Tag Archives: footballers

PFA boss Gordon Taylor wants retrospective action on divers and reckless tackles

PFA boss Taylor wants retrospective action on divers and reckless tackles

By
Martyn Ziegler, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

15:11 GMT, 25 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:11 GMT, 25 March 2013

Players’ chief Gordon Taylor will argue for rules on retrospective action to be widened to allow both diving and dangerous tackles to be dealt with at English footballer’s stakeholders’ annual meeting this summer.

The Football Association is going to look at the issue surrounding retrospective action again after the furore that followed the decision to take no action against Wigan’s Callum McManaman for his tackle on Newcastle’s Massadio Haidara.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has said the incident should have been regarded as 'exceptional' which would allow retrospective action to be taken and Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Taylor agrees – but wants to go still further.

Horrendous: Callum McManaman's tackle on Massadio Haidara which caused so much controversy

Horrendous: Callum McManaman's tackle on Massadio Haidara which caused so much controversy

Aftermath: Taylor wants players to be banned after games when time has been taken to consider the decisions

Aftermath: Taylor wants players to be banned after games when time has been taken to consider the decisions

Taylor said: 'We are not saying matches should be re-refereed on a Monday morning but my feeling is there has got to be room to review such incidents.

'If there is a high-profile incident and the referee has not seen it and the referee’s assistant has not seen it clearly then that should be dealt with.

'We could have a review panel made up of experienced people from within the game and it could also look at incidents of simulation, which I feel is another big problem in the game.

Tempers: McManaman's tackle created ugly scenes at half-time as Newcastle's John Carver was distraught

Tempers: McManaman's tackle created ugly scenes at half-time as Newcastle's John Carver was distraught

'If we are not careful we will get into areas of ambiguity and saying a dangerous tackle is ''not exceptional enough''.

'If there is any doubt for such incidents, for red cards that are being challenged and for simulation there is no reason why they shouldn’t be looked at.'

The FA is keen to look at the issues again, while Scudamore believes the rules do not need to be changed, but that incidents such as McManaman’s tackle should be regarded as exceptional.

The Football League may prove the sticking point however as it is understood it was the body most opposed to any move to review more incidents after matches.

Cheating Gareth Bale has been booked three times for diving so far this season

Cheating Gareth Bale has been booked three times for diving so far this season

Authority: PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor (left) prior to the Football League Awards

Authority: PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor (left) prior to the Football League Awards

The Footballers" Football Column – Steven Reid: I carried on playing with a broken leg – there

STEVEN REID: Liam Ridgewell went to a Justin Bieber gig… he didn't even have the excuse of taking his kids – he went with one of the other West Brom lads!

PUBLISHED:

10:01 GMT, 11 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:16 GMT, 11 March 2013

Steven Reid

Steven Reid is the kind of player everyone wants in their team. He played on with a fractured leg at the Emirates this season and took it upon himself to thrash things out with Peter Odemwingie following the striker's decision to drive to QPR on transfer deadline day. He has just celebrated his 32nd birthday and is now hoping his West Brom team can qualify for Europe… even if some of his team-mates are going to Justin Bieber concerts. Before you read his Footballers' Football Column, watch his video…

Footballer's Football Column: Steven Reid, West Brom

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I didn't know it at the time that I was playing with a broken leg against Arsenal. It happened after about 10 minutes when our keeper, Boaz Myhill, cleaned me out. I knew straightaway that I had a problem. His knee has hit my knee, which was my first concern.

I was struggling for the rest of the half. Then a penalty was given against me (following a 'tackle' on Santi Cazorla) and in my own head at least I thought: 'There's no way I'm coming off now.'

When you have just given a penalty away
and then you come off… you want to stay on the pitch and turn it
around, especially with 60,000 people watching you.

Taking a tumble: Santi Cazorla (19) goes down after a challenge from Steven Reid

Taking a tumble: Santi Cazorla (19) goes down after a challenge from Steven Reid

Penalty: Arsenal are awarded a penalty after Cazorla goes down after a challenge by Reid, who was playing with a fractured leg

Penalty: Arsenal are awarded a penalty after Cazorla goes down after a challenge by Reid, who was playing with a fractured leg

I didn't have anything done at half-time. I was too annoyed about the penalty decision. I went out in the second half and, to be honest, it didn't really affect me too much. I wasn't that conscious of it.

But for two days afterwards, I couldn't walk on it.

I went for an X-ray which didn't show up anything. Then I had a scan and that shows the bone in greater definition and it came up as a fracture and I ended up being five or six weeks out.

Failed move: Peter Odemwingie could not secure his transfer away from West Brom on deadline day

Failed move: Peter Odemwingie could not secure his transfer away from West Brom on deadline day

Starting out: Reid played for Millwall alongside Tim Cahill and Neil Harris in 2001

Starting out: Reid played for Millwall alongside Tim Cahill and Neil Harris in 2001

Irish eyes: Reid won 23 caps for the Republic of Ireland

Irish eyes: Reid won 23 caps for the Republic of Ireland

More from The Footballers' Column…

Curtis Davies – The Footballers' Football Column: I knew I'd score against Blackpool, I always get goals when I play the B-teams
07/03/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Mark McChrystal: I haven't given up hope of winning my first full cap… And don't judge James McClean unless you know him or understand Northern Ireland
05/03/13

Ruud Gullit – The Footballers' Football Column: German teams are doing better in Champions League because they have homegrown players… English clubs have too many overpaid foreigners
02/03/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Brian Clark: Newcastle's 28m super scout on discovering the Ameobi brothers… oh and a chubby lad called Gascoigne
28/02/13

The Footballer's Football Column – Carolyn Radford: Life in non-League It's all fast cars and 70-year-old club secretaries
25/02/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Zesh Rehman: The best manager I played for was Chris Coleman at Fulham, but Robbie Fowler will go onto be a top boss… he has great man-management skills
23/02/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Ashley Williams: Pressure That's not playing in a final at Wembley… it's not being able to afford Christmas presents for your family. We must enjoy this moment
21/02/13

FRANK McPARLAND: Playing Real Madrid in Qatar was all well and good… but a cold, wet night in Histon is what really makes a Liverpool player
18/02/13

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Obviously when you are out for that long, you get the chance to watch a few games and
I went and sat with the West Brom fans at Wigan. I was under cover, a
big woolly hat covering my face, a big coat on. I was trying to keep
under the radar.

You don't
get to sit with the supporters too often, going to a game as a fan, it
gives you a different perspective. I didn't sing along with the songs –
but then I also shied away from giving the players a bit of stick.

I have played in different positions over my career, but I consider myself a right back now.
I'd like to think I could do a job in midfield if there was an injury
crisis but I feel that I have developed that side of my play.

Roy Hodgson was good for us, he did wonders for us. I was learning the defensive side of my game under him. I'm happy to play there.

Since the time I've been here the club has evolved and pushed forwards, that is why we are doing so well. They are getting a better quality of player, the right sort of player.

For example, G-Mac (Gareth McAuley) has been sensational since he arrived. He trains every day the way he plays every game – especially coming from the Championship because he hadn't played much Premier League football.

There are a few lads who have been here for a long time – such as James Morrison – he's arguably our player of the season.
The scouting department isn't going to go out and spend massive money
but we have brought in Claudio Yacob on a free. He's a tough
Argentine, a good character.

And then you have got the likes of Liam Ridgewell…he went to see Justin Bieber the other night! I'd like to offer up the fact that he went with his kids as an excuse – but he didn't…I think he went with George Thorne [West Brom's 20-year-old midfielder].

If we were to qualifying for Europe it would be an amazing achievement.
I was with Blackburn when we qualified for the UEFA Cup after finishing
sixth and it's one of the biggest achievements of my career.

It was a relatively small squad that we had at Blackburn, pretty much the same size as the one we have here at West Brom.

I think it would be the same here. When you are in it, it's tough.

Playing Thursday somewhere in Europe and then again on Sunday.

I don't think the fans get that. It's a
tiring week. It's one thing I can't have that you can't be tired if you
are playing three games in seven days. With the travel, it's hard.

Liam Ridgewell

Justin Bieber

Bieber-mania: Liam Ridgewell (left) went to a Justin Bieber (right) gig with Baggies team-mate George Thorne

NYSTAGMUS NETWORK
I am the patron of the Nystagmus Network which is a charity close to my heart. They support people with a serious eye condition. My son, Harry, aged three was diagnosed with it a while ago. It involves involuntary movement of the eye and hopefully one day there will be a cure but there's not much that can be done at the moment, sadly. Click here for more information…

The Footballers" Football Column – Rohan Ricketts: Globetrotter how he moved from England to Ecuador via India

ROHAN RICKETTS: Cows in the road and Twitter row meant my Indian adventure ended early… but I went back in time to live the dream in South America

PUBLISHED:

08:20 GMT, 18 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

14:06 GMT, 18 February 2013

Rohan Ricketts

Rohan Ricketts started his football career playing for Arsenal and was part of the hugely successful side that won the FA Youth Cup in 2000 and 2001. But a year later he made the move that only four players before him had and crossed the north London divide to join Tottenham. After 30 appearances for the White Hart Lane club, Ricketts began his football journey playing for Wolves, Coventry, QPR, Barnsley before he opted to move abroad and to join MLS side Toronto FC. Since then he has played in Hungary, Moldova, Germany, Ireland and India. He is now playing in South America, in Ecuador. Before you read his first Footballers' Football Column, watch his video.

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I’ve often been called a ‘journeyman’ in my football career and in late 2012 I made my biggest journey to date when I signed for Dempo SC in Goa, India. It doesn’t sound like the most obvious move to make but, as they say, football is a funny old game.

Last summer I was really keen to return to the UK, after a stint at Shamrock Rovers in Ireland so I returned to London to see what I could find.

But it is such a tough market and there were so many players looking for a club. There’s a fine balance between holding your nerve and waiting to find a club or signing somewhere to ensure financial security for your family.

Getting to know the locals: Ricketts enjoyed his short spell in India, despite his issues on the pitch

Getting to know the locals: Ricketts enjoyed his short spell in India, despite his issues on the pitch

There were many players who were still looking for a club even after the season started. It’s easy to assume that players are being choosy about which club they sign for and ruling out lower league clubs but for me that wasn’t the case.

I love playing football, it’s what I was born to do. I may have been nearing 30 but I had no plans to give it up just yet.

After much deliberation with my family and friends, I made the decision to sign for Dempo SC. India isn’t really known for its football, I knew it would be different to Europe but the challenge of living in another country and helping them to build up the reputation of football really appealed to me.

I did it before when I signed for Toronto FC in MLS and I found it really rewarding to help educate a new generation about the sport.

First move abroad: Ricketts moved to MLS and joined Toronto

First move abroad: Ricketts moved to MLS and joined Toronto

I was told how serious Dempo SC were about growing football in India and I was excited to join them so I signed until May 2013.

It
certainly was a world away from London. It gets so hot there that we
were doing all our training sessions and practice matches early in the
morning before it got too unbearable.

It was fascinating to live in such a different culture, I was late for training on a couple of occasions due to cows in the road which was certainly something I had not experienced before and was I confronted with severe poverty in certain areas, which was difficult to see.

On the pitch, it was great to taste victory on the first day of the season after such a long break away, but it really was a different game to the one I am used to. It was the tactics that were lacking, rather than the players' skill level, so I was confident we would improve as the team gelled.

Rohan Ricketts

Mobbed: Ricketts helped Shamrock Rovers win the Irish League

Luck of the Irish: Ricketts enjoyed his spell with Shamrock Rovers and helped them win the Irish league

Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to see if that would be the case. I had joined the team under the impression that they wanted me to play as I do and that they wanted to develop a passing style.

However the coach soon made it clear that he was expecting me to adapt to the way they played. It didn’t help that he was trying to play me as a striker rather than an attacking central midfielder.

I had some discussions with him about this in the early days and he did start to play me in the
right position.

Young stars: Rohan Ricketts was part of the Arsenal Youth team that included Steve Sidwell, Moritz Volz, Jermaine Pennant and Jay Bothroyd

Young stars: Rohan Ricketts was part of the Arsenal Youth team that included Steve Sidwell, Moritz Volz, Jermaine Pennant and Jay Bothroyd

Ricketts playing for Spurs

Rohan Ricketts

Crossing the divide: Ricketts moved to Spurs after starting his career in the Arsenal youth team

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I mentioned everything that was happening on my Twitter account, something the coach was not happy about. When the Indian press asked him about the things I was saying he denied it and said that I had misunderstood.

I knew that I hadn’t, although I do recognise that talking about it in 140 characters on Twitter was perhaps not the best forum. I was just frustrated because I wanted the team to do well.

As a result of my comments I was put on the bench for the next four games, in both the Goa and
I League.

The team did not do as well as we had been doing and it was really hard to sit and watch, but I remained professional and trained hard. It was a big plus to have moral support from a lot of the key members of the squad. This is something that can be rare being a player in a foreign country.

Eventually after keeping my focus and positive spirit, I was re-instated in the starting XI against Salgoacar FC. The game was tough but we ended up winning 2-1, and I scored my first I League goal and then set up the winnner.

After the game the coaches and players were in a good mood and we had gone two points clear at the top of the table. I had hoped that was the turning point for me but unfortunately things didn’t improve with the head coach.

It was a really uncomfortable situation with him and again I spoke out about the difficulties I was having on Twitter. After my first tweets I had spoken with the President of the club, who is a great guy, and he was supportive but obviously I understood that he needed to run the club successfully and for that he needs a united team.

I wasn’t trying to unsettle things with my later tweets but I couldn’t stay silent.

After further discussions with the President it became clear that my position at the club was untenable.

I can’t talk about everything that happened there but suffice to say that I have the utmost respect for the President and my team mates at Dempo SC along with the many fans who I met while I was there. I wish them every success this season.

Fortunately for me, when I knew that I was leaving Dempo, I was able to sign very quickly for a new club – 10 hours back in time at Deportivo Quevedo in Ecuador.

Playing in South America has always been a dream of mine so when my agent told me about this opportunity, I jumped at the chance.

A new excuse for being late: Ricketts was later for training due to cows in the road (file picture)

A new excuse for being late: Ricketts was later for training due to cows in the road (file picture)

Fans' favourite: Ricketts is surrounded by fans as he leaves training

Fans' favourite: Ricketts is surrounded by fans as he leaves training

I have been here for a month now and am settling in well. My team-mates have been very welcoming and I have joined in pre-season, which is refreshing after my last couple of moves where I have joined mid-way through and struggled to get to the same fitness level.

We played our first game of the season at the end of January against the Champions and biggest club in Ecuador Barcelona SC. Before the game I could feel the hype surrounding the game and for me it felt like I was involved in a Premier League fixture back home against Manchester United.

Fans all over our city, Quevedo, were stopping me daily to let me know how big the game was for them.

Talk about pressure on your first game.

This pressure was not new to me but I could still feel the anticipation and excitement all around. I'm grateful to be part of such moments. This is no doubt the stuff of dreams for others but for me it is reality.

I knew I was starting in the game a week before, so I did not have the annoying waiting game surrounding team selection.

On the move: Ricketts left India to move to Deportivo Quevedo in Ecuador

On the move: Ricketts left India to move to Deportivo Quevedo in Ecuador

Once the game day arrived and we got to the stadium and the energy around the ground was almost tangible. Salsa music was playing and the people were chanting an hour ahead of
kick-off.

I just tried to remain cool as I did not want to lose energy. Good thing I did because the game turned out to be a real scrap due to the bad weather which turned the pitch into a mud bath.

I was hoping to get on the ball and play our passing game, but it was not to be for either side.

ROHAN RICKETTS

Follow Rohan on Twitter: @RohanRicketts

It was all about winning the second ball and playing on the counter attack. We adapted really well to the conditions and took the lead early on but the referee seemed to have his own agenda, in the second half when he gave Barcelona as penalty which was never a penalty and then didn't give us a penalty for a blatant handball in their box.

I won't go too much into the incident as I may get myself in trouble, but the game ended 1-1. A good point for us against the champions and a good team performance.

I was relatively pleased with my performance but I know the conditions limited my chances of being more active in dangerous areas.

I'm adapting quickly and learning the lingo, which will only speed up the settling in process and help me get the most out of my latest football adventure.

Manchester United and Chelsea players among those looking for extra-marital affairs on dating website

Dating website claims Manchester United and Chelsea players among 40 MARRIED footballers signed up for secret affairs

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

12:53 GMT, 25 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:02 GMT, 25 January 2013

A dating website for married people seeking extra-marital affairs claims that more than 40 professional footballers from the Premier League and Football League – including players from Manchester United and Chelsea – have joined the site in search of secret lovers in the past year.

UndercoverLovers.com claim a dozen top-flight players, 19 from the Championship, eight from League One and five League Two are among the members who have registered on the site since January last year.

The website claims to be the UK’s foremost extra-marital dating agency with more than 695,000 members, which represents almost two per cent of the UK’s entire married population.

Mystery: Premier League and Football League players are among those signed up

Mystery: Premier League and Football League players are among those signed up

The site was created to provide a safe, discreet and non-judgmental environment, where married women and men can meet.

Spokesperson Emily Pope comments: ‘There hasn’t been an unfaithful footballer expose in the tabloids for more than a year. Does this mean that the UK’s soccer professionals are suddenly behaving like saints Sadly, at least for the footballers’ wives, not. We’ve identified 44 professionals from the Premier League and Football League who’ve joined Undercover Lovers in the last year alone.’

‘We guarantee our members’ anonymity so of course we can’t name names. However we can reveal that at least one player on the books of Premier League leaders Manchester United and one from Chelsea are members of UndercoverLovers.com and that the best represented club, with three players signed up, is a Championship team from the Midlands.

‘The most active professional footballer on the site plies his trade for a South Coast club. He’s certainly no saint!’

Pope added: ‘Playing away from home with married women, who have as much to lose from exposure as they do, massively reduces the risk of our footballers being found out.

Undercover: The website that offers the chance to meet others interested in having affairs

Undercover: The website that offers the chance to meet others interested in having affairs

‘In a recent survey of our adulterous members we learned that 89% of them have never been caught cheating. Our ultra-secure dating platform is actually the perfect place for high profile players to discretely meet affair partners who won’t be straight on the phone to Max Clifford the morning after an illicit encounter.’

Kevin Keegan – The Footballers" Football Column: Luis Suarez needs to sort himself out, fans are desperate to worship the ground he walks on, not…

KEVIN KEEGAN: I don't like players kissing the badge – show you care by the way you play… Suarez needs to sort himself out, fans are desperate to worship the ground he walks on, not falls on

PUBLISHED:

09:45 GMT, 22 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:06 GMT, 22 January 2013

Kevin Keegan

Never ask Kevin Keegan to ‘show us yer medals’. The latest contributor to MailOnline's Footballers’ Football Column has been a champion in England, Germany and Europe as a player, a multi-promotion success as a manager, and belongs to the select band of men who bossed England. Now a pundit, he has always been game for a laugh, but he gets serious too, so watch out Fabricio Coloccini and Luis Suarez. But watch his video interview first; he was so candid we've had to post it in three parts…

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VIDEO INTERVIEW: Part II…

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With the second leg of the Capital One Cup semi-finals coming up, I’ve been doing a spot of promotion work for the competition. It’s been a good laugh, a spoof Brut ad like I used to do with Henry Cooper.

These are nervous times for fans, with their teams so close to reaching Wembley and this is just a bit of fun.

I even wear a wig but it doesn’t look as good as that hair!

No-one remembers me for my goals but everyone remembers my hair, those Brut adverts, singing, and falling off my bike in Superstars.

VIDEO INTERVIEW: Part III…

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Talking of Superstars, I
was working abroad so I missed the 2012 version with the Olympic stars
but people told me about it. Yes, I came off the bike but what everyone
seems to forget is that I actually won the event.

Look now at the velodromes which have
been built. Well we were on racing bikes with ” tyres on a red shale
running track, so no wonder I didn’t stay on. It hurt, too. I had to
spend two days in hospital because I’d lost all the skin down my back.

Looking
back it was great fun. All sports people are competitive, I’m sure it
was the same for the recent one. Brian Jacks was unbelievable but in
many ways it was the beginning of the end when he came in because he was
a more professional Superstar while we were footballers who turned up
and made everyone laugh by tipping over our canoes.

Scroll down for more video…

Pair of brutes: Kevin Keegan (right) larks about with British heavyweight champion Henry Cooper to promote men's aftershave Brut in 1980

Pair of brutes: Kevin Keegan (right) larks about with British heavyweight champion Henry Cooper to promote men's aftershave Brut in 1980

Iconic crash: Keegan falls in spectacular fashion on Superstars after clipping the rear wheel of Gilbert Van Binst bike

Iconic crash: Keegan falls in spectacular fashion on Superstars after clipping the rear wheel of Gilbert van Binst's bike

VIDEO: Keegan's Superstars fall. Ouch…

I spend a lot of time working abroad now. My work with ESPN will come to an end this year when they lose the rights but it’s been a fantastic four years and I’ve really enjoyed it. The Premier League is massive all over the world.

Last week I was in Norway covering the games and before that I was working in Malaysia. Everyone follows the Premier League and in Malaysia they have to get up at one or two in the morning to do it – it was quite strange walking out of a TV studio at six in the morning. It was very different as far as my body clock was concerned.

Kevin Keegan (pictured) launched an astonishing attack last night on Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson for suggesting rivals might make it easy for Newcastle to win the title.

Kevin Keegan Newcastle manager

I'll just love it: Keegan loses the plot as Newcastle manager in 1996

Wantaway Newcastle United's captain Fabricio Coloccini in action during the 2-1 loss to Reading on Saturday

Wantaway Newcastle United's captain Fabricio Coloccini in action during the 2-1 loss to Reading on Saturday

VIDEO: Keegan's famous – and brilliant outburst in 1996…

More from The Footballers' Column…

RAHEEM STERLING: I get kicked a lot – it's annoying trying to sleep with your legs in pieces… Ivanovic is the scariest man I've played against but he's not dirty, he's a tank
18/01/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Richard Lee: I should've been a striker… you can be dreadful but bang in the winner and be hailed a hero, says the goalkeeper who is allergic to goalkeeping gloves
18/01/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Curtis Davies: Why I don't regret describing myself as a pub player… and how West Brom made me out to be the bad guy
17/01/13

CRAIG LINDFIELD: I meet at a Little Chef for a lift, have breakfast in a pub and then watch a team-mate do a 'Klinsmann' through a freezing puddle in his underwear!
15/01/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Joe Hart: We go into every game thinking a draw is not a good enough result for us… And I'd have both RVP and Rooney up front in my all-Premier League team
11/01/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Kevin Nolan: Sometimes I wish I was Ryan Giggs… But if I scored with my elbow to knock United out of the cup, there's no way I'd tell the referee
11/01/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Jill Scott: I get called Crouchie because I did the robot when I scored on debut… People thought women can’t play football but the Olympics has changed all that
10/01/13

FRANK McPARLAND: What does it take to be a Liverpool player Personality… We had one German lad who said: 'I've had a look at my wage slip and I want to opt out of this tax thing!'
08/01/13

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

People ask me whether I am now finished with management. You can never say never. I have been offered four or five jobs since I left Newcastle in such terrible circumstances but none was right for me.

The only way I would come back is if I could see myself as part of the vision, which is far more important than financial reasons.

Newcastle was a pull to me. I’d played there and my father came from there.

It’s got to be something more than money. But I’ve listened to the job offers and thought that the dreams I was being sold could not match reality..

Talking of Newcastle, I have read reports that Fabricio Coloccini wants to leave although I don’t know the reasons.

If it’s a health issue, either to himself or a member of his family, then that would put a different light on it because football is not more important than life.

But if it is for another reason, then what message does that send out to the other players if he is allowed to go

I bought Coloccini, along with Jonas Gutierrez, in 2008 and he only signed a four-year contract last season. He’s a key player, the captain, and his departure would be a blow.

There is a danger that other good players in the team, like Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa, and Cheick Tiote could start to think ‘Why should we stay then’

Another player from one of my former clubs has been in the news. Luis Suarez wears my old No 7 shirt at Liverpool and the fans are desperate to worship the ground he walks on, not falls on.

He’s a very good player and has been excellent this season but he gets involved in far too many controversial incidents.

When you are a manager of an English
club and your foreign players go home you just wait for something to
come out.

Players relax and think that, as they are in Argentina or
Spain or wherever, that their words are not coming back because they
weren’t speaking English.

So
Suarez admits he dived against Stoke. I remember the game and I don’t
think there was anyone in the world who thought he did anything but
dive. But what he does is put the club into a difficult position.

Brendan
Rodgers has no choice but to discipline one of his players and it’s all
about Suarez for non-footballing reasons. He needs to sort that side
out as he is an exceptional player.

Kapow! Keegan, Liverpool's iconic No 7, clashes with legendary Leeds captain Billy Bremner during the 1974 Charity Shield at Wembley

Kapow! Keegan, Liverpool's iconic No 7, clashes with legendary Leeds captain Billy Bremner during the 1974 Charity Shield at Wembley

Come in No 7: Liverpool's Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez celebrates scoring in Saturday's 5-0 rout of Norwich

Come in No 7: Liverpool's Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez celebrates scoring in Saturday's 5-0 rout of Norwich

CAPITAL ONE CUP

To join the debate around the semi-finals of the Capital One
Cup, visit: facebook.com/CapitalOneUK

I wasn’t able to go to the FA’s 150th anniversary celebration although 150 is something to celebrate.

One of the things that I hope is addressed in the future is the number of football people at the FA. There are many more administrators and that’s wrong. Sir Trevor Brooking does us proud but there should be more like him, more of a mix.

A professional footballer can always become an administrator but it doesn’t work the other way round.

Old pals: Keegan sports a basque beret as he jokes with Sir Trevor Brooking while on England duty at the 1982 World Cup in Bilbao

Old pals: Keegan sports a basque beret as he jokes with Sir Trevor Brooking while on England duty at the 1982 World Cup in Bilbao

Sir Trevor Brooking criticises young English players

Too much, too young: Brooking insists England kids lack hunger, desire and enthusiasm because of big contracts

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

09:45 GMT, 17 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:13 GMT, 17 January 2013

Critical: Brooking

Critical: Brooking

Sir Trevor Brooking has hit out at the money culture that surrounds some of England's top young footballers.

The former England international and current FA director of football argued that the size of the contracts being handed to some teenagers results in a lack of 'hunger, desire and enthusiasm'.

Speaking as the FA launched its 150th anniversary celebrations in London on Wednesday, Brooking used the example of the England Under-17 side which won the European Championships in 2010 to illustrate his point.

'Players get lots of money too young,' he said. 'It’s a big challenge for the clubs to work out how to deal with that.

'If you’re getting paid 20,000 a week at 18 years old it will affect your hunger, desire and enthusiasm.

'We had an Under-17 team that won the European Championship back in 2010 where they beat Spain and France and passed the ball as well as any other young side. We had hoped that one or two of them might come through into the main national side.

'A couple of them have got big contracts and, to be honest, have not kicked on as we were hoping.'

Slow progress: Connor Wickham starred for England Under-17s in 2010 but has scored just twice for Sunderland since an 8m move in July 2011

Slow progress: Connor Wickham starred for England Under-17s in 2010 but has scored just twice for Sunderland since an 8m move in July 2011

The likes of Chelsea's Josh McEachran and Sunderland's Connor Wickham both featured in that side but have failed to hold down regular first-team places at their clubs despite signing long-term deals.

Later, Brooking reiterated his point on talkSPORT, comparing today's climate to the one in which he broke through in back in the late 1960s.

'When I first started you got a basic wage when you broke into the first team, but a lot of the rest of my wages were made up with appearance fees and win bonuses, whereas now they try to lock in massive basics straight away,' he said.

All smiles: Brooking chats with former England boss Fabio Capello on Wednesday

All smiles: Brooking chats with former England boss Fabio Capello on Wednesday

'If you’re getting a basic wage for sitting on the bench or not performing then your club will be thinking, “I’ve signed this guy up for four years and he’s not playing well”. They’re getting too much, too soon.

'It’s one of the biggest problems, especially if you’re a young English player.

'We haven’t got as many of them as we should do and then clubs have to abide by this home-grown player rule within their squads.

'Sometimes an English youngster is included in the squad and you’ll end up paying a bit over the top to get X number of home-grown players whereas, in reality, they’re not worth the money that they’re paid.'

The Footballers" Football Column – Craig Lindfield: I meet at a Little Chef for a lift, have breakfast in a pub and then discover at training…

CRAIG LINDFIELD: I meet at a Little Chef for a lift, have breakfast in a pub and then watch a team-mate do a 'Klinsmann' through a freezing puddle in his underwear!

PUBLISHED:

12:54 GMT, 16 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:38 GMT, 16 January 2013

Craig Lindfield

As Sportsmail's Footballers' Football Column continues to lift the lid on the lives of those who play, coach and administer the game, Accrington Stanley midfielder takes us through his typical week. A product of the famed Liverpool Academy, 24-year-old Lindfield has scored five times in 73 appearances for Stanley. Here's his take on life in League Two…

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THURSDAY
(Sportsmail asked Lindfield to start his diary on December 13)

TRIBUTE: STANLEY'S MOST FAMOUS FAN… DAVID 'BUMBLE' LLOYD

Bumble

'Craig is enjoying his second spell
with us and is a midfielder who has filled in really well at full back in
emergencies.

'He's a real team player who would do anything for this club,
including playing out of position if that's what we need.

David Lloyd Accrington Stanley U18s

'We are in a really
difficult situation at the moment and need committed players like Craig.

'He's a
good lad and we are in safe hands with the likes
of him in our colours.'

Bumble is a cricket columnist for Sportsmail and played for Accrington Stanley Under 18s (second picture) before embarking on his cricket career.

8.45 am My day starts by meeting at the Little Chef to share a lift to training. In League Two, money is tight and finding a ‘car school’ is vital to save petrol.

It is my turn to drive and the lads hate my car, a Renault Megane convertible, with zero leg room in the back. I wouldn’t mind but Charlie Barnett is about four-feet tall. It’s a 45-minute journey and today I receive 45 minutes of abuse about my car.

9.30 am The lads arrive in their ‘car schools’, the usual banter about people’s choice of clothing is rife. The same old faces wearing the same embarrassing clothes.

Dean Winnard is the main culprit,
wearing his Diesel jeans with his Asics running shoes. Then it’s over to
the pub for breakfast, the owners are paid a monthly sum by the players
to provide us with breakfast and lunch.

I
have a bowl of Alpen, whereas some of the more adventurous members of
the squad have Nutella on toast, mainly Rommy Boco our Benin winger,. He
often tries to be different from us British lads with such acts.

Breakfast
is followed by a game of darts for Charlie Barnett, Padraig Amond and I
that ends in a rare win for Charlie, who only needs two darts at double
18. The dartboard is one of the perks, of having breakfast in a pub.

Youth club: Lindfield (left) with Adam Hammill celebrate Liverpool's 2006 FA Youth Cup victory over Manchester City at the City of Manchester Stadium

Youth club: Lindfield (left) with Adam Hammill celebrate Liverpool's 2006 FA Youth Cup victory over Manchester City at the City of Manchester Stadium

How they stand in npower League Two

How they stand in npower League Two

11am Training today is indoors, the temperature is minus-three. We start with a possession circle and Peter Murphy has a season ticket as a chaser, as he’s constantly giving the ball away.

Then we have possession games, these got a bit ‘tasty’ and there is a real competitive edge, fuelled by some dodgy refereeing decisions from the staff.

The highlight was when Toto Nsiala, our 6ft 2in centre half, squealed like a girl when he got his little toe stood on.

1pm Back to the pub for our lunch and we are having pasta bolognese, I think Emma, the cook, may have got our food mixed up with their dogs today.

Some lads are rationed on food because yesterday there wasn’t enough to go round. Marcus Carver, a first year pro, ate a whole tray to himself. This didn’t go down well with some of the senior pros, to say the least.

2.30pm The gaffer (Leam Richardson) has called for a fitness session for the lads who have not played as much football recently. Unfortunately, as I share a lift, I have to wait in the Starbucks with Peter for our third member Charlie to be put through his paces.

4.30pm Arrive back to the meeting point after a journey of our creative midfielder Charlie Barnett rapping to 50 Cent, sometimes I think he’s in the wrong business.

RECENT RESULTS

Jan 12: Aldershot 2-0 Accrington

Jan 5: Accrington 0-2 Dag & Red

Jan 1: Accrington 1-0 Chesterfield

Dec 29: Rotherham 4-1 Accrington

Dec 26: Bradford 2-1 Accrington

Dec 22: Accrington 1-1 Plymouth

Dec 18: Oxford 2-0 Accrington
(FA Cup 2nd rnd)

Dec 15: Accrington 0-2 Wycombe

FRIDAY

11am Today I had a lie-in as we didn’t have to report for training until 11am, this was to let the Astroturf thaw out to train outside.

Firstly we had a team meeting to take us through some clips showing the strengths and weaknesses of tomorrow’s opponents Wycombe.

Our physio Les Parry controls the laptop and as usual starts the session with a funny picture to lighten the mood.

Today it is as rude as ever – his banter is usually far more intelligent – but we don’t have the brightest of squads so he has to stoop to a very immature level to give the likes of Will Hatfield a chance to understand the joke.

Will is possibly the dumbest lad in football. One evening Padraig Amond said he was thinking about placing a bet on the horses, Will asked: 'It’s eight o’clock at night how can the horses see where they are going'

12pm The lads arrive for training at the local college, getting up there quickly is a must as parking spaces are limited and today Peter Murphy reversed into a grass verge when attempting a three-point turn after arriving last.

The starting XI is named by the gaffer and they are taken separately to go through set pieces while the remaining lads, who often call themselves the ‘bomb squad’, have a game of possession which is taken by coach, Paul Lodge.

Lodgey gets the short straw as he has to put up with the grumpy faces of us players who are not starting this week and today I’m unfortunately in this group.

It is freezing cold today and the southern softies, mainly Matty Whichelow, are really feeling the pain.

The Watford winger was heard on many occasions this morning saying: 'You can’t be serious, bruv'

All in the timing: Accrington's Craig Lindfield has kept his League Two diary for Sportsmail's Footballer' Football Column

All in the timing: Accrington's Craig Lindfield has kept his League Two diary for Sportsmail's Footballer' Football Column

The bosses: Accrington manager Leam Richardson (left) and player-coach James Beattie share a joke before the match at Northampton earlier this season

The bosses: Accrington manager Leam Richardson (left) and player-coach James Beattie share a joke before the match at Northampton earlier this season

Third choice: Stanley's Padraig Amond (left) and Luke Joyce sport Accrington's new third away kit

Third choice: Stanley's Padraig Amond (left) and Luke Joyce sport Accrington's new third away kit

1pm The lads have never been as grateful for the Accrington Stanley shower facilities as they are today, rushing to get our wet kit off and get the first places in our four available slots.

The worst part of the day has to be queuing for a shower and in today’s temperatures I made sure I was one of the first four. Whichelow decides to offer 50 to any player who is brave enough to provide the lads with some entertainment by performing a ‘Klinsmann dive’ on the pitch in the ice cold rain, the catch being they have to do it in just their undies.

Toto Nsiala has very little common sense and quick as a flash he’s out of the door, all the lads run out to see our big centre half slide head first straight through the biggest puddle on the pitch.

Everyone’s buzzing including Toto, until he realises that he is not getting his 50 as the lads back Matty up when he says he had his fingers crossed, Toto’s not happy and now has to queue back up for the showers!

SATURDAY

11am It’s Saturday morning, game day, as it’s a home match I am only just waking up. I have my usual match-day breakfast of poached eggs on toast with brown sauce, made by my girlfriend as my cooking skills stretch to a piece of toast.

I watch Soccer AM, then put my tracksuit on, grab my wash bag and I’m on my way to meet the ‘car school’.

12.15pm
Meet the lads at the Little Chef and get into Charlie Barnett’s car
today, he has little legs so there is no fighting about getting the
front seat, because you have just as much room sat behind the little
man.

1pm
My ‘car school’ usually arrives at the ground at 1pm on the day of a
home game, we don’t have to meet until 1.30pm, but we always allow some
time for traffic.

We
go on two of the quietest motorways, the M58 and M65, so delays are rare
but it’s better to be cautious. Good preparation is a vital ingredient
to success and I feel that it is important to have a routine on match
days.

Not everyone has
the same preparation, I like to watch the early kick-off on the TV in
the home dressing room, read the match programme, and get changed pretty
early.

I hate the
time between arriving at the ground and going out to warm-up, usually I
am one of the first changed and desperate to get out on the pitch.

Others
are far more relaxed and take their time getting changed, Charlie
Barnett, Rommy Boco and Toto Nsiala are examples of this.

Stanley standards: Linfield's revelations show life in League Two is hard, fun and extremely professional

Stanley standards: Linfield's revelations show life in League Two is hard, fun and extremely professional

I’m usually kit on, boots and all, and then look to my left to see Charlie still in his tracksuit. We have the music on the speakers, James Beattie has his tunes on, occasionally we let the captain Luke Joyce have his music on, but he plays it very safe with a lot of David Guetta and for some reason won’t let the lads put his iPod on shuffle – we all know he has some awful songs though so it’s probably for the best.

I can’t imagine the boys being motivated for the game by listening to The Kooks or Take That. Some of the lads get pre-match massages, Murph must be the stiffest 23-year-old around because he gets one every game.

Some people have superstitions such as Podge (Padraig Amond) who has a picture of his girlfriend on his shin pads and wears a bobble of hers round his wrist, but each to their own and all that…

2pm Gaffer names the team and subs, usually we know the starting XI from the day before. Then he gives information such as which people are to mark from set pieces, once the opposition’s team sheet is in.

2.15pm Go out for the warm up. Match-day warm-up is taken by Lodgey and is the same for every game, jog, stretches, passing drill, possession and five minutes of individual work.

3pm Kick-off, all the work and preparation during the weeks training is geared to the next 90 minutes and this is where we have to earn our money and keep our shirt.

We don’t get the biggest gates but Stanley Ultras are the best and most loyal fans you could ask for and it’s a great feeling to walk out onto the pitch for the start of the game.

Unfortunately the team have a bad day at the office and concede two first-half goals without reply. In the second half Wycombe are reduced to 10 men, but despite some late pressure, the ball just would not fall to a Stanley man inside the oppositions penalty box.

We lose the match 2-0 and the lads are very down.

Head boy: Lindfield climbs high to beat Dagenham's Luke Wilkinson to the ball

Head boy: Lindfield climbs high to beat Dagenham's Luke Wilkinson to the ball

5pm Gaffer has his full-time team talk, some managers like to go into detail straight after games, but Leam Richardson prefers to keep this initial assessment very brief and watch the video before he speaks to us at more length in the following days.

One of the worst feelings in football is a defeat, especially a home defeat and the sound of silence in our changing room in comparison to the loud music and laughter coming from the visitors changing room is a sound that makes you sick to the stomach.

5.15pm After the race for the showers comes the race for some food, the pizzas are brought into the changing room, and if you’re not quick you may not get many slices.

As a general rule of thumb the lads know to make sure the starting XI have all eaten a slice before they tuck in. Then it's tracksuit back on and depart in our separate ‘car schools’.

SUNDAY

9.15am Meet the lads at the Little Chef and pile into Murph’s car, I think he’s the worst driver out of our ‘car school’ so I make sure I keep my eyes open for the duration of today’s trip.

10am The day after a game we generally do one of two things either go to the gym and split into two groups, lads who play cool down and the rest of the lads do some fitness work or we come to the ground for some video analysis.

More from The Footballers' Column…

The Footballers' Football Column – Joe Hart: We go into every game thinking a draw is not a good enough result for us… And I'd have both RVP and Rooney up front in my all-Premier League team
11/01/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Kevin Nolan: Sometimes I wish I was Ryan Giggs… But if I scored with my elbow to knock United out of the cup, there's no way I'd tell the referee
11/01/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Jill Scott: I get called Crouchie because I did the robot when I scored on debut… People thought women can’t play football but the Olympics has changed all that
10/01/13

FRANK McPARLAND: What does it take to be a Liverpool player Personality… We had one German lad who said: 'I've had a look at my wage slip and I want to opt out of this tax thing!'
08/01/13

CAROLYN RADFORD: Suarez a cheat I'd like to think one of my players would own up but football's not like that… And the secret to a swinging Mansfield party: Elvis and Bob Marley (of course)
07/01/13

THE FOOTBALLERS' FOOTBALL COLUMN – KEVIN BETSY: Why my boss Hill is the non-league Harry Redknapp… And these lads are hot – the best lower league talent available this transfer window
04/01/13

THE FOOTBALLERS' FOOTBALL COLUMN – MARTIN ALLEN: I can't believe people pay 70 for Premier League football, it's like watching chess… Diving I did it all the time, 'course I did
21/12/12

THE FOOTBALLERS' FOOTBALL COLUMN – EDGAR DAVIDS: Players are predators that's why Benitez may struggle at Chelsea… And sometimes the best players are not the most talented – just look at Roy Keane
20/12/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Today we meet at the ground and watch the DVD of yesterday’s match. It’s never enjoyable to relive defeats and as a player it has to be one of the hardest things to do but it is important that you can take criticism the right way and learn from the mistakes, because watching it again is all geared to improving and not repeating the same errors in the next game.

It’s a common name in football: ‘video nasty’ but we do watch DVD’s of positive results too, analysis and statistics are vital components of the modern game.

Different gaffers have their own way of approaching these sessions, some like to just dictate to the players but our gaffer Leam likes the players to have their say and is very open to our opinions.

Today it isn’t pleasant viewing but a lot of issues are addressed and with a massive FA Cup fixture coming up on Tuesday night it’s good to clear the air and stick together and be positive.

A short memory is a must in football, as you don’t have time to sulk after setbacks as the games come thick and fast.

12.30pm We go out on to the pitch to do some light training. We do a warm-up and a circle of keep ball, a passing drill and finish with some crossing and shooting.

It’s an enjoyable session, Luke Clark is ‘on fire’ crossing with his weaker left foot but James Gray blasts two out of the ground, the stand behind the goal is only 10-rows deep, but it still takes some doing to clear it.

1.30pm Leave training and with it all the negative thoughts from the weekend.

MONDAY

8.45am Meet the lads at the usual meeting place and put some diesel in as it’s my drive today. We decide to treat ourselves today and get a coffee for the journey.

9.30am Just arrived with the ‘car school’ to training in my Megane, surprisingly not much moaning about the lack of leg room today.

Over to the pub for breakfast, the mood among the lads is a positive one, the weekend defeat is a forgotten occurrence now. No darts today, a shorter breakfast as there is a team meeting at 10.30 in preparation for the biggest game of our season so far.

10.30am The reward for a victory is a lucrative tie in the FA Cup third round at home to Sheffield United and a sum of money that will keep the club away from financial trouble for the next 12 months at least.

The gaffer takes the meeting and talks us through the shape that we will be playing.

11.15am We then go out on the pitch and put it into practice what has been said. Some of the lads struggle to understand on a screen and find it easier when stood on the pitch in the positions this is the reason for the two methods being used.

We then play an 11 v 11 match on the pitch and the side in bibs are set up in the same formation that the manager expects the opposition to play tomorrow.

Then we play freely until a situation occurs where the manager or coach feels a coaching point is necessary to help should it arise in the game the next day.

This is tough for a player on the bibs team because it usually means you are not starting the game, but you are very important to help the lads who are starting as you will be instructed to play like the opposition and help prepare the starting team for what they are to expect to come up against.

In a football squad we win together and we lose together and everyone is behind one another. We finish by taking penalties. Obviously you cannot replicate the pressure involved on the night, but Beatts (James Beattie) of all people was one of the few to miss in practice. Today though there is no messing about, everyone is focused on the importance of tomorrow’s match.

1.30pm Cottage pie for lunch with peas and gravy, at least this is what it was meant to resemble, I think. Then once the gaffer passes a couple of sheets with the squad to travel and details of times and meeting points, its time to go home and prepare for the biggest game this season to date.

The club that wouldn't die: Players of Accrington Stanley and Fulham walk out ahead of their 2010 FA Cup tie

The club that wouldn't die: Players of Accrington Stanley and Fulham walk out ahead of their 2010 FA Cup tie

TUESDAY

1.15pm Meet the coach on the M6 junction 19 at the Windmill pub, pay 5 to park and jump on the bus. Today is FA Cup day and an away fixture with Oxford United.

Usually the lads take their own pre-match meal, but today we are stopping at a hotel near to Oxford’s stadium to have pre-match laid on for us.

2.30pm Been on the bus an hour now and most people are doing different things: Will Hatfield is listening to his iPod and tweeting the world, he loves his Twitter account and never puts his phone down; Peter Murphy is trying to win promotion back to the Premier League and is concentrating all his focus on this (on Football Manager of course); Rommy Boco is spending hours on the phone talking French, him and Ian Dunbavin usually play cards together but Bavo is injured and I think Rommy is a bit lost without him. The majority of the other lads are watching DVDs, Beattie never buys his own he’s always lending them off Luke Joyce.

No bad food (e.g. sweets and chocolate) are allowed on the trip only healthy snacks such as fruit and yoghurts, but the odd chocolate bar is usually knocking about, I’m not going to grass anyone up though…

5pm Pre-match at the hotel, some lads eating more than others, but everyone having the standard chicken, pasta and vegetables, I usually have a coffee too.

6pm Once we have all eaten we have a brief meeting about the game, where the Gaffer runs through some small details, then we all pile back on the coach to the ground.

By now everyone’s mind is totally focused on the game, all the individual bits and bobs are placed away and the majority of lads have headphones in listening to music and visualising what they are going to do on the pitch.

This is usually the time that sees a lot of water being drunk to keep hydrated, our bottles are like shot glasses so Naz the kit man is usually up and down passing them round every two minutes.

Old struggles: Mrs Sarah Dewhirst taking away the washing machine from the Peel Park ground at Accrington after the club was forced to resign from the league in 1962

Old struggles: Mrs Sarah Dewhirst taking away the washing machine from the club's former Peel Park ground at Accrington after the club was forced to resign from the league in 1962

6.30pm Arrive at the Kassam Stadium, all the players go out to inspect the pitch and see what type of stud you are going to wear. It’s a chance to stretch our legs after the journey, and gives the kit man a chance to lay the kit out.

7pm We have been listening to Joycey’s rubbish music now for too long and everyone is about ready to get out the changing rooms to warm-up.

Beatts likes to do some stretching before we go out, I like to get changed quickly then sit and relax before I go out, others like Dean Winnard get fired up and loud even at this early stage, everyone has different routines.

7.45pm After a quick run through set pieces and some final words of advice from the coaching staff and manager, we are sent out to battle, this is our livelihood, this is what makes all the training and hard work worthwhile, we now have 90 minutes to win a football match.

All the preparation has been geared towards this moment and this is the best part of being a footballer at any level.

10pm We lost the game 2-0 and we are out of the Cup. We had some injuries to key players and it’s a bitter pill to swallow, this results in a very disheartened and quiet bus journey home.

The lads tuck into the pizzas that are on the bus and the journey drags on much longer than on the way there.

The bus has a very different atmosphere after a win, loud music lots of laughter and banter, but tonight is unrecognisable to the likes of that.

Joe Hart – The Footballers" Football Column: I"d have Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney in my all-Premier League team

JOE HART: We go into every game thinking a draw is not a good enough result for us… And I'd have both RVP and Rooney up front in my all-Premier League team

PUBLISHED:

10:54 GMT, 14 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:06 GMT, 14 January 2013

Joe Hart

The latest columnist in MailOnline's exclusive Footballers' Football Column series is Joe Hart, arguably the finest goalkeeper in the Barclays Premier League, England's No 1 and a champion last season with Manchester City. Fresh from yesterday's 2-0 triumph at the Emirates – City's first league win at Arsenal for 37 years – Hart lifts the lid on life on the Carrington training ground, his goalkeeping rivals and Lionel Messi's dress sense.

Hart, an ambassador for head&shoulders, at 25 has made almost 250 senior appearances, 146 of them at City. Watch the video, then enjoy his column…

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With Roberto Mancini we all know where we stand and that's how we work. He sets the team and it's up to us. He's played me so I can't ask for anything more from a manager so I try to repay that faith by playing as well as possible and training hard.

He's got his methods and we do our best to adapt to them but it's up to us, basically, when we go on the field.

It's different for me in training because I disappear and for 80 per cent of the training I'm nowhere near him. But he's got his ways, we try to adapt to them and hopefully that works.

Thanks for coming: Joe Hart (centre) joins team-mates Matija Nastasic (left) and Joleon Lescott applauding City fans, who paid 62 each, for travelling down from Manchester

Thanks for coming: Joe Hart (centre) joins team-mates Matija Nastasic (left) and Joleon Lescott applauding City fans, who paid 62 each, for travelling to London yesterday

Training aid: Hart uses a crash mat to cushion his dives last week. As a goalkeeper he trains away from the rest of the squad for 80 per cent of the time

Training aid: Hart uses a crash mat to cushion his dives last week. As a goalkeeper he trains away from the rest of the squad for 80 per cent of the time

We know where we stand with Roberto: Man City boss Mancini gives James Milner and Co specific instructions during training last Friday

We know where we stand with Roberto: Man City boss Mancini gives James Milner and Co specific instructions during training last Friday

We go into every game thinking that a draw is not a good result for us. That's our mindset, that's how we feel and that's how we line up, player to player.

We don't go into any match fearing anyone. I can't see us losing to anyone but we will lose and we will draw, that's football but our attitude is not like that.

Roberto has brought in players with that mindset already instilled into them and I think every single player has got that attitude in our place – that it's win or die. It's the only way you're going to win things.

Manchester United have that refusal to accept to defeat and have been great about it over the years and it's certainly something everybody wants. But I feel we have that at our place, we feel strong and I do feel like we're not going to lose. Sometimes you do, of course, but we come back late sometimes and sometimes we wrap it up early.

The Champions League has been tough for us but we're playing against champions. We've just not been great. It sounds horrible to say it and some of the games we've done all right but our below par performances have unfortunately been in the Champions League.

Against some teams in the domestic league you might get away with it but in that competition you don't.

The first result is key for us. We had a bad one in Madrid and drew 1-1 the year before at home but it depends how your group goes. You could qualify with seven points or you might not and it's difficult.

Top of the stops: Real Madrid's goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas in action against Celta Vigo last week

Top of the stops: Real Madrid's goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas in action against Celta Vigo last week

Joe Hart

Joe Hart is an ambassador for head&shoulders

Well, the World XI It is what it is. I
think everyone's got their opinion and if the captains all voted for
those players then it's probably deserved. I didn't look at the team too
closely but most of the names on there speak for themselves. I never
thought I'd be involved in something like that but to come close to
getting in there is great for myself. But I think Iker
Casillas deserves it. He's been amazing for so many years so there are no
questions about that one.

But there are a lot of players I'd like
to see on there. Some that I'm friends with, some that I see a lot and
some that I play with, but it's only opinions so as long as you're
playing well for your team then you're happy.

For my Premier League XI, I purposely won't pick any City players
because it's not fair to pick them because their my team-mates. Keeper
wise, on this year alone, it would be either Petr Cech, Simon Mignolet
or Asmir Begovic.

Wayne Rooney of Manchester United

Robin van Persie of Manchester United

Prize picks: Hart, who excluded all City players from his thinking, would have United duo Wayne Rooney (in training last week, left) and Robin van Persie in his Premier League All-stars team

Simon Mignolet

Asmir Begovic

No 1s: Sunderland's Simon Mignolet (left) and Stoke's Asmir Begovic (right) are both highly rated by Hart

HART'S PREMIER LEAGUE XI

(4-4-2)* Cech, Mignolet or Begovic; Johnson, Jagielka, Shawcross, Cole; Lennon, Cazorla, Mata, Bale; Rooney, Van Persie.

* Hart excluded his Man City team-mates from his considerations due to fairness

In defence I'd have Phil Jagielka and
Ryan Shawcross in the middle and Ashley Cole at left back with Leighton
Baines a very close second. And at right back I'd have Glen Johnson.

In the middle I'd have Santi Cazorla
and, I know he doesn't really play there, but I'd have Juan Mata. On the
wings I think Aaron Lennon has done really well this year and then
obviously Gareth Bale would be on the other side.

Up front it'd have to be Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney.

Save of the century: Sportsmail's simulation shows Hart keeping out a penalty from Lionel Messi

Save of the century: Sportsmail's simulation shows Hart keeping out a penalty from Lionel Messi

I said your Football Manager simulation would throw up a 5-0 win for the Premier League XI,
so it's sad to see us lose 2-0. But if I saved a penalty against Messi
then it must be real! But if I did have to face him for a penalty, I'd
definitely dive the way the ball went.

I missed the Ballon d'Or awards but because it doesn't have much to do with the Premier League it's hard to take an interest.
I just waited to see the news. I did hear about Messi's jacket but he
can do whatever he wants and nobody could say anything to him. He could
turn up naked if he wanted.

I've had a few fashion faux pas though. We
had a fancy dress do for our Christmas party and I was quite dotty. I
think I had an orange outfit with blue dots all over it, it was a good
look.

Silver fox: City boss Mancini (in the hat) says goodbye after enjoying lunch with his friend Robbie Savage (right) in Alderley Edge, Cheshire earlier this month

Silver fox: City boss Mancini (in the hat) says goodbye after enjoying lunch with his friend Robbie Savage (right) in Alderley Edge, Cheshire earlier this month. The pair became close when playing at Leicester City together

 Lionel Messi

MANCHESTER CITY FOOTBALLER JOE HART IN FANCY DRESS

Spot of bother: Hart reckons that if anyone can pull off the polka-dot look, it's the world's finest footballer Lionel Messi (left), but Joe's own dotty effort left a little more to be desired

In our changing room Pablo Zabaleta
is a pretty bad dresser, mainly because everything he has is free. He
will turn up in anything that anyone will give him. Anything with two
arms and two legs will do him.

Mancini's got quite a bit of style about him too for the older guy I suppose. He likes to think he's a bit of a silver fox.

With Casillas at Real Madrid, I don't know what's going on and I wouldn't even want to get involved. It seems like it's got a few twists and turns that I wouldn't have a clue about. But he's an amazing keeper and I've played against him a few times now and of course I look up to him. There's a few keepers I look up to and he's definitely one of them.

In the Premier League, too, we've got a lot of brilliant goalkeepers. There's not a team in the league where I think they've got a weak point in goalkeeping.

There's so many good young goalkeepers and I think some of them get overlooked because of the ones that stand out, your Buffons, your Casillases, your Neuers. They deserve the praise they get and I think they're awesome goalkeepers. I've played against each of them and they seem like really good people as well, which is even more interesting for me personally because you always want to meet your heroes.

There's the likes of Mignolet coming through and Asmir Begovic is the same age as me so I hope he's still classed as a young talent. There's Tim Krul, there's the Chelsea keeper Thibaud Courtois on loan at Atletico Madrid, there's Fraser Forster, there's Jack Butland, John Ruddy, I could go on and on.

Hart stopper: the Manchester City and England No 1 at a dark Etihad Stadium

Hart stopper: the Manchester City and England No 1 at a dark Etihad Stadium

More from The Footballers' Column…

The Footballers' Football Column – Kevin Nolan: Sometimes I wish I was Ryan Giggs… But if I scored with my elbow to knock United out of the cup, there's no way I'd tell the referee
11/01/13

FRANK McPARLAND: What does it take to be a Liverpool player Personality… We had one German lad who said: 'I've had a look at my wage slip and I want to opt out of this tax thing!'
08/01/13

CAROLYN RADFORD: Suarez a cheat I'd like to think one of my players would own up but football's not like that… And the secret to a swinging Mansfield party: Elvis and Bob Marley (of course)
07/01/13

THE FOOTBALLERS' FOOTBALL COLUMN – KEVIN BETSY: Why my boss Hill is the non-league Harry Redknapp… And these lads are hot – the best lower league talent available this transfer window
04/01/13

THE FOOTBALLERS' FOOTBALL COLUMN – MARTIN ALLEN: I can't believe people pay 70 for Premier League football, it's like watching chess… Diving I did it all the time, 'course I did
21/12/12

THE FOOTBALLERS' FOOTBALL COLUMN – EDGAR DAVIDS: Players are predators that's why Benitez may struggle at Chelsea… And sometimes the best players are not the most talented – just look at Roy Keane
20/12/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Going out on loan really helped me develop as a player but I wouldn't like to tell people what to do because you look at people like Steven Gerrard who have spent their life at one club.

It works for some people and it's what i needed to do because i wasn't going to play where I was so I had to go on loan otherwise I would have just been sat around so it was good for me.

I think there's still plenty of life left in the cups. The League Cup has really kicked on another level and I think it's really good. It's a good way to get some silverware for your club and teams have started to play stronger sides more and more – it's really good to watch.

I missed Luis Suarez's handball last week. We've had a couple of days off and I've been away from everything so I haven't seen it but i heard about it, though it didn't sound too great. But the refs are there to do a job. It's their job to see things like that so you play to the whistle, you're always told that.

You go to any Sunday league side and at the age of eight they're told to play to the whistle and I don't think that changes in the Premier League.

Crazy stuff happens in football. You look at when Paolo Di Canio caught the ball but I don't think anyone would have gone mad if he'd smashed it in the goal because at the end of the day it's a business and you need to win.

I'm not into any of the social network sites. I've got a phone and that's it. It's a big part of the world at the minute and it's interesting to read about but some of the stuff is pathetic and ridiculous.

I think everyone appreciates that. It makes the news and everyone reads it but nobody actually really cares. There's obviously some more serious issues but if it's officially you on one of those sites then you've got to be responsible for your actions.

Joe Hart head&shoulders

Joe Hart is the
ambassador for new head&shoulders Itchy Scalp Care shampoo, giving you an
instant save from an itchy scalp and leaving your leave hair 100% flake free

The Footballers" Football Column – Martin Allen: Balotelli is detrimental, disrespectful and unsettling, Fergie wouldn"t tolerate him……

MARTIN ALLEN: I can't believe people pay 70 for Premier League football, it's like watching chess… Balotelli is detrimental, disrespectful and unsettling, Fergie wouldn't tolerate him… Diving I did it all the time, 'course I did

/12/21/article-0-16953763000005DC-68_196x175.jpg” width=”196″ height=”175″ alt=”Martin Allen” class=”blkBorder” />

Martin Allen is the second in a series of new columns for Sportsmail titled The Footballers' Football Column. They're columns
about the game by people involved in the game. A manager of eight professional clubs, Allen, who follows Edgar Davids' column yesterday, made almost 200 appearances for West Ham and well over 100 for QPR in a marauding career which saw him earn the nickname 'Mad Dog'. He never once shied away from a tackle and here, in his first column, he doesn't shirk an issue…

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MEET THE MAN…

Name: Martin 'Mad Dog' Allen

Age: 47

Current job: Gillingham manager

Former clubs:

Player – QPR, West Ham, Portsmouth, Southend

Manager – Barnet, Brentford, MK Dons, Leicester, Cheltenham, Notts County.

International honours: England Under 19, 20, 21

You're probably wondering why I'm called Mad Dog. It goes back to when I was at West Ham. My central midfield partner was a guy called Ian Bishop. He was very calm, relaxed and enjoyed playing nice football. I was uptight, intimidating, I had a skinhead haircut. When I played next to him it was my job to get the ball back.

We were playing at Upton Park in front of the Chicken Run and he once looked at me and said 'you've got all froth round your mouth', this is while the game was going on. He laughed. I just looked at him with those horrible eyes I've got. It was around the time when it was all over the news that these dogs bred in America to fight were being imported over here. He laughed and said: 'you look like a mad dog'.

And that's how it happened. Instead of wiping the froth from mouth I just left it on.

Since I became a manager I'm usually brought in as a firefighter to save clubs from relegation. But at Gillingham it's the first time I've taken over a club in the right position.

I've been employed at most clubs when they've been near the bottom in trouble. They've got me in to turn things around. It's always been having to fight to stave off relegation.

I've had one play-off final at Cardiff, play-off semi-finals with Reading, a play-off semi-final with MK Dons, play-off semi-finals twice with Brentford. So we've always been there or there abouts, but haven't managed to quite get up. That's through having clubs that in the previous season had been in the relegation zone.

People would say 'why haven't you managed to do it' You could turn around and say a year ago you were fighting relegation and now you're fighting for promotion. Well since I took over Gillingham in the summer we're top by five points, been there for five months.

I've never been top of the league and the only thing I want is one promotion. I can't even imagine what it'll be like if we do it. Then from that the dream is to take a team from the Championship to the Premier League. I know I can do it, I know I can.

Still growling: Allen has lost none of his trademark bite

Still growling: Allen has lost none of his trademark bite

Premier class Watching top-flight football is like watching chess!

Premier class Watching top-flight football is like watching chess!

But you know what The Premier League ain't all it's cracked up to be. I've been to some Premier League games and sat there bored. No shots or crosses. Everyone backs off to play the counter attack.

I know friends with season tickets for Premier League clubs and they find it boring. Bloody well right they do.

They come and watch Gillingham and say what a good football match that was. They love coming here. We don't make 20 passes on the half-way line. They see our football a bit more how it used to be.

The game's changed. In the old days we lined up 4-4-2 and smashed each other to bits, go hell for leather. It ain't like that now. Now everyone drops off and it's chess football. You pay 70 quid for a ticket for that – and I ain't doing it.

The game has changed in other ways, too, players are on massive wages now. Some people moan but I think they deserve it.

I don't think players are on insane wages. I've just been to a hospital in Gillingham to see a lot of sick children who have nurses to look after them.

There was one called Anna, from Liverpool, she spoke with such enthusiasm and love for the children. The remarkable job that lady does she would probably not be earning too much money.

But footballers are entertainers. The ones at the top of the game it's not just in England they're watched, like it used to be in the old days. Everyone in Asia wants to watch the Premier League. It is growing in India and Africa.

When I was a boy my dad used to take summer schools in America and I'd go along with him. You wouldn't see a football goal anywhere, now you go there and they're everywhere.

Oh my god can you imagine what it's going to be like in another 20 years It's just going to get bigger. Do footballers earn too much money Compared to that nurse Anna in Gillingham – yes they do. But people want to watch it and pay for it and I think they should get their fair share.

He's not for me: Allen wouldn't toerate Mario Balotelli's antics - and neither would Sir Alex Ferguson, he reckons

He's not for me: Allen wouldn't toerate Mario Balotelli's antics – and neither would Sir Alex Ferguson, he reckons

I say footballers are entertainers but one of them who's taken it too far is Mario Balotelli – he's not for me. He's got amazing talent, but I'm with the Jose Mourninho school of thought who had him but washed his hands with him pretty quick. You wouldn't see him playing for Sir Alex Ferguson.

I think he'd be detrimental, disrespectful, unsettling. I saw him play at West Ham 18 months ago, he got subbed in 55th minute, hardly broke a sweat the whole game.

When he came off he walked from the centre circle down the tunnel. Never acknowledged the Man City supporters, and that's disrespectful, I don't like that.

The way he walked off the pitch was disrespectful to his team-mates, the sub coming on, the manager. I wouldn't tolerate it.

He needs to come and watch my development squad train and play. Sundays and Mondays they do team work, pattern of play, technical work.

Then Thursdays and Fridays they do three sessions a day, first session 9.30am in the gym with their core work, stability and weights. Second session 10.30am a working football session.

Then after lunch they go back to the training ground to do fitness work without footballs. Same again on Fridays but they go to the local parks where there are lots of hills. It's hard work.

Away win: Allen's Gillingham continue to set the pace at the top of League Two thanks to Chris Whelpdale's winning goal at Southend on New Year's Day

Away win: Allen's Gillingham continue to set the pace at the top of League Two thanks to Chris Whelpdale's winning goal at Southend on New Year's Day

We had a reserve match against Millwall recently and one of my players ended up with seven stitches and a fractured cheekbone. That was not nice. The lad's only 19. Pure accident the Millwall player headed his face instead of the ball.

It brought back horrible memories for me when I was 19 playing for QPR and had exactly the same thing, spookily the same.

I glanced a header and the Millwall centre-back headed my cheekbone and I had a depressed fracture. George Graham was my youth-team manager.

When I saw it I half-knew what to expect. The blood was just gushing from his head – that's fine but I could see the cheekbone depressed.

I rang his dad to let him know he was going to hospital but was OK.

Hammer time: Allen is a West Ham legend

Hammer time: Allen is a West Ham legend

That's all part of the game – but I'll tell you what's never going to be part of the game with my teams.

I watched Spurs play Swansea last weekend and Chico Flores went down like he'd broken his ankle or ruptured a ligament. He squealed like a pig, I could hear him from where I was.

Then he gets up two minutes later. I thought that was diabolical. I wouldn't at all be happy if one of my players had done that. I would definitely not be happy with that.

I don't like any players to feign injury. If they get tackled take it like a man and get on with it. Give it and take it the same.

I hate blatant cheating but I think that's different to diving. People complain about it but it's a skill – and I did it all the time.

From my experience of the last few years there's no diving in the lower levels.

That cements my view that the introduction of continental and South American players has changed it. It's just normal there.

Jose Mourinho's Porto played at Celtic a few years ago and Martin O'Neill refused to shake his hand.

Said
he would never want a team to play that way. It was like Swan Lake they
were diving everywhere. But it's part of the game. You play for fouls
and penalties. It's in their culture and it's now come to our country.

Schoolboys
and youth players on the continent get taught how to win fouls. It's
part of training. They teach them how to win fouls at Barcelona's
academy.

If you're
good technically, players want to tackle you, to destroy you and destroy
your skill. You run into a player's pathway so they foul you. That's
skilful play.

Gareth Bale
is being accused a lot – the one against Fulham was
theatrical. Then again I wouldn't know what it's like to be that fast
and to be tackled at that speed,

I
was certainly not like that. It's part of the change. You bring in
talented players like Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez, David Silva, Juan
Mata, Oscar.

In the red: Gillingham manager Martin Allen is a new hard-hitting columnist for Sportsmail

In the red: Gillingham manager Martin Allen is a new hard-hitting columnist for Sportsmail

More from The Footballers Column…

The Footballers Football Column – Edgar Davids: Players are predators that's why Benitez may struggle at Chelsea… And sometimes the best players are not the most talented – just look at Roy Keane
20/12/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

You bring them in, technically top drawer, they play for fouls. Get used to it 'cos it ain't going away.

I dived all
the time anyway. 'Course I did. Any opportunity to win a foul I made
sure I put my body between the ball and the player. To give us
possession.

If I could
give us a foul for a penalty I would do, definitely. I was more unique
back then, I was a bit different to everyone else. I'd do anything I
could to win.

What do I tell my players at Gillingham I don't encourage it. I don't say to them 'go into the penalty area and dive to win us a penalty'.

But
what happens if see player running really fast into box and if you run
in their path they're going to push you over and you'll win a penalty

I
don't encourage my players to dive but drawing fouls and penalties is a
skill and I don't think there's a manager in the country wouldn't want
them to do it.

Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey, Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson sign new deals at Arsenal

Five young British Gunners extend deal at Emirates… but Walcott still hasn't signed

|

UPDATED:

15:51 GMT, 19 December 2012

Arsenal have confirmed five of their new-look British core have signed long-term contracts with the club.

As Sportsmail exclusively revealed this morning, Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey and Carl Jenkinson have all agreed fresh deals with the Gunners.

And the north London club confirmed the news this afternoon.

Proud: (From left to right) Carl Jenkinson, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all penned new deals

Proud: (From left to right) Carl Jenkinson, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all penned new deals

Manager Arsne Wenger said: 'We are
delighted that these five young players have all signed new long-term
contracts. The plan is to build a team around a strong basis of young
players, in order to get them to develop their talent at the Club.

'Jack
is certainly the best known, the leader of this group – but the other
four players are exceptional footballers, and we’re very happy that we
could conclude their new deals at the same time.

I'm in: Jack Wilshere is one of five of Arsenal's young British players to sign a new deal

I'm in: Jack Wilshere is one of five of Arsenal's young British players to sign a new deal

Wenger continued: 'Gibbs, Jenkinson,
Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey and Wilshere represent a core of the squad
and it’s an extension for a long period for all of them.

'I’m a strong
believer in stability and I believe when you have a core of British
players, it’s always easier to keep them together and that’s what we’ll
try to achieve going forward.'

Committed: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (left) agreed a long-term deal to stay in north London

Committed: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (left) agreed a long-term deal to stay in north London

Me too: English left back Kieran Gibbs also pledged his future to Arsenal

Me too: English left back Kieran Gibbs also pledged his future to Arsenal

Arsenal’s push to keep their best British talent indicates a deliberate shift in Wenger’s thinking.

After basing his sides around foreign
players for years, the manager seems to have had a change of heart after
the likes of Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael
Clichy all left the Emirates Stadium.

Speaking after the thumping win at
Reading, Wenger said: ‘We have a core of good young English players and I
hope we will be able to build a team around them and that they can
achieve something together.’

Another British player who continues to negotiate a new deal at the club is Theo Walcott. The striker rejected a deal worth 75,000 a week in August, and hopes to get closer to 100,000.

VIDEO: Watch Arsenal's players as they sing some Christman chants