Tag Archives: john

Sam Allardyce reveals how he once missed out on Robert Lewandowski

Big Sam: How I missed out on Champions League hotshot Lewandowski

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

08:25 GMT, 26 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

09:01 GMT, 26 April 2013

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West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has revealed how he missed out on signing Robert Lewandowski – during his time in charge at Blackburn.

The Borussia Dortmund striker was set to hold talks with Rovers in 2010 as he looked for a move from Polish club Lech Poznan.

But the cash-strapped Blackburn board struggled to find the money and the Iceland volcanic ash cloud put the final nail in the coffin when Lewandowski's flight to England was cancelled.

Dortmund stepped in to secure a deal for a fee reported to be around 4.5million euros and the rest is now history.

On target: Lewandowski was set to hold talks with Sam Allardyce at Blackburn Rovers in 2010

On target: Lewandowski was set to hold talks with Sam Allardyce at Blackburn Rovers in 2010

Allardyce told Sky Sports: 'It's true. He was put forward to sign very strongly by our recruitment staff and unfortunately it was one that got knocked back.

'My distant memory isn't that great but I think (former Rovers chairman) John (Williams) and the board said we are not going to commit that amount of money.

'I think they wanted three or four million euros but we were particularly strapped financially at the time at Blackburn. I watched him play. But I didn't get the chance to meet him.

'I think his agent said he couldn't come over because of the ash cloud, yes. He's probably worth 40 million euros now.'

Missed out: Allardyce was keen to sign Lewandowski but the Rovers board could not find the cash

Missed out: Allardyce was keen to sign Lewandowski but the Rovers board could not find the cash

Allardyce is now left to rue the missed opportunity to sign the Pole who scored four goals against Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg on Wednesday night.

He said: 'I think about it every time I see him play.

'He would have had a period of getting used to the level and the physical presence, but with a talent like that it wouldn't have been too long before he started to shine and score goals.

'The level he is playing at now is unbelievable, not just his scoring ability but his ability to retain possession.

'There were a lot of people looking at him at that time as well but we had the edge over everyone else because of the attraction of the Premier League.

'He could have used us as a stepping stone but it didn't happen.'

The one that got away: Lewandowski moved from Lech Poznan to Dortmund for a reported 4.5million euros

The one that got away: Lewandowski moved from Lech Poznan to Dortmund for a reported 4.5million euros

Arsenal guard of honour for Manchester United

As Arsenal prepare to give Man United a guard of honour, we ask… what's it all about

By
Sam Cunningham

PUBLISHED:

22:51 GMT, 25 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

00:20 GMT, 26 April 2013

Manchester United are expected be given a guard of honour by Arsenal when they walk out at the Emirates on Sunday – but why

It is not compulsory for any club to provide a guard of honour if they face the newly crowned League champions but is a ceremony agreed between the two clubs.

It is understandable that Arsenal would put one on for United, who first celebrated the Gunners' 1991 league title win, giving them a guard of honour at Highbury.

Old tradition: United clap Chelsea out in 1955

Old tradition: United clap Chelsea out in 1955

The Manchester club have a history of
respecting opponents and they also honoured Chelsea lifting the Premier
League trophy in 2005. To reciprocate, Chelsea did the same for United
two years later. Everton also celebrated United's title success on the
last day of the season in 2003 at Goodison Park.

But it is not exclusive to the modern
era, and occurred as far back as 1955 when United provided one for
Chelsea. It is not just used for title winners either – a guard was
formed in 2011 by United and Sunderland to celebrate Sir Alex Ferguson's
25 years in charge. Newcastle players also applauded Arsenal on to St
James' Park in 1994 when they won the European Cup-Winners' Cup.

The exact origin of the Guard of
Honour is not known, but early examples date back centuries ago to
Ancient Greece. The Ancient Greek poet Homer wrote about warriors as
fallen heroes who were given a similar ceremony. There are further
examples throughout Classical and Medieval history.

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

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

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

Its roots are firmly in the military.
As military historian John Sadler explains: 'Most established armies
have a guard of honour function and individual members are drawn from
the ranks of the elite, selected for their imposing appearance, bearing
and precision. The prime functions are to (a) provide a guard for
visiting dignitaries, (b) for national civic ceremonials and (c) to
honour the dead/fallen comrades.

'In the UK these functions are
generally provided by the Foot Guards and Household Cavalry, though all
regiments and branches of the service would field a guard of honour,
depending on circumstances. It is easy to see how this could transfer to
sport.'

It is an act that demonstrates a huge
level of respect, but one that jars with some players. When Roy Keane
and Gary Neville faced each other applauding Chelsea on to the Old
Trafford pitch in May 2005 for Jose Mourinho's first title, neither
player wanted to look their opponents in the eye. Neville said
afterwards nothing had stuck in his craw more during in his career and
Keane said it was a good experience because it taught him that it was
one he never wanted to go through again.

Fergie time: the United boss is clapped on to the pitch in November 2011

Fergie time: the United boss is clapped on to the pitch in November 2011

John Terry snubs David Bernstein as Chelsea hand back the Champions League Trophy to UEFA

Champions of Europe, we know what we were: Chelsea boys feeling blue as they hand back trophy… and axed England captain Terry snubs handshake from FA chief Bernstein

amidst racism allegations made against him after a clash with QPR defender Anton Ferdinand in October 2011.

The 32-year-old defender later retired from international football in September 2012 after being charged by the FA for the incident after he had been found not guilty of racist abuse in court.

Snub: The moment Chelsea captain John Terry (second left) sensationally snubbed FA Chairman David Bernstein (second right) by refusing to shake his hand

Snub: The moment Chelsea captain John Terry (second left) sensationally snubbed FA Chairman David Bernstein (second right) by refusing to shake his hand

Walking away: After Bernstein talks with Branislav Ivanovic and Petr Cech Terry walks away to avoid having to speak with him

Walking away: After Bernstein talks with Branislav Ivanovic and Petr Cech Terry walks away to avoid having to speak with him

Snub: Chelsea captain John Terry (right), pictured with UEFA President Michel Platini, sensationally snubbed FA Chairman David Bernstein (below, right) by refusing to shake his hand

Snub: Chelsea captain John Terry (right), pictured with UEFA President Michel Platini, sensationally snubbed FA Chairman David Bernstein (below, right) by refusing to shake his hand

Didn't notice: FA Chairman David Bernstein (right) said he wasn't aware he had been snubbed

Didn't notice: FA Chairman David Bernstein (right) claimed he wasn't aware he had been snubbed

Charles Sale predicted trouble

In his Sports Agenda column, Charles Sale revealed that Terry and Bernstein were set to share the stage together. Click here for the story.

bernstein has been speaking to Terry's Chelsea team-mates Branislav Ivanovic and Petr Cech, but when it was his turn, Terry took a step away to avoid speaking to the FA chairman.

Asked about the incident, Bernstein told Sky Sports News: I didn't notice anything, my relationships with everyone in here are really fantastic so I didn't notice a thing. I

'think we should talk about more positive things than that sort of nonsense'

When asked about his relationship
with Terry, Bernstein – who leaves his post as FA chairman in July –
added: 'A little distant.'

He seemed cool on making any attempt to kiss and make up with the Chelsea captain.

'I'm not really terribly concerned,' he add. 'I have other things to think about. In my last three months, I have other priorities.'

Terry was joined by team-mates Frank
Lampard, Fernando Torres and Branislav Ivanovic as Chelsea handed back
the trophy they famously won last May.

We'll have that back: Eleven months to the day after their famous night in Munich, Chelsea have returned the Champions League trophy to UEFA

We'll have that back: Eleven months to the day after their famous night in Munich, Chelsea have returned the Champions League trophy to UEFA

Terry is also unhappy with Bernstein's role in his court case last year where he was cleared of a racism offence though later banned for four matches by the FA.

Terry, also speaking to Sky Sports News, said: 'No, listen it's a difficult one for me. Obviously, he was the one who spoke about me in the court case and said things I don't want to talk on air. It's probably a subject that we should maybe just avoid.'

Asked if he shook Bernstein's hand during before the ceremony, Terry replied: 'No.'

Say goodbye: Chelsea players Petr Cech, John Terry, Fernando Torres and Branislav Ivanovic (left to right) with UEFA President Michel Platini (centre)

Say goodbye: Chelsea players Petr Cech, John Terry, Fernando Torres and Branislav Ivanovic (left to right) with UEFA President Michel Platini (centre)

Perfect Moment: Didier Drogba hits the penalty that won Chelsea the Champions League last season

Perfect Moment: Didier Drogba hits the penalty that won Chelsea the Champions League last season

It was the moment that all Chelsea fans have been dreading, but 11 months to the day after Didier Drogba's penalty completed the most famous night in their history, Chelsea finally relinquished their hold on the Champions League trophy.

In an official ceremony in London, members of the Blues' heroic squad, John Terry, Frank Lampard, Petr Cech, Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres, gave the trophy back to UEFA President Michel Platini ahead of the 2013 final that will be played at Wembley on May 25.

Since that night Chelsea have undergone a tumultuous transformation.

Jubilant: Chelsea players celebrate their victory in Munich

Jubilant: Chelsea players celebrate their victory in Munich

Drogba, the talismanic striker who scored the equalising goal in the dying minutes of normal time before scoring the winning penalty, left the club along with Salomon Kalou and Jose Bosingwa, who played prominent roles in the final, and Raul Meireles, who was excellent in the semi-final win over Barcelona in the Nou Camp, as Chelsea looked add youth to an ageing squad.

Of course, Chelsea also got rid of their Champions League winning manager, Roberto Di Matteo, just six months after lifting the trophy in Germany.

What should have been a glorious campaign as Champions League holders became a disaster for the club as they crashed out of the group stages, becoming the first holders to ever exit the competition that early.

Gone but not forgotten: Roberto Di Matteo (centre) was sacked from the Chelsea jobs just six months after lifting the trophy

Gone but not forgotten: Roberto Di Matteo (centre) was sacked from the Chelsea jobs just six months after lifting the trophy

Mr Chelsea: John Terry was banned from the final but that didn't stop his exuberant celebrations

Mr Chelsea: John Terry was banned from the final but that didn't stop his exuberant celebrations

The board's decision to replace Di Matteo with former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez was met with loud opposition from Chelsea fans.

Benitez had appealed to fans to get off his back and support the team, and this seems to have happened in recent weeks, leading to an upturn in league form – Chelsea now sit third in the table with a game in hand over fourth placed Arsenal.

Chelsea travel to Anfield this weekend in what will be an emotional return for the current manager – he spent six years at Liverpool, winning the Champions League trophy in 2005 after one of the best comebacks ever seen against AC Milan in Istanbul.

Preparation: Rafa Benitez (second left) prepares to take a team to former club Liverpool for the first time on Sunday

Preparation: Rafa Benitez (second left) prepares to take a team to former club Liverpool for the first time on Sunday

No bearing: Benitez has said that his ties with Anfield will have no bearing on the match - he will be going for three points

No bearing: Benitez has said that his ties with Anfield will have no bearing on the match – he will be going for three points

But Benitez has insisted that his emotional ties with Liverpool will have no bearing on him going for the three points.

I will try to do the best for my team and that is Chelsea,’ said Benitez. ‘I am a professional and that is what I have to do. I cannot forget the time I spent there and the feeling, the atmosphere, the success, the link with the fans and the city — it is my home — but I will try to win. That is what I have to do.

‘This will be quite emotional but I have to concentrate. It will not be easy when you see so many friends around but I will try to concentrate on the game. The players have to believe I can manage the situation and give them help if they need it. Normally, I am not too emotional but now I’m getting older it happens sometimes.’

PS.

This isn't the first time Terry has been involved in handbags over a handshake, although he's usually on the receiving end of the snub…

Wayne Bridge and John Terry

Anton Ferdinand snubs John Terry

Who could forget Wayne Bridge snubs a handshake from Terry after rumours Terry had had an affair with Bridge's former fiance Vanessa Perroncel (left); and Anton Ferdinand snubs Terry after last year's race storm

Football's other hand-shaking controversies

WAYNE BRIDGE & JOHN TERRY: In January 2010 claims Terry had had an alleged relationship with the former partner of one-time team-mate Wayne Bridge emerged, despite Terry being behind a gagging injunction. He was axed as England captain and Manchester City defender Bridge quit international football saying his position in the team – potentially alongside Terry – was 'untenable and potentially divisive'. The teams met just a few weeks later on February 27 but in the traditional pre-match handshake, Bridge refused Terry's outstretched hand.

QPR & CHELSEA: The teams met at Loftus Road on October 23, 2011, after which Terry was accused of racially abusing Ferdinand. The sides were then drawn to face each other in an FA Cup tie in January 2012 with intense focus on whether the pair would or would not shake hands. The then QPR boss Mark Hughes held a meeting with his players and officials over the handshake. Ultimately, the FA decided to scrap the ritual. The Premier League took the same action in April in the first league game between the two since the original incident after Ferdinand's lawyers advised him not to shake Terry's hand. In September 2012, Ferdinand snubbed both Terry and Ashley Cole, who testified for the former at his trial, as did Park Ji-sung, former team-mate of Rio Ferdinand.

PATRICE EVRA & LUIS SUAREZ: Liverpool striker Suarez was given an eight-match ban after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Evra in October 2011. The Reds were vocal in their defence of the Uruguayan, a move that did little to endear either them or the player to the general public. Suarez's first start after the suspension happened to be at Old Trafford but it was he who refused the hand of Evra. The Red Devils captain offered his hand to the Uruguay international but he bypassed the Frenchman. Evra did not accept that and attempted to grab Suarez's arm to complete the formalities, but the striker shrugged him off. Rio Ferdinand, further down the line, then refused to shake Suarez's hand.

JOHN TERRY & DAVID BERNSTEIN: Terry's simmering resentment showed itself again today as he confirmed he had rejected the FA chairman's attempt to shake hands. Bernstein was the man who stripped Terry of the England captaincy and despite being cleared at Westminster Magistrates' Court of making a racist insult, he was charged by the FA and banned for four matches. Bernstein insisted he was unaware of the Chelsea player's snub while admitting his relationship with Terry was 'a little distant'. He told Sky Sports News: 'I didn't notice a thing and I think we should talk about more positive things than that sort of nonsense. I'm not really terribly concerned.'

Fulham 0 Chelsea 3: Premier League match report – David Luiz and John Terry strike to give Blues victory

Fulham 0 Chelsea 3: Luiz rocket and Terry double give Benitez's boys derby day spoils and Champions League advantage

PUBLISHED:

20:53 GMT, 17 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

20:53 GMT, 17 April 2013

David Luiz scored one of the goals of the season and captain John Terry added a further two to give Chelsea a convincing victory and the advantage in the race for the Champions League.

Rafa Benitez's team climb to third ahead of rivals Arsenal and Tottenham and are strongest placed of the three to seal third place.

More to follow…

All smiles: John Terry's double has boosted Chelsea's Champions League hopes

All smiles: John Terry's double has boosted Chelsea's Champions League hopes

MATCH FACTS

FULHAM: Schwarzer, Riise (Rodallega, 67), Senderos, Hangeland, Riether, Karagounis (Frimpong, 76), Emanuelson, Enoh, Berbatov, Petric (Frei, 82), Ruiz

Subs not used: Etheridge, Richardson, Hughes, Manolev

Booked: Senderos, Ruiz

CHELSEA: Cech, Ivanovic, David Luiz, Terry, Bertrand, Ramires (Mikel, 75), Lampard, Mata (Ba, 80), Moses, Hazard (Oscar, 69), Torres

Subs not used: Turnbull, Azpilicueta, Benayoun, Ake

Goals: Luiz 30, Terry 43, 71

Booked: Ivanovic

Att: 25,002

Referee: Mike Dean

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE PREMIER LEAGUE FIXTURES, TABLE AND RESULTS

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Spectacular: David Luiz had opened the scoring with a stunning finish

Spectacular: David Luiz had opened the scoring with a stunning finish

Leader: Terry then leapt highest to double Chelsea's lead

Leader: Terry then leapt highest to double Chelsea's lead

.

Time to celebrate: Chelsea looked rather safe after scoring their second goal

Time to celebrate: Chelsea looked rather safe after scoring their second goal

Masked marksman: Fernando Torres was again lively

Masked marksman: Fernando Torres was again lively

Returning to form The Spaniard set up Terry's second goal with this header

Returning to form The Spaniard set up Terry's second goal with this header

Rafa Benitez plays down talk of David Luiz being future long term Chelsea captain

I'm not ready to make Luiz my captain yet, insists Chelsea boss Benitez amid doubts over Terry's future

By
Matt Barlow

PUBLISHED:

12:54 GMT, 16 April 2013

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UPDATED:

13:15 GMT, 16 April 2013

Rafa Benitez has dismissed claims that David Luiz is in line to replace John Terry as the long-term captain of Chelsea.

Terry was left out of Chelsea’s FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City at the weekend and has missed a number games this season.

Goalkeeper Petr Cech led the side in Terry’s absence at Wembley on Sunday, but Luiz has been cited as a possible long-term replacement.

Future leader: Rafa Benites has played down talk of David Luiz being Chelsea captain

Future leader: Rafa Benites has played down talk of David Luiz being Chelsea captain

But Benitez played down the suggestion saying he did not want to praise the Brazilin too much.

‘I don’t want to talk about the future when we’re involved in top four challenge and Europa League. He’ one of the important players we have, there are others, I don’t want to give too much credit to him. He is a key player and will be in the future.’

Battlefront dies on Grand National meeting day one

Grand National meeting suffers first fatality on day one after Battlefront collapses following Fox Hunters' Chase

By
Charlie Skillen

PUBLISHED:

16:05 GMT, 4 April 2013

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UPDATED:

16:28 GMT, 4 April 2013

The Grand National meeting at Aintree suffered its first fatality on day one this afternoon as Battlefront collapsed and died after the 3.40 John Smith's Fox Hunters' Chase.

The horse, ridden by Katie Walsh, was pulled up at the 11th fence of the 2m 5f chase, which was won by 100/1 long shot Tartan Snow.

Unfortunately 11-year-old Battlefront, trained by the jockey's father Ted, then suffered a suspected heart attack on the way back to the stables and died.

Bad news: Battlefront, ridden by Katy Walsh (left), suffered a suspected heart attack after being pulled up

Bad news: Battlefront, ridden by Katy Walsh (left), suffered a suspected heart attack after being pulled up

Aintree has revamped the course fences to make them safer for competing horses after criticism of the meeting's Saturday showpiece branding it dangerous after seeing two fatalities – According to Pete and Synchronised – in last year's National.

Despite the accident not involving a course fall, the news is still a blow for organisers.The chase was the first race to be held over the Grand National fences.

Professor Chris Proudman, veterinary advisor to Aintree Racecourse, confirmed the news, saying: 'We can confirm that Battlefront was pulled up at fence 11 of the John Smith's Fox Hunter's Chase on the Grand National course by his jockey Katie Walsh and sadly afterwards he collapsed and died.

Out of nowhere: Tartan Snow, ridden by Jamie Hamilton, won the Fox Hunters' chase as a 100/1 shot

Out of nowhere: Tartan Snow, ridden by Jamie Hamilton, won the Fox Hunters' Chase as a 100/1 shot

John Baker, Aintree and North West Regional Director of Jockey Club Racecourses, expressed his sympathies but defended the sport.

'I would like to extend our sympathies to the Walsh family for this sad news,' he said.

'British racing is very open that you can never eliminate all risk from horse racing, as with any sport.

However, welfare standards are very high and equine fatalities are rare.

'With 90,000 runners each year, we have a fatality rate of just 0.2 per cent.'

Rafa Benitez urges Chelsea to catch Manchester City ahead of Southampton visit

Get City! Benitez urges Chelsea to reel in champions for second spot and forget about Tottenham and Arsenal

PUBLISHED:

13:00 GMT, 28 March 2013

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UPDATED:

13:50 GMT, 28 March 2013

Rafa Benitez insists Chelsea won't be looking over their shoulders and instead believes Manchester City can be caught in the final games of the season.

The Blues are four points adrift of City ahead of their trip to Southampton on Saturday.

Southampton meanwhile are engrossed in their survival battle. four points above the drop, with just nine games of the season remaining.

Strike: Fernando Torres and Demba Ba train ahead of Chelsea's Easter Saturday clash against Southampton

Strike: Fernando Torres and Demba Ba train ahead of Chelsea's Easter Saturday clash against Southampton

'I would like to see us reduce the
gap,' said Benitez. 'They (City) will be concerned like we are with
Tottenham, Arsenal and Everton.

'The
main things are that you are a team. We are playing very good football,
so if you keep the momentum going I won't be worried about the other
teams but watching Manchester City.'

The Chelsea manager confirmed that captain John Terry would be available for selection this weekend.

Case for the defence: John Terry, seen here with David Luiz, has impressed manager Rafa Benitez

Case for the defence: John Terry, seen here with David Luiz, has impressed manager Rafa Benitez

'He has been training and doing well.
I am very pleased with him,' Benitez added. 'He is training every day
and improving his fitness.

'But we’ve got nine games in four days, he can’t play every game. That goes for all the players.'

Fernando Torres was among the Chelsea players left behind in international week after he missed out on selection to the Spain squad for their qualifiers against Finland and France.

'He has been training harder,' said Benitez. 'Spain has a lot of good players so it’s normal he can be left out of the list.

'He has been working very hard. Not just Fernando, but all the players want to prove themselves. Strikers want to score goals, but for me it is also what he does for the team.'

More follows…

John Terry and Frank Lampard pelted with coins and hot dogs during Chelsea versus West Ham match at Stamford Bridge

Coins and hot dog thrown at Terry and Lampard by West Ham fans during London derby at Stamford Bridge

By
Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

20:18 GMT, 17 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

22:03 GMT, 17 March 2013

Chelsea were embroiled in yet another police probe last night after John Terry was hit by a missile in the win over West Ham.

Hammers fans launched coins and bottles at Blues players as they celebrated Frank Lampard's 200th goal for the Blues.

Metropolitan Police chiefs confirmed they have opened an investigation after receiving an official complaint regarding the incident.

Incident: Police have launched an investigation after coins were thrown at Chelsea's Frank Lampard as he celebrated in front of West Ham fans in Sunday's derby at Stamford Bridge

Incident: Police have launched an investigation after coins were thrown at Chelsea's Frank Lampard as he celebrated in front of West Ham fans in Sunday's derby at Stamford Bridge

Unsavoury: A hot dog (right of shot) was hurled from the West Ham fans at Chelsea captain John Terry as he warmed up near the corner flag

Unsavoury: A hot dog (right of shot) was hurled from the West Ham fans at Chelsea captain John Terry as he warmed up near the corner flag

The FA are will consider this morning whether to begin their own investigation into the ugly scenes.

Tensions between Terry and visiting
supporters were already boiling point as Hammers fans directed torrid
abuse towards the Blues skipper as he warmed up early in the first-half.

In response, Terry mimicked lifting a number of trophies – a reference to the three Premier League titles, five FA Cups, two League Cups and European Cup he has won at Chelsea.

Silverware: John Terry lifts an imaginary trophy in response to West Ham taunts

Silverware: John Terry lifts an imaginary trophy in response to West Ham taunts

John Terry pretends to lift a trophy in front of the West Ham fans

Take that: Terry responds to the West Ham fans while his Chelsea teammates celebrate Frank Lampard's opening goal

Take that: Terry responds to the West Ham fans while his Chelsea teammates celebrate Frank Lampard's opening goal

There were no arrests or ejections
yesterday, but Chelsea security staff will this morning study CCTV
footage to identify the culprits.

A statement from West Ham read: 'West Ham will be working with Chelsea to investigate reports of missile throwing.

'Any individual found to have acted in
an inappropriate way will have to face the consequences of their
actions, including the possibility of a ban from attending future
matches.'

Confrontation: The hot dog appears to land some way from Terry as he limbered up in front of the away end

Confrontation: The hot dog appears to land some way from Terry as he limbered up in front of the away end

Missiles: The West Ham fans also aimed coins at Terry

Missiles: The West Ham fans also aimed coins at Terry

The incident is the fourth police investigation Chelsea have been involved in this season.

Police opened an investigation into
allegations referee Mark Clattenburg racially abused Jon Obi Mikel
during the now infamous clash against Manchester United on October 28.

The same match spawned another police
probe as a steward sustained a knee injury after he was crushed in the
aftermath of Javier Hernandez's winner.

Likewise, South Wales Police
investigated Eden Hazard kick on a ball boy during the Capital One Cup
semi-final second leg clash against Swansea on January 23.

Angry words: Terry was the subject of taunts from the away fans

Angry words: Terry was the subject of taunts from the away fans

Hammers fans were clearly outraged by Lampard's decision to celebrate his milestone moment in front of them yesterday.

But Lampard said: 'I wasn't hit by anything. I went quite close to the West Ham fans but that was the natural curve of my run.'

On the incident, Blues manager Rafa Benitez said: 'When you score 200 goals, you don't think about where you go. You celebrate.

'Afterwards, he realised it would be better to be in another part (of the ground). I don't think he was hit (by a missile).'

Rio Ferdinand to the rescue: Should Roy Hodgson name Manchester United defender in England squad

Rio to the rescue: Is it time for Roy to bring back Ferdinand for England Keown, Redknapp and Sportsmail's team of experts have their say

PUBLISHED:

10:46 GMT, 13 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:00 GMT, 13 March 2013

Roy Hodgson is set to name his England squad for the World Cup qualifying matches against San Marino and Montenegro and fans are desperate to know if Rio Ferdinand will be in it.

Left out for 'football reasons', Ferdinand has not featured for the national team under Hodgson but, with former captain John Terry now out of the picture, he has been touted for a return.

The 34-year-old has been superb for Manchester United this season and here, Sportsmail's team of experts say whether they feel Ferdinand should take that form back on to the international stage.

Solid: Rio Ferdinand has been tipped for an England return after fine performances for Manchester United

Solid: Rio Ferdinand has been tipped for an England return after fine performances for Manchester United

MARTIN KEOWN

I would bring Rio Ferdinand back into the England squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. If Sir Alex Ferguson is picking him as his first-choice centre back for Manchester United, that is good enough for me.

Roy Hodgson is one of the only people who could get away with bringing someone back after not picking them for so long. Hodgson is such a nice man and would find the words to make it a smooth transition.

Ferdinand has every right to feel he should have been in recent squads and he’s the best central defender we have. On top of that, Phil Jagielka is out injured and Gary Cahill has suffered a dip in form. He would benefit from playing alongside some as experienced as Ferdinand.

Tiredness is less of a factor now that United are out the Champions League. Ferdinand has fewer matches to play between now and the end of the season than he would have expected so Ferguson should not have a problem with him playing for his country.

I would imagine Hodgson wouldn’t use him for both games because of the recovery time he needs and the only potential problem with that is whether it creates instability in the team. If someone else plays well against San Marino, do you kill their confidence by then dropping them

The answer is probably yes.

Young gun: Ferdinand made his England debut as a teenager - coming off the bench against Cameroon in 1997

Young gun: Ferdinand made his England debut as a teenager – coming off the bench against Cameroon in 1997

JAMIE REDKNAPP

What has he done wrong He seems to have handled his omission maturely… he lost the England captaincy and didn’t cause a fuss. He has played his way back into form. He wants to play for England and add to his 81 caps.

Judging him on ‘football reasons’, he has to be back in for the World Cup qualifiers, doesn’t he Montenegro is a challenge and their centre-forward, the Juventus striker, Mirko Vucinic is a handful as he proved to Celtic in the Champions League. But Rio has handled better strikers.

Okay, he is not the future, but he is the present.

MARK ALFORD

No. Stick by your footballing
reasons, Roy. I'd prefer it if you further explained them to us all, but
as I suspect your argument is that you're building a side – and
specifically a defence – that can win us the World Cup, please go ahead
and conquer. Rio's too old. Yes, he can still pick a pass and play but
he's past his best. He's lost a yard and that's what matters at
international level. In Roy, we trust… There's no other way.

Off the mark: Ferdinand (No 5) scored his first international goal against Denmark at the 2002 World Cup

Off the mark: Ferdinand (No 5) scored his first international goal against Denmark at the 2002 World Cup

Off the mark: Ferdinand (No 5) scored his first international goal against Denmark at the 2002 World Cup

NEIL ASHTON

Yes. He remains the outstanding England defender of his generation. If he can get two games against Real Madrid in the Champions League, he can play against San Marino and Montenegro in the World Cup qualifiers.

LEE CLAYTON

Yes. Pick your best players, qualify for the World Cup, then worry about his age, his ability to play back-to-back games in a short space of time and the future.

There is a risk that England’s future will be an end-of-season tour to the back of beyond while the World Cup is taking place in Brazil. We did that before, let’s not do it again.

Rio must play in Montenegro. What’s to discuss

CHRIS WHEELER

Yes. Forget his age, any personal
issues with the manager and the fact that he might not be the best man
for the job when the World Cup comes around. Ferdinand's performances
for Manchester United this season have proved he's still a defender of
the highest quality. That's all that matters so just go ahead and pick
him.

SAMI MOKBEL

Yes. Simply because he is without doubt one of the best four centre-backs available to Roy Hodgson.

It's been a while: Ferdinand's last England appearance was against Switzerland in June 2011

It's been a while: Ferdinand's last England appearance was against Switzerland in June 2011

DOMINIC KING

No. Roy Hodgson has made his decision
to preclude Ferdinand from international duty, so he should stick with
it. There is sufficient quality in the England team to negotiate a
tricky task without worrying about whether Ferdinand should play or not.
With Phil Jagielka injured, play Joleon Lescott and give the in-form
Michael Dawson a go. Ferdinand is England's past, concentrate on the
future.

NEIL MOXLEY

If he’s the best English player to fill the position – and I think he’s the best option at present – then of course he should be picked. I’m not one for ‘looking to the future.’ It’s a nebulous managerial cop-out. When is ‘the future’ What about the here and now

He’s fit, playing well and wants to resume his international career. What, really, is there to consider

On the box: Kelloggs made special cereal packets for the 2010 World Cup but Ferdinand missed the tournament through injury

On the box: Kelloggs made special cereal packets for the 2010 World Cup but Ferdinand missed the tournament through injury

JOHN EDWARDS

If he doesn’t, then ‘football
reasons’ will no longer wash as an explanation. With John Terry out of
the frame and Phil Jagielka and Chris Smalling injured, there is only
one logical choice alongside Gary Cahill.

Hodgson is to be applauded for
looking to the future, but there is a time and place for experimenting
with potential. A World Cup qualifier away to the group leaders is
neither. That rules out Steven Caulker, while the likes of Ryan
Shawcross, Michael Dawson and Joleon Lescott lack Ferdinand’s proven
pedigree when the international stakes are at their highest.

The San Marino game should be plain sailing, whoever gets the nod, but for 90 minutes in Montenegro, it has to be Rio.

ALEX KAY

Of course he should. Ferdinand is the
best English centre back around at the moment and knows how to keep his
head in big games. Also, the alternatives do not fill you with hope:
Joleon Lescott is in and out the team at Manchester City, Gary Cahill
has a wobble in him and Michael Dawson, though playing well, hasn’t
featured for England for a long time.

MIKE ANSTEAD

If
he’s good enough, then yes. With John Terry out of the picture, England
are seriously lacking top-level experience at the back – Gary Cahill,
Phil Jagielka and Co won’t worry the world’s best. Bring Rio back and
he’s still got time to forge a new partnership ahead of Brazil 2014.

TOM BELLWOOD

No. His inclusion would represent a kick in the teeth to those whose performances warrant place in the team and have a long-term future in the national set-up.

LAURIE WHITWELL

Yes. Ferdinand is by some margin the best English central defender playing regularly. He is managing his body well this season and is a major reason United's defence has tightened up in the second part of the campaign. The experience he brings to international football only adds to the compelling reasoning for selection. Surely you pick the best players on offer at any one point rather than worry about a future that is yet to be achieved.

DAN RIPLEY

Judging by Ferdinand’s current form and fitness, the Manchester United centre-back certainly deserves a recall to the England squad. His composure on the ball and experience would be a key asset to a Three Lions side that has yet to have a stable back four under Roy Hodgson’s reign. At 34-years-old Ferdinand isn’t the future, but Hodgson needs to pick a squad that can pick up two wins later this month, not one that is likely to lead England after Brazil 2014.

Decision time: Roy Hodgson is set to name his England squad to face San Marino and Montenegro

Decision time: Roy Hodgson is set to name his England squad to face San Marino and Montenegro

JOE RIDGE

Yes. It's crazy we're even asking this question. Along with Michael Dawson and Gary Cahill he's the only Englishman playing regularly at centre back for a top four club – and he's still head and shoulders above those two.
SUNNI UPAL

No. Ferdinand is 34 so it would make no sense going back to him considering he will be 35 by the time the World Cup kicks off next year. England have enough choices in defence and don’t need to turn back to someone who is in the twilight of his career. The decision was, rightly or wrongly, made a long time ago for ‘footballing reasons’ so let’s just stick to those reasons and move on.

Not spoiled for choice: Gary Cahill's form has dipped while Phil Jagielka (below left) is struggling with injury

Not spoiled for choice: Gary Cahill's form has dipped while Phil Jagielka (below left) is struggling with injury

Struggling: Phil Jagielka (left)

RIK SHARMA

No. Picking a defender who probably won't be worth taking to the World Cup itself would only be acceptable if qualification for said competition would be viewed as an achievement. For England it is a necessity. Roy needs to focus on the men for the years ahead.

DECLAN WARRINGTON

No, and particularly not if Hodgson intends on using him for no more than just the next two games. Despite his decline, Ferdinand remains a polished defender and has lately impressed but he's had another inconsistent season in which Manchester United have frequently conceded. Hodgson needs to look at the bigger picture and build a new-look side: in Gary Cahill, Steven Caulker, Phil Jones and particularly Chris Smalling he has several improving, quality options who are already good but need time to develop partnerships for the World Cup. He should stick with them.

BILL RUNGAY

Yes. Age is not an obstacle. He is on track to winning an inevitable sixth Premier League title along with his first FA cup medal whilst showing he is still one of the most solid defenders in the game.

Old head: Veteran defender Ferdinand has the experience of 10 years at United and 81 England caps

Old head: Veteran defender Ferdinand has the experience of 10 years at United and 81 England caps

Rafa Benitez and John Terry laugh together in Chelsea training ahead of Europa League game

Best of Friends: Benitez and captain Terry all smiles during Chelsea training session

By
Charlie Skillen

PUBLISHED:

13:07 GMT, 20 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:16 GMT, 20 February 2013

Rafa Benitez looks as if he’s finally found a friend at Stamford Bridge, with the interim manager and captain John Terry sharing a joke at the Chelsea’s Cobham training ground today.

The rest of the squad also looked in
good spirits as they prepare to face Sparta Prague at Stamford Bridge
tomorrow in the second leg of their Europa League last-32 tie, which
they lead 1-0.

Two players who won't be involved are Frank Lampard and defender Branislav Ivanovic, who Benitez confirmed would be rested.

Reports last week suggested Benitez and the Chelsea captain had a falling-out over Terry being selected on the bench due to a recurring knee injury, but there were clearly no hard feelings.

Scroll down for Kevin Quigley's video from Chelsea training

Buried the hatchet: Terry (right) and Benitez joke around during Chelsea's Cobham training session today

Buried the hatchet: Terry (right) and Benitez joke around during Chelsea's Cobham training session today

benitez terry

benitez

luiz

Still got it: Benitez (left) controls the ball while Brazilian defender David Luiz (left) has a laugh at training today

cfc training

Wrapping up warm: Fernando Torres (left) and Yossi Benayoun laugh as training begins today

Wrapping up warm: Fernando Torres (left) and Yossi Benayoun laugh as training begins today

The former England skipper insisted he had no problem with starting games on the bench, as long as Chelsea were winning games, while accepting fans’ criticism of the unpopular Benitez’s reign.

‘They pay their money so they are entitled to echo their thoughts,’ said Terry. ‘The most important thing is the team winning games.

'People speak about things but it’s not about Rafa, it’s not about me, it’s not about Lamps, it’s not about anybody.

Good spirits: Frank Lampard (left) and David Luiz share a joke today while the squad prepare for the visit of Sparta Prague in the Europa League tomorrow night, with the Blues ahead 1-0

Good spirits: Frank Lampard (left) and David Luiz share a joke today while the squad (led by Gary Cahill, below) prepare for the visit of Sparta Prague in the Europa League tomorrow night, with the Blues ahead 1-0 in the tie

cfc training

cfc training

‘It’s about this football club winning games and if we’re doing that the fans are happy. That’s all they want to see.

‘If that’s with me in the side, great; if not, then I will be their biggest supporter and I’ll sit there and support the team like the fans will.

‘If you are losing games, the pressure is on the manager. If you’re winning games, that gets taken away. Hopefully, as a group of players we can do that and it takes the pressure off him.’

VIDEO See the team warming up ahead of their Europa League clash

Play Video

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