Tag Archives: physique

Christian Benteke not for sale, says Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert

Don't call him the new Drogba: Lambert says it's unfair to compare Benteke to former Chelsea star

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UPDATED:

14:10 GMT, 21 December 2012

Paul Lambert believes it is unfair to label Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke as the new Didier Drogba but insists the Belgium international can have an outstanding career.

Benteke has been drawing comparisons with former Chelsea star Drogba with his physique and power and the way he tormented the Liverpool defence during last weekend's 3-1 win at Anfield.

The 22-year-old is already looking a bargain buy at 8 million from Genk during the latter stages of the summer transfer window.

A star is born: Christian Benteke has made a big impact at Villa since signing in the summer

A star is born: Christian Benteke has made a big impact at Villa since signing in the summer

Lambert, whose side visit Chelsea on Sunday, said: 'I can understand why people are comparing with Drogba with the size of the two guys – but Christian is his own man.

'It's unfair for me to turn around and say he's going to be the next Didier Drogba with the career he's had.

'Christian has only just turned 22. But the potential there is incredible, what he can achieve.

'He's been absolutely brilliant for me, not just as a footballer but as a guy he is really humble, which is important. He's been brilliant.'

In the goals: Benteke has scored eight goals for Villa this season

Didier Drogba

Don't compare: Paul Lambert has asked for Benteke not to be compared with Didier Drogba

Lambert has a long-term vision for Villa and is adamant Benteke is part of that future admidst speculation he could become a target for the leading clubs during the January transfer window.

He said: 'There's no point in us even being here if it's a case of bringing people in and then letting them go.

'What's the point in that We're trying to build something here which can take a few years and you need good players with you to achieve that.

'There's no point in them coming for half a season or a year and then we let them go. That's not the right way.'

Not for sale: Paul Lambert says Benteke is not going anywhere in January

Not for sale: Paul Lambert says Benteke is not going anywhere in January

Benteke is developing a thriving partnership with Andreas Weimann who has started to realise his potential since being an extended run of games under Lambert.

The understanding was demonstrated via Weimann's sublime finish after Benteke's back heel for the second goal at Anfield.

Lambert said: 'Andi (Weimann) was here long before I came in. He's a natural finisher and has an incredible work-rate for the game of football.
'Provided he does not lose that, he can be a right good player.

'He's a totally different player to Christian, but he certainly knows where the goal is.

'We try to let them have the freedom to go and play and create.

'The second goal against Liverpool had great build-up and the finishing touch was the backheel from Benteke while the hardest part of the game is putting the ball in the net.'

In good form: Chelsea beat Leeds 5-1 in the Capital One Cup

In good form: Chelsea beat Leeds 5-1 in the Capital One Cup

Villa are unbeaten in their last five league games and also reached the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup.

Lambert still expects Chelsea to pose a formidable threat despite their hectic schedule and travelling back from the World Club Championship in Japan.

He also has immense respect for the Blues interim manager Rafael Benitez.

Lambert said: 'I hope the travelling affects them – but I don't think it will. They had a good result the other night against Leeds.

'The tiredness only comes in if you are not getting results, if you're winning nobody bothers.

'In terms of Rafa, you look at his managerial career and it is phenomenal.

'He's gone in there at a difficult time and tried to stabilise it and get results at the same time.

'You look at Chelsea's squad, and the players they've got, and there are some world-class players in there.'

Newcastle United superhero Whey Aye Man

Unmasked! New Geordie superhero 'Whey Aye Man' set to take the Toon by storm

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UPDATED:

10:49 GMT, 4 October 2012

Batman has been spotted speeding away to the hills in the Batmobile, and nobody's seen Spiderman swinging around the Toon for weeks.

Why There's a new caped crusader in town and with the speed of Hatem Ben Arfa, the strength of Shola Ameobi and the reflexes of Tim Krul, he's better than both combined.

Meet Whey Aye Man – the new Geordie superhero unveiled by Newcastle United this week.

Local Hero: Newcastle have released a Whey Aye Man costume as part of their fancy dress range

Local Hero: Newcastle have released a Whey Aye Man costume as part of their fancy dress range

With his black and white wig and mask, ripped physique and club y-fronts, Whey Aye Man is your favourite now.

Newcastle has released the outfit, priced at 49.99, as an alternative to the traditional matchday attire, or as a unique stag weekend costume.

The Whey Aye Man outfit is available to buy in Newcastle club stores and Shearer's Bar.

Whey Aye Man boasts the speed of Hatem Ben Arfa

Whey Aye Man boasts the speed of Hatem Ben Arfa…

...the strength of striker Shola Ameobi...

…the strength of striker Shola Ameobi…

...and the reflexes of goalkeeper Tim Krul

…and the reflexes of goalkeeper Tim Krul

England fly-half Toby Flood faces battle to keep No 10 shirt at Leicester

Flood dilemma for England as fly-half faces battle to keep Leicester No 10 jersey

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UPDATED:

17:07 GMT, 28 August 2012

Fifty-cap England fly-half Toby Flood
has been warned that he may have to accept a job-share arrangement with
rising star George Ford when Leicester's Aviva Premiership campaign
opens on Sunday.

Flood regained the England No 10
jersey during the summer Test series against South Africa but, as
Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill reminded him, nothing is
guaranteed at Welford Road.

Warning: Toby Flood of Leicester

Warning: Toby Flood of Leicester

Ford, a member of the England Saxons squad, spent his summer in the gym and the 19-year-old is now in a position to compete with Flood to be Leicester's first-choice fly-half.

Cockerill believes both men are good enough to be in the senior England squad – but only one can start for the Tigers.

'At Leicester in particular, nobody's spot is guaranteed,' Cockerill said.

'We have seen in the past that guys have been left out of the side, when on paper you would have picked them.

'Toby reacts to it very well. He knows that he needs to play very well to be in the side because he wants to play for England.

'George Ford is younger but he is a very good player too. I am hoping he will kick on and be really good for us. Toby the same.

'Both need to play for us. We want to keep them both long term.

'Like we have with (tight-head props) Dan Cole and Martin Castrogiovanni. They are both playing Test matches, they are both playing for their club.

'They understand that not playing every week is beneficial. The difficulty is if they are both playing well.

'It is a great headache to have, two really good fly-halves.'

Rival: George Ford

Rival: George Ford

The situation is both good and bad news for England coach Stuart Lancaster, who will be excited to hear that Ford has developed his physique and is in form after a summer of conditioning.

But Lancaster could have only one of his top four fly-halves – Freddie Burns of Gloucester – playing regularly in the pivotal position during the Premiership season.

Lancaster's back-up Test fly-half Owen Farrell is expected to spend most of the coming campaign in the centres for Saracens.

Outside of Lancaster's two elite squads, Danny Cipriani has returned to the Premiership with the stated ambition of regaining his place in the England set-up for the 2015 World Cup.

Cipriani will need to prove himself to Lancaster but, fitness permitting, he will have that stage at Sale Sharks while Bath's Tom Heathcote has to compete with Stephen Donald.

Last summer, Ford helped the England Under-20s to the final of the Junior World Championship and he was named the International Rugby Board's young player of the year for 2011.

After a debate between club and country, Ford did not tour with an England representative team in June and instead worked on bulking up to meet the rigorous demands of the Premiership.

'It was the right thing to do,' Cockerill said.

'It is perfect. He is 88-89 kilos. When he came home from the Junior World Cup last summer he was 79 kilos.

'He is quicker and more powerful and more robust than he has been before.

'It was a sensible decision from both club and country because if George kicks on this year he will not have another off-season for a long time.

'England have two fly-halves in the senior squad. George and Freddie Burns are in the Saxons. If there is an injury you would imagine one of those guys will get roped into the first team.'

Jack Butland is after Joe Hart"s England No 1 jersey

Mine for keeps! Birmingham stopper Butland is after Hart's No 1 jersey

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 13 August 2012

This is the rise of Jack Butland: Cheltenham to Euro 2012 and the Olympic Games, to the brink of an England debut which would smash a 124-year-old record.

Yet this is a teenager who has not played competitive football higher than League Two. Headlong into the hype we go, except many sober judges of goalkeeping talent are giddy at the rapid progress of this 19-year-old from Birmingham City, who boasts a grown-up attitude, perfectly in proportion to his powerful physique.

'It has come so quick,' said Butland. 'But hopefully I've shown people I'm more mature than my age. That's important as a keeper, you have to be mature. You need experience under your belt but age is just a number.

Young lions: Ruddy (left) and Butland are set for their England debuts against Italy on Wednesday

Young lions: Ruddy (left) and Butland
are set for their England debuts against Italy on Wednesday

Record breaker

If Jack Butland plays on Wednesday he would be England’s youngest ever goalkeeper at 19 years 158 days, 64 days younger than Billy Moon, who kept goal against Wales in 1888.

'It's been a whirlwind year really. It started with the Under 20 World Cup in Colombia and then going out on loan to Cheltenham, which was something I needed to do.

'That helped me with the Under 21s and eventually put me forward for the Euros and Olympics.'

Butland was on holiday with his girlfriend in Mexico when his summer exploded and he was called into England's Euro 2012 squad after John Ruddy was injured.

Whirlwind year: Rutland was called up to England's Euro 2012 squad before competing for Team GB at the Olympics

Whirlwind year: Rutland was called up to England's Euro 2012 squad before competing for Team GB

'I turned my phone on when I got in the airport and it went mad with messages,' said Butland. 'I just said, “We have to go home”.'

He cut short his trip, but as third choice did not play. However, Roy Hodgson could hand him a first senior international cap against Italy in Switzerland tomorrow.

Eyes on the prize: Butland is after Hart's No 1 jersey

Eyes on the prize: Butland is after Hart's No 1 jersey

'Luckily I have the family around me to make sure I don't get ahead of myself, which is something I hate to see in players,' said Butland.

Butland has developed within the England youth system and featured in the Under 17 team which won the European Championship in 2010.

He was born into a rugby-loving family in Bristol and was a decent centre and No 8 before devoting his time to football at Birmingham.

'It was a two-and-a-half-hour journey on the train,' said Butland. 'I'd go to school on Monday and then jump on a train to Birmingham.

'I'd stay Monday night and train all day Tuesday, then come home, go to school on Wednesday, back up to training in the afternoon after school and train all day Thursday.

'I'd come home on Thursday and then get the train back up to Birmingham on Friday night to play for the academy sides on a Saturday.

'I'd do my schoolwork on the train and have one-on-one lessons with one of my geography teachers on Friday lunchtime to catch up on the work I missed.

'It was something I needed to do and I passed my GCSE exams with two As, six Bs and a C.'

Last Saturday, Butland played his first game at St Andrew's in a pre-season friendly and has told manager Lee Clark he wants to establish himself as Birmingham's No 1 and play '40-plus' games in the Championship this season rather than warm the bench at a top-flight club. From there, he hopes to challenge Joe Hart for his place in the England team.

Why Berne

England play Italy in Switzerland for a
‘home’ fixture because of Olympic regulations, designed to deter major
sporting events from taking place in the host city around the time of the Games.

'He's not the only goalkeeper in England and for me it's the target to test him and eventually try and take his place,' he said.

'I'm good friends with Joe, but when it comes down to it only one person can wear the shirt and hopefully I'll get that chance.'

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain became the third player to withdraw from Hodgson's squad yesterday when he reported with an ankle injury which could rule him out of Arsenal's first game of the season against Sunderland on Saturday.

Daniel Sturridge (toe) and Hart (back) have also pulled out. Joleon Lescott has been called up. Italy have also named a young squad featuring 12 uncapped players. Mario Balotelli was ruled out because of conjunctivitis.

Jonathan Edwards blasts Jessica Ennis "fat" comments

It is appalling to call Ennis fat! Olympic legend Edwards blasts disparaging remarks

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UPDATED:

22:26 GMT, 29 May 2012

Olympic triple-jump gold medallist Jonathan Edwards has branded comments about Jess Ennis being fat 'appalling'.

The 26-year-old's coach Toni Minichiello revealed last week a 'high-ranking' person within UK Athletics made the remarks about the heptathlete.

And Edwards, who won gold in the 2000 Games in Sydney said: 'It's an appalling word to use. If you have concerns over somebody firstly they should be private for something as sensitive as that but you don't use emotive words like fat.'

Jessica Ennis

Jonathan Edwards

Support: Edwards (right) has hit out at disparaging remarks made about Ennis

Neil Wilson

Ennis beat her main rivals for gold and broke Denise Lewis's British record at Gotzis last weekend.

Edwards added: 'It was the perfect riposte. Jess is not going to have the physique of a sprint-hurdler because she's got to do the shot put and the javelin so she has to get a balance between having some muscle bulk to do the heavy throws as well as be fast to do the hurdles, the 200m, the long jump and also the 800m. She looks fabulous.'

Paul Pogba"s agent watches Juventus in action

United star Pogba closes in on Juventus switch after his agent jets in for talks

Paul Pogba's agent watched Juventus beat AC Milan 2-1 in the first leg of the Italian Cup semi-final on Wednesday, amid growing claims in Italy that the Manchester United midfielder will head for Turin when his contract expires at the end of the season.

The 18-year-old was introduced for his Barclays Premier League debut in United's win over Stoke late last month as Sir Alex Ferguson opted to give him some valuable experience.

 On the Paul: Pogba made his Premier League debut against Stoke on the last day of January

On the Paul: Pogba made his Premier League debut against Stoke on the last day of January

Negotiating: Sir Alex is keen to tie Pogba down to a new deal

Negotiating: Sir Alex is keen to tie Pogba down to a new deal

It was a notable move on the day Ravel
Morrison quit for West Ham and comes at a time when United are still
trying to persuade Pogba to sign a new contract.

And the United boss confirmed talks were continuing and he was hopeful of a positive resolution.

'Pogba did very well,' Ferguson told the BBC after the game.

'The boy has great talent and tremendous physique for an 18-year-old. You can't believe it.

'We are negotiating his contract at the moment.

'It is a bit complicated at the moment because he has changed his agent a couple of times.

'But the boy wants to stay, that is obvious. Hopefully we can get it done soon.'

Paul Pogba wants Manchester United stay – Sir Alex Ferguson

Pogba wants to stay at Man United… and I want to keep him, claims Fergie

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is still hopeful of retaining young midfielder Paul Pogba.

The 18-year-old was introduced for his Barclays Premier League debut in United's win over Stoke on Tuesday night as Ferguson opted to give Pogba some valuable experience.

On the Paul: Pogba made his Premier League debut against Stoke on Tuesday

On the Paul: Pogba made his Premier League debut against Stoke on Tuesday

It was a notable move on the day Ravel Morrison quit for West Ham and comes at a time when United are still trying to persuade Pogba to sign a new contract.

Negotiating: Fergie is keen to tie Pogba down to a new deal

Negotiating: Fergie is keen to tie Pogba down to a new deal

Italian giants Juventus are amongst the clubs who have expressed an interest in the French teenager, whom Ferguson has previously advised not to follow the money trail because if he makes it at Old Trafford, Pogba will be a very wealthy young man.

And the United boss confirmed talks were continuing and he was hopeful of a positive resolution.

'Pogba did very well,' Ferguson told the BBC.

'The boy has great talent and tremendous physique for an 18-year-old. You can't believe it.

'We are negotiating his contract at the moment.

'It is a bit complicated at the moment because he has changed his agent a couple of times.

'But the boy wants to stay, that is obvious. Hopefully we can get it done soon.'

Danny Welbeck will get better, says Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Welbeck is only going to get better, insists United boss Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson has warned wary Premier League defenders that Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck still has a lot of growing up to do.

Welbeck's introduction to the United first-team has been one of the major bonuses for Ferguson this season.

The 21-year-old was part of the new wave of Red Devils that took the early weeks of the campaign by storm.

Eye for goal: Danny Welbeck scores United's crucial late winner at Arsenal last weekend

Eye for goal: Danny Welbeck scores United's crucial late winner at Arsenal last weekend

However, after a month on the sidelines with a muscle injury picked up on England duty in November, Welbeck has hit a rich vein of form, scoring four times on his last six appearances and taking his tally to three in three games with his late winner at Arsenal last weekend.

It represents the kind of return that saw Ferguson predict Welbeck would gatecrash Fabio Capello's World Cup squad in 2010. A succession of niggling problems prevented that from happening. But now the Manchester-born striker is fulfilling his potential, even if Ferguson feels there is still a bit of physical development left.

'We were always aware of Danny Welbeck's ability,' said the United boss.

'The issue with him now is addressing the physical side. When he was 16 he had problems with his knees because he was growing, then he had some thigh problems.

'It was nothing serious, just a matter of waiting for Danny to develop into a man, which we are seeing the signs of now.

'He has a great physique but there is still more to come. Our stats show there's still a bit to do before he becomes a complete adult.'

One area that doesn't need much assistance is attitude. It was interesting to make a comparison between last weekend's young match winners. Whilst Mario Balotelli has got himself into all kinds of scrapes since his arrival at Manchester City, other than a failure to sign a new contract, which Ferguson insists is not an issue, Welbeck has largely kept himself away from the headlines.

Happy days: Welbeck celebrates his winner at Arsenal

Happy days: Welbeck celebrates his winner at Arsenal

'He has a good attitude, although he should have, he's a young player with an opportunity at Manchester United,' said Ferguson.

'That's one of the reasons you pick these players, because they show their temperament as they come through the youth programmes and the reserves.

'I am always confident about their temperament, their attitude to the game and their enthusiasm to play.

'In terms of judging young players, I don't think we've ever failed in that respect.'

Having been restricted to the scope of youngsters they could attract to their academy due to FA rules on recruitment, United have had to use their extensive number of scouts to trawl the local area.

As a boyhood United fan, and a close friend of Wes Brown, who also grew up in the Longsight area of the city, Welbeck was always likely to gravitate to the Red Devils.

It maintains a tradition that goes back decades, and came to fruition most notably with the 'Class of 92' which provided a core of locally-born players for both United and England.

The man for all seasons: Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson

The man for all seasons: Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson

Now, Ferguson feels others are emerging from the United side that won last year's FA Youth Cup, although it hardly seemed like an accidental oversight that he failed to include controversial youngster Ravel Morrison amongst the players to watch out for.

'The team that won the FA Youth Cup last year were almost all local boys and they're all starting to emerge in their own different ways,' he said.

'Most of them have been involved in the first-team squad this season; the two Keanes (Michael and Will), Larnell Cole, Jesse Lingaard, Zeki Fryers, Paul Pogba and young Ryan Tunnicliffe, who is at Peterborough and playing regularly in the Championship at the age of 18. That's good going.

'Obviously the difference is that in 1992 that group all got into the first-team at more or less the same time and managed to stay in it.

'That's the big test for these young players and it will be interesting to see if they manage it.'