Tag Archives: praises

Christian Benteke not for sale, warns Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert

Benteke is going nowhere! Villa boss Lambert insists he won't sell striker

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UPDATED:

16:10 GMT, 3 December 2012

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has warned any interested clubs that 7million summer signing Christian Benteke is not for sale.

Benteke has been in sparkling form since his move from Genk on a four year contract.

He has has netted six goals, replaced Darren Bent as Villa’s No 1 striker, and also established himself in the Belgium side.

Denied: Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke had a goal ruled out against QPR at the weekend

Denied: Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke had a goal ruled out against QPR at the weekend

Lambert is constantly singing the praises of the 21-year-old and is adamant he will remain at Villa should any interest be forthcoming in the player.

He said: 'Christian has been excellent for us. He is a big strong lad but he can also play.

'If he keeps progressing the way he has so far, he will be an incredible player.

'I have to hold onto Benteke. He’s going nowhere.'

Lambert added: “I have run out of things to say about Christian. He is not the finished article but he has been excellent for us and a fans’ favourite.

'You have to be a good player to get into the current Belgium side and he has scored plenty of goals for them already.

'He might not peak for a few years yet. He’s only 21 and can be anything he wants.'

Lady Gaga loves Rio Ferdiand: Pop siren shows her support for Manchester United star as Roy Hodgson omits defender from England squad

Going Gaga for Rio: He's been left out again by England boss Roy Hodgson, but is Lady G singing his praises on her latest tour

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UPDATED:

11:49 GMT, 9 November 2012

READER WARNING…

*** Readers will require a sense of humour to enjoy this article ***

England boss Roy Hodgson may not be a fan but Rio Ferdinand seems to have Lady Gaga on his side.

The Manchester United defender, 34, was left out of Hodgson's squad for Euro 2012 due to 'footballing reasons' and hasn't got near an England squad since.

But pop siren, real name Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, has been pictured in Brazil going Gaga (geddit) for football and has been pictured showing her love for United's gifted centre half.

Gaga, 26, has been photogrphed waving from her Rio de Janeiro hotel balcony above a banner which read: 'I Love Rio'. There's a chance she may not have been referring to the 'Pele of Peckham', but Sportsmail would like to think she regularly tunes into Match Of The Day to catch Ferdinand in action for United.

Enlarge

Rio's biggest fan Lady Gaga waves to her fans, while standing next to a banner that says 'I Love Rio' on the day Rio Ferdinand was omitted from another England squad

Rio's biggest fan Lady Gaga waves to her fans, while standing next to a banner that says 'I Love Rio' on the day Rio Ferdinand was omitted from another England squad

Enlarge

Lady Gaga has some fun in Rio de Janeiro as she waves hello to her fans and blows them kisses from her hotel balcony, while standing next to a banner that says

Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on October 28, 2012

Getting shirty: Gaga (left) shows off her Brazil strip. The popstar yesterday displayed her love for Rio on the day Ferdinand (right) was left out of England' squad to play Sweden next week

Kiss match: Gaga blows a smacker from her Rio de Janeiro hotel balcony

Kiss match: Gaga blows a smacker from her Rio de Janeiro hotel balcony

Many of her music fans claim she was actually professing her love for the city of Rio, but all became clear later when she put in a shift in the centre of defence during a street football match as she visited a slum.

Obviously modelling herself on Ferdinand, Gaga was pictured stroking the ball out of defence.

The singer, who is in Brazil to perform as part of her 'Born This Way Ball' world tour, let her hair down, showing off her new pale pink hairdo, even blowing kisses to former West Ham and Leeds defender Ferdinand.

Playing out of defence: Singer Lady Gaga plays football with local children at a slum in Rio de Janeiro yesterday

Playing out of defence: Singer Lady Gaga plays football with local children at a slum in Rio de Janeiro yesterday

Hodgson yesterday named his England squad for next week's friendly against Sweden. And again there was no place for Ferdinand.

The England manager, 65, instead selected Gary Cahill, Steven Caulker, Phil Jagielka, Ryan Shawcross as his four central defenders.

*** Readers will require a sense of humour to enjoy this article ***

No Rio fan: Hodgson (right) left Ferdinand outof his Euro 2012 squad for footballing reasons

No Rio fan: Hodgson (right) left Ferdinand outof his Euro 2012 squad for footballing reasons

Euro 2012: Gary Neville admits his errors and praises FA

Red Nev strikes right note! England coach admits his errors and praises FA

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UPDATED:

23:37 GMT, 31 May 2012

When Gary Neville was offered the
opportunity to become a member of Roy Hodgson’s coaching staff at the
FA, among the first people he wanted to tell was Sir Alex Ferguson.

It just felt right, to break the news to the man who was his manager and mentor for all those years at Manchester United.

Gary Neville

Middle man: Gary Neville at England training

Euro 2012 email button

‘He already knew,’ said Neville. ‘I was panicking, walking into his office. But he knew about 10 days before I did, as per usual. Roy had spoken to him. I thought “That is just typical”.

‘I was always going to speak to him. I wanted him to be one of the first people to know about it.’

Clearly, Ferguson gave Neville a glowing reference and encouraged his former skipper to take the job, too. ‘He was very positive,’ said Neville. ‘He thought it would be good for me.’

This is the first time Neville has
really spoken about becoming an England coach and he is as candid as
ever. He reflects on his own experiences as an England player just as he
discusses the role he now hopes to play with this generation of
internationals.

He talks
about the benefit of working as a television pundit for the past year
and how he plans to remain on our screens in the future. But he also
talks about his Red Nev past; his brushes with the governing body he
now serves and even about the observations he made with regard to the
current crop of England players in his role as a newspaper columnist.

Gary Neville at England training

Points of view: Coach Neville has a lot to say

It
was before he realised he would be working with them, but in one squad
he omitted John Terry as well as Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard.

‘I’ve said a lot over the years!’ replied
Neville, laughing. ‘If you went through my back catalogue you’d have
some fun. But on that point, I’d say two things. One, at that stage I’m a
punter, speaking from afar.

‘Having spoken to or listened to Roy, he wanted to have an eye on moving
forward and I think he has shown that in the squad. From Roy’s
perspective he also wanted to pay respect to the players who had got the
team to the tournament and worked so hard over a two-year period.

‘It makes sense when you listen to Roy talk about his thought process behind the squad.’

Neville talks a lot of sense and he does not pull his punches. Having
the WAGS staying nearby, he says, is not a mistake that will be
repeated.
‘That won’t happen again,’ he said. ‘The FA learned from the experience
in 2006. The England team did. That wasn’t ideal for anybody. It was
symptomatic of the times. Between 2002 and 2007 everyone got carried
away with everything in life. It is a different world now.

‘We are managing it this time in a completely different way. We are here to play football. We are here to work.’

WAGs on tour: England players' partners provided a daily sideshow to the World Cup

WAGs on tour: England players' partners provided a daily sideshow to World Cup

It is that kind of experience, that honesty, which Hodgson likes. He did
not want a ‘yes man’. He wanted someone who would challenge him,
someone with an opinion based on real knowledge and expertise.

Neville’s ability to articulate his views is something he has
demonstrated on Sky and he is the first to accept it may have attracted
Hodgson to him.

‘Undoubtedly,’ he said. ‘If I had gone straight into a job, I wouldn’t
be sat here today. I have seen so much football this year and I have
been able to appreciate other teams, other players, more. I was stuck in
my world at Manchester United. It was all-consuming. I needed to get
out of that; get off the roundabout if you like.’

He suspected his sudden transition from media pundit to England coach
would raise a few eyebrows. After all, he had no coaching experience
even if he had acquired his coaching badges.

‘I knew it would create a headline,’ he said. ‘I don’t get emotional
about things, but I felt it was an important moment for me and I have an
opportunity to contribute in a different way. I played for England for
many, many years.

'My frustration with England was that we never won a
trophy but hopefully over the next four years I can be part of a team
that does get to a successful position. I am aware of the difficulties
of that. But this is a privilege and an honour. It is special. I love
the country. What do other people think Generally the reaction has been
good, but you get a thick skin playing for United and England for 20
years.’

Out and about: Players were given plenty of freedom to mingle with their other half around the town of Baden Baden, near where the team hotel was based

Out and about: Players were given plenty of freedom to mingle with their other half around the town of Baden Baden, near where the team hotel was based

Out and about: Players were given plenty of freedom to mingle with their other half around the town of Baden Baden, near where the team hotel was based

When it comes to what has been wrong with England in the past, Neville is well qualified to debate the subject.

‘I have analysed it,’ he said. ‘If you want it in one sentence, we haven’t been good enough.

‘At the same time — and I have been explaining this to some of the lads
over the last few days — I went to five tournaments and in four of them
we went out on penalties. The lines between success and failure are so
fine.’
Joe Hart makes Neville think it could be different this time.

‘I’m not being disrespectful to the goalkeepers who I played with,’ he
said.

‘But we have a great goalkeeper now and that may be the
difference.’
Not that Neville thinks the disappointment he endured was just down to
penalties. ‘That’s not been the real reason,’ he said. ‘At the ’98 World
Cup, France and Brazil were better than us.

‘Brazil were better than us in 2002. 2004 and 1996 are the ones I always
look back on as being particularly disappointing because I thought we
were good enough.

‘That’s the message now — to be free and not to be looking back in 10
years thinking, “I wish we had done this or done that”. That’s the
message I want to get across. If I don’t then I’m not doing my job.’

All ends in tears: England again fell at the quarter-final stage at Germany 2006

All ends in tears: England again fell at the quarter-final stage at Germany 2006

Neville tries to explain exactly what his role is. ‘It’s about trying to
help the players when the moment arises,’ he said. ‘It’s about helping
them to do the right things, eat the right things, train the right way,
don’t train too much, rest, sleep. At Euro 96 I don’t think I slept for
three weeks.

‘The boss does the bigger-picture stuff on the team shape but I think
you can affect players’ mentalities individually and speak to them.’

Neville applauds Hodgson for giving the players some time off when
other countries were already preparing for the European Championship.

‘We have tried everything else,’ he said. ‘I think it’s brave by Roy
Hodgson, giving the players some time off. He has respected the fact
that they need a break.’

Neville will not get much of a break. Before he knows it he will be back
on TV, analysing matches and analysing the performances of the players
he is working with now.

‘There’s been a lot said about this in the last week and until the
season starts nobody knows how it’s going to go,’ he said. ‘But a year
ago people were asking how I would ever be able to commentate on a
Manchester City or Liverpool match. I’d like to think I’ve overcome
those fears and I’m going to have to do it again.’

He has been critical of the FA in the past. In 2003 he even led the
players in threatening to strike over what he considered the harsh
treatment of Rio Ferdinand in the wake of his missed drugs test. That
the FA still employed him is something he appreciates.

‘What it shows is that the FA and the boss are not afraid to make
decisions,’ he said. ‘Roy said he didn’t want “a yes man”. I’ve said in
the past that I feel England managers have invited friends to be around
them at times. If I’ve criticised the FA it’s been about one incident.
It’s not aimed at the organisation as a whole.

‘At times I can look back and think I might have handled myself
differently, but we are where we are and I have said continuously over
the last 10 to 12 years that there are an awful lot of good people at
the FA.’
But he won’t be leading another strike. ‘No, not now,’ he said.

The Anfield Rap is back! Liverpool and Everton feel Mersey Beat ahead of semi-final

The Anfield Rap is back! Liverpool and Everton feel Mersey Beat ahead of semi-final

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UPDATED:

11:48 GMT, 13 April 2012

When football and music mix it doesn’t end particularly well – especially when it comes to FA Cup songs.

But just when you thought you had heard the last of Liverpool’s 1988 squad sing the ‘Anfield Rap,’ along comes a modern twist.

Ahead of the Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton in the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday, rapper Jamie Broad has penned a new record that sings the praises of both teams and the causes they unite for.

The two sides collide at Wembley for the first time since 1989, but combine to produce the track titled ‘Scousers On Wembley Way’ with Liverpool helping Broad, an Everton fan, to make the record.

It is a more serious take than what the likes of John Aldridge and Steve McMahon were waxing lyrical about in the 1980s, but it’s still a little disappointing not to see John Barnes (Broad’s inspiration, naturally) pop up with a cameo verse.

'Scousers on Wembley Way (Knock-A-Door Dash Remix)' by Jamie Broad

I remember back when I was growing up before my rap days.
I could hear Goodison from my house on match days
It was so Iconic
So of course I'm a Blue, my first kit had Ferguson number nine on it
Everton my team – I didn't care for the rest
But then – I'm a Blue but my parents are Reds
We're split across family lines whatever team we choose to be ours
My great Nan had LFC tattooed on her arms
I remember playin' in the street as kids we watched
An some wore Everton shirts and some wore Liverpool tops
Before spitting them hot bars
I only started rapping cos of the Anfield rap and John Barnes
Now you could never change me
Been growin' my hair for years now and tryna make it look like Fellaini's
I'm a fan first, just another character
I'm the next Jamie after Redknapp and Carragher
I'm talkin' my roots
I remember Liverpool turning up for a final dressed in white suits
I'm talkin' the Spice Boys, how could I not
When McManaman ran the flanks and Fowler was god
I was at David Moyes' first game, it was heaven
Unsworth scored a goal after 27 seconds
And I had a new hero I was aware of that
Cos he's got red hair but like we don't care and that
When Liverpool came around I could hardly wait
Back when I used to look forward to derby days
Now I'm almost too nervous to see it
Cos I still remember McAllister's free-kick
I thought I could never watch the rest
Then Pepe Reina threw the ball at Andy Johnson's head
I almost find derby's too stressful to watch
Hopin' the ball don't fall to Gerrard on the edge of the box
I spend the game with my eyes covered by my hands
Hopin' that Tim Cahill will be punchin' the flag
Cos when the Blues and Reds play
If you lose it's horrible seein' your mates the next day
The friendly derby of blue shirts, red shirts and red cards
Whether it's You'll Never Walk Alone or Z-Cars
But when it's one of ours we've always been close
Like when Z-Cars played at Anfield for Rhys Jones
I'm talking Gary Ablett – mersey pride
At Wembley after Hillsborough, both fans chanting Merseyside
Cos it's right we did
As a city all we're askin for is Justice for the 96
So expose the lies and open wide
All the files the government has chose to hide
Cos there were lies about Liver daughters, Liver sons
And that's why we don't ever buy The Sun
Cos we lost some of our own but we survive when we crash
The Liver Bird was phoenix to rise from the ash
So remember the hour
When we stuck a Liver Bird on each of the Wembley towers
It's a Scouse occasion – Merseyside you know this
Both sets of Fans will travel down together on the coaches
The country will notice we'll bring it back
They'll see the greatest footballin' city England has
The city of Shankly and Kendall or even just
Dalglish and Moyes, Dixie Dean, Ian Rush
Cos in my Liverpool home, hand on heart
We're only really separated by Stanley Park
So it reminds me
Whether its YNWA or COYB
And the country will remember the days
When the Scousers took over the capital and Wembley Way

F1"s TV future is in safe hands with Sky Sports – Edge of the Box

Formula One's TV future is in safe hands with Sky Sports

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UPDATED:

23:59 GMT, 18 March 2012

I'm sorry. It isn't you, it's me. Yes I know, I should feel terrible about resorting to such clich, but I can't help but have a twinge of guilt here.

After all, it was only a few weeks ago I was singing the praises of the BBC's F1 coverage, and now here I am, completely ignoring them and their no doubt excellent highlights packages in favour of this season's flashier new model, Sky Sports F1 HD.

Indeed, it was also only really a couple of months back that F1 fans were speculating as to whether we were all set to return to the bad old days of ITV's (albeit innovative and pioneering) coverage, when the action was peppered with ad breaks.

Sky's the limit: Simon Lazenby, Martin Brundle and Damon Hill speak to Christian Horner

Sky's the limit: Simon Lazenby, Martin Brundle and Damon Hill speak to Christian Horner

Well a dedicated channel that arrives with a top-notch expert presenting team and a promise of commercial-free racing seems to have put pay to any worries there.

The question remains, though, now they've got it, how are they going to use it

Well, to start with, they're going to get us nicely ensconced into proceedings, for the first time, with a Friday magazine programme called The F1 Show. And I must say there was something rather alluring about Georgie Thompson welcoming us to a twilight world of F1, where dark had fallen on the tented village in Melbourne, but the pit lanes were still burning the midnight oil prepping cars.

On the Button: Sky kicked off their F1 coverage with a British winner

On the Button: Sky kicked off their F1 coverage with a British winner

For this first show, it was the turn of one of the sport's unsung broadcasting heroes Ted Kravitz – who has followed the fleet all the way through from its ITV days – to take centre stage, with Sebastian Vettel ribbing him in an interview on the beach ('(look) he doesn't have to hold his own mic any more'), then VIP guest Lenny Kravitz getting all unnecessary and claiming him as a long lost cousin.

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But Ted's main role is to prowl the pits, which he does with an abundance of knowledge and well-established team connections to call upon. Keep an eye on Ted, he'll see you alright.

All the practise sessions will be there in their entirety too, and on Saturday morning at final practice three – which another new Sky signing, Martin Brundle, described as being all about 'tanks and tyres' – the diehard fans will have recognised a couple of familiar voices from BBC 5Live's F1 coverage.

Along with pit-lane reporter Natalie Pinkham, David Croft and driver Anthony Davidson have been recruited from radio, and here they were back together again, and again as ever, both were cracking the wise and the nerdy in equally impassioned measures throughout these preliminary proceedings.

However, it would be Croft with Brundle (now in the pundit chair at Sky) who would take pole in the commentary box on race day itself, leading a presentation that as the chequered flag waved on a thrilling Jenson Button win answered any questions about how they would cover the action, perhaps in the most sensible way they could – namely, to slipstream the manner in which the BBC had brought us the races so successfully for seasons past.

In Simon Lazenby – setting up the show and the season with a very punchy 'many people are saying it's the greatest field ever assembled' – they have the ideal doppelganger for Jake Humphrey; the right mix of live anchoring skills and technical knowledge .

Meet the team: (From left to right) Davidson, Croft, Pinkham, Hill, Thompson, Brundle, Kravitz and Lazenby

Meet the team: (From left to right) Davidson, Croft, Pinkham, Hill, Thompson, Brundle, Kravitz and Lazenby

Talent: Brundle and Hill will steer the analytical ship with their expert knowledge

Talent: Brundle and Hill will steer the analytical ship with their expert knowledge

And with Brundle alongside the laconic figure of Damon Hill, they have two men with all the historical and on screen credentials required to help build up to the race for a full 90 minutes before the green light.

Brundle's 'infamous grid-walk', has been retained and this Melbourne one was a classic in its own right – ranging from Jenson Button joyfully confessing he 'definitely' fancied it today, to Leo Sayer saying 'welcome to my country' – while in a nod to their football coverage, Georgie was positioned at the big screen Sky Pad along with Anthony Davidson, who's use of replays to help set up the race were positively Gary Neville.

Perfect start: Button is drenched in champagne following his Aussie GP victory

Perfect start: Button is drenched in champagne following his Aussie GP victory

During the race itself, Croft and Brundle really hit the ground running – dovetailing into their roles immediately with the latter as astute and honest as ever, and Croft bursting with a real joy de vivre. Indeed, after the safety car went in at one point, and Crofty let rip with 'We. Have. A. Very. Fast. 17. Laps. Now!', it was like having a young Murray Walker back up in the box. He really can be that good.

So race one is done and the circus moves on with barely enough time to catch a breath, but in between gasps it would seem fair to say that F1's TV future is in safe hands.

WEDGIES

Tuesday on Channel 4's coverage from Cheltenham, and in a fascinating little feature, Alice Plunkett was on dawn patrol at Paul Nicholl's stables with Kauto Star.

Wednesday on ITV and Didier Drogba's extravagant flop in The Champions League left him prostrate on the turf, but with one beedy eye on the proceedings. 'You're on camera!', spotted Clive Tyldsley.

Saturday on BBC 1,and 17 minutes from the Grand Slam, Wales' Dan Lydiate sealed his Man Of The Match nomination with a hit that resounded like a sonic boom on the referee's mic.