Tag Archives: field

Sir Alex Ferguson forgets dangerous tackles

Is Williams kicking the ball at Van Persie's head really the most dangerous, Fergie

PUBLISHED:

22:54 GMT, 23 December 2012

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UPDATED:

22:56 GMT, 23 December 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson described the Robin van Persie incident as ‘the most dangerous thing I’ve seen on a football field for many years’.

But the United boss seems to have forgotten a few cases involving his own club.

APRIL 2001: Roy Keane on Alf-Inge Haaland

After being accused of feigning injury by Haaland when he had ruptured ligaments, Keane took his revenge with a horror lunge on the Norwegian. He later admitted in his book: ‘I’d waited long enough. I f****** hit him hard.’

Roy Keane (red) has his revenge on Alf-Inge Haaland

Roy Keane (red) has his revenge on Alf-Inge Haaland in 2001

JANUARY 1995: Eric Cantona on spectator Matthew Simmons

Sent off for kicking Crystal Palace defender Richard Shaw, Cantona was abused by the home crowd as he left the pitch before launching a kung-fu kick at Palace fan Simmons.

The Frenchman was banned for nine months.

Moments after Eric Cantona (foreground) launched an astonishing two-foot drop kick on Crystal Palace supporter Matthew Simmons

Moments after Eric Cantona (foreground) launched an astonishing two-foot drop kick on Crystal Palace supporter Matthew Simmons in 1995

APRIL 2011: Paul Scholes on Pablo Zabaleta

There are plenty of Scholes tackles to choose from, but his rake on Zabaleta in the 2011 FA Cup semi-final left the Argentinian with a horrible gash on his thigh.

Pablo Zabaleta limps off after the thigh-high challenge from Paul Scholes

Pablo Zabaleta limps off after the thigh-high challenge from Paul Scholes in the 2011 FA Cup semi-final

LIVE: India v England – day two, fourth Test, Nagpur

LIVE: India v England – all the action on day two of the fourth Test in Nagpur as it happens

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UPDATED:

03:52 GMT, 14 December 2012

Stay up to date with all the action on day two of the fourth Test between England and India with Sportsmail's
unrivalled team. We'll deliver over-by-over coverage as the action
unfolds in Nagpur while our brilliant team of writers update with their
insights from the ground. Tweet your thoughts to: @JoeRidge87 or email your thoughts to [email protected]

India v England – essentials

India: G Gambhir, V Sehwag, C A Pujara, S R Tendulkar, V Kohli, R A Jadeja, M S Dhoni (Capt, Wkt), R Ashwin, P P Chawla, I Sharma, P P Ojha.

England: A N Cook (Capt), N R D Compton, I J L Trott, K P Pietersen, I R Bell, J E Root, M J Prior (Wkt), T T Bresnan, G P Swann, J M Anderson, M S Panesar

Umpires: R Tucker (Aus) and K Dharmasena (SL)

Match referee: J Crowe (NZ)

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3.50am: Just a quick reminder then that 21-year-old debutant Joe Root and wicketkeeper-batsmen Matt Prior will be the men at the crease for the tourists when we resume in 10 minutes time. They have put on a valuable 60 together so far.

3.40am: 199-5 doesn't sound too pretty batting first on a subcontinental track but you feel that if England can get to 300 they will have the mental upper hand given that they were 139-5 at one stage. Mind you, if they score at the rate they did yesterday it will take them half the day to get there!

3.30am: Good morning everyone and welcome to Sportsmail's live coverage of the second day of the fourth and final test between India and England in Nagpur.

Field of dreams: England have the chance to secure a famous series win in Nagpur

Field of dreams: England have the chance to secure a famous series win in Nagpur

Picture Dispute

We are unable to carry live pictures from the fourth Test in Nagpur due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

Greg Rutherford in underpants for charity life art class

That's pants! Rutherford strips off down to Union Jack underwear for charity fundraiser

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UPDATED:

18:23 GMT, 11 December 2012

Olympic gold medal hero Greg Rutherford has stripped off to nothing but a pair of Union Jack underpants.

Lying seductively on a cream sofa, the Team GB gold medallist posed for a charity life art class. And although Greg may appear comfortable in front of the camera, he revealed that he was, in fact, incredibly nervous.

He revealed to The Sun: 'It was up until the moment I was sitting here and waiting to come out – that's when I got incredibly nervous. Even this morning I was really blase about it, I was like “oh this will be fine” I've had to do much bigger things in my life and then all of a sudden I was absolutely bricking it.'

Sofa so good: Ruhterford looks at ease, peeled off down to his underpants

Sofa so good: Ruhterford looks at ease, peeled off down to his underpants

The track and field star was taking part in an initiative to promote the Male Cancer Awareness Campaign, which gave a select group of fans the opportunity to draw the Olympian in all his glory.

Rutherford was inspired to take part in the class as he has a friend who is bravely battling cancer at the moment.

He explained: 'I've got a mate who's
been suffering with testicular cancer and he's in remission now so he’s
come out the back end of it, he's recovered.

Picture this: Rutherford poses for the artists

Picture this: Rutherford poses for the artists

'He was a massive inspiration to me
because when you see somebody who's ill like that but still training and
still working hard, it's brilliant to look at them and think you're
dealing with something so severe like this.

'I mean anybody can contract any form of cancer. This is 99 per cent curable – but people still die of it. So it was amazing to see and for that reason I was very keen to get involved. It's just a great idea to raise some money and hopefully make men more aware as well.'

The Olympian also implored his fellow men to regularly check themselves for symptoms, and to act quickly if they fear that is something is wrong.

'I think all guys need to have a bit of a fiddle and feel for any irregular lumps or bumps or anything. Or if there is any unfamiliar feeling in the area – like dull aches in their stomach or scrotum – just nip in to the doctor, it's their job, go and let them have a feel and a check of you. It's their job – they don’t care what it looks like. At least then if you’re OK you know.

'If you leave it too long people do die of it – so forget about the embarrassment of getting bits and bobs out for a doctor. I did it in front of 40 people here so you just have to do it. If it’s going to save your life who cares.'

The event was organised by discount and deals website Groupon, which offered customers the opportunity to bid for the opportunity to be involved with the class, and the 15 lucky winners enjoyed a no-expense spared champagne reception.

The budding artists were guided by Tony Picano of Life Drawing UK and then had the opportunity to have their pictures taken with Rutherford and have their artwork signed by the athlete.

Leap of faith: Rutherford landed gold at the Olympic Stadium this summer

Leap of faith: Rutherford landed gold at the Olympic Stadium this summer

Andrew Flintoff showed heart if not technique – Mike Dickson

Mike Dickson: What Flintoff lacked in elegance he made up for with sheer heart

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UPDATED:

01:48 GMT, 1 December 2012

Andrew Flintoff never took a step back on the cricket field and, when it came down to a huge test of nerve and courage last night, he remained resolutely on the front foot to record the first win of his reality boxing career.

We knew he could fearlessly smite short balls from Brett Lee off the tip of his nose, that he could bully the world’s finest batsmen with barrages of short-pitched bowling, and now we know he can hold his own inside the ropes before a baying, breathless crowd.

What he lacked in elegance he made up for with sheer heart to surge forward continually and defeat an opponent two stones heavier, albeit one who lived down to expectations, on a 39-38 points decision to the delirious acclaim of the MEN Arena in Manchester.

Pure heart: Andrew Flintoff was unrefined but brave and persistent

Pure heart: Andrew Flintoff was unrefined but brave and persistent

Caught off balance by the otherwise hapless Richard Dawson in the second round, Flintoff was floored by a clipped left hook in a rare show of aggression from the American, who had all the mobility of a giant water butt.

But recovering from that was a typical show of character from the former England all-rounder, who must now decide if he wants to go through all this again. ‘I don’t know, but the feeling of being back in front of a crowd and winning was incredible,’ he said. ‘It’s been amazing, humbling in fact.

‘It wasn’t one for the purist but it was everything I had hoped for and more. It was like an out-of-body experience. It was similar to how I played cricket: a bit ragged but I wanted to leave everything in the ring.’

His relieved and delighted mentor Barry McGuigan added: ‘He forgot everything I taught him in the excitement of it all but he got the job done.’

A few of the Celebocracy in which Flintoff moves these days were among the 6,000 crowd, including comedians John Bishop and Jack Whitehall and a smattering of former Test colleagues such as Matthew Hoggard and Steve Harmison.

Made it through: Flintoff survived his first foray into the ring to win on points

Made it through: Flintoff survived his first foray into the ring to win on points

When Ricky Hatton had fought a week earlier, the 19,000 tickets had gone within a week, the appetite for an authentic comeback from a credible star of the sport obviously greater than the desire to see a much-loved cricketing hero take this strange and rather brutal voyage of self-discovery.

You could not fault Flintoff’s courage but it was hard for any outcome to glorify the image of the noble art. A quick knockout or stoppage would have been the farce that many in the game had feared and predicted. Lasting the course as he did, even in this bare minimum format of eight minutes, did not suggest that the skill levels required to turn professional are stratospheric.

Something you could not criticise Flintoff for was his dedication to this cause, the loss of more than three stone sculpting his body into a sharper form than the one which, even at the height of his playing days, always had something of a built-for-comfort look about it.

He clearly answered the demands of McGuigan with four months of the kind of discipline that might have elongated the main part of his sporting career had he employed it then.

Get back up: Flintoff stumbled but recovered to emerge victorious

Get back up: Flintoff stumbled but recovered to emerge victorious

The last time he shared a sporting arena with a Richard Dawson it was the spindly Yorkshire off-spinner, not the former gang member from small town Oklahoma who had forged a more traditional, redemptive path into the sport.

Dawson, 23, has the sort of moobs that Simon Cowell might blush at, but unlike the Lancastrian he had the benefit of several amateur fights before two at professional level, albeit against equally unknown opponents.

Flintoff entered the ring wearing a Lancashire Twenty20 shirt, but he will never have heard a cacophony like this.

Compared to the earlier fighters on the bill Dawson was less nimble than a mobile home and after a cagey beginning Flintoff had him rocking back on the ropes.

Crowd favourite: 'Freddie' connects with Dawson's head

Crowd favourite: 'Freddie' connects with Dawson's head

That was until the left hook that had the home favourite sprawling across the canvas, forced to take a count of eight. Our hero survived through to the end of it and into a third round which saw much grappling, pushing and shoving, and the odd jab from both men.

With chants of ‘Freddie! Freddie!’ ringing around the arena and Dawson being reminded about his copious flab, Flintoff surged forward in the fourth round and landed his best combinations of the bout.

The late flurries, while somewhat ungainly, were enough to guarantee him the points decision after eight minutes of a different sort of fame.

Steven Gerrard wins his 100th cap – his best moments for England

England's midfield lion: Sportsmail pays tribute as Gerrard becomes the sixth player to reach a century of caps

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UPDATED:

08:04 GMT, 13 November 2012

When Steven Gerrard leads out England on Wednesday evening in their friendly against Sweden, he will join an exclusive club of Englishmen who have won a century of caps.

Gerrard will become the sixth player to achieve the feat after Billy Wright, Bobby Charlton, Bobby Moore, Peter Shilton and David Beckham.

And like these legends before him, no England fan can fault Gerrard’s commitment to the cause over these past 12 years.

History man: Steven Gerrard will win his 100th cap for England this Wednesday against Sweden - 12 years and six months after his first

History man: Steven Gerrard will win his 100th cap for England this Wednesday against Sweden – 12 years and six months after his first

GERRARD'S RECORD

Caps: 99 Won: 64 Drawn: 23 Lost: 12

Goals: 19 Yellow cards: 19 Red cards: 1

Since making his debut against Ukraine as a fresh-faced youngster a day after his 20th birthday in May 2000, the Liverpool man has produced regular Herculean performances right across the midfield.

He has contributed 19 goals for the cause, pinged hundreds of his trademark cross-field passes and ran the show against some of the finest midfielders in the world.

His manager, Roy Hodgson led the tributes this week: ‘He is an outstanding footballer and a very mature, thinking football man and I’m delighted I’m going to be the manager when he gets that 100th cap. I will regard that as an honour.’

In honour of Gerrard’s century, Sportsmail looks back at some of his finest performances for the Three Lions.

CAP ONE: May 31, 2000 – England 2 Ukraine 0

Having broken through at Liverpool, the 19-year-old Gerrard had caught the eye of England manager Kevin Keegan and was selected for the squad heading to Belgium and Holland for the European Championships.

At this point, he hadn’t been fully capped for England and Keegan left it until the last minute to test him out – alongside Paul Scholes in a pre-tournament Wembley warm-up with Ukraine.

And Gerrard produced the first of many impressive performances in a perfunctory 2-0 England win, secured through goals by Robbie Fowler and Tony Adams. His range of passing and bite in the tackle were really starting to develop as he entered his twenties.

If the cap fits... A youthful Gerrard is presented with his first full England cap by then manager Kevin Keegan at Bisham Abbey in May 2000

If the cap fits… A youthful Gerrard is presented with his first full England cap by then manager Kevin Keegan at Bisham Abbey in May 2000

On the rampage: Wearing an unfamiliar number two shirt, Gerrard made his England debut in a pre-Euro 2000 warm-up with Ukraine at Wembley

On the rampage: Wearing an unfamiliar number two shirt, Gerrard made his England debut in a pre-Euro 2000 warm-up with Ukraine at Wembley

CAP NINE: September
1, 2001 – Germany 1 England 5

The greatest night in the modern England era and one that bred optimism that Sven Goran Eriksson’s ‘Golden Generation’ could beat the very best in the world and, perhaps, end the silverware drought.

On a magical night in Munich, Gerrard ran the show, scoring his first goal in an England shirt to give the visitors the lead in first-half stoppage time and slipping Liverpool teammate Michael Owen away for the fourth.

Alas, as we now know, that glorious night proved to be something of a false dawn and 11 years further on, we are still waiting desperately for that taste of success.

Bound for the bottom corner: Gerrard (number four) scores from the edge of the penalty area to put England into a 2-1 lead against Germany in Munich

Bound for the bottom corner: Gerrard (number four) scores from the edge of the penalty area to put England into a 2-1 lead against Germany in Munich

Glorious night: ...And he celebrates accordingly. England went on to win the World Cup qualifier 5-1.

Glorious night: …And he celebrates accordingly. England went on to win the World Cup qualifier 5-1.

CAP 22: March 31, 2004 – Sweden 1 England 0

The last time England travelled to Sweden for a friendly was also a landmark occasion for Gerrard who, as a veteran of just 22 caps, was handed the captain’s armband for the first time by Eriksson.

Both sides had an eye on that summer’s European Championships, but also on the crucial club run-in, and so Gerrard only played an hour before handing the armband to Gareth Southgate.

It was a characteristically industrious performance from Gerrard but, despite England having the best chances, Sweden won through Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s goal just after half-time.

Captain fantastic: Gerrard wore the England armband for the first time in March 2004, but he couldn't prevent the side losing 1-0 to Sweden

Captain fantastic: Gerrard wore the England armband for the first time in March 2004, but he couldn't prevent the side losing 1-0 to Sweden

Cap 76: September 9th, 2009 – England 5 Croatia 1

One of the finest England displays of the Fabio Capello era, the team secured their place at the World Cup finals in South Africa in resounding fashion.

And Gerrard was outstanding even in a team of excellent performers, putting in arguably his best 90 minutes for his country. He put England two-up after 18 minutes, sprinting in unnoticed at the back post with a header from Aaron Lennon’s deep cross. Gerrard had supplied Lennon in the first place.

His second and England’s fourth, on 68 minutes, was the culmination of a great team move involving Gareth Barry and Wayne Rooney – Gerrard scored with another header from Rooney’s cross.

Rising high: With an incredible leap, Gerrard converts Wayne Rooney's cross to put England 4-0 up against Croatia at Wembley

Rising high: With an incredible leap, Gerrard converts Wayne Rooney's cross to put England 4-0 up against Croatia at Wembley

First class: Gerrard's double helped secure England's place in the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa

First class: Gerrard's double helped secure England's place in the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa

Cap 81: June 12th, 2010 – England 1 United States 1

Having breezed through qualifying, Capello’s England entered the World Cup finals in South Africa in a hopeful frame of mind – something only enhanced when Gerrard gave them the lead after just four minutes of the tournament opener with the USA.

But such early promise wasn’t sustained and England surrendered the initiative when Robert Green fumbled the ball for the equaliser. In a largely listless showing, captain Gerrard was the only player who was lion-hearted.

Ultimately, it would just be another tournament to underline England's frailties on the world stage.

Perfect start: Just four minutes into the World Cup opener with the United States and Gerrard fired England into the lead

Perfect start: Just four minutes into the World Cup opener with the United States and Gerrard fired England into the lead

Cap 85 – August 11, 2010 England 2 Hungary 1

A year on from the high of thrashing Croatia and faith in English football has come full circle following the World Cup debacle. Capello lumbers on in charge and, in the first match back, England are heading to a miserable defeat at home to Hungary.

Enter skipper Gerrard to change the mood. Two great goals in the space of four minutes silence the boo-boys and prove life can go on. His first is a peach from 30 yards following a typically bustling run and his second sees him outwit three defenders inside the box before poking home.

Sure-footed: Gerrard manoeuvres round three Hungarian defenders for his second goal, before toe-poking home

Sure-footed: Gerrard manoeuvres round three Hungarian defenders for his second goal, before toe-poking home

Life goes on: Gerrard's double in this friendly gave England cause for optimism after their abysmal World Cup

Life goes on: Gerrard's double in this friendly gave England cause for optimism after their abysmal World Cup

Cap 95: June 19, 2012 – Ukraine 0 England 1

Not England’s finest performance by any means, but by some miracle, Hodgson’s side had made it into the last eight of Euro 2012 – and as group winners.

Rooney acknowledged afterwards that this was Gerrard’s finest England performance and the two combined for the winning goal against host nation Ukraine. Gerrard found room for a cross from the right, which took a couple of fortuitous deflections and fell to Rooney to head in at the far post.

With Gerrard tireless in midfield, England preserved their slender advantage and set up a quarter-final with Italy.

We're through! Gerrard celebrates after England beat Ukraine to reach the quarter-finals of Euro 2012

We're through! Gerrard celebrates after England beat Ukraine to reach the quarter-finals of Euro 2012

WHO'S NEXT: CAN GERRARD CATCH UP WITH THESE GREATS

Number of caps – Name, Years played for England (clubs)

125 – Peter Shilton 1970-1990 (Leicester City, Stoke City, Nottingham Forest, Southampton, Derby County)
115 – David Beckham 1996-2009 (Manchester United, Real Madrid, LA Galaxy, AC Milan)
108 – Bobby Moore 1962-1973 (West Ham United)
106 – Bobby Charlton 1958-1970 (Manchester United)
105 – Billy Wright 1946-1959 (Wolverhampton Wanderers)

GERRARD'S ENGLAND CAREER IN FULL

Age 20
1. May 31, 2000 – England 2 Ukraine 0 (Friendly; Wembley)
2. June 17, 2000 – England 1 Germany 0 (UEFA European Championships, Group stage; Charleroi)
3. March 24, 2001 – England 2 Finland 1 (World Cup qualifier, Anfield)
4. May 25, 2001 – England 4 Mexico 0 (Friendly, Pride Park)

You're going nowhere: Gerrard gets shirty with Finland on his third England appearance, a World Cup qualifier at Anfield in March 2001

You're going nowhere: Gerrard gets shirty with Finland on his third England appearance, a World Cup qualifier at Anfield in March 2001

Age 21
5. June 6, 2001 – Greece 0 England 2 (World Cup qualifier; Athens)
6. September 1, 2001 – Germany 1 England 5 (World Cup qualifier; Munich) One goal
7. September 5, 2001 – England 2 Albania 0 (World Cup qualifier; St James' Park)
8. October 6, 2001 – England 2 Greece 2 (World Cup qualifier; Old Trafford)
9. February 13, 2002 – Netherlands 1 England 1 (Friendly; Amsterdam)
10.April 17, 2002 – England 4 Paraguay 0 (Friendly; Anfield)

Age 22
11. September 7, 2002 – England 1 Portugal 1 (Friendly; Villa Park)
12. October 12, 2002 – Slovakia 1 England 2 (European Championships qualifier; Bratislava)
13. October 16, 2002 – England 2 Macedonia 2 (European Championships qualifier; St Mary's) One goal
14. March 29, 2003 – Liechtenstein 0 England 2 (European Championships qualifier; Vaduz)
15. April 2, 2003 – England 2 Turkey 0 (European Championship qualifier; Stadium of Light)
16. May 22, 2003 – South Africa 1 England 2 (Friendly; Durban)

Technique: Gerrard finds the net through a crowd of Macedonian defenders in the Euro 2004 qualifier at Southampton

Technique: Gerrard finds the net through a crowd of Macedonian defenders in the Euro 2004 qualifier at Southampton

Age 23
17. June 3, 2003 – England 2 Serbia and Montenegro 1 (Friendly; Walkers Stadium) One goal
18. June 11, 2003 – England 2 Slovakia 1 (European Championships qualifier; Riverside Stadium)
19. August 20, 2003 – England 3 Croatia 1 (Friendly; Portman Road)
20. September 10, 2003 – England 2 Liechtenstein 0 (European Championships qualifier; Old Trafford)
21. October 11, 2003 – Turkey 0 England 0 (European Championships qualifier; Istanbul)
22. March 31, 2004 – Sweden 1 England 0 (Friendly; Gothenburg) First game as captain

Age 24
23. June 1, 2004 – England 1 Japan 1 (Friendly; City of Manchester Stadium)
24. June 5, 2004 – England 6 Iceland 1 (Friendly; City of Manchester Stadium)
25. June 13, 2004 – France 2 England 1 (UEFA European Championships, group stage; Lisbon)
26. June 17, 2004 – England 3 Switzerland 0 (UEFA European Championships, group stage; Coimbra) One goal
27. June 21, 2004 – England 4 Croatia 2 (UEFA European Championships, group stage; Lisbon)
28. June 24, 2004 – Portugal 2 England 2 (UEFA European Championships, quarter-final; Lisbon)
29. August 18, 2004 – England 3 Ukraine 0 (Friendly; St James' Park)
30. September 4, 2004 – Austria 2 England 2 (World Cup qualifier; Vienna) One goal
31. September 8, 2004 – Poland 1 England 2 (World Cup qualifier; Chorzow)
32. February 9, 2005 – England 0 Netherlands 0 (Friendly; Villa Park)
33. March 25, 2005 – England 4 Northern Ireland 0 (World Cup qualifier; Old Trafford)
34. March 30, 2005 – England 2 Azerbaijan (World Cup qualifier; St James' Park) One goal

Heading for victory: Gerrard makes it England 3 Switzerland 0 at Euro 2004

Heading for victory: Gerrard makes it England 3 Switzerland 0 at Euro 2004

Age 25
35. August 17, 2005 – Denmark 4 England 1 (Friendly; Copenhagen)
36. September 3, 2005 – Wales 0 England 1 (World Cup qualifier; Cardiff)
37. September 7, 2005 – Northern Ireland 1 England 0 (World Cup qualifier; Belfast)
38. October 8, 2005 – England 1 Austria 0 (World Cup qualifier; Old Trafford)
39. November 12, 2005 – Argentina 2 England 3 (Friendly; Geneva)
40. March 1, 2006 – England 2 Uruguay 1 (Friendly; Old Trafford)

Age 26
41. May 30, 2006 – England 3 Hungary 1 (Friendly; Old Trafford) One goal
42. June 3, 2006 – England 6 Jamaica 0 (Friendly; Old Trafford)
43. June 10, 2006 – England 1 Paraguay 0 (FIFA World Cup, group stage; Frankfurt)
44. June 15, 2006 – England 2 Trinidad and Tobago 0 (FIFA World Cup, group stage; Nuremburg) One goal
45. June 20, 2006 – Sweden 2 England 2 (FIFA World Cup, group stage; Cologne) One goal
46. June 25, 2006 – England 1 Ecuador 0 (FIFA World Cup, second round; Stuttgart)
47. July 1, 2006 – England 0 Portugal 0 (FIFA World Cup, quarter-finals; Gelsenkirchen) Had penalty saved in shoot-out
48. August 16, 2006 – England 4 Greece 0 (Friendly; Old Trafford)
49. September 2, 2006 – England 5 Andorra 0 (European Championships qualifier; Old Trafford) One goal
50. September 6, 2006 – Macedonia 0 England 1 (European Championships qualifier; Skopje)
51. October 7, 2006 – England 0 Macedonia 0 (European Championships qualifier; Old Trafford)
52. November 15, 2006 – Netherlands 1 England 1 (Friendly; Amsterdam)
53. February 7, 2007 – England 0 Spain 1 (Friendly; Old Trafford)
54. March 24, 2007 – Israel 0 England 0 (European Championships qualifier; Tel Aviv)
55. March 28, 2007 – Andorra 0 England 3 (European Championships qualifier; Barcelona) Two goals

Agony: Ricardo, the Portugal goalkeeper, gets a hand to Gerrard's spot-kick as England crash out at the quarter-finals of the 2006 World Cup

Agony: Ricardo, the Portugal goalkeeper, gets a hand to Gerrard's spot-kick as England crash out at the quarter-finals of the 2006 World Cup

Age 27
56. June 1, 2007 – England 1 Brazil 1 (Friendly; Wembley)
57. June 6, 2007 – Estonia 0 England 3 (European Championships qualifier; Tallinn)
58. September 8, 2007 – England 3 Israel 0 (European Championships qualifier; Wembley)
59. September 12, 2007 – England 3 Russia 0 (European Championships qualifier; Wembley)
60. October 13, 2007 – England 3 Estonia 0 (European Championships qualifier; Wembley)
61. October 17, 2007 – Russia 2 England 1 (European Championships qualifier; Moscow)
62. November 16, 2007 – Austria 0 England 1 (Friendly; Vienna)
63. November 21, 2007 – England 2 Croatia 3 (European Championships qualifier; Wembley)
64. February 6, 2008 – England 2 Switzerland 1 (Friendly; Wembley)
65. March 26, 2008 – France 1 England 0 (Friendly; Paris)
66. May 28, 2008 – England 2 United States 0 (Friendly; Wembley) One goal

Age 28
67. June 1, 2008 – Trinidad and Tobago 0 England 3 (Friendly; Port of Spain)
68. August 20, 2008 – England 2 Czech Republic 2 (Friendly; Wembley)
69. October 11, 2008 – England 5 Kazakhstan 1 (World Cup qualifier; Wembley)
70. October 15, 2008 – Belarus 1 England 3 (World Cup qualifier; Minsk) One goal
71. March 28, 2009 – England 4 Slovakia 0 (Friendly; Wembley)
72. April 1, 2009 – England 2 Ukraine 1 (Friendly; Wembley)

Get in! Gerrard with his arms aloft after opening the scoring against Belarus in a World Cup qualifier

Get in! Gerrard with his arms aloft after opening the scoring against Belarus in a World Cup qualifier

Age 29
73. June 6, 2009 – Kazakhstan 0 England 4 (World Cup qualifier; Almaty)
74. June 10, 2009 – England 6 Andorra 0 (World Cup qualifier; Wembley)
75. September 5, 2009 – England 2 Slovenia 1 (Friendly; Wembley)
76. September 9, 2009 – England 5 Croatia 1 (World Cup qualifier; Wembley) Two goals
77. October 10, 2009 – Ukraine 1 England 0 (World Cup qualifier; Dnepropetrovsk)
78. March 3, 2010 – England 3 Egypt 1 (Friendly; Wembley)
79. May 24, 2010 – England 3 Mexico 1 (Friendly; Wembley)

Age 30
80. May 30, 2010 – Japan 1 England 2 (Friendly; Graz)
81. June 12, 2010 – England 1 United States 1 (FIFA World Cup, group stage; Rustenburg) One goal
82. June 18, 2010 – Algeria 0 England 0 (FIFA World Cup, group stage; Kaapstad)
83. June 23, 2010 – Slovenia 0 England 1 (FIFA World Cup, group stage; Ibhayl)
84. June 27, 2010 – Germany 4 England 1 (FIFA World Cup, second round; Bloemfontein)
85. August 11, 2010 – England 2 Hungary 1 (Friendly; Wembley) Two goals
86. September 3, 2010 – England 4 Bulgaria 0 (European Championships qualifier; Wembley)
87. September 7, 2010 – Switzerland 1 England 3 (European Championships qualifier; Basel)
88. October 12, 2010 – England 0 Montenegro 0 (European Championships qualifier; Wembley)
89. November 17, 2010 – England 1 France 2 (Friendly; Wembley)

The lows: Gerrard's face is a picture of despair after England are ripped apart by Germany in the World Cup second round in 2010

The lows: Gerrard's face is a picture of despair after England are ripped apart by Germany in the World Cup second round in 2010

Age 31
90. February 29, 2012 – England 2 Netherlands 3 (Friendly; Wembley)
91. May 26, 2012 – Norway 0 England 1 (Friendly; Oslo)

Age 32
92. June 2, 2012 – England 1 Belgium 0 (Friendly; Wembley)
93. June 11, 2012 – France 1 England 1 (UEFA European Championships, group stage; Donetsk)
94. June 15, 2012 – Sweden 2 England 3 (UEFA European Championships, group stage; kyiv)
95. June 19, 2012 – England 1 Ukraine 0 (UEFA European Championships, group stage; Donetsk)
96. June 24, 2012 – England 0 Italy 0 (UEFA European Championships, quarter-finals; Kyiv) Scored in penalty shoot-out
97. September 7, 2012 – Moldova 0 England 5 (World Cup qualifier; Chisinau)
98. September 11, 2012 – England 1 Ukraine 1 (World Cup qualifier; Wembley) Sent off
99. October 16, 2012 – Poland 1 England 1 (World Cup qualifier; Warsaw)

Steven Gerrard wins his 100th cap for England

England's midfield lion: Sportsmail pays tribute as Gerrard becomes the sixth player to reach a century of caps

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UPDATED:

23:22 GMT, 12 November 2012

When Steven Gerrard leads out England on Wednesday evening in their friendly against Sweden, he will join an exclusive club of Englishmen who have won a century of caps.

Gerrard will become the sixth player to achieve the feat after Billy Wright, Bobby Charlton, Bobby Moore, Peter Shilton and David Beckham.

And like these legends before him, no England fan can fault Gerrard’s commitment to the cause over these past 12 years.

History man: Steven Gerrard will win his 100th cap for England this Wednesday against Sweden - 12 years and six months after his first

History man: Steven Gerrard will win his 100th cap for England this Wednesday against Sweden – 12 years and six months after his first

GERRARD'S RECORD

Caps: 99 Won: 64 Drawn: 23 Lost: 12

Goals: 19 Yellow cards: 19 Red cards: 1

Since making his debut against Ukraine as a fresh-faced youngster a day after his 20th birthday in May 2000, the Liverpool man has produced regular Herculean performances right across the midfield.

He has contributed 19 goals for the cause, pinged hundreds of his trademark cross-field passes and ran the show against some of the finest midfielders in the world.

His manager, Roy Hodgson led the tributes this week: ‘He is an outstanding footballer and a very mature, thinking football man and I’m delighted I’m going to be the manager when he gets that 100th cap. I will regard that as an honour.’

In honour of Gerrard’s century, Sportsmail looks back at some of his finest performances for the Three Lions.

CAP ONE: May 31, 2000 – England 2 Ukraine 0

Having broken through at Liverpool, the 19-year-old Gerrard had caught the eye of England manager Kevin Keegan and was selected for the squad heading to Belgium and Holland for the European Championships.

At this point, he hadn’t been fully capped for England and Keegan left it until the last minute to test him out – alongside Paul Scholes in a pre-tournament Wembley warm-up with Ukraine.

And Gerrard produced the first of many impressive performances in a perfunctory 2-0 England win, secured through goals by Robbie Fowler and Tony Adams. His range of passing and bite in the tackle were really starting to develop as he entered his twenties.

If the cap fits... A youthful Gerrard is presented with his first full England cap by then manager Kevin Keegan at Bisham Abbey in May 2000

If the cap fits… A youthful Gerrard is presented with his first full England cap by then manager Kevin Keegan at Bisham Abbey in May 2000

On the rampage: Wearing an unfamiliar number two shirt, Gerrard made his England debut in a pre-Euro 2000 warm-up with Ukraine at Wembley

On the rampage: Wearing an unfamiliar number two shirt, Gerrard made his England debut in a pre-Euro 2000 warm-up with Ukraine at Wembley

CAP NINE: September
1, 2001 – Germany 1 England 5

The greatest night in the modern England era and one that bred optimism that Sven Goran Eriksson’s ‘Golden Generation’ could beat the very best in the world and, perhaps, end the silverware drought.

On a magical night in Munich, Gerrard ran the show, scoring his first goal in an England shirt to give the visitors the lead in first-half stoppage time and slipping Liverpool teammate Michael Owen away for the fourth.

Alas, as we now know, that glorious night proved to be something of a false dawn and 11 years further on, we are still waiting desperately for that taste of success.

Bound for the bottom corner: Gerrard (number four) scores from the edge of the penalty area to put England into a 2-1 lead against Germany in Munich

Bound for the bottom corner: Gerrard (number four) scores from the edge of the penalty area to put England into a 2-1 lead against Germany in Munich

Glorious night: ...And he celebrates accordingly. England went on to win the World Cup qualifier 5-1.

Glorious night: …And he celebrates accordingly. England went on to win the World Cup qualifier 5-1.

CAP 22: March 31, 2004 – Sweden 1 England 0

The last time England travelled to Sweden for a friendly was also a landmark occasion for Gerrard who, as a veteran of just 22 caps, was handed the captain’s armband for the first time by Eriksson.

Both sides had an eye on that summer’s European Championships, but also on the crucial club run-in, and so Gerrard only played an hour before handing the armband to Gareth Southgate.

It was a characteristically industrious performance from Gerrard but, despite England having the best chances, Sweden won through Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s goal just after half-time.

Captain fantastic: Gerrard wore the England armband for the first time in March 2004, but he couldn't prevent the side losing 1-0 to Sweden

Captain fantastic: Gerrard wore the England armband for the first time in March 2004, but he couldn't prevent the side losing 1-0 to Sweden

Cap 76: September 9th, 2009 – England 5 Croatia 1

One of the finest England displays of the Fabio Capello era, the team secured their place at the World Cup finals in South Africa in resounding fashion.

And Gerrard was outstanding even in a team of excellent performers, putting in arguably his best 90 minutes for his country. He put England two-up after 18 minutes, sprinting in unnoticed at the back post with a header from Aaron Lennon’s deep cross. Gerrard had supplied Lennon in the first place.

His second and England’s fourth, on 68 minutes, was the culmination of a great team move involving Gareth Barry and Wayne Rooney – Gerrard scored with another header from Rooney’s cross.

Rising high: With an incredible leap, Gerrard converts Wayne Rooney's cross to put England 4-0 up against Croatia at Wembley

Rising high: With an incredible leap, Gerrard converts Wayne Rooney's cross to put England 4-0 up against Croatia at Wembley

First class: Gerrard's double helped secure England's place in the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa

First class: Gerrard's double helped secure England's place in the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa

Cap 81: June 12th, 2010 – England 1 United States 1

Having breezed through qualifying, Capello’s England entered the World Cup finals in South Africa in a hopeful frame of mind – something only enhanced when Gerrard gave them the lead after just four minutes of the tournament opener with the USA.

But such early promise wasn’t sustained and England surrendered the initiative when Robert Green fumbled the ball for the equaliser. In a largely listless showing, captain Gerrard was the only player who was lion-hearted.

Ultimately, it would just be another tournament to underline England's frailties on the world stage.

Perfect start: Just four minutes into the World Cup opener with the United States and Gerrard fired England into the lead

Perfect start: Just four minutes into the World Cup opener with the United States and Gerrard fired England into the lead

Cap 85 – August 11, 2010 England 2 Hungary 1

A year on from the high of thrashing Croatia and faith in English football has come full circle following the World Cup debacle. Capello lumbers on in charge and, in the first match back, England are heading to a miserable defeat at home to Hungary.

Enter skipper Gerrard to change the mood. Two great goals in the space of four minutes silence the boo-boys and prove life can go on. His first is a peach from 30 yards following a typically bustling run and his second sees him outwit three defenders inside the box before poking home.

Sure-footed: Gerrard manoeuvres round three Hungarian defenders for his second goal, before toe-poking home

Sure-footed: Gerrard manoeuvres round three Hungarian defenders for his second goal, before toe-poking home

Life goes on: Gerrard's double in this friendly gave England cause for optimism after their abysmal World Cup

Life goes on: Gerrard's double in this friendly gave England cause for optimism after their abysmal World Cup

Cap 95: June 19, 2012 – Ukraine 0 England 1

Not England’s finest performance by any means, but by some miracle, Hodgson’s side had made it into the last eight of Euro 2012 – and as group winners.

Rooney acknowledged afterwards that this was Gerrard’s finest England performance and the two combined for the winning goal against host nation Ukraine. Gerrard found room for a cross from the right, which took a couple of fortuitous deflections and fell to Rooney to head in at the far post.

With Gerrard tireless in midfield, England preserved their slender advantage and set up a quarter-final with Italy.

We're through! Gerrard celebrates after England beat Ukraine to reach the quarter-finals of Euro 2012

We're through! Gerrard celebrates after England beat Ukraine to reach the quarter-finals of Euro 2012

WHO'S NEXT: CAN GERRARD CATCH UP WITH THESE GREATS

Number of caps – Name, Years played for England (clubs)

125 – Peter Shilton 1970-1990 (Leicester City, Stoke City, Nottingham Forest, Southampton, Derby County)
115 – David Beckham 1996-2009 (Manchester United, Real Madrid, LA Galaxy, AC Milan)
108 – Bobby Moore 1962-1973 (West Ham United)
106 – Bobby Charlton 1958-1970 (Manchester United)
105 – Billy Wright 1946-1959 (Wolverhampton Wanderers)

GERRARD'S ENGLAND CAREER IN FULL

Age 20
1. May 31, 2000 – England 2 Ukraine 0 (Friendly; Wembley)
2. June 17, 2000 – England 1 Germany 0 (UEFA European Championships, Group stage; Charleroi)
3. March 24, 2001 – England 2 Finland 1 (World Cup qualifier, Anfield)
4. May 25, 2001 – England 4 Mexico 0 (Friendly, Pride Park)

You're going nowhere: Gerrard gets shirty with Finland on his third England appearance, a World Cup qualifier at Anfield in March 2001

You're going nowhere: Gerrard gets shirty with Finland on his third England appearance, a World Cup qualifier at Anfield in March 2001

Age 21
5. June 6, 2001 – Greece 0 England 2 (World Cup qualifier; Athens)
6. September 1, 2001 – Germany 1 England 5 (World Cup qualifier; Munich) One goal
7. September 5, 2001 – England 2 Albania 0 (World Cup qualifier; St James' Park)
8. October 6, 2001 – England 2 Greece 2 (World Cup qualifier; Old Trafford)
9. February 13, 2002 – Netherlands 1 England 1 (Friendly; Amsterdam)
10.April 17, 2002 – England 4 Paraguay 0 (Friendly; Anfield)

Age 22
11. September 7, 2002 – England 1 Portugal 1 (Friendly; Villa Park)
12. October 12, 2002 – Slovakia 1 England 2 (European Championships qualifier; Bratislava)
13. October 16, 2002 – England 2 Macedonia 2 (European Championships qualifier; St Mary's) One goal
14. March 29, 2003 – Liechtenstein 0 England 2 (European Championships qualifier; Vaduz)
15. April 2, 2003 – England 2 Turkey 0 (European Championship qualifier; Stadium of Light)
16. May 22, 2003 – South Africa 1 England 2 (Friendly; Durban)

Technique: Gerrard finds the net through a crowd of Macedonian defenders in the Euro 2004 qualifier at Southampton

Technique: Gerrard finds the net through a crowd of Macedonian defenders in the Euro 2004 qualifier at Southampton

Age 23
17. June 3, 2003 – England 2 Serbia and Montenegro 1 (Friendly; Walkers Stadium) One goal
18. June 11, 2003 – England 2 Slovakia 1 (European Championships qualifier; Riverside Stadium)
19. August 20, 2003 – England 3 Croatia 1 (Friendly; Portman Road)
20. September 10, 2003 – England 2 Liechtenstein 0 (European Championships qualifier; Old Trafford)
21. October 11, 2003 – Turkey 0 England 0 (European Championships qualifier; Istanbul)
22. March 31, 2004 – Sweden 1 England 0 (Friendly; Gothenburg) First game as captain

Age 24
23. June 1, 2004 – England 1 Japan 1 (Friendly; City of Manchester Stadium)
24. June 5, 2004 – England 6 Iceland 1 (Friendly; City of Manchester Stadium)
25. June 13, 2004 – France 2 England 1 (UEFA European Championships, group stage; Lisbon)
26. June 17, 2004 – England 3 Switzerland 0 (UEFA European Championships, group stage; Coimbra) One goal
27. June 21, 2004 – England 4 Croatia 2 (UEFA European Championships, group stage; Lisbon)
28. June 24, 2004 – Portugal 2 England 2 (UEFA European Championships, quarter-final; Lisbon)
29. August 18, 2004 – England 3 Ukraine 0 (Friendly; St James' Park)
30. September 4, 2004 – Austria 2 England 2 (World Cup qualifier; Vienna) One goal
31. September 8, 2004 – Poland 1 England 2 (World Cup qualifier; Chorzow)
32. February 9, 2005 – England 0 Netherlands 0 (Friendly; Villa Park)
33. March 25, 2005 – England 4 Northern Ireland 0 (World Cup qualifier; Old Trafford)
34. March 30, 2005 – England 2 Azerbaijan (World Cup qualifier; St James' Park) One goal

Heading for victory: Gerrard makes it England 3 Switzerland 0 at Euro 2004

Heading for victory: Gerrard makes it England 3 Switzerland 0 at Euro 2004

Age 25
35. August 17, 2005 – Denmark 4 England 1 (Friendly; Copenhagen)
36. September 3, 2005 – Wales 0 England 1 (World Cup qualifier; Cardiff)
37. September 7, 2005 – Northern Ireland 1 England 0 (World Cup qualifier; Belfast)
38. October 8, 2005 – England 1 Austria 0 (World Cup qualifier; Old Trafford)
39. November 12, 2005 – Argentina 2 England 3 (Friendly; Geneva)
40. March 1, 2006 – England 2 Uruguay 1 (Friendly; Old Trafford)

Age 26
41. May 30, 2006 – England 3 Hungary 1 (Friendly; Old Trafford) One goal
42. June 3, 2006 – England 6 Jamaica 0 (Friendly; Old Trafford)
43. June 10, 2006 – England 1 Paraguay 0 (FIFA World Cup, group stage; Frankfurt)
44. June 15, 2006 – England 2 Trinidad and Tobago 0 (FIFA World Cup, group stage; Nuremburg) One goal
45. June 20, 2006 – Sweden 2 England 2 (FIFA World Cup, group stage; Cologne) One goal
46. June 25, 2006 – England 1 Ecuador 0 (FIFA World Cup, second round; Stuttgart)
47. July 1, 2006 – England 0 Portugal 0 (FIFA World Cup, quarter-finals; Gelsenkirchen) Had penalty saved in shoot-out
48. August 16, 2006 – England 4 Greece 0 (Friendly; Old Trafford)
49. September 2, 2006 – England 5 Andorra 0 (European Championships qualifier; Old Trafford) One goal
50. September 6, 2006 – Macedonia 0 England 1 (European Championships qualifier; Skopje)
51. October 7, 2006 – England 0 Macedonia 0 (European Championships qualifier; Old Trafford)
52. November 15, 2006 – Netherlands 1 England 1 (Friendly; Amsterdam)
53. February 7, 2007 – England 0 Spain 1 (Friendly; Old Trafford)
54. March 24, 2007 – Israel 0 England 0 (European Championships qualifier; Tel Aviv)
55. March 28, 2007 – Andorra 0 England 3 (European Championships qualifier; Barcelona) Two goals

Agony: Ricardo, the Portugal goalkeeper, gets a hand to Gerrard's spot-kick as England crash out at the quarter-finals of the 2006 World Cup

Agony: Ricardo, the Portugal goalkeeper, gets a hand to Gerrard's spot-kick as England crash out at the quarter-finals of the 2006 World Cup

Age 27
56. June 1, 2007 – England 1 Brazil 1 (Friendly; Wembley)
57. June 6, 2007 – Estonia 0 England 3 (European Championships qualifier; Tallinn)
58. September 8, 2007 – England 3 Israel 0 (European Championships qualifier; Wembley)
59. September 12, 2007 – England 3 Russia 0 (European Championships qualifier; Wembley)
60. October 13, 2007 – England 3 Estonia 0 (European Championships qualifier; Wembley)
61. October 17, 2007 – Russia 2 England 1 (European Championships qualifier; Moscow)
62. November 16, 2007 – Austria 0 England 1 (Friendly; Vienna)
63. November 21, 2007 – England 2 Croatia 3 (European Championships qualifier; Wembley)
64. February 6, 2008 – England 2 Switzerland 1 (Friendly; Wembley)
65. March 26, 2008 – France 1 England 0 (Friendly; Paris)
66. May 28, 2008 – England 2 United States 0 (Friendly; Wembley) One goal

Age 28
67. June 1, 2008 – Trinidad and Tobago 0 England 3 (Friendly; Port of Spain)
68. August 20, 2008 – England 2 Czech Republic 2 (Friendly; Wembley)
69. October 11, 2008 – England 5 Kazakhstan 1 (World Cup qualifier; Wembley)
70. October 15, 2008 – Belarus 1 England 3 (World Cup qualifier; Minsk) One goal
71. March 28, 2009 – England 4 Slovakia 0 (Friendly; Wembley)
72. April 1, 2009 – England 2 Ukraine 1 (Friendly; Wembley)

Get in! Gerrard with his arms aloft after opening the scoring against Belarus in a World Cup qualifier

Get in! Gerrard with his arms aloft after opening the scoring against Belarus in a World Cup qualifier

Age 29
73. June 6, 2009 – Kazakhstan 0 England 4 (World Cup qualifier; Almaty)
74. June 10, 2009 – England 6 Andorra 0 (World Cup qualifier; Wembley)
75. September 5, 2009 – England 2 Slovenia 1 (Friendly; Wembley)
76. September 9, 2009 – England 5 Croatia 1 (World Cup qualifier; Wembley) Two goals
77. October 10, 2009 – Ukraine 1 England 0 (World Cup qualifier; Dnepropetrovsk)
78. March 3, 2010 – England 3 Egypt 1 (Friendly; Wembley)
79. May 24, 2010 – England 3 Mexico 1 (Friendly; Wembley)

Age 30
80. May 30, 2010 – Japan 1 England 2 (Friendly; Graz)
81. June 12, 2010 – England 1 United States 1 (FIFA World Cup, group stage; Rustenburg) One goal
82. June 18, 2010 – Algeria 0 England 0 (FIFA World Cup, group stage; Kaapstad)
83. June 23, 2010 – Slovenia 0 England 1 (FIFA World Cup, group stage; Ibhayl)
84. June 27, 2010 – Germany 4 England 1 (FIFA World Cup, second round; Bloemfontein)
85. August 11, 2010 – England 2 Hungary 1 (Friendly; Wembley) Two goals
86. September 3, 2010 – England 4 Bulgaria 0 (European Championships qualifier; Wembley)
87. September 7, 2010 – Switzerland 1 England 3 (European Championships qualifier; Basel)
88. October 12, 2010 – England 0 Montenegro 0 (European Championships qualifier; Wembley)
89. November 17, 2010 – England 1 France 2 (Friendly; Wembley)

The lows: Gerrard's face is a picture of despair after England are ripped apart by Germany in the World Cup second round in 2010

The lows: Gerrard's face is a picture of despair after England are ripped apart by Germany in the World Cup second round in 2010

Age 31
90. February 29, 2012 – England 2 Netherlands 3 (Friendly; Wembley)
91. May 26, 2012 – Norway 0 England 1 (Friendly; Oslo)

Age 32
92. June 2, 2012 – England 1 Belgium 0 (Friendly; Wembley)
93. June 11, 2012 – France 1 England 1 (UEFA European Championships, group stage; Donetsk)
94. June 15, 2012 – Sweden 2 England 3 (UEFA European Championships, group stage; kyiv)
95. June 19, 2012 – England 1 Ukraine 0 (UEFA European Championships, group stage; Donetsk)
96. June 24, 2012 – England 0 Italy 0 (UEFA European Championships, quarter-finals; Kyiv) Scored in penalty shoot-out
97. September 7, 2012 – Moldova 0 England 5 (World Cup qualifier; Chisinau)
98. September 11, 2012 – England 1 Ukraine 1 (World Cup qualifier; Wembley) Sent off
99. October 16, 2012 – Poland 1 England 1 (World Cup qualifier; Warsaw)

Robin van Persie can become a Manchester United legend: Gary Neville

Nine great reasons why RVP can become a Manchester United legend

PUBLISHED:

00:00 GMT, 4 November 2012

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UPDATED:

00:00 GMT, 4 November 2012

Robin van Persie was fantastic for
Manchester United against his former club, Arsenal and in his interview
afterwards he said both he and Wayne Rooney were ‘9 and a halfs’ — in
other words, part-orthodox centre-forward, part attacking playmaker.

I think Robin was being polite for
television. Make no mistake, on the evidence I saw at Old Trafford,
Robin van Persie is a No 9.

This is a centre-forward who hunts on
the back of the shoulders of defenders, who moves and takes chances
with maximum efficiency.

He might have started as a left-winger
and developed into someone who played off a striker. But right now he
is a top-class centre-forward, a player who excels at playing up front
on his own.

The real deal: Robin van Persie's finishing and movement has been top quality for Manchester United

The real deal: Robin van Persie's finishing and movement has been top quality for Manchester United

For the first four to six weeks of the
season, I was seeing a bedding-in period for Van Persie. We saw
glimpses of his excellence but it was also clear that he was getting
used to playing in a new team, and they were getting used to playing
with him.

But this has been a significant week
for the Dutchman. United had two big games against Chelsea and Arsenal
and he has had a major influence on both, matches that might be seen as
defining when the season ends.

From my point of view, we are seeing the start of something that is the real thing.

I never liked using the words majestic
and silky but I will use the word clinical. Everything Van Persie does
on the football field means something; he doesn’t move without it
mattering.

Clinical: Van Persie fires the opening goal against his former club

Clinical: Van Persie fires the opening goal against his former club

More from Gary Neville…

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27/10/12

Gary Neville: AVB deserves a second chance… good managers – and some great ones – have failed before
20/10/12

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06/10/12

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29/09/12

Gary Neville: I relish our rivalry, but it's never an excuse to go beyond bounds of decency
22/09/12

Gary Neville: Scholes is simply the best English player of his generation
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VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

If he makes a run, it has a purpose, even if it is to drag a defender out of position.

At Chelsea last week he was involved
in the biggest moments of the game, one that United could not afford to
lose because it would have seen them fall seven points behind the
leaders.

Likewise, his performance was fantastic. His first chance fell so early but he never looked like
missing it, and with his right foot.

From then onwards, I could see that
the other United players are now seeing his runs, the changes of
direction. He organises his feet before he shoots. He also worked with
Wayne Rooney in defending. United forwards have a history of working
hard; from Mark Hughes through to Carlos Tevez and now Rooney. Van
Persie’s work ethic yesterday denoted a real understanding of what it is
to be a United forward. The successful ones are all hard-working.

When United signed him for 24million, it was not a typical buy from the club because of his age, which is 29. And yet he has left the comfort zone of Arsenal, where everyone knew what he could do, and shown United supporters that he is the finished article.

He has taken two big games by the scruff of the neck. If he does the same in the Manchester derby in a month’s time, every United fan will know they have a special player on their hands.

They are already warming to him. Eric Cantona came to United as an experienced player, but Van Persie will score more goals than Eric, whose record wasn’t bad. Ten in 13 games is a brilliant start, but I’ve got a feeling it is only just the start.

Legend: Cantona

Living up to his billing: Van Persie

Things can only get better: Van Persie will score more goals for United than Eric Cantona (left)

Arsenal are a big club and Van Persie didn’t make a move for the money. I think the reason he has joined United is to try to become a real legend of the game.

There is something about Manchester United, along with Barcelona and Real Madrid; if you do special things with those clubs, then it elevates you to a whole new level.

If Van Persie can continue like this, he has not left it too late to attain that legendary status.

This Arsenal are lacking star quality

I was disappointed with Arsenal — and I was disappointed for them.

I spent my whole career competing with them for trophies; when you said their name, you automatically thought championship contenders.

Not now, judging by the manner of their performance at Old Trafford. When I think of the great Arsenal teams under Arsene Wenger, I can’t think of one player who started at Old Trafford who would get into them.

Olivier Giroud isn’t as good as Nicolas Anelka, let alone Thierry Henry. Who would you rather have, Santiago Cazorla or Dennis Bergkamp As for the current Arsenal players getting in ahead of their old back-five, or the midfield of Vieira, Petit, Overmars and Parlour, forget it, not even close.

Chastening experience: Santi Cazorla (third right) failed to shine at Old Trafford

Chastening experience: Santi Cazorla (third right) failed to shine at Old Trafford

Arsenal’s game was always built around pace and incisive passing but I didn’t see that.

Cazorla didn’t have a good game, Giroud hasn’t settled at all and Lukas Podolski would do something good but then seem to drift away again. The 2-1 United win flattered Arsenal, to be honest.

And unlike last year’s 8-2 defeat, Arsenal can’t point to half a team missing with injuries.

Arsene Wenger has a proud record of qualifying for the Champions League for the past 15 seasons. He has experience and I trust his know-how and the spirit of the club. But even so, you have to say there is a real danger they will miss out on the top four unless there is an improvement.

Robert Garrigus outshines Tiger Woods at CIMB Classic in Malaysia

Garrigus and Kruger outshine Tiger as big-hitter builds halfway lead in Malaysia

|

UPDATED:

11:19 GMT, 26 October 2012

Big-hitting Robert Garrigus fired a second successive 64 to grab the halfway lead in the CIMB Classic at The Mines in Malaysia.

The 34-year-old American, three times a runner-up on the PGA Tour this season, had eight birdies in 11 holes before a closing bogey left him 14 under par and two ahead of South African Jbe Kruger.

Out in front: Robert Garrigus plays out of the rough on the 18th hole at The MINES Golf Club

Out in front: Robert Garrigus plays out of the rough on the 18th hole at The MINES Golf Club

CIMB Classic Leaderboard

Click here to view all the latest scores

Also round in 64, world No 181 Kruger
out-scored playing partner Tiger Woods by three to keep alive his hopes
of the massive 806,000 first prize.

Outplayed: Tiger Woods shakes hand with Jbe Kruger after finishing round two of the CIMB Classic

Outplayed: Tiger Woods shakes hand with Jbe Kruger after finishing round two of the CIMB Classic

Hats off: A hot Woods sports an unfamiliar look while waiting to play on the 10th hole

Hats off: A hot Woods sports an unfamiliar look while waiting to play on the 10th hole in Kuala Lumpur

Woods improved from joint seventh to tied fifth, but is now five strokes behind rather than three.

As for first-round pacesetter Troy
Matteson, he did not have a bogey for the second day running, but his
only birdies came at the third and sixth holes and with a 69 he dropped
into a tie for third with Australian left-hander Greg Chalmers.

Garrigus had to wait until the short
seventh for his first birdie, but then rattled off four in a row and
continued to make forward progress over the back nine until his slip-up
at the last.

Woods added six birdies to the seven he had on the opening day, but once again there were also two bogeys on his card.

Scotland's Martin Laird birdied three of the final five holes for a 67 and joint 11th place on seven under, while Swede Carl Pettersson is one further back after a round that included an eagle, six birdies and four bogeys.

Disappointment for the home fans came with Danny Chia managing only a 75 and crashing from seventh to 41st in the 48-man field.

Munster 33 Edinburgh 0

Munster 33 Edinburgh 0: Late flurry of tries earns Irish side bonus-point win

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UPDATED:

14:36 GMT, 21 October 2012

Munster steamrollered Edinburgh with three tries in the final 10 minutes of this Heineken Cup tie as they returned to winning ways at Thomond Park.

A late forwards-led flurry saw Peter O'Mahony, Sean Dougall and Damien Varley all touch down as the hosts seized upon an unlikely bonus point.

With the injured Ronan O'Gara watching on from the stands, his deputy Ian Keatley landed two penalties from four attempts to give the hosts a 6-0 interval lead.

Party time: Munster celebrate on their way to victory over Edinburgh

Party time: Munster celebrate on their way to victory over Edinburgh

There was more for the home crowd to get their teeth into in the second half, with Conor Murray's 51st-minute try giving Rob Penney's side some breathing space.

Hammered 45-0 at home by Saracens in the opening round, Edinburgh allowed their heads to drop and Munster took advantage late on as they ended a run of three straight defeats.

Keatley, making his first Heineken Cup start at outside-half, slotted a fourth-minute penalty to settle the early nerves.

Casey Laulala's bone-crunching hit on Lee Jones stemmed Edinburgh's attempts to respond, although Stuart McInally and David Denton carried well in a rare energetic spurt from the Scots.

An unfavourable bounce thwarted Donncha O'Callaghan as he tried to gather a cross-field kick from Keatley and from the resulting scrum, Netani Talei was smashed back over the try-line by a red wave.

Munster kept their foot on the gas, however Keatley slid a kickable penalty wide and Greig Tonks was rock-solid in his positioning and high fielding.

A second three-pointer from Keatley doubled Munster's lead as the penalty count and an erratic line-out began to hurt Edinburgh.

Under the cosh and starved of possession, Michael Bradley's men dug their heels in and remained within a converted try as Keatley sent a long-range penalty wide.

Munster's frustration was obvious as half-time loomed, with their lack of cutting edge, coupled with Edinburgh's scramble, making for plenty of midfield gridlock.

A couple of handling errors ruined promising Munster moves, early in the second period, but their persistence paid off when man-of-the-match Murray broke through under the posts.

The tall scrum-half spotted his opportunity, surging around the side of a ruck and he got enough downward pressure as he grounded the ball with three Edinburgh players in tow.

Keatley converted the try which television match official Geoff Warren rubber-stamped, and followed up with a neatly-taken third penalty into the swirling wind.

Edinburgh were toothless in attack and never looked like scoring for the second week running. Their cause was not helped by the loss of Gregor Hunter who came off worse when attempting to tackle James Downey.

A bad run of injuries, including Tim Visser's enforced withdrawal yesterday, left Edinburgh looking a shell of the side that reached last season's semi-finals.

Having struggled to score when taking the ball out wide, Munster went back to basics for the closing stages and it worked a treat against their tiring opponents.

A muscular line-out drive, a tactic so profitable in the past in Limerick, sent the Scots backwards and number eight O'Mahony wrestled over from a metre out. Keatley converted for a 23-0 scoreline.

Soon after, Dougall grabbed his second try of the tournament when finishing off in the right corner after replacement Paddy Butler had blazed over halfway.

Munster kept plugging away for the fourth try and it arrived in the first minute of injury-time – Keatley kicked a penalty to the right corner and the last-gasp line-out drive sent Varley charging in, despite calls for obstruction from the visitors.

Connacht 22 Harlequins 30: Danny double takes Care of Quins" business

Connacht 22 Harlequins 30: Danny double takes Care of Quins' business

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UPDATED:

21:43 GMT, 20 October 2012

Conor O’Shea hailed Harlequins’ spirit after a Danny Care double inspired them to a fiercely fought victory against Connacht.

Quins trailed by 10 points after half an hour, following a Dave McSharry try, but the England scrum-half pounced twice in seven minutess.

The victory maintains Quins’ winning start in Europe and they sit on top of Pool Three with back-to-back clashes with Italian minnows Zebre to come in December.

Double delight: Danny Care crosses for Harlequins

Double delight: Danny Care crosses for Harlequins

Quins director of rugby O’Shea said: ‘We
didn’t sustain any momentum or field position and they were getting
stuck in at the breakdown. At 19-9 down we showed great mental strength
to come through.

‘I’ve been coming here my whole life and you don’t get an easy game. But
there was an outstanding 15 minutes where the game swung, and credit to
guys like Ben Botica, who’s come into a hostile place and done well.
Danny scored two nice tries, but it’s about the team performance.’

There was little chance of Harlequins underestimating the Irish after they crashed to defeat at the same venue last year.

Veteran campaigner: No 8 Nick Easter charges up-field

Veteran campaigner: No 8 Nick Easter charges up-field

Harlequins made a quick start with Botica – in for the injured Nick
Evans – bisecting the posts on four minutes before Connacht roared back
into the contest.

George Naoupu made the initial start with a quick tap and McSharry
completed the attack in emphatic fashion, cutting a superb line on a
miss-pass to cruise past Tom Williams. Dan Parks and Botica continued to
trade shots at goal with Connacht edging the contest before Care
pounced.

The scrum-half raced over the try line, cutting the deficit to 19-14 and
he grabbed a second try on 37 minutes. Botica added the extras and
slotted a penalty on the stroke of half-time to hand his side a 24-19
lead.

Brains' trust: Captain Chris Robshaw (left) with director of rugby Conor O'Shea

Brains' trust: Captain Chris Robshaw (left) with director of rugby Conor O'Shea

Biarritz 38 Zebre 17

Biarritz grabbed their first win of the Heineken Cup with a six-try romp over tournament newcomers Zebre.

Yann Lesgourgues scored the first of his double in a decisive opening 20 minutes as the hosts, thrashed 40-13 by Harlequins in their opener, raced into the lead.

But Connacht hit the ground running in the second-half and Parks nailed
an early penalty to cut the deficit. The hosts continued to cause
problems, but Harlequins hung on and Botica slotted a penalty on 56
minutes to ease the pressure. The 23-year-old continued his impressive
performance with his sixth penalty as the London club hung on.

Connacht coach Eric Elwood said: ‘Those 15 unanswered points just before half-time were a bit of a sickener.’