Tag Archives: cameo

David Beckham plays a cameo part in PSG"s 2-1 over Nancy

Beckham plays cameo role in Zlatan show as PSG recover from a goal down to beat struggling Nancy

PUBLISHED:

19:22 GMT, 9 March 2013

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UPDATED:

23:49 GMT, 9 March 2013

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was on the top of his game tonight as he scored twice to help Paris St Germain overturn a one-goal deficit and beat lowly Nancy 2-1 at the Parc des Princes.

David Beckham had to make do with a cameo substitute appearance as his Swedish club-mate stole the attention with two second-half goals in the space of three minutes, following Benjamin Moukandjo's first-half opener for the visitors.

Victory for PSG lifted them five points clear at the summit of Ligue 1, ahead of Sunday's clash between second-placed Lyon and third-placed Marseille, while a fourth league defeat in five for their opponents left them six points adrift of safety.

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Late entrance: David Beckham replaces Paris Saint-Germain's Italian midfielder Marco Verratti

Late entrance: David Beckham replaces Paris Saint-Germain's Italian midfielder Marco Verratti

Lille came from behind to beat Valenciennes 3-1 at the Stade du Hainaut and extend their Ligue 1 winning streak to five matches.

Maor Melikson had given mid-table Valenciennes a first-half lead, but Rudi Garcia's men slipped into another gear after the break, with goals from Ronny Rodelin, Tulio de Melo and Benoit Pedretti earning the three points.

The latter pair stepped off Lille's bench to make the difference, with Valenciennes unable to summon a response as the visitors – now fifth – closed in on the top three..

Start turn: But it was Zlatan Ibrahimovic who stole the show with two goals after PSG had been behind

Start turn: But it was Zlatan Ibrahimovic who stole the show with two goals after PSG had been behind

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Trademark: Despite his limited playing time, Becks manages to deliver a trademark corner

Trademark: Despite his limited playing time, Becks manages to deliver a trademark corner

Lower down the ladder, Evian responded to coach Pascal Dupraz's pre-match pleas with an emphatic 5-1 win over fellow strugglers Sochaux to move out of the relegation zone.

Dupraz had claimed that psychologically the game was 'worth a thousand points', with Evian lying three points behind their opponents who occupied the last position above the drop zone.

By the time Cedric Barbosa and Saber Khelifa had scored twice apiece, Kevin Berigaud adding another to render Cedric Bakambu's 53rd-minute equaliser irrelevant, Evian had jumped two places to 16th and it was their shell-shocked opponents who were left residing in the bottom three.

Brest remained looking over their shoulder at the relegation places after losing 1-0 at home to Toulouse.

Landry Chauvin's side headed into the game five points above the drop zone and looking to build on last weekend's 1-1 draw with title-chasing Lyon.

But Adrien Rabiot's goal on the stroke of half-time at the Stade Francis-Le Ble – coupled with Evian's win – saw Brest's margin over the bottom three shrink to just two points. Toulouse, meanwhile, climbed to 11th.

It was a dramatic night in the lower reaches and a woeful display from Reims goalkeeper Kossi Agassa helped Troyes lift themselves off the foot of the table and drag the away side ever closer to the drop zone after a 4-2 win.

Goals from Corentin Jean and Julien Faussurier put the home two in front with an hour gone before a late scoring spree, including Jean's second and a late effort from Mohamed Yattare added to the excitement.

Nicolas de Preville and Odair Fortes were on target for the visitors, making it 2-1 and then 3-2.
Finally, Ajaccio moved clear of the danger zone as Ronald Zubar's second-half goal earned them a 1-0 victory over Lorient. The former Wolves defender lashed home a powerful shot in the 75th minute.

Challenge: Beckham wins the ball from from Nancy midfielder Salif Sane

Challenge: Beckham wins the ball from from Nancy midfielder Salif Sane

Making an exit: Beckham claps the Parc des Princes faithful

Making an exit: Beckham claps the Parc des Princes faithful

VIDEO: Watch highlights here

Samir Nasri and Carlos Tevez relax in Manchester City training

Nasri and Tevez take weight of expectation in their stride as duo relax in City training

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

19:20 GMT, 28 February 2013

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UPDATED:

21:06 GMT, 28 February 2013

Samir Nasri and Carlos Tevez appeared to be in high spirits today as Manchester City prepared for their trip to Aston Villa on Monday.

Fresh from beating top-four rivals Chelsea at the Etihad last weekend, Nasri, Tevez and the rest of the City squad were put through their paces at City's training base in Carrington.

And Tevez, who doubled City's lead over Rafa Benitez's visitors after Yaya Toure's opener, took the time to give the cameras a thumbs-up while he rested between training sessions.

Relaxed: Samir Nasri reclines in Manchester City's boot room at their Carrington training base

Relaxed: Samir Nasri reclines in Manchester City's boot room at their Carrington training base

Weight of expectation: Pablo Zabaleta puts a shift in as City prepare to take on Aston Villa on Monday

Weight of expectation: Pablo Zabaleta puts a shift in as City prepare to take on Aston Villa on Monday

No way: Joe Hart dives over a hurdle to keep the ball out as Costel Pantilimon (left) watches

No way: Joe Hart dives over a hurdle to keep the ball out as Costel Pantilimon (left) watches

Nasri, who made a late cameo appearance in the win which tightened City's grip on second place, but struck a pose for the club photographer while reclining in the bootroom.

City manager Roberto Mancini criticised Nasri's work ethic last week, claiming that the France midfielder only offers him 50 per cent.

In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Mancini said: 'I think Samir has fantastic qualities

'With his quality, he should always play well. Every game he could be the difference. A player of this quality could be one of the best players in Europe. But it's not happening.

'Sometimes a player thinks it's enough what they did the year before and doesn't understand that every day they should improve.'

He added: 'You win the title, then you think it's enough to play 50 per cent and you don't arrive the next year.'

'If you are a top player you know you can improve until the last day of your career but sometimes you get players who think it is not important to work and this is their worst mistake.

'Samir can do better than this year. He is a top player but he has not been playing at his level.'

Pablo Zabaleta and Joleon Lescott undertook some weight training in their bid to be fully prepared for City's visit to Villa Park next week.

Goalkeepers Joe Hart and Costel Pantilimon were also pictured putting in a shift. Hart, who made an outstanding save from a Frank Lampard penalty to keep the game at 0-0 last weekend, dived over hurdles to keep the ball out in this afternoon's session.

Mancini will be desperate for his side to take all three points, as league leaders and cross-city rivals United could be 15 points clear at the top come Monday, provided they beat Norwich at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon.

Having a breather: Carlos Tevez gives a thumbs-up to the camera

Having a breather: Carlos Tevez gives a thumbs-up to the camera

Focus: Joleon Lescott powers through his training session

Focus: Joleon Lescott powers through his training session

Game for a laugh: Javi Garcia (right) shares a joke with Zabaleta and David Silva (left)

Game for a laugh: Javi Garcia (right) shares a joke with Zabaleta and David Silva (left)

Scott Parker scores for Tottenham reserves

Great Scott! Tottenham's Parker makes goalscoring return in U21 match against Villa

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UPDATED:

00:10 GMT, 18 December 2012

Scott Parker continued his steady return to football by netting for Tottenham's Under 21s this evening.

The England international, who is being gradually eased back into football after an achilles injury, scored on the stroke of half-time as part of the Tottenham Under 21 outfit who travelled to Aston Villa this evening.

Parker, who scored Spurs' second goal in a convincing 3-0 win, made a cameo appearance on Sunday for Tottenham's senior squad when they beat Swansea 1-0 at White Hart Lane.

Back in the goals: Scott Parker scored for Tottenham's Under 21s when they travelled to Aston Villa

Back in the goals: Scott Parker scored for Tottenham's Under 21s when they travelled to Aston Villa

The 32-year-old had not played for Tottenham all season before Sunday's victory, and was only handed a couple of minutes' football when he replaced Mousa Dembele late in the match.

The former Charlton, Chelsea and West Ham midfielder was given a start this evening for Tottenham's Under 21s.

Having recently returned to football after picking up the injury with Roy Hodgson's England team at Euro 2012, Parker wasted little time back on the pitch tonight by coolly slotting home after 45 minutes.

When fully fit, Parker still faces a tough task of forcing his way back into the Tottenham first team.

Dembele has looked like an incredible signing since his arrival from Fulham this summer, and Sandro has proved to be an integral member of Villas-Boas' squad with some stellar performances this term.

Meanwhile,Tottenham left back Benoit Assou-Ekotto could also be fit to play against Stoke at home on Saturday after being out for three months with a knee injury.

Welcome back: Parker received a couple of minutes' football when he replaced Mousa Dembele against Swansea

Welcome back: Parker received a couple of minutes' football when he replaced Mousa Dembele against Swansea

Jerome Sinclair becomes Liverpool"s youngest ever player

Mersey Boys: As Sinclair becomes their youngest ever player, what happened to Liverpool's other teenage debutants

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UPDATED:

12:04 GMT, 27 September 2012

As the famous football maxim goes – ‘If you’re good enough,
you’re old enough.’

Brendan Rodgers is clearly someone who subscribes to that theory as he
brought Jerome Sinclair on as a late substitute for his first-team debut in the
League Cup tie at West Bromwich on Wednesday night.

And in doing so, Sinclair made history as the youngest
player to wear the colours of Liverpool at a fresh 16 years and six days.

In fact, his inclusion in the squad seemed to take some
of the Liverpool officials by surprise – he was listed as Jordan on the
teamsheet.

Youngest ever: Jerome Sinclair (left) made his Liverpool debut in the League Cup tie with West Bromwich at 16 years and six days

Youngest ever: Jerome Sinclair (left) made his Liverpool debut in the League Cup tie with West Bromwich at 16 years and six days

Born in Birmingham and educated at the West Brom academy,
Sinclair moved to Liverpool as a 14-year-old in 2011 and quickly broke into the
Under-18 side.

The striker’s first-team debut came just a week after his
maiden appearance for the Under-21s in a NextGen Series match with Inter Milan.

Sinclair looks set for a bright future, but how did
things turn out for other young Liverpool debutants

2. Jack Robinson

Debut: 16 years
and 250 days, vs. Hull City on May 9, 2010

Until Wednesday night, the accolade of being the youngest
player to appear in a Liverpool shirt belonged to Jack Robinson, who made a
five minute cameo on the final day of the 2009-2010 season at Hull.

The left-back then made his breakthrough into the
first-team the following season, with a particularly impressive display against
Theo Walcott in a match at Arsenal.

The arrival of Jose Enrique limited Robinson’s chances,
but Liverpool showed faith in his long-term future by offering him a long-term
contract in October 2011.

His two appearances in the League Cup last season were
enough to earn him a winners’ medal and a start in the recent Europa League
qualifying match at Hearts suggested Rodgers trusts in his talent too.

Defender of the tradition: Jack Robinson was Liverpool's youngest debutant until Wednesday night

Defender of the tradition: Jack Robinson was Liverpool's youngest debutant until Wednesday night

3. Raheem Sterling

Debut: 17 years
and 107 days, vs. Wigan Athletic on March 24, 2012

A prodigious talent with a very bright future, Sterling
has seized his opportunity on the Premier League stage this season with a
series of fearless performances.

The winger was especially impressive in the away Europa
League tie with Hearts and on his home Premier League debut against Manchester
City, giving Kolo Toure a torrid afternoon with his direct running.

The good start to his top flight career even earned
Sterling a call-up to the England squad for the latest World Cup qualifier
against Ukraine.

Initially at Queens Park Rangers, Sterling was brought to
Merseyside by Rafa Benitez for an initial fee of 600,000 – though this could
rise to as much as 5m if he continues to impress in the first team.

Rising star: Raheem Sterling gave Hearts a torrid time in the Europa League qualifier at Tynecastle earlier this season

Rising star: Raheem Sterling gave Hearts a torrid time in the Europa League qualifier at Tynecastle earlier this season

4. Max Thompson

Debut: 17 years
and 128 days, vs. Tottenham Hotspur on May 8, 1974

Thompson’s record as the youngest Liverpool debutant
stood for 36 years until broken by Robinson. The central defender made his one
and only league appearance for Liverpool against Spurs at the tail end of the
1973-1974 season.

Thompson went on to spent four years at Blackpool and two
at Swansea City, before an itinerant career took him to Bournemouth, Port Vale
and a number of non-league sides.

5. Michael Owen

Debut: 17 years
and 143 days, vs. Wimbledon on May 6, 1997

It was obvious from a very young age that Owen was a
special talent and after scoring a bag full of goals in the youth team, he was
fast-tracked into the senior side with the highest of recommendations.

When Roy Evans first selected Owen for first team duty,
Liverpool’s Director of Youth Steve Heighway had no doubts: ‘He is ready for
whatever you throw at him; nothing fazes Michael Owen. He’s ready. If the
manager wants a recommendation from me, Michael gets it.’

How right he was. Owen made his debut against Wimbledon
in May 1997, a glimmer of optimism in a dismal defeat that handed Manchester
United the title.

Dream debut: Michael Owen slots the ball past Neil Sullivan on his maiden Liverpool appearance in 1997

Dream debut: Michael Owen slots the ball past Neil Sullivan on his maiden Liverpool appearance in 1997

His first full season was exceptional – installed in
Liverpool’s first choice frontline, Owen won the Premier League Golden Boot and
the PFA Young Player of the Year award.

He scored 23 goals in total and made his bow on the
international stage for England – notably when scoring against Argentina at the
1998 World Cup.

6. John Morrissey

Debut: 17 years,
158 days, vs. Stoke City on September 23, 1957

Local born Outside Left Johnny Morrissey signed
professional forms at Anfield at the age of 17 and soon made his first-team
bow.

In five seasons at Liverpool, he made only 36 league
appearances and was second in the pecking order to Alan A’Court.

But his departure was controversial – the Liverpool board
decided to send him across Stanley Park to Everton without the blessing of
manager Bill Shankly.

Mersey man: Johnny Morrissey (bottom row, second from right) made his Liverpool debut aged 17 and later played for Everton

Mersey man: Johnny Morrissey (bottom row, second from right) made his Liverpool debut aged 17 and later played for Everton

Shankly didn’t take too kindly to his authority being undermined
by those upstairs and actually drafted a letter of resignation before being talked
round.

In the end, the move was probably better for Morrissey,
who played more than 250 games for Everton and won the league championship and FA
Cup.

THE REST OF THE LIVERPOOL TOP TEN

7. Reg Blore – Debut: 17 years, 213 days vs. Stoke City on October 17, 1959

8. Phil Charnock – Debut: 17 years, 215 days vs. Apollon Limassol on September 16, 1992

9. Ian Callaghan – Debut: 18 years, six days vs. Bristol Rovers on April 16, 1960

10. Harold Barton – Debut: 18 years, nine days vs. Blackburn Rovers on October 9, 1929

AND HERE'S HOW IT STARTED FOR OTHER BIG NAMES…

Steven Gerrard

Debut: 18 years and 182 days, vs. Blackburn Rovers on November 29, 1998

Considering what a great player he became, Gerrard's debut is largely forgettable as he came on for the last few minutes against Blackburn at Anfield as a replacement for Vegard Heggem.

Further opportunities followed during the 1998-1999 campaign as Jamie Redknapp struggled with injury but Gerrard's performances were hallmarked by nerves and he didn't make much of an impact.

Reflecting on his first few starts in an interview to mark ten years at Anfield, Gerrard said: 'I was out of position and out of my depth.'

But his rapid improvement led to a regular first-team slot and Anfield immortality.

Fresh-faced: Steven Gerrard is challenged by future England teammate Emile Heskey on one of his early Liverpool appearances

Fresh-faced: Steven Gerrard is challenged by future England teammate Emile Heskey on one of his early Liverpool appearances

Robbie Fowler

Debut: 18 years and 166 days, vs. Fulham on September 22, 1993

Fresh from helping the England Under-18 side win the European Championships in the summer of 1993, Fowler scored on his debut for Liverpool's first team in a 3-1 League Cup first round tie at Fulham.

Two weeks later, he scored all five goals in the return leg to truly announce his arrival.
Fowler's first league goals quickly followed, including a hat-trick in only his fifth league start against Southampton.

In all, he scored 183 goals in his two spells at Anfield.

Eyes on the ball: Fowler scores the third goal on his debut against Fulham in 1993

Eyes on the ball: Fowler scores the third goal on his debut against Fulham in 1993

Jamie Carragher

Debut: 18 years, 345 days, vs. Middlesbrough on January 8, 1997

Like Owen, Jamie Carragher had been part of the FA Youth Cup winning side of 1996 and Roy Evans handed him a first-team debut in a League Cup quarter-final defeat to Middlesbrough in January 1997.

Carragher played the last 15 minutes as a replacement from Rob Jones, but couldn't help avert a 2-1 reverse to the eventual cup finalists.

Three days later, he was given a league debut against West Ham, again as a substitute and Carragher then scored on his first start in the next game with Aston Villa.

Opening chapter: Jamie Carragher in an early game for Liverpool, against Celta Vigo in the UEFA Cup

Opening chapter: Jamie Carragher in an early game for Liverpool, against Celta Vigo in the UEFA Cup

Nick Powell says he won"t get carried away by Manchester United debut goal

I won't get carried away – my dad won't let me! United new-boy Powell keen to build on debut goal

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UPDATED:

09:38 GMT, 17 September 2012

Nick Powell says his dad will make sure he does not get too big for his boots after he scored on his Manchester United debut.

The 18-year-old midfielder scored United’s fourth goal in the 4-1 win over Wigan on Saturday and says he is keen to build on his dream debut – but insists he won’t get carried away with his good start.

Powell moved to Old Trafford in the summer from Crewe for 4million and is hoping to bring attacking menace to United’s midfield.

Dream start: Nick Powell celebrates with Robin van Persie after scoring on his debut

Dream start: Nick Powell celebrates with Robin van Persie after scoring on his debut

He told MUTV: ‘It was great to make my debut. To then cap it off with a goal is what I’ve been working for.

‘Dario (Gradi, Crewe’s director of football) used to say my game isn’t just attacking and defending, it’s about goals as well and I proved that last season and hopefully I can do that for United.

Pick that one out: Powell fires his shot from the edge of the area

Pick that one out: Powell fires his shot from the edge of the area

Despite his impressive cameo, however, Powell says he will keep his feet on the ground and continue learning from his elder peers. 'My dad will keep me in touch, I’ll tell you that

‘I’m just going to go home, have this great feeling and I’ll keep myself on the ground.

Experience: Ryan Giggs

Landmark: Paul Scholes

Learning game: Powell says hopes to improve after training with the likes of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes

'When I first came on it scared me a little bit, to be fair, because I’m only used to 5,000 people now and then, but it’s a great atmosphere – the fans are great. It wasn’t the hardest game because they made it easier for me but I’m happy to be on the pitch getting minutes.

'I learn every day, especially from the midfielders – Scholes, Carrick, Giggsy – they’re all great, they’ve all been through it and won trophies. That’s what I want to do, so I hope to learn off them every day.'

World Twenty20 2012: England beat Australia in warm-up

England warm up for World Twenty20 in style as Hales knock helps see off Australia

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UPDATED:

08:43 GMT, 17 September 2012

England had to outdo the class of Michael Hussey to start their ICC World Twenty20 warm-up campaign with a scrambled nine-run victory over Australia at Nondescripts CC.

Stuart Broad's defending champions appeared on track to coast to a fifth successive win this year over their oldest enemy – but that was reckoning without Hussey (71), the vital missing ingredient during England's 4-0 NatWest Series trouncing of Australia on home turf two months ago.

Hussey near single-handedly kept his team's hopes alive, and England sweating, after wrecking young spinner Danny Briggs' figures with three consecutive sixes over mid-wicket.

Vital knock: Hales scored 52 off 38 balls in Colombo

Vital knock: Hales scored 52 off 38 balls in Colombo

SCORECARD

Click here for the full scorecard

With the first, the left-hander brought
up his 45-ball fifty, and he added another boundary too for good measure
in the slow left-armer's final over.

But Broad himself returned to have Hussey lbw, and from there Australia ran out of steam to finish short of 172 for six.

Alex Hales (52) had underpinned that competitive total, after England
were put in on a steamy morning and a stodgy pitch, the tall opener
continuing to fare well in his role as the controversially absent Kevin
Pietersen's replacement.

England were playing their first practice fixture of a tournament which
will begin in earnest for them against minnows Afghanistan at the nearby
Premadasa Stadium on Friday.

Teeing off: Luke Wright played an impressive cameo role at No 3

Teeing off: Luke Wright played an impressive cameo role at No 3

Teeing off: Luke Wright played an impressive cameo role at No 3

Their total twice looked vulnerable here, first in a second-wicket stand
of 74 between Hussey and Shane Watson and then when Australia's most
accomplished batsman was gathering momentum alongside Glenn Maxwell.

Steven Finn thought he had Watson with the first ball of Australia's reply, but his caught-behind hopes came to nought.

Instead, England got David Warner for a duck when he speared a catch to point off Finn.

Watson, however, stayed to hit Finn, Tim Bresnan and Broad for a six
each – the England captain suffering particularly in his opening over,
which contained three wides and cost 14 runs.

Breakthrough: Australia celebrate the wicket of Craig Kieswetter

Breakthrough: Australia celebrate the wicket of Craig Kieswetter

Graeme Swann provided the breakthrough England needed when he had Watson
bowled sweeping, and Briggs had Cameron White stumped when he advanced
but got nowhere near the pitch.

England looked in big trouble as Hussey suddenly raced through the
gears, but their worries were soon over once Broad got the big wicket
and the rest could not sustain the challenge. Hales might earlier have
been run out on three, had Warner managed a direct hit from point; he
also offered a tough half-chance to diving wicketkeeper Matthew Wade on
21 off Dan Christian, and escaped a feasible stumping off veteran
spinner Brad Hogg on 34.

But he was responsible for England's early momentum, once he found the
boundary in the fifth over – the first of three fours in four balls off
Clint McKay.

Hales' opening partner Craig Kieswetter mistimed an attempted big hit to
deep mid-off. But Australia contributed to England's total with a
succession of early wides – one of which, from Mitchell Starc, swung
past the wicketkeeper and sped to the boundary.

Innovative: Morgan contributed a quickfire 30

Innovative: Morgan contributed a quickfire 30

Innovative: Morgan contributed a quickfire 30

Hales and Luke Wright shared a second-wicket stand of 88.

Even though George Bailey tried to put the squeeze on by chopping and
changing his bowlers, Wright upped the ante with two reverse-hit fours
and England's first six over mid-wicket off Hogg to bring up the hundred
– only to fall to the last ball of the same over when he picked out
deep square leg.

Hales completed his half-century in 36 balls, but clipped Hogg to mid-wicket to go soon afterwards.

With Eoin Morgan and Jonny Bairstow's expert hitting and placement still
to come, England nonetheless had a total which turned out to be too
much – despite Hussey – for the team they also beat to win their World
Twenty20 title in a Barbados final two years ago.

Key man: Hussey top scored with 71 before being dismissed by Broad

Key man: Hussey top scored with 71 before being dismissed by Broad

Key man: Hussey top scored with 71 before being dismissed by Broad
IRELAND EDGE PAST BANGLADESH

Ireland completed their World Twenty20 preparations with a tight five-run win over Bangladesh in Colombo.

Having seen off Zimbabwe last weekend, William Porterfield's side got the better of a higher-class of opposition, successfully defending their 164 for six.

A thrilling 71 from just 41 balls by opener Paul Stirling was the highlight of their innings.

Ed Joyce chipped in with a more considered 39 to boost the total further and, despite a knock of 52 from Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh were unable to reach their target.

The occasional spin of Kevin O'Brien (three for 24) eventually put the skids on their charge, which originally looked as though it would be in pursuit of a higher score when Ireland rattled off 40 runs in the first four overs.

Porterfield was the first man to go as he was run out with the score on 46, with Stirling and Joyce then sharing a second-wicket stand of 64 before the latter was castled by Elias Sunny.

Joyce carried on the charge before being snared by Mashrafe Mortaza who ended with two for 33, as Ireland were unable to open their shoulders over the closing stages of their overs.

Bangladesh's response saw them lose Mohammad Ashraful early on for seven, before a quickfire stand of 63 between Tamim Iqbal and Shakib got them motoring.

But Tamim (35) offered a return catch to Alex Cusack and then Shakib lost his wicket to Nigel Jones as the wheels started to come off.

O'Brien then took three wickets in two overs to really put Ireland in command and, although Ziaur Rahman weighed in with a breezy 26, it was not enough and Bangladesh ended just short on 159 for nine.

James McClean learns from "idiotic" Twitter rant

Republic of Ireland winger McClean learns from 'idiotic' Twitter rant

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UPDATED:

10:04 GMT, 13 September 2012

James McClean admits his Twitter rant was 'stupid' and 'idiotic', but he also thinks it may end up helping his Republic of Ireland career in the long run.

McClean received a dressing down in front of his team-mates on Saturday after venting his fury on Twitter at not coming off the bench during Friday's 2-1 win over Kazakhstan.

The 23-year-old deleted the foul-mouthed tweet and made a grovelling apology that saw him retained in the squad for Wednesday's friendly against Oman.

Back in action: McClean featured against Oman on Wednesday night

Back in action: McClean featured against Oman on Wednesday night

Trapattoni's grilling of McClean has made the player the butt of some light-hearted jibes during training since, and stand-in captain Kevin Doyle also revealed the squad were thinking of making the midfielder do a second initiation song as a forfeit.

McClean admits he was foolish to post the tweet, but he also thinks the friendly ribbing he has got from his team-mates has helped him become closer to other members of the Republic squad.

'I'm able to laugh about it now and we're able to joke about it, so it has helped integrate me I suppose,' McClean said.

'It's the greatest honour to play for your country and that's where my frustration came from. It was stupid. It was idiotic but I'm human and it's over and done with now. I've learned from it.'

'Idiotic': McClean was apologetic over his outburst

'Idiotic': McClean was apologetic over his outburst

The Sunderland winger impressed when he came off the bench for a 30-minute cameo, going close with two brilliant efforts – one a tricky volley and the other a superb curling free-kick that was saved by Ali Al-Habsi.

McClean looks like he will have to spend more time on the bench for his country after Trapattoni revealed that the winger would not start next month's qualifier against Germany in Dublin.

But the former Derry City man is just happy that he still has an international career, and that he still retains the support of the Republic fans, who gave him an almighty cheer when he came off the bench after an hour's play.

'I was just delighted to get on the pitch considering what has happened on this trip,' McClean added.

Premier ambition: McClean and Sunderland face Liverpool at the weekend

Premier ambition: McClean and Sunderland face Liverpool at the weekend

'I'm just glad that it's all over and done with now. It was nice to get on and the fans were amazing. They've taken to me from day one.

'They're a great bunch.'

McClean is part of a new generation that Trapattoni seems reluctant to throw in to the full team for this World Cup qualifying campaign as he vows to stick to his trusted group of experienced players.

David Meyler, Robbie Brady, who scored one and set up two more on debut, and Seamus Coleman all seemed more than capable of raising their game to international level on Tuesday, albeit against a side ranked 53rd in the world, and McClean thinks this bodes well for the future of the squad.

'Robbie Brady is a great lad,' McClean said.

'It's not bad to get a goal and two assists on your debut.

'I'm glad David and Seamus got a game too. The future looks good.'

Giovanni Trapattoni set to test fans" patience by holding back Robbie Brady and James McClean

Trapattoni set to test fans' patience by holding back Brady and McClean

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UPDATED:

13:33 GMT, 12 September 2012

Giovanni Trapattoni will resist the
temptation to throw Robbie Brady in to the Republic of Ireland team for
next month's qualifier against Germany.

Brady wowed the crowd at
Craven Cottage when he scored one goal and set up two more as
Trapattoni's team coasted to a 4-1 win over Oman.

High times: Republic of Ireland's Robbie Brady (centre) celebrates his goal against Oman

High times: Republic of Ireland's Robbie Brady (centre) celebrates his goal against Oman

The 20-year-old, who is yet to play for Manchester United, put in two top-class crosses to allow Shane Long and Kevin Doyle to score and he also showed instinct by lashing home a volley from a cleared corner on the edge of the box.

Trapattoni, renowned for his conservative approach to team selection, was impressed with the winger's contribution, but insisted Brady is not yet ready to start such a big game as the October 12 World Cup qualifier in Dublin.

James McClean also impressed during a 30-minute cameo, but rather than include the duo against Germany, the Italian looks set to recall the likes of Simon Cox and Aiden McGeady, who both struggled in last week's drab performance in Kazakhstan.

Trapattoni said: 'I have been asked whether players who play in friendlies will play in the qualifiers immediately after before and in the case of the game against Germany, the answer is no. Absolutely no.

'We need to play with the players who know the system and who know what they can do because the Germans are strong.

Impressive: Brady scored one goal and set up two more

Impressive: Brady scored one goal and set up two more

'They (the likes of Brady) can be in the squad but not in the team because we have the team that played in Kazakhstan. We have to have a team that is fit and strong mentally.

'At the moment maybe it's better to have Cox than others.

'I choose the players on the basis of the job ahead. Obviously there are players in the squad who are coming back like Richard Dunne and maybe Damien Duff.'

Brady impressed on loan at Hull last season and took part in United's pre-season tour of South Africa.

The forward, who can play on either wing or just behind a main striker, became the Under-21`s record goal scorer last week, but Trapattoni thinks the 20-year-old still has a lot to work on in his game.

'Brady played well, he has good creative qualities,' the Republic boss said.

'But I spoke with him after the game and told him he needs to understand that although he is a good dribbler and he shows good personality, he must also sometimes play it simple.

'There were two or three times last night where he missed the opportunity to pass the ball.'

Back in favour: James McClean also impressed during a 30-minute cameo

Back in favour: James McClean also impressed during a 30-minute cameo

After watching his team crash out of
Euro 2012 with three defeats, Trapattoni's position came under further
scrutiny on Friday when his team snatched three points in Astana thanks
to last-gasp goals from Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle.

The win appears to have given the
73-year-old fresh enthusiasm for the job, however, and he insists he has
learned a lot of vital information about his squad over the last 10
days.

'People like James McCarthy, Seamus Coleman, Marc Wilson and Alex Pearce have confirmed that they are good technical players,' Trapattoni added.

'We now know better the attitude of the players we have brought in and we played better yesterday than we did in Kazakhstan.'

Last week's preparation for the Kazakhstan game was overshadowed in part by Trapattoni's announcement that he hoped to bring Duff out of international retirement.

Trapattoni invited Duff to the game, but did not speak to the 33-year-old about coming back for the World Cup qualifying campaign.

'I didn't see him,' the Italian said.

'He did not come in to the dressing room because he has respect for his friends. He is an intelligent man and knew that the media would focus on this rather than them.'

When asked whether he was hopeful Duff would return for the qualifying double-header against Germany and the Faroe Islands, Trapattoni said: 'I don't know. I don't know what I am doing on October 12. Maybe I eat fish or drink milk. I can't discuss this now.

'I will speak about this when it is the time.'

It"s time you got serious, Mario! De Rossi tells Balotelli to grow up and fulfil his potential

It's time you got serious, Mario! De Rossi tells Balotelli to grow up and fulfil his potential

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UPDATED:

21:54 GMT, 20 June 2012

Mario Balotelli has been told to grow up if he is to fulfil his potential as one of the great players of Euro 2012.

The stark warning came from his Italy team-mate Daniele De Rossi, who is tipped to join Balotelli at Manchester City.

Lightening the mood: Mario Balotelli lifts flagging spirits in training

Lightening the mood: Mario Balotelli lifts flagging spirits in training

Star man: Balotelli

Shut it: Leonardo Bonucci silences Mario Balotelli

Moving the goalposts: Balotelli is set to start against England after his goalscoring cameo against Ireland

Balotelli looks increasingly likely to start in the quarter-final against England in Kiev on Sunday, despite clashing with coach Cesare Prandelli after scoring in the win over the Republic of Ireland.

And De Rossi said: ‘Balotelli’s a great player, but if he wants to grow he has to know how to react to situations.

Wise words: Daniele De Rossi (left) had some sage advice for Mario Balotelli

Wise words: Daniele De Rossi (left) had some sage advice for Mario Balotelli

Star man: Balotelli

‘Everybody is treated in the same way, so everybody has to take his own responsibility. He has to accept the manager’s decision. Sometimes, Balotelli commits mistakes off the pitch, but that’s his responsibility, too.

‘There is a lot of talk and scandals around him because he’s young and playing at Manchester City.’

Toby Flood is jealous of Owen Farrell

EXCLUSIVE: Flood admits he's jealous of Farrell’s role in England's Six Nations revival

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UPDATED:

21:51 GMT, 24 March 2012

What more can I do Toby Flood

What more can I do Toby Flood

Toby Flood insists he is not the jealous type. But he chooses his words carefully before admitting there is no other way to describe his feelings over the part Owen Farrell has played in dragging England out of their post-World Cup stupor.

Flood should, by rights, have been England’s starting fly-half from the outset of the Six Nations, having excelled in last year’s tournament before suffering in silence during the World Cup as Martin Johnson reverted to Jonny Wilkinson and stuck with him even though he looked patently out of sorts.

When Wilkinson called time on his extraordinary international career after the tournament, the door was open for Flood to step out from his shadow and take long-term possession of England’s No 10 shirt.

But a knee ligament damaged when Flood faced Sale with Leicester in January allowed first Charlie Hodgson and then Farrell the chance to excel in the pivotal position as Stuart Lancaster’s brave new world began to unfold.

Flood, who has 47 caps, was forced to settle for a 20-minute cameo from
the bench as the Six Nations all but passed him by and, courtesy of three
brilliant displays at No 10, Farrell became a banker who could take
some shifting.

‘I can’t pretend it’s been ideal,’ Flood said from Leicester’s Oadby training base last week. ‘Having an injury like that at the start of the Six Nations means you are always chasing your tail. I enjoyed seeing the guys developing and being around them in training. But the other half of me was very jealous because you want to be a part of what was going on and this new era that everyone’s talking about.

‘I’m content and laid-back about most things in life but I’m annoyed and jealous about not being involved. They say you don’t know what
you’ve got until it’s gone. I’m not usually a jealous person, but having had the England No 10 shirt taken away from me there is a massive desire and hunger to get back involved.’

Spot on: Owen Farrell was imperious for England during the Six Nations

Spot on: Owen Farrell was imperious for England during the Six Nations

Flood’s frustration is
understandable. Fifteen months ago he scored a record 25 points as
England tore Australia to shreds at Twickenham before featuring
prominently in their Six Nations championship-winning side the following
year.

He was criticised for his performance as England slipped to defeat in
Dublin on the final day of last year’s tournament, before irritating the coaching staff by choosing to run training-ground moves rather than kick at goal in the penultimate World Cup warm-up game, against Wales in Cardiff.

It cost England the match and cost Flood his starting place, but he had good reason to believe his time would come again this year.

But Farrell’s precocious displays, allied to Hodgson’s resurgence and
the emergence of Leicester’s George Ford, Bath’s Tom Heathcote and the
impending return of Danny Cipriani, mean England now have a fly-half
cupboard that is fresh and well stocked.

Flood remains in a strong position to tour South Africa as Farrell’s back-up this summer but accepts that he is now looking over his shoulder.

Pratice makes perfect: Flood (left) in action for Leicester Tigers

Pratice makes perfect: Flood (left) in action for Leicester Tigers

‘I’ve always been that young kid who
is chasing somebody,’ he said. ‘I’m no longer hunting, watching Jonny.
Now I have to watch myself. I have to set the standards.’

How he embraces that shift in mentality will define his future. The average age
of Lancaster’s Six Nations squad was 26 — the same age as Flood — and
with that youth first policy likely to continue whoever is given the head coach’s job, Flood knows he cannot afford to rest on his laurels.

‘The smartest thing that Stuart did was getting rid of a lot of the older players,’ he said. ‘He felt that if he wanted to make his mark he needed fresh blood and people who would respond to what he’s going to say. Now there’s an environment where guys will work for each other, they have grown up together, most of them are the same age and are from the same mould. Ninety per cent of them have been coached by Stuart before.

‘There was progress going on under Johnno and a feeling we were getting things right. But the fallout from World Cup, with all the leaks and resignations, created an environment in which Stuart could start from fresh. He has done that and it’s paying off.’

Lancaster spent an hour with Flood explaining his reasons for dropping
him in favour of Hodgson for the trip to Paris.

Main man: Farrell has won the confidence of coach Stuart Lancaster

Main man: Farrell has won the confidence of coach Stuart Lancaster

‘Sometimes you have to grit your teeth and agree to disagree,’ said Flood.

‘Stu was good to me and told me I was still very much in his thoughts, which is great. He is building to the next World Cup but for me it’s about taking care of the here and now.’

The ‘here and now’ for Flood involves today’s Aviva Premiership encounter with London Irish at the Madejski Stadium when Leicester can further consolidate a top-four spot that looked improbable when they started the season by losing five of their first six league games.

‘You can’t let your own career worries affect how you are around the club,’ he said. ‘You have to keep driving what’s around you.

‘Now I’m the guy who is being chased. That’s a really new transition
for me and how I deal with that is the interesting thing. It’s always easier in a horse race being second with a furlong out because you have something to run at.

‘That scenario has changed for me. In some respects I’m now a couple
of noses back now. Now I’m in a situation where I have to drive myself.’