Tag Archives: excitement

Arsenal guard of honour for Manchester United and Robin van Persie

Arsenal players OBJECT to giving old boy Van Persie and champions United guard of honour

By
Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

11:35 GMT, 23 April 2013

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UPDATED:

07:08 GMT, 24 April 2013

Reluctant Arsenal players are
privately unhappy about giving newly crowned champions Manchester United — and their
former captain, Robin van Persie — a guard of honour when they meet at
the Emirates Stadium on Sunday – but they are still expected to perform the honour.

A
guard of honour is a tradition in games involving teams who have just
won the title. Privately, a number of Arsenal players have expressed
objections towards the gesture, particularly in front of their own
supporters, but it is understood it will still go ahead.

Arsenal’s
pain will be offset by a 1.5million bonus they will receive due to a
clause inserted in Van Persie’s contract when he signed last summer. The
clause was activated when United won the title.

Homecoming: Van Persie and United head to the Emirates this weekend

Homecoming: Van Persie and United head to the Emirates this weekend

NOW READ ASH WEDNESDAY…

CLICK HERE: As much as it will hurt Wenger, Arsenal should give United a guard of honour… just as Ferguson did in 1991

Meanwhile, David
Gill has promised the champions will invest in new players this summer, though he expects Manchester City to be active, also.

He said: 'I’m sure they will come back. They’ve got some ambitious plans on their investment and their academy. But that’s what the excitement of the Premier League is. I’m sure all the clubs who missed out this season will be doing business in the summer – as we will be – with a view to come back all guns blazing next year.'

The out-going chief executive has also praised the work of the American owners. Gill claims United's success proves the determination of the Glazers to keep things progressing on and off the pitch, and that some of the criticism they get is unfair.

Guard of honour: United applaud Chelsea on to the Old Trafford pitch in May 2005

Guard of honour: United applaud Chelsea on to the Old Trafford pitch in May 2005

Guard of honour: United applaud Chelsea on to the Old Trafford pitch in May 2005

Dutch of class: Van Persie spent eight years at Arsenal

Dutch of class: Van Persie spent eight years at Arsenal

He
added: 'The Glazers have definitely demonstrated that since they have
taken over they have shown that what happens on the pitch is crucial to
the club’s ambitions off it.

'There
are still a small number of dissenters and they will always be there
and they have had long held views which they are not going to change. We
respect those, but ultimately, someone has to own the club.

'They
[Glazers] get the personal enjoyment and the important thing is that
there is really no ego about them. They operate behind the scenes here,
they don’t walk around saying “we own the club”, and they are very
mindful of the traditions and the history of the club and people.

'Clearly, if you own an asset and it comes up with winning a 20th title, it’s unbelievable.'

Fernando Torres scores and doesn"t celebrate

Cheer up, Fernando! Torres scores and doesn't celebrate (has he forgotten how to do that too)

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UPDATED:

22:29 GMT, 5 December 2012

Fernando Torres has struggled for goals of late. But on tonight's evidence, it appears he's forgotten how to celebrate too!

The Spaniard led the line for Chelsea as they dismantled a poor Nordsjaelland outfit at Stamford Bridge, recording Rafael Benitez's first win in the process.

Torres netted himself a brace – his first goals under new manager Benitez – but didn't seem overjoyed at breaking his month-long duck.

Cheer up: Fernando Torres looked glum after scoring Chelsea's second goal

Cheer up: Fernando Torres looked glum after scoring Chelsea's second goal

Serious: Torres scored his first goal in a month

Serious: Torres scored his first goal in a month

Serious: Torres scored his first goal in a month

The former Liverpool striker scored for the first time in more than 12 hours of football after bumbling his way past goalkeeper Jesper Hansen before lifting the ball into the net and doubling Chelsea's lead.

Instead of roaring with excitement after scoring for the first time in a month, the 28-year-old simply jogged back into his own half after a couple of customary high-fives.

Torres may have been keeping in mind the fact that, no matter how big a win they managed over Nordsjaelland, it would all be in vein if Shakhtar failed to beat Juventus in Ukraine.

Juve managed to overcome a dogged Shakhtar at the Donbass Arena, narrowly winning the match 1-0.

The result catapulted the Italian champions into first place in Group E, leaving Shakhtar in second and dumping holders Chelsea out of the Champions League and into the Europa League.

Chin up: Torres scored two goals but Chelsea crashed out of the Champions League

Chin up: Torres scored two goals but Chelsea crashed out of the Champions League

That might be why... Juventus sealed Chelsea's fate by topping Group E in Ukraine

That might be why… Juventus sealed Chelsea's fate by topping Group E in Ukraine

Steven Gerrard delighted school kids when he posed for 100 caps picture

The pupils were starry-eyed! Gerrard's return thrilled kids from his old school

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UPDATED:

17:34 GMT, 13 November 2012

Steven Gerrard caused a stir when he returned to his old school for a picture to celebrate his 100th cap and the feel-good factor has continued following the release of the image.

Huyton-With-Roby Church of England Primary School has been abuzz all day and deputy head teacher Kath Whitehouse and spoken about the excitement and impact Gerrard’s visit has had on starry-eyed pupils.

Impact: The deputy head explained how excited everyone got when Steven Gerrard visited his old primary school, Huyton-and-Roby, Church of England

Impact: The deputy head explained how excited everyone got when Steven Gerrard visited his old primary school, Huyton-and-Roby, Church of England

‘It has been the talk of the school,’
she said. ‘The kids were bringing in copies of the picture all morning
and everyone thinks it is wonderful. It was lovely to be involved in.

‘We had done a lucky dip to see which children would be involved, so there was a lot of excitement but when Steven actually turned up on the morning, it reached fever pitch.

‘The whole experience has just created a lovely atmosphere around the school, it has brought people together and Steven could not have been any more helpful. He was so lovely with the children. He might be a superstar but he is so down to earth.’

The Liverpool and England captain was genuinely overwhelmed by the response he received and he took time to sign autographs, pose for pictures and chat with as many children as possible after the formalities of the photoshoot had been concluded. Mrs Whitehouse described him as an inspiration.

‘We have got a football team that is doing quite well at the minute,’ she said. ‘Steven had a quick picture taken with them before he left and as he had got the kit for them. He is a role model for them, as he is for everyone here.

‘Our school is in a deprived area and there are low aspirations and expectations for our children, so to see Steven back in amongst everyone, was really inspirational. He knows the community, he knows the children and they know him.'

'Role Model': Gerrard, with England manager Roy Hodgson (left), was described as such by the deputy head

'Role Model': Gerrard, with England manager Roy Hodgson (left), was described as such by the deputy head

Joe Cole Liverpool career not over yet

Get off his back and give him a break! Talented Joe Cole still has plenty to offer

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UPDATED:

16:56 GMT, 9 November 2012

How do you solve a problem like Joe Cole It is a question that is being asked over and over, on Merseyside and beyond, as the Liverpool midfielder battles to recapture former glories.

No player in Brendan Rodgers’ squad currently evokes more opinion and discussion than the man who arrived at Anfield in the summer of 2010 as a high-profile Bosman signing, being touted as the player who would make Liverpool tick again.

If there was initial excitement at the thought of Cole linking seamlessly and thrillingly with Steven Gerrard, Javier Mascherano and Fernando Torres, it was soon replaced by apathy as his form plummeted and now the vast majority on the Kop would be keen to see him leave.

Scroll down to the read the reaction to Sportsmail's verdict on Joe Cole on Thursday night.

Joe Cole

Joe Cole

Game over Joe Cole has failed to rediscover his form since returning to Liverpool from a loan spell in France

There is little point Cole being at
Anfield on such a lucrative contract if he is not going to play and
Rodgers would not stand in his way if a suitable offer was to arrive in
January. In many ways, a move would probably suit all parties but not to
a place like Spartak Moscow, as was mooted in August.

Rodgers needs the money to bolster
his squad, Cole wants – and needs – to play regularly and there would be
little disappointment among Liverpudlians if the curtain was brought
down on his spell on Merseyside.

Rarely in football, however, are
situations so straight-forward, which is why there is some confusion
about what will happen next for the former England international.
Liverpool might want him to go but finding a club to take Cole is going
to require lengthy negotiations.

So what are Cole’s options

Rough and tumble: Cole was part of the Liverpool side who lost to Anzhi in the Europea League on Thursday

Rough and tumble: Cole was part of the Liverpool side who lost to Anzhi in the Europea League on Thursday

BE PRAGMATIC

Return to Lille. Newcastle midfielder
Yohan Cabaye caused a stir when he chose to offer Cole some career
advice on the pages of L’Equipe but there is substance to what Cabaye
says. Lille coach Rudi Garcia loved working with Cole last season during
his loan spell and would take him back in a flash.

‘It is important for someone like Joe
to come into a team and feel wanted,’ Garcia said after Cole made his
debut in Ligue 1 last September against St Etienne. ‘The player has got
to be confident. For the player to be confident, it is necessary for the
coach to give him that confidence.’

Lille have found things difficult
this season with Cole and Eden Hazard and they face a battle to get back
into the Champions League again. Cole, however, flourished in France
last season and benefitted from the slightly steadier tempo of the game.

Cole loved his year in France; his
young family settled well in Lille and embraced the adventure. The city
and club retain a place in their affections and if an arrangement could
be worked out, there is reason to believe something might occur.

Under fire: Cole (right) was also criticised for his performance against Swansea in the Premier League

Under fire: Cole (right) was also criticised for his performance against Swansea in the Premier League

BE ROMANTIC

Return to West Ham. If Cole was to go
back to the club where his career started, he would be guaranteed hero
status. They say you should never go back but Cole would be afforded
time to find his feet by West Ham’s fans and he is the type of character
with whom Sam Allardyce excels.

But how much would Allardyce’s style
of play suit Cole While it is difficult to dispute the allure behind
seeing Cole in claret-and-blue once again, would it be sensible to join a
team if he is not going to flourish in the system.

For all the talk of taking him back
to Upton Park, there has never been a concrete offer for Cole, who
celebrated his 31st birthday on Thursday.

Happier times: Cole thrived during a loan spell with Lille last season and could yet return

Happier times: Cole thrived during a loan spell with Lille last season and could yet return

OR BE TOUGH

Stay at Liverpool. Contrary to what
some may think, Cole is not content sitting back and collecting his
wages. It frustrates him that he cannot play regularly and frustrates
him even more when he gets a chance and the performance he wants to
deliver doesn’t follow.

Realistically, he is going to
struggle to get too many opportunities in the Barclays Premier League
under Rodgers – he has only racked up 32 minutes this season – but there
were brighter signs from him in Moscow on Thursday in the defeat to
Anzhi Makhachkala.

Until Cole is told otherwise, he do
all he can to try and turn his fortunes around at Liverpool, regardless
of how difficult that may be. Nobody is more frustrated than him that he
has not starred in a Red shirt but he won’t call it quits.

Whether
Rodgers sees that is another matter.

What you've been saying about Joe Cole:

Cole has plenty to offer…

Digger: 'Joe, as a Chelsea fan, you'll always be remembered, but you should have stayed in France where your play improved.'

tet1963: 'He should go back to Lille and enjoy his football at least he'd be playing for a good team!'

Charles Grey: 'Joe is one of those players who had his best years in his early to mid twenties and then hit south at about 28. His agent must be fantastic and Joe ought to be so grateful. To get him the deal he did at Liverpool was a master stroke.'

Wiff: 'JC was great at West Ham and Chelsea, and he has a fit wife. Leave the bloke alone!'

Wudi: 'He is in desperate need of some game time. There were glimpses of the old Joe, but that’s about it…'

Ben: 'We'll have him back at West Ham, Big Sam would
know how to get the best out of him, just like Andy Carroll. Form is
temporary, class is permanent.'

Robert: 'Comparing Joe to Shelvey! Do me a favour, Joe at 16 was head and shoulders above Shelvey's ability now. Feel very sorry for Joe, complete shadow. Take a wage cut (like free) and come back to the Hammers, get your form back and get a new contract. Tthat would be a dream.'

Cole He's past it…

chrisgray163: 'Anyone remember Harry Kewell Same thing with Cole: he came for the big money, got injuries and basically couldn't be bothered after a great earlier career.'

Gazza: 'Joe, you were rubbish last night (against Anzi), you just kept falling over at every opportunity, please go back to France and take a pay cut…'

Rhh83: 'Listen, I think that Cole is finished and the time cannot come quick enough until LFC get him off their wage bill’

Boyce Autos: 'As a Spurs supporter I'm glad he went to Liverpool for the money after turning his mentor Harry down. The guy has mentally burnt out and it shows in all aspects of his Liverpool career.'

JohnnyBravo: ''He will stay for the cash but he was a great talent and to be remembered that way he needs to move on quick and play every week,'

Jah Live: 'He should have stayed at West Ham. If he did have to move then he should have stayed in London…!!! The move to Liverpool was stupid…!'

Rupert: Sorry Joe, but you haven't impressed since you return.

Craig D: 'Go back to Lille, or Chelski! Joe Cole, you are not wanted in Liverpool.'

Luis Suarez won"t be forced out by cheat slurs says Brendan Rodgers Liverpool

Rodgers: Dazzling Suarez is driven on by cheat slurs and won't be forced out of Liverpool

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UPDATED:

18:13 GMT, 30 October 2012

Brendan Rodgers has dismissed fears striker Luis Suarez will be forced to quit Liverpool and says he is strong enough to cope with the fury of rival fans and managers.

Rodgers spoke out in defence of his star striker and reckons the diving controversy drives him on to be a better player.

'I think he loves playing in English football,' said Rodgers. 'I
speak with Luis regularly and he loves the passion and excitement of the
game over here.

'What he is is a player who is mentally very strong – as you can see from his time here the amount of stick he has taken. It is actually a driver for him. It really motivates him and he loves being at Liverpool.'

Suarez celebrates the opening goal against Everton with a dive in front of Everton manager David Moyes

Suarez celebrates the opening goal against Everton with a dive in front of Everton manager David Moyes

The Uruguay forward was again at the centre of controversy, despite a brilliant performance against Everton in the Merseyside derby.

He was banned for eight matches last season after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra while the focus this campaign has been on his perceived diving.

Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge expressed his concern the
25-year-old could walk away from the club because of the hard time he
gets from opposition managers and supporters but Rodgers rejected that.

'He loves the city, the club and the supporters so I can't see that him being forced away.'

Suarez answered his critics, and more pertinently David Moyes with a sarcastic dive at the Everton manager's feet after his deflected shot brought the opening goal in Sunday's derby draw.

Rodgers has been impressed by the way the South American has shouldered the burden of being the club's only fit senior striker and insists it is an privilege to coach him.

Suarez is on the way down after being challenged by Sylvain Distin of Everton

Suarez is on the way down after being challenged by Sylvain Distin of Everton

'I thought he was outstanding (against Everton). He is a breath of fresh air with his enthusiasm,' added the Northern Irishman.

'He is our only fit senior striker here and he was tireless against Reading and then we had to play a strong team against Anzi (in the Europa League).

'People maybe thought the condition of the team and Luis in particular would waver but the condition of the group, and particularly Luis up front, was amazing.

'He is a wonderful talent who will always provoke comments both positive and negative but the bottom line is he is a fantastic player.

'He scores goals and his goals to games ratio this season is fantastic.

'He is really inspirational for the group because he works hard every day and he is quality at that top end of the field: he genuinely is a world-class striker.

'It is a privilege to work with a player of that quality every day.'

The controversial Uruguyan celebrates with Martin Skrtel after scoring Liverpool's second goal against Everton

Suarez of Liverpool celebrates with Martin Skrtel after scoring Liverpool's second goal against Everton

Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers enjoys coaching and working with Suarez

Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers enjoys coaching and working with Suarez

After three tough games Suarez is likely to be given the night off tomorrow when Rodgers' former club Swansea visit in the Capital One Cup.

Rodgers intends to pay every respect to the club he left in the summer, insisting the close relationship he had with Swans chairman Huw Jenkins remains strong and that actually helped when he went back to buy midfielder Joe Allen.

'It improved the Allen deal as I was able to speak to Huw and ask if there was a market for Joe and he came back to me and told me there was a possibility he could be sold,' said Rodgers.

'We became close both professionally and personally there and our relationship is still strong.

'Leaving there was sad but I knew I was coming to one of the biggest clubs in the world.

'I always like to leave on good terms. There is no problem there. But we want to get through and nothing will get in the way of that.'

Alan Pardew and his Wonga pals are no credit to Newcastle: Patrick Collins

Why Pardew and his pals are no credit to Newcastle

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UPDATED:

20:48 GMT, 13 October 2012

Once upon a time, football fans knew
their place. That place was on a wind-blown, rain-lashed terrace, or
huddled inside a hazardous wooden stand. And as they endured this
primitive discomfort, they knew beyond question that the people who
controlled the game held them in the deepest contempt.

Well, the terraces have gone and the
stands now possess safety certificates, but the contempt is as odious as
ever. Which brings us, quite naturally, to the new sponsor of Newcastle
United.

From next year, Newcastle shirts will
bear the name of a so-called ‘payday lender’ called Wonga. The details
of the deal are familiar, suffice to say the company, with its interest
rate of 4,214 per cent APR, has targeted a region which is experiencing
severe financial problems and therefore contains a disproportionate
number of the poor, the vulnerable and the desperate. Newcastle’s
black-and-white stripes are seen as an eminently desirable vehicle for
advertising the lender’s charms.

Motley crew: Alan Pardew and Derek Llambias welcome Wonga to Newcastle

Motley crew: Alan Pardew and Derek Llambias welcome Wonga to Newcastle

Wonga pulled a similar stunt with
Blackpool when that club began a brief season in the Premier League. The
exercise was described and deplored in this column. I recall that the
company issued a press release which gushed: ‘Everyone here is bouncing
around with excitement and looking forward to the new footie season with
even more excitement than usual.’ Wonga’s income for the year in
question rose by 269 per cent to 45.8m. One imagines that the exciting
‘footie’ season played a helpful part.

More from Patrick Collins…

Patrick Collins: Why did we send in the Marines for fourth-form disco
13/10/12

Now Abramovich must speak out as Terry and Cole saga rumbles on
07/10/12

Patrick Collins: Redemption KP's been there, done that and got the T-shirt…
06/10/12

Patrick Collins: Olly's crew thrown overboard at Medinah's own Tea Party
29/09/12

Patrick Collins: How could Hodgson get it so wrong over toxic Terry
29/09/12

Patrick Collins: Football must raise its sights above the gutter
22/09/12

Patrick Collins: Football's ugly excesses must never be mistaken for passion
15/09/12

Patrick Collins: Glorious summer of 2012 will live with us forever
08/09/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Curiously, it appears that the
Newcastle board were unprepared for the outrage their decision has
provoked. Much of the flak has been directed at the club owner, Mike Ashley, the plump and reclusive billionaire who was once secretly
photographed in a Chinese restaurant in Mansfield, stripped down to his
socks and boxer shorts and lashing his own back with a leather belt
while gyrating to You Can Keep Your Hat On, by Mr Tom Jones.

This, or so his detractors insist, is
clearly the kind of vulgarian who would leap at a four-year, 32m
sponsorship from Wonga. And they may have a point. But while the deal is
offensively ill-advised, Ashley can claim to have invested more than
300m of his own money in the club. It is a daunting commitment, even
for a billionaire. He has made many mistakes, of which this is the
latest, but, like Wonga’s customers, he deserves some credit.

Sadly, the club manager Alan Pardew
does not merit the same indulgence. Sent out to put a gloss on a shabby
arrangement, he shamelessly exceeded his brief. He played the victim
card, fatuously claiming that other clubs would not have received the
same negative publicity. He spoke of a reassuring conversation with
Wonga’s footie-loving owner Errol Damelin. And he hailed a cheap PR
gimmick as the game-changing moment.

Name game: St James' Park is to be reinstated

Name game: St James' Park is to be reinstated

Ashley had created antagonism in the
North-East by renaming the stadium after his own company, Sports Direct.
The famous sign was taken down and a tradition was trashed. In truth,
it was a storm in a teacup, since nobody ever called it anything but St
James’ Park, yet damage was done. As Pardew well knows, Wonga was merely
making a virtue out of the inevitable when it announced that St James’
would reclaim his Park.

But the manager hailed the ploy with a fatuous babble of damp-eyed enthusiasm. ‘It’s emotive for me, the naming of the stadium,’ he said. ‘I am an emotional football person and that hurt me, it hurt our fans … The one thing I did say is that I would like the sign back up, even if it is dented still. Wonga was happy with that … That’s the sort of thing for me, for the fans, that we love — the romantic side of football. That’s the big news.’ He did add: ‘The second part is the money, if I’m honest,’ but by that time even the strongest stomach was turning.

Now, it is perfectly true that other Premier League teams are sponsored by institutions which, while entirely legal, sit uneasily in professional sport. Five clubs — Aston Villa, Stoke, Swansea, West Ham and Wigan — are subsidised by casino and bookmaking concerns, all approved by that temple of laissez-faire known as the Premier League. One day, the League may recognise the problems inherent in such an arrangement, but then, one day the Licensed Victuallers Association may come out in favour of temperance.

Put your shirt on it: Stoke are one five Premier League teams sponsored by bookmakers or casino

Put your shirt on it: Stoke are one five Premier League teams sponsored by bookmakers or casino

Newcastle’s deal with Wonga is something quite different. It is a cynical, demeaning alliance with a company which thrives on recession and which has patronised its prospective customers with ‘money-saving tips to beat the credit crunch’. These include: ‘Skip the tumble dryer: Hang your clothes to air dry’, and ‘Charity shops: Be sure to check out the shops in the posh areas as the locals tend to donate name brand fashions’. In short, it is a company which profits from poverty and desperation as the vulnerable of our society stumble from payday to payday.

Chi Onwurah, the MP for Newcastle Central, described it in a tweet: ‘Some of the richest young men in Newcastle to wear shirts calling on the poorest to go to a legal loan shark.’ She captured the situation with poignant precision. And if Pardew and his friends do not understand the offence they have given and the contempt they have conveyed, then it is high time they were told.

Celebrate a cheat’s downfall

Found out: Armstrong

Found out: Armstrong

When we remember 2012, we shall speak of great events; Olympics, Paralympics, Ryder Cup and the rest. Yet, in time, a dry, dispassionate 1,000-page report from the US Anti-Doping Agency may stand alongside those days of glory.

The fact that Lance Armstrong is revealed as a cynical, manipulative drugs cheat is hugely significant. Yet still more important is the fact that a major sport has been forced to confront a wicked reality. If sport is not clean, then it is no more than a squalid masquerade. Armstrong lived with that knowledge for a decade or more, viciously persecuting all who would challenge him.

Yet challenges there were, and it is right that we celebrate this rackety profession’s part in his downfall; most particularly the brilliant and tireless efforts of the Sunday Times journalists David Walsh and Paul Kimmage. But the real celebrations are reserved for sport itself. Cycling is cleaner. Other sports will surely find the courage to turn away from needle and tablet. 2012 was a year of sporting miracles and wonders. It will not be forgotten.

Pamela principle

David Haigh is a member of the consortium bidding for Leeds United. An investment banker by trade, he is clearly aware that he may seem a remote figure to football fans.

It is important, therefore, to ingratiate himself with the common people, to speak the language of the ‘plebs’. Asked to describe the club, Dave replied: ‘Leeds is like a young Pamela Anderson. It’s in great shape, with superb assets and a great future ahead of her.’ There, I told you he was an investment banker.

PS

There is a slim chance that Portsmouth’s supporters will end up owning their club.

After enduring all manner of boardroom spivs, the club are running short of fit and proper bidders. The debts are daunting and the signs are that they will be forced to start all over again.

But the fans are loyal and willing. For the sake of dear old Pompey, it would be good to see them given the chance.

Sam Allardyce believes his West Ham squad are shaping up well

They look good to me! Allardyce sees West Ham vision beginning to take shape

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UPDATED:

13:21 GMT, 14 September 2012


Looking good! West Ham manager Sam Allardyce rubs his hands in glee during his team's last match with Fulham

Looking good! West Ham manager Sam Allardyce rubs his hands in glee during his team's last match with Fulham

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has revealed his excitement at standing back and observing his new-look squad during training sessions.

Due to injuries and the international break Allardyce has seen most of his squad come together for the first time this week and he believes it is a group of players strong enough to do well in the Barclays Premier League this season.

He said: 'Watching it (the squad) jog around the pitch and doing the training is when you say we have a good chance of doing well this year if we can keep them all fit and keep them playing to their best.

'I think we could have a relatively good season – it is far too early to tell what combinations will be what and who will perform better.

'Everyone who has a place will have to fight very hard to keep their place now with the squad we have got and anyone who gets a place will have to perform very, very well to keep it if they get the chance and that competition for places is a huge factor on getting the best out of the players on a consistent basis which is what you have to do to get the results you want in this division.'

Allardyce saw all of his international players return from duty without any injury concerns although Winston Reid only landed back in Britain from New Zealand on Thursday.

The Hammers are missing Jack Collison and loan-signing Andy Carroll through injury but the rest of Allardyce's squad is available for selection when they travel to face Norwich on Saturday.

Loan signing Yossi Benayoun featured in both of Israel's World Cup qualifiers but Allardyce is still not sure whether the midfielder is ready to start for West Ham.

'I couldn't possibly answer that question at this point in time,' he said. 'Yossi has been away with his national side and only had a light training session today, so we will assess the squad on Friday and make a decision on the starting line-up from there.'

No quick fix: Andy Carroll, who was injured on debut against Fulham, will miss Saturday's trip to Norwich

No quick fix: Andy Carroll, who was injured on debut against Fulham, will miss Saturday's trip to Norwich

Former Newcastle boss Allardyce is expecting a tough challenge against Norwich, who are still looking for their first league win of the season.

He said: 'Hopefully our players can hit the same levels they did last time out but, like every away game in this league, Norwich will provide a difficult test for us.

'It will also be good to see Chris Hughton at his new club, but hopefully I will be the one smiling at the end of the game.'

The fixture will see the Hammers kick-off early on Saturday afternoon for the third time this season.

Long haul: Winston Reid (number two) only returned from international duty in New Zealand on Thursday

Long haul: Winston Reid (number two) only returned from international duty in New Zealand on Thursday

Their first was strewn with defensive errors as they lost 3-0 at Swansea but their home game at Fulham proved to be more productive as they beat their London rivals 3-0.

Allardyce has no concerns with playing before the rest of the league and wants his players to reproduce the form shown in the Fulham game.

'I was reasonably happy with the lunchtime kick-off because it allows a manager less time to worry about the game,' he said.

'Our players are okay from that point too. This is our third consecutive 12:45pm kick-off but the only thing we are worried about is trying to perform as we did against Fulham.'

Scoring days are numbered in new England role, warns Lampard

Scoring days are numbered in
new England role, warns Lampard

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UPDATED:

21:54 GMT, 8 September 2012

Frank Lampard has warned fans not to expect a flurry of goals from him after England manager Roy Hodgson handed him a new role.

Chelsea midfielder Lampard scored twice — once from the penalty spot — in the 5-0 romp over Moldova on Friday night, but said: ‘I’m playing a bit more of a disciplined role now and those goals might be few and far between.

Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard

Golden boys: Hodgson used Gerrard and Lampard in more defensive roles against Moldova

'But when you are part of a good performance and see the young players coming through, it gives you a bit of excitement.

‘We trained very hard and with an attacking mindset. We are looking to get the ball into our pacy players on the wings or behind the front men.’

Lampard played alongside Steven Gerrard, a partnership which has seen questions raised about its compatibility on the pitch, but Lampard said: ‘Stevie is always a pleasure to play with. He is a top player.’

Gerrard added: ‘Frank’s a good player. We’ve got the understanding there.’

England's Frank Lampard (L) celebrates scoring a penalty against Moldova with Tom Cleverley

Master and the apprentice: England's Lampard is likely to play behind Cleverley in future England games

Despite Lampard’s warning, Gerrard is convinced the pair still have something to offer, despite the emergence of youth. He said: ‘We still feel like kids.

‘The important thing is to get the right blend of youth and experience.

‘It’s not fair if you put 11 kids out in games like this one. The older lads can help the younger lads a lot.’

Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard warn England to expect tough Ukraine test after Euro meeting

Revenge mission: Lampard and Gerrard warn of tough Ukraine test after Euro meeting

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UPDATED:

14:08 GMT, 8 September 2012

Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard have warned England to expect a tougher test from Ukraine on Tuesday than was evident when demolishing Moldova in their opening World Cup qualifier.

Lampard netted the first two goals in England's 5-0 win in Chisinau, with Jermain Defoe, Leighton Baines and James Milner also on target.

But Lampard and skipper Gerrard know Ukraine will be a different proposition at Wembley.

Lampard said: 'Ukraine are a quality team, they showed that in glimpses in the game during the European Championships.

Tough test: Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard are watchful of Ukraine

Tough test: Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard are watchful of Ukraine

'It was a pretty impressive performance and a tough match for the team even though we got the win.

'They are certainly going to come to Wembley with intentions to make it difficult for us and show what they are about, so we will have to be on top form.

'We need to rest up, prepare right and try and keep the level of performance we are producing.'

Gerrard, who set up Lampard's second goal, said: 'It will be a different test on Tuesday. With all due respect to Moldova, Ukraine are a fantastic team as they showed in the Euros. I'm sure it will be a lot tougher test.'

Lampard is relishing being back in the international limelight at the age of 34 and determined to enjoy every minute.

Brace ace: Lampard hit two in Moldova

Brace ace: Lampard hit two in Moldova

He said: 'It was great. I really enjoyed it. I've enjoyed the whole week and being part of it. The older you get, the more you appreciate it.

'It won't go on forever so I'm just enjoying playing at the moment with exciting young players around.

'When you are part of a good performance and see the young players coming through, it gives a bit of excitement.'

Defender Glen Johnson said: 'We will look to start well again on Tuesday and hopefully get the same result.

'It is so important to start the campaign well. We knew Moldova wasn't going to be an easy place to come. We worked like we usually do, we tried to start well and were fortunate to get a couple of early goals.'

Last time out: John Terry hacks Marko Devic's shot away in England's 1-0 win in Donetsk

Last time out: John Terry hacks Marko Devic's shot away in England's 1-0 win in Donetsk

Johnson found himself walking a disciplinary tightrope after being booked after only four minutes for kicking the ball away.

He said: 'I thought “if I'm getting booked for that, I can get booked for anything” so I was doing my best to stay away from a few people.

'I don't know what I was booked for to be honest. But we showed our discipline all over the park.'
end

Jose Mourinho not interested in international management… yet

Madrid boss Mourinho rules out England and Portugal management role… for now

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UPDATED:

10:06 GMT, 7 September 2012

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho admits his love of club football means he is unlikely to take charge of a national team any time soon.

The Portuguese has been linked with several jobs at international level during his illustrious career, most recently England after Fabio Capello stepped aside.

Mourinho has also hinted in the past
that he would be willing to take on the challenge of managing his own
country later in life.

Staying put: Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho has no intention of quitting

Staying put: Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho has no intention of quitting

However, in an interview with AS the former Chelsea boss admitted he has no immediate plans to accept such a role.

'We'll see although it will be later
rather than sooner, much later,' he said. 'I am 49 and will be 50 when
this season finishes, but I still think I'm at the beginning of my
career.

'A few years ago my wife said that
some day I would stop, we would enjoy our children, our hobbies. But
right now I'm a full-time coach.

'Even now, after all my experiences, I
still feel the same excitement, the same joy I felt on the first day I
won and I feel the same anger, the same disappointment on the first day I
lost.

Thrill: Mourinho says he still gets too much enjoyment from club management

Thrill: Mourinho says he still gets too much enjoyment from club management

'It's only when I look at pictures of
my early career in Porto that I realise this child has become a man who
is the Real Madrid coach. But only in photos, inside I feel like I did
20 years ago.

'So I say that for now, and for a long time to come, I'm not going to train a national team. That is not for me yet.

'I have to train 400 times a year and
manage 60 or 70 games. I need to be with players, on the pitch and the
dressing room every day. I like to train every day and see my players
three times a week.'