Tag Archives: performers

Julio Cesar: I"m staying in London, even if QPR go down

Cesar: Even if QPR are relegated, I'll be staying in London

By
Declan Warrington

PUBLISHED:

15:41 GMT, 9 April 2013

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UPDATED:

17:11 GMT, 10 April 2013

Julio Cesar has revealed he is determined to remain in London, even if QPR are relegated from the Premier League.

The talented Brazil goalkeeper was a surprise summer signing at Loftus Road and has been one of their rare transfer successes and even rarer consistent performers over the course of a disastrous season.

Such is the likelihood that QPR are to be relegated back to the Championship, Cesar has been reported as being on the verge of a move to AC Milan, whose cross-city rivals Inter he left last summer.

Classy: Julio Cesar used to be considered one of the world's best goalkeepers

Classy: Julio Cesar used to be considered one of the world's best goalkeepers

Stopping short of committing himself to QPR, however, Cesar is adamant he regardless wishes to continue to play in the Premier League and insists he has no intention of undermining his time at Inter by moving to Milan.

'I'm still an Interista in my heart,' he told Corriere della Sport. 'I’m learning a new language in London, the city is beautiful and my family is happy.

'I was certainly not treated well by Inter. I love Italy, but I’ve been won over by the environment here.'

On his knees: But even he cannot save QPR's season from disaster

On his knees: But even he cannot save QPR's season from disaster

Cesar's apparent desire to remain in London significantly limits his options if he is to remain in the Premier League but it is not unthinkable that he will secure a suitable move.

Fulham were in January interested in recruiting a new goalkeeper although Mark Schwarzer's return to form means that stance may have changed, West Ham had attempted but failed to sign Paul Robinson and the Arsenal future of Wojciech Szczesny remains uncertain.

Should Watford gain promotion to the Premier League there is also a chance he could join their growing overseas contingent but the likelihood of each remains to be seen.

Steven Fletcher fit for Sunderland v Southampton

Sunderland hitman Fletcher shakes off ankle injury ahead of Saints relegation battle

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 20 December 2012

Sunderland top scorer Steven Fletcher has handed Martin O’Neill a welcome boost and will be fit to face Southampton after a full week of training.

The Scotland international has been struggling with an ankle injury and he was forced off in last week’s defeat at Manchester United.

His return to full fitness is vital for Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill ahead of Saturday’s visit to Southampton and stand-in skipper John O’Shea has now urged his team-mates to match Fletcher’s outstanding standards this season.

Goal machine: Steven Fletcher is fit for Sunderland as they travel down south

Goal machine: Steven Fletcher is fit for Sunderland as they travel down south

Fletcher has scored seven goals since his 12million switch from Wolves, and has been one of the Wearside club’s most consistent performers along with Danny Rose and Simon Mignolet.

Republic of Ireland international O’Shea has accepted Sunderland have been a let-down this season and have been embroiled in a relegation fight before a Christmas period which includes home clashes with Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.

He said: 'Thankfully we have got Steven Fletcher. I don’t know where we would be without his goals.

'He came here with a bit of a price-tag on his head, he settled in straight away, he’s a great lad who works hard. The manager has said he is a quiet lad who doesn’t say much but as long as he is scoring goals he can stay as quiet as he likes.

'His finishing is top drawer as he has shown with his goals. They have been really top class finishes. He has had to deal with having a big price-tag in his next few moves but that has not affected him one bit.

'Fingers crossed we keep him fit as much as we can. He has had a few little niggles but nothing major, thankfully. It’s up to the rest of the lads now.

Leader: John O'Shea will take over as captain in Lee Cattermole's absence

Leader: John O'Shea will take over as captain in Lee Cattermole's absence

'I’m sure Steven himself will want to
improve and he can do better. It’s about the whole team and squad –
especially when the manager makes or two changes, which he will during
this period.’

Sunderland
have won just three Premier League games in 25 under O’Neill and were
dragged into the bottom three earlier in the month.

O’Shea, who will captain the side at Southampton on Saturday in Lee Cattermole’s absence, believes a major improvement is within Sunderland’s capabilities.

He added: 'We keep talking after games about finishing well, but we have zero points from them. We can’t keep saying that and we have to make sure we do our jobs for the 90 minutes. We can’t keep doing what we doing or the end of the season will come round very quickly.

Pressure: Martin O'Neill has endured a tough season so far

Pressure: Martin O'Neill has endured a tough season so far

'The season has been stop-start. You think you are getting yourself going, then you suffer a defeat you’re not expecting and there’s a lot of room for improvement. There definitely is. We are not incapable of doing it.

'The top ten is not far away. We have seen where a team like Norwich have shot up the table with a good run and we are more than capable of that.

'You obviously hope at the start of the season you are up there competing for European positions and you are doing brilliantly but the reality is we were having a tough time last season as well.

'We are still in that tough spot at the minute. We will have to keep ourselves together to get out of it but we know we have the people and the manager to do it.'

Everton should sell Leighton Baines but keep Marouane Fellaini to fund Champions League push – Neville Southall

Sell Baines to fund Champions League push but keep Fellaini, Southall tells Everton

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UPDATED:

18:27 GMT, 18 December 2012

Former Everton goalkeeper Neville Southall believes defender Leighton Baines could be the player to be sacrificed in order to fund the club’s bid for Champions League football.

Southall thinks the Toffees need three players in January if they are to sustain a top-four challenge.

Midfielder Marouane Fellaini is the player who appears to be attracting most interest from other clubs but Baines has regularly been linked with Manchester United over the last 12 months.

Star performer: Leighton Baines has long been one of Everton's key men

Star performer: Leighton Baines has long been one of Everton's key men

Force of nature: Marouane Fellaini's goals have fired the Toffees this season

Force of nature: Marouane Fellaini's goals have fired the Toffees this season

Southall feels it would be easier – and cheaper – to find a solution at left-back but ideally he would not want Baines, one of Everton’s most consistent performers over the last few years, to leave.

'I’d like to see them buy three players, at least, or get three players on loan,' said the former Wales international, speaking at the launch of The Football Pools 90 Day Community Challenge at St Helens Junior Football Club, who received funding of 50,000 to makeover their club.

'They need a striker for definite, a midfield player who can pass – a more expansive midfield player – and a defender.

'We’ve got to this position now where, if they get two or three players, they can push on, finish fourth and get the Champions League.

'I don’t mind him (Moyes) selling one if he brings two in because that makes sense.

'If you are going to sacrifice anyone, Leighton Baines may be the one to go.

'You’ve got Phil Neville to fill in (at left-back) and you’ve got Bryan Oviedo you could get away with there.

Legend: Former keeper Neville Southall (centre) was at Everton for 17 years

Legend: Former keeper Neville Southall (centre) was at Everton for 17 years

'I would hate it but you can’t do Fellaini at the moment because it would cost twice as much to replace him.

'But I’d rather they add than take away, because if you’re taking away you’re saying to the fans “We don’t care, we’re just going to sell” and I don’t think that is right at all.'

Southall has been impressed by his former club’s performances this season, which has kept them within two points of third place.

But he believes they cannot afford to stand still and for all their attacking invention he thinks they require more guile to make them genuine top-four contenders.

'They have upped their performances and the reason for that is they have got goalscorers,' he added. 'They’ve kept it tight before because they didn’t have that cutting edge but now they have goals all over the pitch.

'I don’t think we have anyone with that vision. (Darron) Gibson is not bad to be fair but he’s not there every week.

'Maybe by next season he would be ideal but he’s picked up a few injuries here or there.

'Jelavic can change a game on his own but I’d like to see someone with a bit of drive and personality.

'I’d like to see them have someone who can take the game by the scruff of the neck and make an impact. Someone like the character of Andrei Kanchelskis but a midfielder who can drive the team forward, maybe make a few tackles – someone like a Steven Gerrard for Everton.

'They don’t seem to have someone who has that drive inside them yet.'

Dimitar Berbatov – why he is thriving at Fulham

You might think he is lazy… but Berbatov has grafted to become the king of Craven Cottage

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UPDATED:

16:20 GMT, 11 December 2012

When Martin Jol pulled off one of the surprises of the transfer window by singing Dimitar Berbatov from Manchester United many called it a masterstroke – but some questioned if the Bulgarian would be up for the challenge of playing down further down the Premier League with Fulham.

But 16 games into the Premier League season and Berbatov has more than proved any doubters wrong and has delivered more than even the most optimistic of Fulham fan could have dreamt of- even if he does wear tights.

The former golden boot winner has already chipped in with five goals this season, but he has contributed more than that, he has added style, adventure and leadership.

Man in tights: Dimitar Berbatov was one of Fulham's star performers against Newcastle

Man in tights: Dimitar Berbatov was one of Fulham's star performers against Newcastle

He may not have had his most accurate shooting boots on during Monday night’s 2-1 win over Newcastle, but he more than made up for it with his touch and vision.

And while jumping in the air for high balls does not appeal, why should it, when he simply plucks them out of the air with his feet and then plays the ball on the ground.

His somewhat laid back style of play at Old Trafford has not transferred to Craven Cottage where the Bulgarian seems to be thriving in the senior role at Fulham and is not afraid to get stuck in.

Good ball control: Berbatov keeps the ball in the west London derby against Fulham

Good ball control: Berbatov keeps the ball in the west London derby against Fulham

At times he may seem sulky and surly when the ball is not played to him at exactly the right time in the place that he wants it, but at others, he can be seen actively encouraging the younger players in the team, the likes of Alex Kacaniklic and more recently since his return from injury, Kerim Frei.

But it is not just the younger players; Berbatov makes himself available all around the pitch and for that reason is making more touches than most people remember him doing in his time with both Tottenham and Manchester United.

Berbatov touches v Newcastle.png

Berbatov heatmap v Newcastle.jpg

Getting everywhere: Opta stats show where Berbatov touched the ball against Newcastle and the areas of the pitch he was most active

Berbatov has often been accused of being a stroller, a player who does not move at speed, but watch him for Fulham this season and it is as if he has magnets in his boots.

If any criticisms are to be made, it is that possibly the Fulham players rely too much on him, by passing to him to get them out of trouble, but while he is willing then the problem is not so prevalent.

Naturally he has his own philosophy on how the game should be played, speaking ahead of the game with Newcastle in the programme.

Close control: Berbatov keeps the ball away from Fabricio Coloccini

Close control: Berbatov keeps the ball away from Fabricio Coloccini

He said: 'I like to play with beauty and grace – that has always been my philosophy from a young age.

'That’s how I play and that’s what football is about. Plenty of football players play like this and that is what I want to watch.

'I don’t want to watch players puffing around the pitch. You see games where the ball is flying from one box to another and it makes my neck hurt. That is not football for me.'

He may not want to see players puffing around the pitch, but don’t let that fool you that he is afraid of hard work.

Part of the team: Berbatov celebrates Fulham first goal against Newcastle with his team-mates

Part of the team: Berbatov celebrates Fulham first goal against Newcastle with his team-mates

Against Arsenal last month, with Fulham 2-0 down after 25 minutes he single handily dragged Jol’s team back into the game and earning a point by scoring two and creating the other one for Kacaniklic.

And back to Monday’s game with Newcastle, and it was probably not his favourite type of game, given its fast and frantic nature. But he did his best to lead the team and end Fulham’s seven game winless run.

And Jol was clearly pleased with the Bulgarian’s contribution, he said: ‘He didn’t score but he kept the team together in the hole and I was very happy with him.

'My squad realise that Berbatov is a key player. He is the one that keeps us together.

'He probably covered more ground than ever before. He’s a good number 10. After losing Clint Dempsey, I’m very happy that he came to this club.'

Jol is clearly delighted that his transfer window masterstroke is paying off and while it is, Fulham fans and football fans in general should enjoy it.

Berbatov

Stuart Broad form an issue for England, says David Saker

Broad's form has become an 'issue' for England, admits bowling coach Saker as Finn returns to action

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UPDATED:

10:11 GMT, 27 November 2012

Wicketless: Broad has struggled in India

Wicketless: Broad has struggled in India

England have admitted they have ‘an issue’ with Stuart Broad and may consider dropping their vice-captain for the crucial third Test in Kolkata next week.

Broad – who was hit by illness during the second Test as exclusively revealed by Sportsmail on Friday night – had a match to forget here in Mumbai as England pulled off an historic victory to level the series against India, bowling 12 wicketless overs for 60 runs in the first innings and not even being called on in the second.

Now, with Steven Finn returning to action on Monday for the England Performance Squad in their match here in Mumbai, Broad’s place is in question even though he has been one of their principal performers over the last few years.

‘There’s a little bit of an issue with Broad, there’s no doubt it,’ David Saker, the England fast bowling coach, told Sky TV here this morning. ‘He hasn’t bowled as we would have liked and he would be the first to admit that.

Vice-captain: Broad is second in command for EnglandVice-captain: Broad is second in command for England

Vice-captain: Broad is second in command for England

‘He’s not the first fast bowler to come over here and find it hard but the great fast bowlers have had success over here. Stuart is probably not a great yet but he has to learn ways to become great. It’s a great learning curve for him.

‘If he gets the next Test he will have to be ready for it. During my tenure as bowling coach I haven’t had too many players down on confidence and form. This is when I have to come to the party. I hope I can do stuff over the next few days that can help.’

With Tim Bresnan struggling in the first Test in Ahmedabad and being dropped for the second, Broad’s inclusion at Eden Gardens will probably come down to whether Finn has recovered from the thigh injury he suffered in the field in England’s first warm-up game here.

Knocking on the door: Finn plays for the Performance Squad this week

Knocking on the door: Finn plays for the Performance Squad this week

‘We’ve got our fingers crossed he’ll come through,’ said Saker. ‘If he gets through this game unscathed his name will definitely be up for selection next week.’

‘Finn has got that x-factor, a bit of pace, that height that always means you can get variable bounce over here. So his name will be bandied around for sure for that second seamer’s spot.’

Sam Warburton axed and Ryan Jones takes Wales captaincy

EXCLUSIVE: Warburton axed! Captain pays for Wales' dismal run as Jones takes over

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UPDATED:

23:28 GMT, 13 November 2012

Sam Warburton has been dropped to the bench for Wales's game against Samoa on Friday night, with former skipper Ryan Jones leading the side in his place.

Warburton, who led the team to a World Cup semi-final in 2011 and Grand Slam glory in this year's Six Nations, has struggled with injury over the past 12 months and his form has dipped as a result.

Interim head coach Rob Howley was under pressure to make changes to improve the side's form, especially after Saturday's dreadful defeat by Argentina.

Dropped: Sam Warburton has been put on the bench and the captaincy has been handed to Ryan Jones (below)

Dropped: Sam Warburton has been put on the bench and the captaincy has been handed to Ryan Jones (below)

Ryan Jones

Wales have lost their last four Test
matches and Warburton, who had been tipped as the stand-out contender to
lead the Lions in Australia next year, has been singled out.

His replacement Jones lost the Wales
captaincy in 2010 but the three-time Grand Slam winner has been one of
Wales's most consistent performers over the past 12 months.

Centre Jamie Roberts will have a
final fitness test this morning before Howley names his side to face
Samoa, after he suffered concussion in the game against the Pumas. But
lock Alun Wyn Jones (shoulder) and flanker Josh Turnbull (knee) have
been ruled out of the remainder of the autumn series.

Roberts said: 'I tackled Gonzalo
Tiesi pretty upright and it was probably my fault because it was poor
technique. His head caught me right on the sweet spot on the jaw.

'I hope to play against Samoa but I
have to go through the protocols where you are tested rigorously. I did
not suffer any memory loss and hopefully I will be fit for Friday.'

Wales are in danger of slipping
outside the top eight in the IRB rankings before the World Cup draw is
made in December, which could leave them in a nightmare group involving
both New Zealand and the likes of England or France.

Mauled by Pumas: Wales crashed to defeat at home to Argentina on Saturday

Mauled by Pumas: Wales crashed to defeat at home to Argentina on Saturday

Saturday's defeat by Argentina was
Wales's fourth consecutive Test loss, following their anti-climactic
tour to Australia this summer. If they lose to Samoa – who pushed an
in-form Wales side to the wire in last year's World Cup in New Zealand –
then they may slip out of the top eight.

Rankings are notoriously complex to
predict and that worst-case scenario would require the Pumas beating
France and Scotland beating South Africa this weekend, but with Tests
against New Zealand and Australia to follow at the Millennium Stadium it
is a real possibility.

It would be a nightmare end to the
season for the Grand Slam champions, who had hopes of gaining fourth
spot at the start of their autumn series.

Peter Odemwingie will put Nigeria before West Brom

Odemwingie hoping for Super Eagles glory in African Cup of Nations

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UPDATED:

23:00 GMT, 6 November 2012

Peter Odemwingie will put his country before club in the New Year after electing to play in the Africa Cup of Nations.

West Brom's striker is eager to make himself available for what might be his last chance of glory with Nigeria.

With the Baggies' victory over Southampton pushing the club up to the giddy heights of fifth, the forward has therefore pushed himself forward for selection.

Running hot: Peter Odemwingie and West Brom are doing well

Running hot: Peter Odemwingie and West Brom are doing well

'It's hard not to go for this,' he said, 'it could be my last one and it is a different situation now from the first two years at the club. My goals here were very important.

'Now any player can play well. We have good players who can play well for a whole month and I'm sure the club will do well without me.

'I have a few things to clarify with the Nigeria manager because he substituted me in his first game, very early in the second-half.

'But after speaking to him, he said it was nothing personal that the whole team was playing badly and unfortunately for me, he started by taking me off.

'Everything has settled down now. He says that if I want to play, I'm welcome. So, of course, it's my country which I love and I'm going to play for them.

'I will put the country and fans before anything.'

West Brom's head coach Steve Clarke will also miss midfield kingpin Youssouf Mulumbu who has been one of the Baggies' star performers this season.

Mulumbu is due to play with the DR Congo at the same time and Odemwingie feels West Brom have the depth of squad to cope.

Boom: Odemwingie powers home a header against Southampton

Boom: Odemwingie powers home a header against Southampton

'Youssouf is also a very important player for us in the middle but we have good numbers of players,' added the striker who took his tally to the season to three with a brace against Southampton on Monday night.

'We have Yassine El Ghanassay who is still waiting his chance to show something from one of the wings.

'We also have Chris Brunt, James Morrison and George Thorne. We have players who can play at this level and Albion took that into consideration when recruiting players. They knew a few of us might go.

'I know it's going to be a bit of a loss us leaving for a couple of weeks but we hope the players there can follow the team's performance.'

Chelsea must beat Shakhtar Donetsk – Juan Mata

Shakhtar tie is do or die, says Chelsea star Mata ahead of Stamford Bridge clash

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UPDATED:

19:29 GMT, 5 November 2012

Chelsea playmaker Juan Mata reckons Wednesday night's crucial Champions League clash with Shakhtar Donetsk should be treated like a final.

The Blues go into the match knowing a second defeat in a fortnight against the Ukrainian Premier League champions would leave them with a mountain to climb to avoid becoming the first reigning Champions League winners to fail to reach the knockout stage.

Mata, who has been one of Chelsea's top performers during the early parts of the season, knows what a stern challenge Shakhtar pose and will treat the meeting as a cup final.

Revenge mission: Chelsea were beaten in Ukraine

Revenge mission: Chelsea were beaten in Ukraine

'It's time to move on and to focus on the Champions League match this Wednesday. It's like a final for us if we want to finish first in our group,' he wrote on his official online blog.

'Besides, in Ukraine, Shakhtar proved to be a top team who are able to beat anyone. Even so, we always have a great support at the Bridge and I'm confident that we will get a victory to face the last two games in a good position. Champions League's nights at the Bridge are always special.'

The Spain playmaker sat out Saturday's 1-1 draw with Swansea with a slight hamstring problem after playing the whole of Chelsea's 5-4 extra-time victory over Manchester United in the Capital One Cup and suggested he just needed to rest up following a tiring week.

'After such a huge effort during 120 minutes I was forced to rest a few days with a hamstring injury,' he said.

'That's why I missed our game in Wales vs Swansea.'

Missing: Mata did not play as Chelsea were held by Swansea

Missing: Mata did not play as Chelsea were held by Swansea

Summer signing Victor Moses made his first league start for the club at Swansea due to Mata's injury with the former Wigan forward opening the scoring before Pablo Hernandez's late equaliser.

Moses feels he has shown Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo what he can do but reckons the team still needs to improve.

'It's a massive club and with the amount and quality of players we have here you have to wait for your chance. That's what I've been doing and I have to show the manager I'm good enough to start. It's just part of the game,' he told the club's official website.

'I was delighted to start but the game was a bit slow from us, though we came out second half and dominated, but it cost us at the end. It's not the best result but we have to take it and move on from it.

'Now we have to keep on improving week in week out, but I am delighted to be here.'

Improving: Di Matteo has introduced a new style of play to Chelsea this season

Improving: Di Matteo has introduced a new style of play to Chelsea this season

Defender David Luiz was also ruled out of the draw at Swansea with an ankle injury so the return of captain John Terry could prove to be very timely for Di Matteo.

Terry has just served a four-match domestic ban after deciding not to appeal an FA charge of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.
The former England skipper sat out three league games and the Capital One Cup success over Manchester United.

The Blues conceded 10 goals in Terry's absence and it would seem unthinkable that the 31-year-old will not come straight back into the starting line-up.

A 2-1 loss to reigning Ukrainian Premier League champions Shakhtar two weeks ago leaves Chelsea on four points after three games with a tricky trip to Turin to face Juventus still to come after Wednesday's match.

Mont-de-Marsan 6 Gloucester 11: Andy Hazell sees red for assault after "eye gouge"

Mont-de-Marsan 6 Gloucester 11: Hazell sees red for assault after 'eye gouge'

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UPDATED:

00:03 GMT, 12 October 2012

Sent off: Andy Hazell faces a lengthy ban

Sent off: Andy Hazell faces a lengthy ban

Former England flanker Andy Hazell was sent off as Gloucester launched their Amlin Challenge Cup campaign with victory in an ill-tempered clash at Stade Guy Boniface.

Hazell received a red card midway through the second period after he aimed a flurry of punches at an opponent on the floor and used his knee.

Hazell's back-row colleague Matt Cox was sin-binned for an off-the-ball challenge in the same incident that meant Gloucester were temporarily reduced to 13 men.

But the Aviva Premiership club prevailed thanks to wing Ian Clark's 30th-minute try, while Tim Taylor and Billy Twelvetrees booted second-half penalties.

Full-back Jean Baptiste Claverie kicked two penalties for the home side, yet Gloucester deserved their Pool One triumph that sets them up for next Thursday's Kingsholm appointment with Bordeaux-Begles.

Mont-de-Marsan, bottom of the French Top 14, did not help themselves as their former Scotland international lock Scott Murray and substitute hooker Ephraim Taukafa collected yellow cards in each half.

And with torrential rain making handling a hazard for both teams, Gloucester will be relieved to head home with four Pool One points in the bag.

Wing Charlie Sharples looked lively on his first game back after four weeks' sidelined recovering from shoulder trouble, while Gloucester skipper Mike Tindall also showed some neat touches.

But Gloucester's star performers proved to be the young and inexperienced front-row unit of Yann Thomas, Koree Britton and Shaun Knight, who dominated the scrums throughout.

Gloucester rugby director Nigel Davies said the Premiership club was likely to lodge an official complaint with tournament organisers over alleged foul play carried out on Hazell.

Davies told the Gloucester Citizen that Hazell's eye was 'severely sore and very red'.

'We'll speak to the citing commissioner, and there will be something done there,' Davies said.

'We can't condone what was done from a Gloucester view, but that was a reaction to what went on before.

'We will take our punishment, but I think they (Mont-de-Marsan) need to take their punishment too.

'We'll look at the video, and from what I've seen already I'm sure we will make a complaint.

'The doctor's had a look at Andy's eye. It was severely sore and very red.

'And we took some pictures of that, because that was damning evidence in its own right.

'He's disappointed with himself, but I think there were three incidents before that with the same player and he's caught him off the ball again, and unfortunately Andy snapped.'

John Terry out of England"s game with Ukraine

Hodgson faces defensive crisis as crocked Terry is ruled out of Ukraine qualifier

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UPDATED:

14:56 GMT, 9 September 2012

John Terry has been ruled out of England's World Cup qualifier with Ukraine at Wembley on Tuesday due to his ankle injury.

Terry suffered the setback during Friday night's 5-0 win in Moldova and England finished the game with 10 men after the Chelsea defender limped out of the action in the closing stages.

He continued to have treatment on Saturday after returning to England but it has been decided, an FA spokesman said, that Terry will not recover sufficiently in time to face the Ukrainians.

Gutted: John Terry will not face Ukraine after picking up an injury

Gutted: John Terry will not face Ukraine after picking up an injury

Gary Cahill is likely to replace Terry and partner Joleon Lescott at centre-back in the second qualifying match of the campaign.

It would be Cahill's first appearance at Wembley since he suffered the broken jaw against Belgium which ruled him out of Euro 2012.

Phil Jagielka, who partnered Lescott when they were team-mates at Everton, is the other player in contention.

Call to arms: Gary Cahill (right) will likely replace Terry in the England defence

Call to arms: Gary Cahill (right) will likely replace Terry in the England defence

Terry was one of England's most consistent performers at the European Championship and helped his country overcome Ukraine in a group encounter.

Left-back Ashley Cole had already been ruled out with the ankle injury which prevented him from playing in Chisinau and remains on 98 caps.

But Leighton Baines proved a capable deputy against Moldova and scored England's final goal.

England midfielder Frank Lampard has described the absence of Terry as 'a big blow'.

The defender's Chelsea team-mate said: 'He is a top player and he is experienced at playing these qualifying games. It is a big blow.

'We are blessed with fantastic back-up, whoever comes in. We need someone in the squad to step up and I am sure they will do just that.'