Tag Archives: fears

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

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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

Fears continue over Salford"s future after club cancel friendly with Leigh

Fears continue over Salford's future after club cancel winter friendly with Leigh

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UPDATED:

16:29 GMT, 21 December 2012

Salford have called off their festive friendly against Leigh amid continuing uncertainty over the club's future.

The City Reds, who are due in court on January 7 to face a winding-up petition, say they are unable to raise a team for the friendly, which was due to take place at the Leigh Sports Village on Sunday, December 30.

Reds coach Phil Veivers, who has been able to make just one new signing so far for Super League XVIII, said: 'It's unfortunate but we had to make the right call.

Game over: The clash at the Leigh Sports Village Stadium has been called off

Game over: The clash at the Leigh Sports Village Stadium has been called off

'We have a few too many knocks and niggles this week and, as everybody knows we are a bit light on personnel at the moment anyway with the current situation.

'We felt it was better to give the boys an extended break over Christmas and prepare ourselves fully for the Swinton game on January 6.'

Salford's bank account remains frozen and recruitment hinges on new investment in the club taking place.

The club, who are faced with a tax bill in the region of 50,000, need to find around 600,000 in the next six weeks to pay off their debts.

William Gallas fears Champions League blow for Tottenham

Gallas fears Spurs will miss out on Champions League after late Everton defeat

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UPDATED:

15:08 GMT, 10 December 2012

William Gallas believes Tottenham must learn to close out matches or it will cost them a shot at the Champions League.

If Premier League matches ended at 80 minutes this season Spurs would be top of the table, but once again Spurs let a lead slip this time against Everton.

Tottenham conceded two goals in injury time that turned a 1-0 victory into a cruel 2-1 defeat and David Moyes’s side replaced them in the crucial fourth spot.

Late show: Nikica Jelavic stunned Spurs to clinch a last-gasp win for Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday

Late show: Nikica Jelavic stunned Spurs to clinch a last-gasp win for Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday

Yellow peril: Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris stands dejected after his side lose the game in the dying moments

Yellow peril: Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris stands dejected after his side lose the game in the dying moments

The Spurs defender told the Evening Standard: 'Football is a bit funny — I’ve seen the good quality at Tottenham but for some reason, we lose the funny games at home or away and I can’t explain it.

‘We have to pass one more step to be on the [same level as the] top three and I don’t know when it is going to happen. I hope it will this season but it is a shame because when we get very near, something always happens and we draw or lose.

‘In our squad, we have some players that have experience now so I don’t think it is about a lack of maturity. For example, yesterday we did almost everything right but they scored that goal which killed us. It is difficult to explain but sometimes you need luck.

‘When I was at Chelsea, we had that luck to win some games even if we were not playing good. But Tottenham is different. I hope it will change this season or next.

Words of warning: William Gallas has called for improvement at Spurs or risk losing out on a top four place

Words of warning: William Gallas has called for improvement at Spurs or risk losing out on a top four place

‘We gave everything yesterday and had no luck. If you go back, [Gylfi] Sigurdsson hit the crossbar and it would then have been 2-0 but it didn’t happen. They scored late and it is very difficult to accept. When we came here, our target was to take the three points and at the beginning of the game, we played well.

'Maybe in the last 10 minutes in the first half, Everton pushed a lot but we went back to the dressing room with a 0-0. In the second half we played better and we scored.

‘What we have to know is that the game is never finished until the referee blows his whistle. Yesterday showed that we have to be much more focused at the end of the game.’

Bacary Sagna heading for Arsenal exit as France right back feels "disrespected" by new offer

Sagna heading for Arsenal exit as 'disrespected' France right back fumes at club's offer

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UPDATED:

22:45 GMT, 5 December 2012

Bacary Sagna looks set to be the next high-profile Arsenal player to walk away from the club.

The France right back feels ‘disrespected’ by the Gunners’ offer of a 12-month extension to his deal that expires in 2014. He has told team-mates he expects to leave at the end of the season.

On the move: Bacary Sagna wants to leave Arsenal

On the move: Bacary Sagna wants to leave Arsenal

Injury fears: Sagna

Injury fears: Sagna

Arsenal are refusing to improve his current wage of 60,000 a week. Given this will be the defender’s final big contract — he is 30 in February — he is looking for a substantial salary increase.

The club’s decision not to offer a long-term deal is thought to be connected to fears over his injury record, having suffered two broken legs in a year.

Sagna angered Wenger this season after
publicly criticising the club for selling Robin van Persie and Alex
Song during the summer.

Theo Walcott has also told Arsenal he is unwilling to sign a five-year deal worth 75,000 a week.

Pep Guardiola fears Roman Abramovich is too "trigger-happy" to be his boss at Chelsea

Pep fears reckless Roman: Guardiola believes Chelsea's owner is too 'trigger-happy' to be his boss

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UPDATED:

00:11 GMT, 25 November 2012

Pep Guardiola believes Roman Abramovich is too ‘trigger-happy’ as Chelsea’s owner to offer him the security he wants when he returns to management next year, according to sources close to the former Barcelona coach.

Guardiola, 41, is the most coveted manager in football and Abramovich has made no secret that he wants the Spaniard at Stamford Bridge when his year away from the game ends next summer.

Last week, Chelsea’s owner sacked Roberto Di Matteo, who had led the club to their Champions League triumph, and appointed former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez as manager until the end of the season.

'Not a plus point': Pep Guardiola is said to think unfavourably on Roman Abramovich's ruthless policy on managers

'Not a plus point': Pep Guardiola is said to think unfavourably on Roman Abramovich's ruthless policy on managers

But with major clubs queuing up to speak to Guardiola and offer him a return to the game, Di Matteo’s sacking has made it less, not more, likely that he will listen to Abramovich’s overtures.

‘When he does return, Pep will want stability and the events of the past few days shows again that Chelsea are not a club that offer a manager time to build anything,’ said one source.

‘Roman Abramovich has been trigger-happy with managers at the best of times, and that’s not a plus for Pep.

Inside information Guardiola speaks to Roberto Di Matteo ahead of the Champions League semi-final last season

Inside information Guardiola speaks to Roberto Di Matteo ahead of the Champions League semi-final last season

‘He’ll listen to what anyone has to say but at this stage as far as English clubs are concerned, he’s more impressed with the stability shown by both Manchester clubs than anything he’s seen at Chelsea.’

Abramovich has employed nine managers in nine years, caretakers included, since buying Chelsea in summer 2003. Only two of them, Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti, have lasted more than a year while the average lifespan of the others has been eight months.

Guardiola is insistent that he will not be rushed into making an early decision on his future, and with the Manchester clubs, United and City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund all potentially interested in him, he knows that he will not lack options.

Revolving door: Abramovich has seen off eight managers since buying Chelsea in 2003

Revolving door: Abramovich has seen off eight managers since buying Chelsea in 2003

Another source close to Guardiola said: ‘Pep is flattered by all the interest but he won’t be hurried into a decision about his future. He will make that decision in his own time.

‘He wants to spend Christmas with his family without having to worry about professional issues, that was the whole point of the sabbatical.

‘As he previously indicated, he will give all offers careful thought in the New Year and he certainly wants his future decided by the end of February.

‘Before the new year, no one will be able to persuade Pep to commit to them because that goes against the idea of taking a year out to allow time for him to feel refreshed.’

An impossible job: Rafa Benitez has been tasked with transforming Fernando Torres' fortunes

An impossible job: Rafa Benitez has been tasked with transforming Fernando Torres' fortunes

Northern Exposure: Peaceful Newcastle fans got raw deal from police in Bruges

Peaceful Newcastle fans got raw deal from police in Bruges… now it's time to speak up

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UPDATED:

16:10 GMT, 21 November 2012

When Newcastle United were handed a Europa League tie in Bruges, thousands of supporters dipped into their piggy banks and booked their trip.

Never mind that hundreds weren’t guaranteed a ticket. Trains, planes, automobiles and ferries took the traveling Toon Army to the picturesque Belgian city two weeks ago and they set out to enjoy themselves.

This despite the unfounded fears of the city, the local police and FC Bruges that Newcastle would cause trouble.

Good trip: Newcastle and their fans did their club proud in Bruges as the team came away with a draw and the fans behaved

Good trip: Newcastle and their fans did their club proud in Bruges as the team came away with a draw and the fans behaved

More from Colin Young…

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Northern Exposure: Time to come up for air before next Newcastle v Sunderland battle
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Northern Exposure: Newcastle and Sunderland head into derby on back of Manchester mauling
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VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

From the moment arrangements were made for the game – when Bruges refused to hand out enough tickets to cover the expected visitors – hurdles were put in the way.

The draconian `welcome’ for Newcastle fans included arrest for any fans who tried to enter a two-mile exclusion zone without a ticket. Thankfully, after the intervention of Newcastle United, Northumbria Police and North East Conservative MEP Martin Callahan, these plans were dropped.

On the surface, the welcome looked perfect.

A big-screen was put up in the Markt main square, the bars were open, plastic glasses handed out, and those who emptied the shelves and fridges of the nearby corner shops, who have never had a week like it, were encouraged, not frowned upon.

Some of them had a pretty good drink it has to be said, and some Belgian beers hold no prisoners. But Belgian police cells didn’t. Fans sang their songs, a lot, usually with anti-Sunderland connotations, and marked their return to Europe in good spirits.

The police presence was relatively low profile in the square, although that, and the mood among them changed when kick-off approached. Two or three hours before the game started at the Jan Breydel Stadium, those with tickets were encouraged to get on the Number 5 or 15 to the stadium. So we all headed off crammed into buses with the locals in rush hour.

The half hour journey took at least an hour, but two miles from the stadium anyone wearing colours, or identified as English, were forced off the buses by police to be escorted to the ground.

Myself and colleagues survived thanks to press accreditation and our laptops, but others, no matter what their age, were herded off into the dark. And it was a long dark walk through housing estates, often within close proximity to home fans.

Back in the game: Shola Ameobi scored Newcastle's equaliser just before half time

Back in the game: Shola Ameobi scored Newcastle's equaliser just before half time

To add insult to injury of course, there were vast gaps in the away end, as those back in the square and in Newcastle no doubt noticed. And the stewards we encountered also seemed hell-bent on ensuring we got plenty of exercise around the stadium. And with zero taxis or public transport available after the game, more than 2,000 of us had to walk back.

I know one Newcastle fan in Bruges who is no spring chicken. He was left so exhausted by the experience of walking to and from the ground that he nearly missed the game against West Ham on the Sunday. Of course he wished he had, but that’s how bad it was.

There was one altercation in Brussels, but there were no reports of any trouble in Bruges, although we witnessed one or two individuals testing the patience of their hosts after the game. Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew led the tributes to those who travelled to Belgium, relieved that his pre-match and post-match warnings for good, ambassadorial behaviour had not been ignored.

Praise: Alan Pardew was pleased with the Newcastle supporters in Bruges

Praise: Alan Pardew was pleased with the Newcastle supporters in Bruges

Yet it all came in the face of provocation, Callahan has now discovered. And he is determined that the voices of Newcastle United fans will be heard in Europe now.

Because he knows full well if there had been just a single flare-up in Bruges involving Newcastle United supporters, it would have been seized upon by the police, authorities and many of his MEP colleagues in Brussels.

He is taking statements from fans who were in Belgium and they should take him up on it.

He said: ‘I am extremely concerned at the reports I have received from Newcastle fans who were simply in Brugge to support their team peacefully.

‘Their accounts of the treatment they received are truly shocking and I have already been in touch with the Belgian police about this.

‘I would be appalled if fans from other countries visiting the North East were subjected to this sort of aggressive and over the top policing and I would be the first to condemn it.

‘The Brugge police commissioner gave me an assurance that Newcastle supporters would be welcomed and he asked me to report any fans’ complaints to him.’

Fans can contact Martin Callanan with their experiences and feedback on policing at the Club Brugge match via www.martincallanan.com

Ben Arfa can help kick start Toon's season

Amid the concerns over Newcastle United’s stop-start season, one man has emerged like the bright star he is.

Hatem Ben Arfa lit up the defeat to Swansea City every time he got the ball. Not that something happened every time he got it. It just looked like it might when he ghosted past one, two, three, four

He doesn’t always pick the right final ball. Sometimes he doesn’t pick it all.
But you sense, rather like Newcastle, it will all start to come together very soon.

Flashes of brilliance: Hatem Ben Arfa can spark Newcastle's season into life

Flashes of brilliance: Hatem Ben Arfa can spark Newcastle's season into life

With Yohan Cabaye gone for the difficult December programme, the onus is on Ben Arfa to deliver, particularly for the joint enigma that is Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse’s partnerhsip.

Cisse of course was absent – and like Callahan, Newcastle intend to pursue their grievances with the FA and FIFA.

But he did provide a couple of chances for Ba to score against Swansea. It’s just he could have delivered a few more.

To Alan Pardew’s frustration, Newcastle are missing valuable time on the training ground. And that won’t change in the next month.

He just has to hope it comes together in matches and that Ben Arfa’s feet still find the gaps very few players can, and put them to better use.

Sessegnon and Johnson show what they can do, now they have to find consistency

Sunderland’s Stephane Sessegnon has taken a little longer to warm to the challenge this season but Martin O’Neill has done his best to persevere.

The Benin maestro is too talented to allow games to by-pass him forever but his loss of form and touch, so soon after signing a new, improved deal, has been perplexing.

Done it once, now do it again: Stephane Sessegnon was back to his best against Fulham

Done it once, now do it again: Stephane Sessegnon was back to his best against Fulham

His performance at Fulham on Sunday, and his brilliant goal, have set the benchmark for the season, and backed O’Neill’s faith. And with Adam Johnson shifting through the gears effortlessly at Craven Cottage too, the Sunderland manager will be breathing a sigh of relief.

He just needs them to strut their stuff on home turf against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday now.

Downing bid proves Boro are serious promotions contenders

And finally, Stewart Downing back at Middlesbrough to lead the promotion charge Why not

It probably won’t come off. Liverpool need money for their unwanted England winger, not loan deals, and if a Premier League club comes in with cash, or a similar offer (Sunderland), even Boro boy Downing would surely be tempted to go there instead.

Back to Boro: Middlesbrough are keen to sign Stewart Downing

Back to Boro: Middlesbrough are keen to sign Stewart Downing

But it does show Middlesbrough have ambition, and they are taking this season seriously.

Chairman Steve Gibson has had enough of the Championship now and he wants to be back in the top flight.

And if he can’t see Downing back in a Boro shirt this season, he’s indicated he wouldn’t rule it out if Middlesbrough do get back to the promised land.

Yohan Cabaye out with groin injury until January

Blow for Newcastle as star midfielder Cabaye is ruled out until January with groin injury

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UPDATED:

16:02 GMT, 19 November 2012

Crocked: Cabaye was injured while he was away with France

Crocked: Cabaye was injured while he was away with France

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew fears midfielder Yohan Cabaye could be sidelined until the new year.

The Frenchman sustained a groin injury on international duty and it appears the player may be out for longer than expected.

'Cabaye looks like he could be out four to six weeks,' the Magpies boss told the Evening Chronicle.

'Cabaye might possibly have to have a little surgery on that groin.

'It could be we run all the way to the end of January before I have my first team to pick from.'

Pardew is already missing Ryan Taylor, Dan Gosling and Haris Vuckic to longer-term injuries.

The concern for him is even when Cabaye gets fully fit he will still not be able to select a first-choice midfield as Cheick Tiote is likely to be involved in African Nations Cup duty with Ivory Coast.

Key man: Cabaye has starred for Newcastle since arriving in the summer of 2011

Key man: Cabaye has starred for Newcastle since arriving in the summer of 2011

'When Cabaye comes back, Cheick will be gone. It is tough for us at the minute,' Pardew added.

'You have seasons when you lose players and you have to be able to cope with it.

'If I had everybody available then losing Cabaye would not be such a blow.

'At the minute we cannot afford to lose anybody.'

John Terry out for three weeks

Terry out for three weeks as Chelsea boss Di Matteo breathes sigh of relief

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UPDATED:

14:28 GMT, 16 November 2012

Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo received a boost with the news that John Terry will only be out for three weeks following his collision with Luis Suarez in last weekend's draw against Liverpool.

The Chelsea captain was carried off on a stretcher at Stamford Bridge and there were initial fears he could be out for a long time.

Terry hurt his knee after falling awkwardly in the accidental collision with the Reds striker.

Committed: John Terry and Luis Suarez went flying into each other at Stamford Bridge

Committed: John Terry and Luis Suarez went flying into each other at Stamford Bridge

Nasty: Terry's leg bent as he went down following the clash with Suarez

Nasty: Terry's leg bent as he went down following the clash with Suarez

Di Matteo said 'With JT, we're looking at approximately three weeks. Fortunately, it's not as bad as we first thought. It's an MCL (medial cruciate ligament) strain.

'On the one hand we're obviously pleased it's not as bad as first feared. On the other hand we're disappointed we're losing him again after he just got back.

'It's a crucial period of the season for us, too. So that's a shame. It will depend on the progress of his rehab. We'll do everything to speed it up, but it depends how he reacts as well.'

Worry: Terry looked to be in agony as he lay on the ground at Stamford Bridge

Worry: Terry looked to be in agony as he lay on the ground at Stamford Bridge

Terry had given Chelsea the lead against Brendan Rodgers' side before Suarez pounced with the equaliser.

The former England captain had just returned to action after serving a four-match ban for using racist language towards Anton Ferdinand in a match against QPR last year.

Meanwhile, Di Matteo played down talk of Frank Lampard leaving Chelsea for China following reports the veteran midfielder was in talks with Guizhou Renhe over a January move.

Concerned: Roberto Di Matteo was alarmed as Terry left the pitch on a stretcher

Concerned: Roberto Di Matteo was alarmed as Terry left the pitch on a stretcher

The Italian said: 'Not as far as I'm aware, but there'll always be speculation about Frank. There were rumours about the MLS as well. I'm not aware of any dialogue.'

On whether the 34-year-old will be offered a new deal in west London, Di Matteo said: 'I hope so. But ultimately that's between the player and the club to agree a new arrangement.

'I'm not aware how the discussions are going at the moment. If there's a willingness from both sides, he will remain with us. I don't know (for how long). That's for them to arrange.

'He's been a fantastic player for us over a decade, so it would be nice for him to finish his career here. I can't put a figure on that at the moment.'

Started so well: Terry headed Chelsea in front against Liverpool

Started so well: Terry headed Chelsea in front against Liverpool

John Terry injury latest: Chelsea relief as scan reveals NO ligament damage but captain is still out for at least two weeks

Chelsea relief as Terry scan reveals NO ligament damage but captain is still out for at least two weeks

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UPDATED:

16:44 GMT, 12 November 2012

The scan on John Terry's right knee has revealed no ligament damage.

The Chelsea captain will be out for a minimum of a fortnight but he could face a six-week lay-off after a horrific collision with Luis Suarez.

Sportsmail has learned that the club will not know for certain until the swelling on his right leg has calmed down, but both the player and Chelsea officials are hugely relieved at the news.

A club statement read: 'Today's MRI scans on John Terry's right knee thankfully show no significant damage to the cruciate ligaments.

SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS FROM SUNDAY'S GAME

Horror clash: Terry was taken off injured after a collision with Luis Suarez

Horror clash: Terry was taken off injured after a collision with Luis Suarez

Horror clash: Terry was taken off injured after a collision with Luis Suarez

Fears: It was thought that Terry's season could have been over

Fears: It was thought that Terry's season could have been over

'Chelsea Football Club's medical team
will conduct further tests over the next two or three days once the
swelling has subsided to determine how long John will be out, but it
will be a matter of weeks not months.'

Terry, at the time, thought he had
seriously damaged his knee, but medics have confirmed that he was
fortunate that both his feet were not planted and that appears to have
saved his season.

The 31-year-old's knee hyper-extended but not to the extent that his ligaments were stretched or torn.

A source close to the former England
captain this afternoon revealed that doctors estimate it will take two
days for the swelling to subside and only then can a full diagnosis be
made.

Scan: Terry was seen on crutches walking across the pitch after the game

Scan: Terry was seen on crutches walking across the pitch after the game

An accidental clash with Suarez during the 1-1 draw with Liverpool left Terry clutching his right knee in agony and he was carried off amid fears his season was over.

Terry
was seen looking relaxed and smiling before he left the stadium on
Sunday night on crutches and wearing a protective knee brace.

Chelsea
manager Roberto Di Matteo had expressed the fear that his captain had
suffered serious knee ligament damage after heading his team ahead with
the 50th goal of his club career.

The
draw means Chelsea have taken two points from three games and trail
Premier League leaders Manchester United by three points.

Terry, playing for the first time since his four-match ban for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, started alongside Branislav Ivanovic because David Luiz had tonsillitis.

Suarez salvaged what Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers called ‘a terrific point’ with his 11th goal in 16 games.

Di Matteo said: ‘It was a poor goal to concede. Ramires was with Suarez and he pushed him away to create that bit of space for himself. Sometimes the refs notice.’ Sometimes they don’t.

Off to a flyer: Terry scored the opening goal on Sunday afternoon

Off to a flyer: Terry scored the opening goal on Sunday afternoon

Later, on Twitter, Suarez said: ‘Hugs to Terry, I hope it’s nothing serious.’

Liverpool extended their unbeaten run to six Premier League games but they are still in the bottom half.

‘We need one or two more players,’ said Rodgers.

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Charlie Sharples admits Chris Ashton could steal his England spot

Sharples admits Ashton could steal his spot on England's wing despite Fiji brace

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UPDATED:

23:00 GMT, 11 November 2012

Charlie Sharples fears that he could lose out to Chris Ashton next Saturday, despite having scored two tries against Fiji.

The possible return of Ashton, following a one-match ban for picking up three yellow cards this season, is one of the big selection posers facing England’s head coach Stuart Lancaster.

If Ashton returns in his normal right-wing place, that would leave the 23-year-old Sharples competing for the left-wing spot alongside Ugo Monye.

Man in the middle: Charlie Sharples celebrates scoring his first try against Fiji on Saturday

Man in the middle: Charlie Sharples celebrates scoring his first try against Fiji on Saturday

But the Gloucester wing looked delighted that an effective third appearance for England had made him a contender for further honours this autumn. He needed to stake his claim after missing out on England’s summer tour to South Africa because of a shoulder operation.

His tricky running and power, as demonstrated by his first try, showed he is fully recovered from the injury.

Sharples explained: ‘I wasn’t expecting after one good performance to push Ashie out.

‘It’s the same if I had played 10 good games in a row for Gloucester.

Predator: Sharples (centre) bagged two tries against Fiji but could yet lose his place next week

Predator: Sharples (centre) bagged two tries against Fiji but could yet lose his place next week

‘If someone else came in at Gloucester if I was injured, had a good game and took the shirt off me, I would be pretty gutted. I’m well aware that it takes more than one good performance to gain the shirt.

‘My goal going into the match was to put my best foot forward and to raise a few questions for the coaches. I’m just glad that the game went well.’

Sharples left Twickenham with a bump on his head and disappointment that he missed out on a third try, failing to touch down his own kick ahead near the end of the first half.

‘We left a couple of tries begging out there,’ he admitted. ‘That’s something you learn in the Premiership — you have to take your chances. Luckily, we took the majority of them.’