last season

And him Sergio Aguero shone for Manchester City last season

'Drawing games isn’t enough. The Chelsea result can be seen as a good one on its own, but we need to capitalise on the games after it by getting three points.

'It’s better to win one and lose one than draw twice. You get more points. Wins are vitally important for us now, especially at home.

'The home form has been a problem for some time. It’s not just been Brendan Rodgers’ problem, it’s had to improve over the last few years. We’ve all been talking about it between ourselves and what we can do to improve things, and it has to.

'You can’t expect to go away from home and win every game. No team can do that. So the home form is imperative.

'No matter whether you are at the top, middle or bottom of the league, you need good home form.'

Back in the mix: Carragher (right) headed the ball into Suarez's path for his goal at Stamford Bridge

Back in the mix: Carragher (right) headed the ball into Suarez's path for his goal at Stamford Bridge

Barry Ferguson close to Fleetwood loan move

Ambitious Fleetwood close in on loan move for Blackpool captain Ferguson

|

UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 29 October 2012

Former Rangers and Scotland captain Barry Ferguson could drop into English football’s fourth tier if he agrees to join League Two new boys Fleetwood Town on loan.

The 34-year-old is club captain at Blackpool but asked to leave Bloomfield Road after being unable to command a regular place and could now join up with former Ibrox team-mate Barry Nicholson at Highbury.

Fleetwood’s Scottish manager Mickey Mellon has made a move to take Ferguson from their near neighbours after a return to his previous club fell through.

Moving on Barry Ferguson could be set to join Fleetwood Town on loan

Moving on Barry Ferguson could be set to join Fleetwood Town on loan

With the possibility of being granted a free transfer in January, Ferguson is simply desperate to play regularly.

‘There is still a lot needed to be done before it happens, but I have spoken to (Blackpool boss) Ian Holloway — now I need to speak to Barry,’ said Mellon. ‘When a player of that calibre may be available, you have to be interested.’

Phil Jagielka says England have tough task in Poland

Now the hard work begins: Jagielka and Co ready for tough task ahead of Poland clash

PUBLISHED:

14:43 GMT, 14 October 2012

|

UPDATED:

14:47 GMT, 14 October 2012

Phil Jagielka has warned his England team-mates that they face their toughest test yet in the World Cup qualifiers, as they look to take all three points from Poland in Warsaw on Tuesday.

A 5-0 victory over the minnows at Wembley was a nice tune-up for Roy Hodgson's men ahead of the midweek World Cup qualifier in Warsaw, with strikers Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck profiting with a brace apiece.

England are only too aware a trip to the Euro 2012 co-hosts represents a significant step up in calibre, and Everton defender Jagielka is grateful that England's workmanlike performance against San Marino threw up no surprises.

Grounded: Phil Jagielka knows England's trip to Poland will provide a real test for his team

Grounded: Phil Jagielka knows England's trip to Poland will provide a real test for his team

'Three points in the bag, five goals scored and none conceded, as far as we're concerned it was a good professional job done,' Jagielka said.

'We knew what kind of a test we were in for and we got through it okay – is probably about the right word – and we knew that Tuesday is probably going to be a lot more of a test.

'It was all about a clean sheet from the defensive point of view and for the front men to create and score goals and get some confidence heading into Tuesday.

'We're expecting a much more difficult game on Tuesday night.'

Frank Lampard (calf) and Ryan Bertrand (illness) have both been ruled out of the game after failing to recover from the problems that also saw them miss out against San Marino.

Easily done: Wayne Rooney led his team to a routine 5-0 win over San Marino at Wembley

Easily done: Wayne Rooney led his team to a routine 5-0 win over San Marino at Wembley

Out: The likes of Theo Walcott (centre), Ryan Bertrand and Frank Lampard will miss the clash with Poland

Out: The likes of Theo Walcott (centre), Ryan Bertrand and Frank Lampard will miss the clash with Poland

The Chelsea duo's club team-mate Ashley Cole, meanwhile, finds himself at the centre of Hodgson's biggest selection call for Tuesday night, with Everton's Leighton Baines pushing him hard for the left-back berth.

Baines turned in another impressive performance during the San Marino win and he has now started all four internationals since the Euro 2012 finals as Cole nurses an ankle problem.

The former Wigan man now looks a genuine contender for the number three shirt, and Jagielka admits his Everton team-mate is pushing Cole hard.

'It's going to be a really tough decision,' said Jagielka.

'You've got Ashley Cole on 98 caps, and probably the in-form player in the Premier League in Leighton Baines who's playing there at the moment.

Centre of attention: Tom Cleverley is hoping to shine in midfield again

Centre of attention: Tom Cleverley is hoping to shine in midfield again

'As far as the manager goes it's a headache, but probably a nice one to have.

'I think I'd be flicking a coin.'

On the absence of Lampard, Jagielka added that he expected Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley to again shine if asked to deputise alongside returning captain Steven Gerrard.

'Frank's done well for England, especially recently, so we will be missing him,' he said.

'But if you look at the other night's game, Michael and Tom did fantastically well and we've also got our captain to come back, so cover for Frank not being here is looking really good at the moment.'

Sid Watkins hailed by Bernie Ecclestone

Irreplaceable! Ecclestone hails late Watkins for his amazing F1 contribution

|

UPDATED:

17:38 GMT, 14 September 2012

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has hailed Sid Watkins as 'irreplaceable' following his death on Wednesday.

Watkins, the FIA medical delegate and race doctor for 26 years from 1978 through to 2004 after being appointed by Ecclestone, passed away after a short illness at the age of 84.

Watkins helped pioneer safety in motor sport, with his work saving the lives of a number of drivers following an accident, as well as ensuring many others avoided serious injuries.

Hailed: Sid Watkins (right) has received praise from all quarters

Hailed: Sid Watkins (right) has received praise from all quarters

'I am pretty sure he is irreplaceable. You only meet somebody of his calibre once in your lifetime,' said Ecclestone of close friend Watkins.

'What Sid did in the way of safety in Formula One was incredible. He gave his whole life to that cause, to make sure it could be as safe as it possibly could be.

'We all owe him a debt of gratitude for his caring and commitment.'

Speaking to formula1.com on the measures Watkins implemented, Ecclestone added: 'When I invited him to join Formula One as its official doctor part way through the 1978 season, we discussed many aspects of safety and medical issues.

'We agreed we needed a proper hospital at the track in the form of a fully equipped medical centre to stabilise injured drivers with immediate treatment, and a helicopter to transport them subsequently to specialist facilities, and that the helicopter pad had to be as close to that trackside hospital as possible.

Irreplaceable: F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone (right) says the sport will miss Watkins

Irreplaceable: F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone (right) says the sport will miss Watkins

'Sid carried all of those things through, and many more. After the accidents to Jochen Rindt and then Ronnie Peterson, I suggested he should have a medical intervention car and he should take responsibility for taking drivers into medical care.

'We always talked things through and worked together, and he then took care of all the medical things which I knew nothing about.'

Sir Jackie Stewart has called for a permanent memorial in Watkins' honour 'to recognise his contribution to motor sport, particularly Formula One'.

James Morrison signs four-year West Brom deal

Baggies boy Morrison signs new four-year deal at The Hawthorns

|

UPDATED:

10:22 GMT, 14 September 2012

West Brom's longest serving player, midfielder James Morrison, has signed a new four-year contract.

The Scotland international has put pen to paper on a deal which will keep him at The Hawthorns until the summer of 2016.

Morrison, who joined the Baggies from Middlesbrough five years ago, has played a major role in establishing the club in the Barclays Premier League.

Loyal: James Morrison (left) has signed for another four years at West Brom

Loyal: James Morrison (left) has signed for another four years at West Brom

Morrison had two years remaining on his previous deal.

West Brom head coach Steve Clarke said: 'After strengthening the squad during the transfer window, it's equally important to hold on to your best players.

'I'm delighted James has signed a new deal and the new contract is fair reward for his hard work and efforts.

'He's been at Albion for a number of years now and has always been one of the key players.

'This is a good message to send to the rest of the squad, that if you do well and keep improving you will be rewarded.

'It's also a big coup for the club because I'm sure that if James was on the market, there'd be a few clubs interested in him.'

The club's sporting and technical director, Dan Ashworth, added: 'James has been one of our most effective players in the Premier League over the last couple of seasons and fully deserves his improved deal.

'The fact we've got a player of James' calibre to sign a longer contract is a sign that the club is moving in the right direction.'

Morrison helped West Brom win the Championship title in his first season at the Hawthorns.

]