Tag Archives: midfielder

West Ham captain Kevin Nolan presented with cake to celebrate 100th goal

Icing on the cake! Nolan celebrates 100th goal with treat baked by kit man's sister

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

10:22 GMT, 26 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:10 GMT, 26 April 2013

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Kevin Nolan notched up his 100th career goal last Saturday – and what better way for the West Ham captain to celebrate than tucking into some cake.

The 30-year-old midfielder scored in the hammers' 2-0 victory over Wigan at Upton Park to hit the century mark.

Landmark: Nolan was presented with a cake to celebrate scoring his 100th career goal

Landmark: Nolan was presented with a cake to celebrate scoring his 100th career goal

And yesterday he was presented with a cake baked by the sister of kit man James Saban to mark his achievement.

Nolan's 100th goal came almost 12 and a half years after his first for Bolton Wanderers in a 4-1 win over Crewe Alexandra in December 2000.

Let's celebrate: Nolan hit the century mark with his goal in West Ham's 2-0 win over Wigan last Saturday

Let's celebrate: Nolan hit the century mark with his goal in West Ham's 2-0 win over Wigan last Saturday

Stiliyan Petrov says he is lucky to be alive following leukaemia battle

I’m lucky to be alive! Villa captain Petrov reveals he is on the road to recovery in leukaemia battle

By
Charlie Skillen

PUBLISHED:

12:47 GMT, 17 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:09 GMT, 17 April 2013

Stiliyan Petrov has revealed he is on the road to recovery following a battle with leukaemia after being diagnosed with the disease in March last year, saying he is lucky to be alive.

The Aston Villa club captain spoke about his experience with treatment for the disease and his appreciation of the fans who supported him at matches.

Defender Petrov, who has won 106 caps for his native Bulgaria, has not retired from the professional game and said he is lucky, due to the amount of people who die from the leukaemia.

Happy Birthday: Stiliyan Petrov has revealed he is on the road to recovery following his battle with leukaemia

Happy Birthday: Stiliyan Petrov has revealed he is on the road to recovery following his battle with leukaemia

'When it happened I knew what kind of
disease it was but I didn’t know anything about what kind of treatment
it was,' he told AVFC.co.uk

'While the treatment was going on I
was surprised how long things were dragging on, it kept dragging and I
kept thinking “when is this going to finish” but with a lot of patience
and a lot of support from family and friends and everybody I managed to
pull through. I had my hard moments but I had good moments as well.

'I can say I’m lucky because some
people with this disease will die very quickly and I managed to keep
battling and still be here, still standing. It’s really good, that’s a
great thing.'

Salute: Petrov acknowledges the Villa Park crowd, showing their support by applauding in the 19th minute

Salute: Petrov acknowledges the Villa Park crowd, showing their support by applauding in the 19th minute

Villa

Villa fans hold an applause in the 19th
minute of every game – marking Petrov's squad number – and the
midfielder paid tribute to the supporters who have stood by their
skipper.

'Yeah, the 19th minute has been just
incredible. It’s just showing their appreciation and their support. I
don’t know how I can thank the fans because it’s been incredible.

'Sometimes I have a joke with some
friends when they text me saying, ‘You’ve still got that applause in the
19th minute, when are they going to stop!’ But it’s been incredible.

Touching: Young Villa fans hold up a message in support of their captain

Touching: Young Villa fans hold up a message in support of their captain

In action: Villa skipper Petrov playing last season before the diagnosis ruled him out of contention

In action: Villa skipper Petrov playing last season before the diagnosis ruled him out of contention

'I’ve got a great wife, a strong,
great wife and she’s been unbelievable, incredible in this journey. The
kids as well, my mom and dad, my brother, my wife’s mum, they’ve all
been so strong and close beside me. Other friends as well, I can’t start
naming names because there are so many, they’ve been so supportive
every single day.

'To have support every single day from
people who have their own problems and their own life but they keep
finding the time to send you a message or call you, it’s just
unbelievable.'

Thoughts: Tributes to Petrov were displayed by teams around the Premier League

Thoughts: Tributes to Petrov were displayed by teams around the Premier League

Petrov also spoke about the club's current form, and has backed his team-mates to stave off any relegation fears after seeing Saturday's 1-1 draw against Fulham.

'I was there at the game against Fulham and I’ve come to a lot of games this season when I’ve had the chance,' Petrov said.

Back on track: Petrov was watching Villa's 1-1 draw against Fulham, with Charles N'Zogbia's opener (above)

Back on track: Petrov was watching Villa's 1-1 draw against Fulham, with Charles N'Zogbia's opener (above)

'I needed to have clearance from the doctors to go around crowded areas, so I constantly needed to be feeling well in order for me to be around people.

'I was really impressed by the performance against Fulham because the boys kept going right until the last minute. There are still a lot of games to come, a lot of points to be picked up, so there’s nothing to worry about.'

Ricky van Wolfswinkel could back out of big-money Norwich move if they go down

Van Wolfswinkle move to Norwich could be scrapped if they fail to survive

By
Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

12:42 GMT, 17 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:17 GMT, 17 April 2013

Norwich's swoop for Ricky van Wolfswinkel will come under serious threat if Chris Hughton's side are relegated.

The Holland international is due to join the Carrow Road club in the summer after the Canaries struck an 8.6million agreement with Sporting Lisbon.

Big money: The Dutchman agreed an 8.6million move to Carrow Road from Sporting Lisbon

Big money: The Dutchman agreed an 8.6million move to Carrow Road from Sporting Lisbon

But Sportsmail understands the forward, who is due to sign a four year deal with Norwich on July 1, has a clause in his contract that allows him to pull out of the move if the Norfolk club are relegated.

Van Wolfswinkel is a long-term target of Hughton, who will be desperate not to miss out on the 24-year-old.

After a worrying start to the season, the Canaries have managed to improve their form and currently sit in 14th place, four points off the drop zone.

But a poor end to the season could easily see them slump back into relegation trouble, which will leave Van Wolfswinkel's switch in jeopardy.

Goal machine: Van Wolfswinkel (above centre) would bring Hughton's men much-needed firepower next season, having scored just 31 goals this campaign

Goal machine: Van Wolfswinkel (above centre) would bring Hughton's men much-needed firepower next season, having scored just 31 goals this campaign

Arsenal Norwich

Back in March, the 24-year-old was impressed by Hughton during discussions and became convinced Norwich is a team with potential.

‘The club is in the middle of the table and very ambitious, this summer they will be debt free and will get on strong,’ Van Wolfswinkel told Dutch magazine Voetbal International in March.

‘I had a good talk with the manager, Chris Hughton. He was very specific about my qualities and wants to build a strong team around him. That gives good trust.

‘The plan is also to bring in an attacking midfielder and two wide players this summer. With that, Norwich can look to play in the top half of the table.’

Robert Snodgrass

Grant Holt

Lacking up top: Robert Snodgrass (left) and Grant Holt (right) have just eleven goals between them all season

Hughton, who tried to sign 6ft 1in Van Wolfswinkel in January, wants more attacking options after having to deploy Grant Holt as a lone striker this season. Norwich have scored just 31 goals in 33 games, with top scorer Robert Snodgrass having netted just six times.

‘That a club would spend so much money, in these times, shows their faith in me,’ he said.

‘I have been to Norwich to look around and spoken to the manager and chief executive over their plans for the future. I don't know much about Norwich, but the city and the club surprised me – the stadium has 25,000 (capacity) and there are 5,000 fans on a waiting list for (season) tickets on top of that which shows the status of the club.’

Martin Jol rules Fulham out of signing Chelsea"s Frank Lampard

Lampard will never play for Fulham! Jol rules out move for ace

By
Simon Peach, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

22:40 GMT, 16 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

06:49 GMT, 17 April 2013

Martin Jol has laughed off any chance of Fulham signing Frank Lampard ahead of tomorrow's west London derby with Chelsea.

The 34-year-old midfielder might be just two goals shy of the Blues' all-time scoring record, but a Stamford Bridge exit at the end of his contract this summer looks likely.

Having stayed on the bench for Sunday's FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City, Lampard is in line to make his 600th Chelsea appearance tomorrow at Craven Cottage.

Moving on: Chelsea's Frank Lampard looks set to leave the club in the summer

Moving on: Chelsea's Frank Lampard looks set to leave the club in the summer

Fulham boss Jol was full of praise for the England international ahead of the match but dismissed suggestions he might make a summer approach.

'He is the most productive midfield player in England in the last 30 or 40 years,' the Dutchman said.

'Everyone would love to have him. He's fit and is a good character.

'He will have a smile on his face if he listens to Fulham but I would love to have him.

Heading for the exit: Lampard has scored 200 goals for Chelsea

Heading for the exit: Lampard has scored 200 goals for Chelsea

'But it's hypothetical as he will never play for Fulham. I'm not sure he will play for a top-10 team.

'He's a legend – a living legend over there. He won all the prizes over there. In the end I have a feeling they will keep him.'

Any move for Lampard would fly in the face of Jol's ambition to lower the age of the Fulham squad.

They have had the oldest in the Premier League for the past three seasons, but the Dutchman will not use young players for the sake of it.

'Necessity is the mother of invention,' he said. 'I've got a few youngsters but they have to do well.

No interest: Martin Jol says he won't move for Lampard in the summer

No interest: Martin Jol says he won't move for Lampard in the summer

'For example Matthew Briggs is a youngster and has played for a few loan teams but he has to do well.

'If you don't do well you can't expect to be in the first team.

'Kaca (Alex Kacaniklic) did okay but they have to work hard and develop themselves.

'Kerim Frei is one them. Chris David will be one of them but they have to prove they are as good as someone in the first team.

'It's not an easy one but I'm 100 per cent certain that we have one of the best academies in England. They proved that every year – champions of England and finalists before.

'How many players in England are 18 or 19 in the first team Mention one player. But Fulham will have one or two. I am always respectful for my older players.'

She"s in safe hands! Fabregas posts photo of newborn daughter after making another Champions League semi-final

She's in safe hands! Fabregas posts photo of newborn daughter after making yet another Champions League semi-final

By
Gerard Brand

PUBLISHED:

17:09 GMT, 11 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:09 GMT, 11 April 2013

Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas admitted yesterday was the happiest day of his life.

No, it wasn't just the fact he had made it through to an incredible fourth Champions League semi-final, but more the fact his girlfriend Daniella Semaan had given birth to their first child.

Newborn: Fabregas posted this picture of his daugther Lia Fabregas Semaan grasping his finger

Newborn: Fabregas posted this picture of his daugther Lia Fabregas Semaan grasping his finger

Fabregas played 62 minutes last night as his side reached the last four of the Champions League after a 1-1 draw with Paris Saint-Germain at the Nou Camp saw them go through on away goals.

And it was the former Arsenal midfielder who made way for Lionel Messi with PSG leading 1-0, with the Argentinian changing the game for the hosts.

Game changer: Fabregas made way for Messi in the 62nd minute, ultimately changing the game

Game changer: Fabregas made way for Messi in the 62nd minute, ultimately changing the game

But even better news was around the corner, and he tweeted: 'Yesterday it was the happiest day of my life, our daugther Lia Fabregas Semaan was born. Both her and Daniella are doing very well.'

The 25-year-old then posted a picture of his newborn daugther grasping his finger, and he'll want to get his hands on his own prize at the end of May, having won just one of the four semi-finals he has been involved in with Arsenal and Barcelona.

Fabregas and his Barcelona teammates will discover who stands in their way of another Champions League final tomorrow, with the draw for the semi-finals taking place in Nyon at 11am BST.

Champion: If Fabregas plays in the last four, it will be his fourth Champions League semi-final appearance

Champion: If Fabregas plays in the last four, it will be his fourth Champions League semi-final appearance

Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas

Lucas Leiva signs new long-term contract at Liverpool

Fan favourite Lucas is 'where he belongs' after signing new long-term Liverpool deal

By
Gerard Brand

PUBLISHED:

16:45 GMT, 10 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:49 GMT, 10 April 2013

Liverpool have announced that influential midfielder Lucas Leiva has signed a new long-term contract at the club.

The Brazilian who has made 20 appearances in the Premier League this season, has put pen to paper on a new deal as Brendan Rodgers looks to build a midfield capable of challenging for the top four in the coming years.

The news comes just over two years to the day that the 26-year-old signed another long-term contract with the club, that time being rewarded for his superb form by manager Kenny Dalglish.

Signing in: The midfielder has pledged his future to the club after several impressive seasons

Signing in: The midfielder has pledged his future to the club after several impressive seasons

He told the club's website: 'It's another long-term contract that I have signed – but it was the same feeling as when I first came here.

'I am really delighted to have the opportunity to play for this club. It's where I think I belong and where I wanted to stay, so I am very happy and looking forward to a few more years here.

'It was an easy decision because after the long period of my career I have had here, I would like to give the best of my time to this club. It was not a difficult decision to make and I am really looking forward to what will hopefully be a few more years with a lot of success.'

Lucas, who has appeared for Brazil on 20 occasions, joined the Merseyside club from Brazilian side Gremio for a reported 5million in July 2007, making 208 appearances since and slowly becoming a fans favourite after a slow start.

His previous deal was due to run out in the summer of 2015.

The club's managing director Ian Ayre showed his delight with the signing, which warns off any of Europe's top clubs making a move for the midfield maestro.

Ayre told the club's website: 'It's fantastic. He has been such a great servant to the club and I think during the period he went through with his two injuries, he put so much work into it and the club supported him through it.

'He just goes from strength to strength. We said throughout last summer and January, we wanted to keep our best, experienced players, and this is another great example of that.

'The manager has said several times that as well as having a great, young squad, it's important we have experience and it's important we have characters. People like Lucas fit that.

'He'll tell you he's still very young, but in footballing terms he's experienced and a big part of the team.'

Coming of age: After a slow start at the club, the Brazilian has been an influential member of midfield

Coming of age: After a slow start at the club, the Brazilian has been an influential member of midfield

Lucas

Lucas

Mario Balotelli helps AC Milan beat Chievo 1-0

Balotelli inspires Milan to victory over Chievo as race for Champions League spots hots up

PUBLISHED:

20:02 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

20:02 GMT, 30 March 2013

Mario Balotelli helped AC Milan take a huge step towards securing Champions League football by playing a major role in the Rossoneri’s win over Chievo Verona.

Milan moved provisionally into second place in Serie A after they won 1-0 and Fiorentina and Roma both lost.

The win lifts Milan six points above fourth-place Fiorentina as the race for next seasons Champions League hots up.

Helping hand: Mario Balotelli played his part in Milan's win

Helping hand: Mario Balotelli played his part in Milan's win

Beating his man: Balotelli skips past Luca Rigoni

Beating his man: Balotelli skips past Luca Rigoni

Celebration time: AC Milan's midfielder Riccardo Montolivo celebrates with Balotelli and teammates after scoring

Celebration time: AC Milan's midfielder Riccardo Montolivo celebrates with Balotelli and teammates after scoring

Chievo goalkeeper Christian Puggioni could only parry Balotelli's fierce free kick and Riccardo Montolivo was quickest to react and smashed home the rebound.

Dario Dainelli was sent off for Chievo following a second booking 13 minutes from time.

Abou Diaby ruled out for NINE months with torn anterior cruciate ligament

Diaby ruled out for NINE months after injury-plagued Arsenal midfielder suffers torn anterior cruciate ligament in training

)

Muscle injury (September 7, 2012)

Calf muscle strain (April 28, 2012)

Illness (April 23, 2012)

Hamstring (March 29, 2012)

Hamstring (March 3, 2012)

Hamstring (November 26, 2011)

Ankle/foot injury (July 22, 2011)

Calf muscle strain (January 2, 2011)

Calf muscle strain (December 30, 2010)

Ankle/foot injury (October 19, 2010)

Ankle/foot injury (October 4, 2010)

Ankle/foot injury (September 13, 2010)

Calf muscle strain (August 11, 2010)

Calf muscle strain (March 27, 2010)

Knee ligament (February 17, 2010)

Calf muscle strain (January 20, 2010)

Source: physioroom.com

Sunderland Steven Fletcher and Lee Cattermole ruled out for season with injury

Fletcher and Cattermole ruled out for rest of the season in massive blow for Sunderland

By
Colin Young

PUBLISHED:

14:54 GMT, 27 March 2013

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UPDATED:

18:04 GMT, 27 March 2013

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill was this afternoon dealt a devastating double blow when it was confirmed that both Steven Fletcher and Lee Cattermole will miss the rest of the season.

Leading scorer Fletcher suffered ankle ligament damage on international duty with Scotland last week, and midfielder Cattermole had surgery on a persistent knee problem earlier today.

Cattermole, meanwhile, has not played
for Sunderland since the 1-0 home defeat by Arsenal on February 9.

Agony: Fletcher was injured 90 seconds into Scotland's clash with Wales on Friday

Agony: Fletcher was injured 90 seconds into Scotland's clash with Wales on Friday

Lay-off: Sunderland now fear their top scorer could miss the rest of the season after an initial scan

Table

The statement added: 'Cattermole
underwent an operation on his knee earlier today and Fletcher sustained
ankle ligament damage whilst on international duty with Scotland.

'It is not known at this stage if
Fletcher will require an operation, with the injury requiring further
assessment in the coming weeks.

'Both players will play no further part in the Black Cats' 2012-13 Barclays Premier League season.'

The news could hardly have come at a
worse time for O'Neill, whose side find themselves firmly entrenched in
a battle for top-flight survival with eight games to
play.

They face leaders Manchester United
at the Stadium of Light on Saturday desperate to end a run of seven
league games without a victory, which has yielded just three points and
left them only four clear of the drop zone.

Fletcher in particular will be a huge
loss as he is top scorer with 11 goals.

However, having scored five in his
first four games for Sunderland following a 12million move from Wolves, he has managed only one in his last
seven, with the supply lines having dried up alarmingly.

Long-term absence: Lee Cattermole (left) has not played for the Black Cats since February

Long-term absence: Lee Cattermole (left) has not played for the Black Cats since February

Miliband stays at Sunderland

David Miliband is to remain a member of the club's board despite stepping down as MP for South Shields.

The former Labour Foreign Secretary has announced he is leaving UK politics to
take up a post with the US-based charity the International Rescue
Committee.

However, Mr Miliband, who joined the board as vice-chairman and
non-executive director in 2011, will maintain his links with the club.

Chief executive Margaret Byrne told Sunderland's official website: 'David's knowledge and experience have been a tremendous
benefit to Sunderland AFC.

'Naturally we are delighted that he is to continue in his role at the
club, and we also wish him every success with this new chapter of his
life.'

The 26-year-old was injured just two minutes into Scotland's 2-1 home defeat by Wales in Friday night's World Cup qualifier at Hampden Park and was carried from the field on a stretcher.

If he does need surgery, player and manager alike will hope he can return in time for the start of the new campaign.

O'Neill at least has January signing Danny Graham, who has played alongside Fletcher in recent weeks, at his disposal.

Cattermole has been plagued by injuries for much of his time on Wearside and has managed only two senior appearances since the end of November.

He had an injection in his injured knee several weeks ago in a bid to solve the problem once and for all, although O'Neill admitted at the time that an operation was a possibility.

Having visited his specialist again, the decision was taken to perform the surgery and write off the rest of the campaign.

World Cup Montenegro v England – guide to Montenegro

Meet the men from Montenegro standing in the way of England reaching Brazil 2014

, and the man advantage allowed Montenegro a last minute equalised through Andrija Delibasic.

Brnovic wasn’t able to guide his team through the play-offs, losing 3-0 on aggregate to the Czech Republic, but they’ve been on an eight-match unbeaten run since.

Playing career: Brnovic (right) in action for Yugoslavia in a 2007 match with Switzerland in Basle

Playing career: Brnovic (right) in action for Yugoslavia in a 2007 match with Switzerland in Basle

Enlarge

How it stands: The Group H table entering the game

How it stands: The Group H table entering the game

This included an impressive 1-0 win in Ukraine in the third round of qualifying that ranks among the country’s best results. They have also drawn 2-2 with Poland, stuffed San Marino 6-0 and 3-0, and triumphed 1-0 with 10 men in Moldova the other night.

A midfielder, Brnovic represented Yugoslavia 27 times during his playing career, scoring three goals. In his club career, he represented FK Partizan Belgrade, helping them to back-to-back national championships, and Espanyol in Spain for six seasons between 1994 and 2000.

Those with exceptional memories for this kind of thing may recall that Brnovic played in three matches for Yugoslavia at the 1998 World Cup in France, as they reached the last 16.

Dismissed! Brnovic's first match at the helm was the 2-2 draw with England in October 2011 that saw Wayne Rooney sent off

Dismissed! Brnovic's first match at the helm was the 2-2 draw with England in October 2011 that saw Wayne Rooney sent off

THE PLAYERS

GOALKEEPERS

Mladen Bozovic

Known as ‘Bonja’, experienced 28-year-old goalkeeper Bozovic plays for Hungarian side Videoton and has 30 caps for his county. He has been in good form of late, as Montenegro have kept four consecutive clean sheets in their World Cup qualification campaign.

Vukasin Poleksic

Poleksic would be a complete unknown but for his alleged involvement in a match-fixing scandal involving Liverpool and his club side Debrecen, of Hungary.

In June 2010, Poleksic, who was once linked with a move to Portsmouth in the Premier League, was banned from football for two years for failing to report a telephone call in which a criminal gang offered him money to fix Champions League matches against Fiorentina and Liverpool.

He continued his career at Debrecen, albeit as second choice, after his ban ended and also has 23 caps for Montenegro.

Srdan Blazic

30-year-old third choice with two caps to his name, currently playing for Nea Salamis Famagusta in Cyprus. At one point played in Belgium with Standard Liege and more recently had an ill-fated spell with Anorthosis Famagusta when his poor performance in a Europa League qualifier with Georgian team Dila Gori led to crowd disturbances.

Pleased as punch: Goalkeeper Mladen Bozovic salutes the travelling fans after his crucial saved earned a 0-0 draw at Wembley in October 2010

Pleased as punch: Goalkeeper Mladen Bozovic salutes the travelling fans after his crucial saved earned a 0-0 draw at Wembley in October 2010

DEFENDERS

Milan Jovanovic

Not to be confused with the Serbian striker of the same name who plays for Anderlecht. The Montenegrin Jovanovic, 29, is a defender who joined Red Star Belgrade last summer and has won 33 caps for his country. Prior to this, Jovanovic had played in Austria, Romania and Serbia.

Savo Pavicevic

Like Jovanovic, Pavicevic was a founding member of the Montenegro national team when they played Hungary in March 2007 (having hitherto been known as Serbia and Montenegro). Another nomad, the 32-year-old has played in Serbia, Germany, Greece, Cyprus and, of late, Israel. He was at Maccabi Tel Aviv until November last year, but is presently with cross-city rivals Hapoel.

Vladimir Bozovic

31-year-old left back who is usually on the bench, Bozovic made his 30th appearance for Montenegro in the 1-0 win over Moldova on Friday. After five years with Rapid Bucharest, he recently departed for Russian Premier League newcomers Mordovia Saransk.

Marko Basa

Among the better known Montenegro players, centre-half Basa is a regular for French side Lille and played in five of their six Champions League group matches this season. With their depleted central defence, England will have to be careful of 6’ 3” Basa’s potency from corners and free-kicks.

After an uncertain start when Basa made a habit of not showing up for international duty, he has since become a regular starter and has 23 caps.

Commanding: Centre-back Marko Basa in action for Montenegro against San Marino in an earlier World Cup qualifier

Commanding: Centre-back Marko Basa in action for Montenegro against San Marino in an earlier World Cup qualifier

Miodrag Dzudovic

Best known for being the target of Wayne Rooney’s ire on the last occasion the two sides met, centre-half Dzudovic is a likely starter having been rested in Moldova on Friday night.

The 33-year-old, who plays for Russian Premier League side Spartak Nalchik, claimed over the weekend that he didn’t provoke the England frontman into lashing out and even spoke up for him at the UEFA disciplinary hearing.

‘I did nothing to provoke him. We didn’t say a single word to each other during the match,’ he said.

‘This was his moment of weakness. He is human, it can happen to anyone.’

Stefan Savic

Manchester City fans will remember 22-year-old centre-half Savic, who had a short spell at the club during the 2011-2012 season following a 6m move from Partizan.

Although occasionally solid during his 20 appearances, mistakes meant he was never likely to replace Vincent Kompany as first choice. He conceded the penalty that allowed Liverpool to gain the first leg advantage in the League Cup semi-final and also gifted Jermain Defoe the equaliser in the league match at the Etihad.

Now at Fiorentina, Savic spoke over the weekend of the welcome England will receive in Podgorica: ‘It is always a hostile atmosphere here and we don’t fear anyone. We just need to be focused and I think the result will come.

‘We have played two games against England and got two draws – now I think maybe it is time for a win.’

English connection: Defender Stefan Savic played for Manchester City during the 2011-2012 season

English connection: Defender Stefan Savic played for Manchester City during the 2011-2012 season

Vladimir Volkov

Left-back who is a relative newcomer to the Montenegrin set-up, Volkov has played for no less than five Belgrade-based teams. Possessing dual Serbian and Montenegrin citizenship, the 26-year-old opted for the latter after Serbia ‘showed no interest’ in him. Nonetheless, he has spent most of his life playing and living in the Serbian capital Belgrade.

Blazo Igumanovic

Defender with one cap to his credit, Igumanovic plays for the Montenegrin side Rudar Pljevlja, who finished second in the national league last season.

Ivan Kecojevic

Recent graduate from the Under 21 set-up, defender Kecojevic also has one cap to his name and plays his football in Turkey for Gaziantepspor.

MIDFIELDERS

Simon Vukcevic

One of the most experienced players in the squad, Vukcevic may be remembered by English fans for his two years at Blackburn Rovers. Despite a dire and ultimately unsuccessful battle against relegation from the top flight, Vukcevic found first team opportunities limited last season following a 3m move from Sporting Lisbon.

He was given a ticket out of Ewood Park on January transfer deadline day this year and has wound up at Ukrainian side Karpaty Lviv, where he seems likely to see more games.

In and around the senior international set-up for nearly a decade, Vukcevic has 41 caps and two goals for Montenegro and five for Serbia and Montenegro before that.

Slide: Simon Vukcevic, the former Blackburn player, tries to win the ball from Ashley Cole

Slide: Simon Vukcevic, the former Blackburn player, tries to win the ball from Ashley Cole

Elsad Zverotic

Zverotic scored one of his three international goals against England in that 2-2 draw in November 2011, one of three in his five years with the national team. The 26-year-old right-sided player plays for Young Boys in Switzerland and scored a memorable late equaliser against Liverpool at Anfield in the Europa League group stage this season.

Milorad Pekovic

Veteran midfielder who has carved out a career in Germany, initially with Eintracht Trier and Mainz, and latterly with Bundesliga strugglers Greuther Furth. Has 31 caps for Montenegro.

Mitar Novakovic

Defensive midfield player who often comes on from the bench, Novakovic has played for Russian team Amkar Perm for five years and has 21 caps for his country.

Milos Krkotic

25-year-old player for Dacia Chisinau in Moldova, Krkotic was on the bench in his adopted homeland the other evening, but didn’t come on for a first cap.

Celebration: Elsad Zverotic (left), Stefan Savic (centre) and Vladimir Bozovic mark the 1-0 win over Moldova on Friday

Celebration: Elsad Zverotic (left), Stefan Savic (centre) and Vladimir Bozovic mark the 1-0 win over Moldova on Friday

STRIKERS

Mirko Vucinic

The closest Montenegro have to a household name, Juventus striker Vucinic once had his creative flair likened to Vincent Van Gogh by a Serie A coach. Brilliant and infuriating in equal measure, England will be hoping it’s the less inspired Vucinic that turns up on Tuesday night.

He’s in decent form though – a fortnight ago, he was combining with Juve midfielder Claudio Marchisio to score a lovely goal against Bologna, and on Friday he won a tricky match in Moldova when his side were down to 10 men.

Former Juventus legend Pavel Nedved sums the 29-year-old up neatly: ‘I love watching him play because he is a genius, a total genius. He can be infuriating with the way he disappears from games.

‘There are times when he is almost invisible and it drives you mad. But then he’ll do something amazing that lifts you out of your seat and you love him for it.’

Chris Smalling and Joleon Lescott, you have been warned…

Mad: Vucinic celebrates in his pants after scoring a goal for Montenegro against Switzerland

Mad: Vucinic celebrates in his pants after scoring a goal for Montenegro against Switzerland

Born in the city of Niksic, Vucinic was talent spotted and transferred to Italian side Lecce in 2000, consistently scoring 20 or more goals in a season as they swapped between Serie A and B.

He then switched to Roma in 2006, scoring 64 goals in 202 matches for the club in his five seasons there. Juventus bought him for around 12m in 2011 and Vucinic won the title in his first season.

Averaging a goal every two games for Montenegro, Vucinic has been performing his national duty in winding up Wayne Rooney during the build-up.

Good record: Vucinic has 14 goals in 30 international appearances

Good record: Vucinic has 14 goals in 30 international appearances

‘There is no doubt that Wayne Rooney is one of the best strikers in the world, but we know from the last time England played here that he can sometimes play with a hot head,’ he said.

‘Our fans will not forget the red card he received and I am sure they will let him know. It is an intimidating place to come and if England want to have any chance then Rooney will need to keep a calm head.

‘He is a good player but it has been proved over the years that you can get a reaction out of him. England would have no chance with 10 men and I’m sure their coach will be telling them that.’

Stevan Jovetic

Linked at the moment with Arsenal and Manchester City, the other half of Montenegro’s deadly attack is Fiorentina’s curly-haired Jovetic.

Jovetic, 23, is on record as saying that the Premier League is ‘the top of the football world’ and Tuesday’s match against England will be something of an audition for him.

Heaven sent: Stevan Jovetic celebrates a goal for Fiorentina against Bologna this season

Heaven sent: Stevan Jovetic celebrates a goal for Fiorentina against Bologna this season

So far, he has 12 goals for his club this season, including a brace against Inter Milan last month. He also has 10 in 21 games for Montenegro since making his debut in that inaugural match against Hungary in 2007.

Andrija Delibasic

Scorer of the last minute equaliser the last time these sides met, Delibasic plays for Rayo Vallecano in Spain, for whom he has four league goals this season. He filed his boots against San Marino earlier in the qualifying campaign, with four in two matches, but is likely to be on the bench against England.

Mental: The scenes after Montenegro scored their equaliser against England in the Euro 2012 qualifier in October 2011

Mental: The scenes after Montenegro scored their equaliser against England in the Euro 2012 qualifier in October 2011

Fatos Beqiraj

Back-up striker who plays in Croatia for Dinamo Zagreb. Last season, Beqiraj was top scorer in the Croatian top flight with 15 goals in 28 appearances, becoming the first foreigner to achieve that feat. The 24-year-old has won 18 caps and scored three times for his country.

Dejan Damjanovic

A long trip home for Damjanovic, who plays out in Korea for FC Seoul. He’s a prolific scorer in the K-League, with 94 goals in 146 appearances over the last five years. Scored the winner in the earlier World Cup qualification match against Ukraine, one of three strikes for Montenegro.

Filip Kasalica

Favoured in Moldova alongside Vucinic and Jovetic, Red Star frontman Kasalica, 24, is a fairly recent graduate from the Under 21 team and has only five caps to his credit so far. Scored his only goal to date in the 2-0 friendly win over Latvia before the start of the qualification campaign.

Chosen men: The Montenegro line-up

Chosen men: The Montenegro line-up

ENGLAND NEED TO WIN THE AERIAL DUELS

With England's first-choice central defensive partnership unavailable, Roy Hodgson will be nervous about our chances of winning the aerial battles.

Montenegro are a team packed with six foot plus players and, unsurprisingly, top the World Cup ranking for headers won.

England, by contrast, are 35th in the same ranking, having won just 46 per cent of their aerial contests.

Cautionary tale: Andrija Delibasic scored with an equaliser the last time the sides met

Cautionary tale: Andrija Delibasic scored with an equaliser the last time the sides met

Watch the skies: Aerial duel statistics from the current World Cup qualifying campaign

Watch the skies: Aerial duel statistics from the current World Cup qualifying campaign. Source: Opta

Montenegro's fearsome defenders will take some beating in the air – Marko Basa is 6' 3″, Miodrag Dzudovic is 6' 5″ and Stefan Savic is 6' 2″ – and so Wayne Rooney and Jermain Defoe need service in to feet.

If they manage to work a shooting opportunity, first choice goalkeeper Mladen Bozovic is 6' 5″.

Up front, in addition to their myriad other qualities, Vucinic (6' 1″) and Jovetic (6' 1″) will give Chris Smalling and Joleon Lescott an uncomfortable time from crosses.

Corners are a concern too, with three of Montenegro's goals in the qualifying campaign coming from them.

Set piece danger: The statistics on corner conversion from the current World Cup qualifying campaign. Source: Opta

Set piece danger: The statistics on corner conversion from the current World Cup qualifying campaign. Source: Opta

PODGORICA CITY STADIUM

Despite only being about the size of Southend United's Roots Hall ground, England will face a hostile reception at the Podgorica City Stadium.

Holding 12,000 spectators, the home of FK Buducnost Podgorica was scene of the 2-2 draw between the sides in November 2011, when home fans raised the atmosphere, Wayne Rooney was sent off and England let slip a two-goal lead.

Compact: The 12,000-capacity Podgorica Stadium which will host the match on Tuesday

Compact: The 12,000-capacity Podgorica Stadium which will host the match on Tuesday

Rustic: One of the turnstiles at the stadium, where about 1,300 England fans will be in attendance

Rustic: One of the turnstiles at the stadium, where about 1,300 England fans will be in attendance

There were chaotic scenes at the end, too, as home fans poured onto the pitch to confront the 1,100 travelling England contingent.

'At our home nobody takes points off us easily. Who knows what might happen if the weather is not good and the pitch will not be in perfect shape It could help us,' said Dejan Damjanovic.

Hostile: Home fans celebrate on the pitch and goad England supporters after the 2-2 draw in 2011

Hostile: Home fans celebrate on the pitch and goad England supporters after the 2-2 draw in 2011

PREVIOUS MEETINGS

Aside from that 2-2 draw already alluded to, the only previous meeting between England and Montenegro in their current guise was a drab 0-0 draw at Wembley earlier in the same Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.

Fabio Capello's side dominated possession in the October 2010 encounter but Wayne Rooney was subdued and was denied by goalkeeper Mladen Bozovic from snatching all three point at the end.

Montenegro's Milan Jovanovic struck the crossbar from long range with only seven minutes left.

Denied: Kevin Davies, a sub, tries to turn the ball home under pressure from Marko Basa and goalkeeper Mladen Bozovic in the 0-0 draw at Wembley in October 2010

Denied: Kevin Davies, a sub, tries to turn the ball home under pressure from Marko Basa and goalkeeper Mladen Bozovic in the 0-0 draw at Wembley in October 2010

Dejection: England trudge off after the drab goalless draw in the Euro 2012 qualifier

Dejection: England trudge off after the drab goalless draw in the Euro 2012 qualifier

The line-ups that night:

England: Hart, Glen Johnson, Ferdinand, Lescott, Ashley Cole, Adam Johnson, Gerrard, Barry, Young (Wright-Phillips 74), Rooney, Crouch (Davies 69)

Montenegro: Mladen Bozovic, Basa, Jovanovic, Djudovic, Savic, Vukcevic, Zverotic, Boskovic (Beciraj 82), Novakovic (Kascelan 62), Pekovic, Djalovic (Delibasic 77)

England played Serbia and Montenegro once, a 2-1 win in a friendly at the Walkers Stadium in Leicester in June 2003 in which Steven Gerrard and Joe Cole scored.

MONTENEGRO'S REMAINING FIXTURES

June 7 Ukraine (H) September 6 Poland (A) October 11 England (A) October 15 Moldova (H)