Tag Archives: scoring

Cambridge maths expert devises Grand National formula and is backing Seabass

And this year's Grand National winner is… Cambridge maths whizz reveals winning formula ahead of Aintree race

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

10:48 GMT, 2 April 2013

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UPDATED:

13:17 GMT, 2 April 2013

A University of Cambridge maths whizz is backing Seabass in Saturday’s Grand National – after creating a formula that predicts the winning horse.

William Hartston, 65, forensically examined the names and ages of all victorious nags from the event’s 174 year history.

And he discovered winners are most likely to have names that are just one word, and begin with S, R, M, or C.

Racing ahead: Seabass, with Katie Walsh on board, is methematician William Hartson's pick for the National

Racing ahead: Seabass, with Katie Walsh on board, is methematician William Hartson's pick for the National

THE FORMULA IN FULL

Number of letters in the horse’s name
8, 10 = 4 points
7 = 3 points
6, 11 = 2 points
9, 12 = 1 point

First letter of horse’s name
R = 4 points
A, S, M = 3 points
C, T = 2 points
G, B, W = 1 point

Number of words in horse’s name
1 = 4 points
2 = 3 points
3 = 2 points
4 = 1 point

Age of horse
9 = 4 points
10 = 3 points
8, 11 = 2 points
12 = 1 point

The 9 highest-scoring horses based on the William Hartston scoring system
1. Seabass 13/16 (consistently high in all categories)
2. Tatenen 13/16
3. Teaforthree 12/16
4. Rare Bob 12/16
5. Mr Moonshine 12/16
6. Romanesco 11/16
7. Sunnyhillboy 11/16
8. Quel Esprit 11/16
9. Any Currency 11/16

Furthermore, the names usually consist of eight or ten letters – closely followed by seven or 11 – and the horses are typically nine or ten years old.

Mr Hartston used these results to develop a scoring system, which allowed him to rate the 40 horses that will line-up at Aintree Racecourse on Saturday.

He will now back the bookies’ 9/1 second favourite Seabass after it scored an impressive 13 points out of a maximum 16 on his scale.

The Ted Walsh-trained Irish racehorse begins with S, is a one-word name, aged ten years, and has seven letters.

It was followed by Tatenen and Teaforthree in the study commissioned by bookies William Hill.

Mr Hartston – author of several books, including The Book of Numbers – graduated from the University of Cambridge with an MA or Master of Maths.

The mathematician examined four criteria – number of letters in the horse’s name, first letter of name, number of words in the name, and age.

He then awarded each horse a maximum of four points for each of these criteria, depending on how closely they fit the historic results.

For example, a horse whose name is eight or ten letters long – the most successful in the history of the race – are awarded four points.

But a horse with nine or twelve letters – historically less successfully – are awarded just one point.

Mr Hartston said: 'Seabass is the only horse with consistently high scores across all four criteria. It begins with S, is a one-word name, aged ten years and has seven letters, which is only slightly short of the preferred eight.

'Tatenen scored an impressive 13/16 while Teaforthree scored 12/16 and

shouldn’t be ruled out – but their scoring pattern is less consistent.'

Ready and waiting: 14/1 shot Teaforthree, in training last week, also features highly on Hartson's list

Ready and waiting: 14/1 shot Teaforthree, in training last week, also features highly on Hartson's list

Wolves 1 Cardiff 2 – match report: Fraizer Campbell scores both goals for Championship leaders

Wolves 1 Cardiff 2: Campbell bags brace for leaders as Molineux misery continues

By
Neil Moxley

PUBLISHED:

16:10 GMT, 24 February 2013

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UPDATED:

22:06 GMT, 24 February 2013

Frazier Campbell’s headed double ensured Cardiff would have something to crow about this weekend as Dean Saunders’ nightmare start as Wolves manager showed little sign of ending.

Former Manchester United trainee Campbell pounced in each half to extend his side’s advantage over the Championship’s chasing pack to eight points on an afternoon when rivals Swansea grabbed the limelight at Wembley.

Campbell, a 650,000 signing from Sunderland in January, took his tally to five goals in as many games for his new club on a weekend when Cardiff increased their lead at the top of the division following Hull City’s demise at Bolton.

Brace: Fraizer Campbell scored two goals as the Championship leaders won at Molineux

Brace: Fraizer Campbell scored two goals as the Championship leaders won at Molineux

MATCH FACTS

Wolverhampton: Ikeme, Batth (Ebanks-Blake 46), Johnson, Gorkss, Doherty (Foley 78), Doumbia (Doyle 46), Henry, O'Hara, Robinson,
Sako, Sigurdarson.

Subs Not Used: De Vries, Edwards, Ward, Davis.

Booked: Doherty.

Goals: Sako 70.

Cardiff: Marshall, Connolly, Hudson (McNaughton 75), Turner, Taylor, Conway, Whittingham, Cowie (Kim 80), Gunnarsson, Bellamy, Campbell (Helguson 82).

Subs Not Used: Lewis, Noone, Mutch, Mason.

Booked: Whittingham.

Goals: Campbell 20, 67.

Att: 20,930

Ref: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire).

Championship table, fixtures and results

Cardiff manager Malky Mackay said he was not surprised by his signing’s impact. ‘Fraizer needed to get football back into his life,’ said Mackay. ‘The quality of the boy I remember scoring goals for Hull City has not diminished. He needed us and we needed him.

‘Did I expect him to hit the ground running Yes, I did.’

Saunders’ use of a five-man defence backfired in the first half, with Cardiff establishing a grip in the 20th minute. Aron Gunnarsson’s long throw was flicked on by Ben Turner and Campbell headed home from inside the six-yard box.

Saunders brought on Kevin Doyle and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake at half-time, but Craig Bellamy’s inswinging cross in the 67th minute left Wolves keeper Carl Ikeme stranded in no man’s land after leaving his line and Campbell finished at the far post.

Bakary Sako’s deflected free-kick three minutes later made a game of it and Ebanks-Blake sidefooted a shot into the ground and over the bar with the goal gaping following Sako’s 70-yard run late on.

Lead: Campbell heads past Wolves goalkeeper Carl Ikeme

Lead: Campbell heads past Wolves goalkeeper Carl Ikeme

Saunders, yet to win in eight games
since arriving at Molineux but hoping to sign Reading striker Simon
Church on loan, said: ‘We made two catastrophic mistakes. We conceded a
goal from a long throw — and I walked them through how to defend it
yesterday. As a manager, it’s the sort of thing that keeps you awake at
night.’

Hope: Bakary Sako scored for Wolves with 20 minutes to play at Molineux

Hope: Bakary Sako scored for Wolves with 20 minutes to play at Molineux

Alessandro Matri scores without his boot for Juventus against Fiorentina – VIDEO

VIDEO: We knew Juventus were good, but they're even scoring without their boots (good luck trying to stop this, Celtic)

By
Sunni Upal

PUBLISHED:

12:46 GMT, 10 February 2013

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UPDATED:

13:09 GMT, 10 February 2013

Nothing, it seems, can stop Juventus’s surge towards back-to-back Italian league titles.

The champions were unbeatable last season and are five points clear of Napoli this time, but should we be surprised if they’re scoring goals without their boots

On Saturday Juve beat Fiorentina 2-0 in Turin. Mirko Vucinic opened the scoring before Alessandro Matri added a second, albeit without his boot.

Scroll down for video

No stopping him: Alessandro Matri loses his boot just before shooting

No stopping him: Alessandro Matri loses his boot just before shooting

Doubled: Matri scored Juventus's second goal just before half-time

Doubled: Matri scored Juventus's second goal just before half-time

No problem: The 28-year-old striker slotted past Emiliano Viviano

No problem: The 28-year-old striker slotted past Emiliano Viviano

The 28-year-old striker was unmarked inside the Fiorentina area and, in his eagerness to double Juventus’s lead, he lost his right boot just before connecting with Arturo Vidal’s pass.

Matri slotted the ball past Fiorentina goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano before throwing his boot in the air in celebration.

In a day and age when football boots are becoming more advanced and more stylish, Matri proved you don’t need to break the bank for expensive footwear. Either that or he needs to buy some better boots… ones that don't fall off.

From Juventus's point of view, Matri's boots falling off is better than the wheels falling off their quest for a second successive title.

Good luck trying to stop this on Tuesday, Celtic.

On top: The Italian champions lead Napoli by five points at the top of Serie A

On top: The Italian champions lead Napoli by five points at the top of Serie A

I don't need this: Matri celebrates with the boot that fell off

I don't need this: Matri celebrates with the boot that fell off

VIDEO: Alessandro Matri scores for Juventus without his boot

Rafael Benitez says Fernando Torres"s return to form is proof Chelsea changes are working

Benitez claims his Chelsea revolution is working now Torres is back in the goals

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UPDATED:

15:31 GMT, 22 December 2012

Rafael Benitez has claimed Fernando Torres's long-awaited return to form is proof that his Chelsea revolution is working.

Almost two years since Torres' record-breaking move from Liverpool and he is finally starting to score the number of goals to justify his 50million price tag.

Six in five games is by far the most sustained run of the 28-year-old's Stamford Bridge career and it has co-incided almost exactly with his reunion with former Anfield boss Benitez.

Back in business: Fernando Torres has been in the goals since Rafa Benitez came in

Back in business: Fernando Torres has been in the goals since Rafa Benitez came in

Chelsea's interim manager immediately identified that Torres had lost some of the physical conditioning that had made him one of the most feared forwards in the world, as well as an obvious lack of confidence from failing to find the back of the net.

'Two or three things that we are doing for some players are really good,” Benitez said, claiming the sharpness in the majority of his players was now 'much better'.

'Fernando is one of the examples.'

He added: 'He's scoring goals and the team is winning and playing well, so he's really happy, not just because he's scoring goals but also because the team's doing well.'

Despite the clear impact Benitez has made on Torres, he played down the extent of his own influence on his fellow Spaniard.

'I think that the team has an influence on him because the team is doing well, so the team is playing better, creating more chances,' he said.

'So Fernando is taking more chances.'

Getting better: Chelsea's manager Rafa Benitez applauds supporters after beating Leeds

Getting better: Chelsea's manager Rafa Benitez applauds supporters after beating Leeds

Benitez refused to speculate on exactly how much his training methods had improved Torres and others during his month in charge ahead of tomorrow's Barclays Premier League clash with Aston Villa.

'You can more or less think but imagine I will say to you that they are 90 per cent [fit] and we lose on Sunday, you will say, 'What is going on”' he said.

'[What] if I say 20 per cent and we beat Aston Villa 5-0

'Football is so special that you cannot guarantee 70, 50 or 60.

'What I can say is we have time to bring players in the team and then change players, so we can manage the tiredness a little bit better.'

Indeed, Benitez has rotated his squad far more than predecessor Roberto Di Matteo and he revealed fatigue had been a real concern in the wake of Chelsea's gruelling Club World Cup trip to Japan.

Back where it all began: Cech is looking forward to going back to play Sparta Prague

Back where it all began: Cech is looking forward to going back to play Sparta Prague

So much so in fact that it threatened to derail Benitez's plans for Wednesday's Capital One Cup quarter-final win at Leeds.

'Some players, they were quite tired,' he said.

'The day before, we were training and I was talking with the fitness coach.

'We had three or four that could be a problem.

'We decided to change some players but I didn't want to change too many.'

With no end in sight to their punishing fixture schedule, tiredness is likely to become more of a problem as the season progresses.

That makes reinforcing what is an alarmingly thin squad imperative during the January transfer window.

Reports today suggest Benitez faces a battle to convince Chelsea's board to spend big rather than recalling some of the youngsters the club currently has out on loan.

Inaction is simply not an option, with Daniel Sturridge said to be on the brink of being sold, Oriol Romeu out for the season and John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses set to be missing for up to a month on African Nations Cup duty.

Chelsea's failure to reach the Champions League knockout stage has also left them with two extra potential fixtures in the shape of a Europa League last-32 clash with Sparta Prague.

One player not complaining about a trip to the Czech Republic was goalkeeper Petr Cech, who will return to the club where he made his name.

'It is fantastic for me to be able, after 12 years, to finally play a Czech team in a European competition,' Cech told Chelsea TV.

'Although the ideal scenario was to play them in the Champions League, this is one of the positives from not being able to play in the Champions League now.

'We will try to win the Europa League now and it is great for me to have this experience of going home and playing for Chelsea in Czech Republic.'

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.'

Martin O"Neill: Robin van Persie can lead Manchester United to Premier League title

Sunderland boss O'Neill insists Van Persie can lead United to Premier League title

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UPDATED:

18:51 GMT, 15 December 2012

Martin O'Neill believes Robin van Persie could make the difference for Manchester United this season.

Van Persie scored his 15th goal of the campaign as United recorded a 3-1 win over Sunderland at Old Trafford to remain six points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Barclays Premier League.

The main man: Robin van Persie enjoyed another fruitful afternoon in a Manchester United shirt, opening the scoring after 16 minutes with a cool finish (below)

The main man: Robin van Persie enjoyed another fruitful afternoon in a Manchester United shirt, opening the scoring after 16 minutes with a cool finish (below)

On target: Van Persie converts

Match facts

Man Utd: De Gea, Jones, Smalling, Ferdinand (Vidic 68), Evra, Valencia, Carrick (Scholes 46), Cleverley (Giggs 73), Young, Rooney, Van Persie. Subs not used: Lindegaard, Hernandez, Welbeck, Fletcher.

Goals: Van Persie 16, Cleverley 19, Rooney 59.

Sunderland: Mignolet, Cuellar, Colback (McFadden 85), O'Shea, Bramble, Larsson, Gardner, Johnson (Campbell 68), McClean, Sessegnon, Fletcher (Wickham 46). Subs not used: Westwood, Kilgallon, Vaughan, Saha.

Goal: Campbell 72.

Referee: Chris Foy.

Attendance: 75,582.

The latest Premier League table, fixtures and results

The return justified Sir Alex
Ferguson's decision to spend 24million on the 29-year-old last summer
in the wake of City winning the title last term.

And O'Neill can see why. 'Robin van
Persie was a great purchase,' said O'Neill. 'It means Manchester United
are capable of scoring goals because Wayne Rooney is a top quality
player as well.

'Whilst their main players stay fit Manchester United are capable of winning the league.'

O'Neill certainly wished some of the
criticisms that have been levelled against United could be said of his
own team now that United will definitely be top on Christmas Day.

Tom Cleverley's first Premier League
goal at Old Trafford was followed by Wayne Rooney's fifth in four games
to put the hosts in control, before Frazier Campbell grabbed a
consolation against his former club.

'People keep saying we are weak in midfield but these guys are very good players,' said Sir Alex Ferguson.

Fine effort: Tom Cleverley curls his effort past helpless Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet

Slick finish: Tom Cleverley curls his effort past helpless Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet

'Sometimes it gives me a little
problem selecting the right two, although today was simple because
(Michael) Carrick and Cleverley deserved to play after their performance
(against Manchester City) last week.'

Cleverley is making an impact in the
Paul Scholes role, with Ferguson admitting he should be scoring more
often after taking his overall United tally to three.

'Tom has goals in him,' said Ferguson. 'As a younger player he always had a goal in him.

'He has got me three this season and I really do expect more from him because he is a nice finisher.'

Scoring streak: Wayne Rooney netted his fifth goal in three Premier League games

Scoring streak: Wayne Rooney netted his fifth goal in three Premier League games

Perhaps the most significant aspect of the day was Nemanja Vidic's return from knee surgery.

The Serbian has made just 14
appearances since August 2011 and Ferguson knows what a vital
contribution he could make in the months ahead.

'It will take him a bit of time but that is a start,' he said. 'He is a warrior and he is our captain.

Rising high: Fraizer Campbell nods home against his former club to hit Sunderland's consolation goal

Rising high: Fraizer Campbell nods home against his former club to hit Sunderland's consolation goal

'He always battles for you and sticks his head on that ball in the penalty area.

'That is what he is great at.'

Ferguson confirmed defender Rafael
had missed only his second Premier League game of the season with a
tight hamstring, which was also the complaint that forced Michael
Carrick off at half-time.

O'Neill had his own injury woes after losing top scorer Steven Fletcher at the break.

Back in action: Nemanja Vidic made a welcome return to the heart of Manchester United's defence - but the Serb could not prevent Campbell's consolation strike

Back in action: Nemanja Vidic made a welcome return to the heart of Manchester United's defence – but the Serb could not prevent Campbell's consolation strike

'Steven hurt his back in the warm-up
before the game,' he said. 'He twisted it in some way and it was causing
him a few problems.

'It got more painful in the last 10 minutes of the first half and he couldn't continue.'

O'Neill does not know how long
Fletcher will be out of action, although clearly any injuries are a
major blow to a club only a point above the drop zone and with an
already weak squad.

Knockout: Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet and Titus Bramble struggle to contain Patrice Evra

Knockout: Mignolet and Titus Bramble struggle to contain Patrice Evra

'We would have to be seriously
looking to try to strengthen our side,' said the Irishman. 'You only
have to have look at the back of the programme to see that we don't have
great numerical strength.

'But you are going to get injuries and suspensions. It is up to us to cope with them.

Close control: Van Persie receives a pass at Old Trafford

Close control: Van Persie receives a pass at Old Trafford

'Today was going to be hard enough without giving a couple of poor goals away.

'But there is still a decent spirit about us.

'We lack many things in the game but the spirit is still there and has not been broken.'

Held up: John O'Shea (second right) battles with Van Persie as Phil Jones gets stuck in

Outnumbered: John O'Shea (second right) battles with Van Persie as Phil Jones gets stuck in

Missed opportunity: Rooney reflects on one that got away

Missed opportunity: Rooney reflects on one that got away

Long afternoon: Martin O'Neill looks on as his side were outclassed at Old Trafford

Long afternoon: Martin O'Neill looks on as his side were outclassed at Old Trafford

Chelsea v Nordsjaelland: Fernando Torres can"t stop scoring (in training) – Rafa Benitez

Torres can't stop scoring… but it's only in training as Benitez defends under-fire star

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 4 December 2012

Rafa Benitez has launched a bizarre defence of Fernando Torres as Chelsea stand on the verge of an embarrassing Champions League exit on Wednesday night.

The interim Chelsea coach claims the 50million striker's biggest contribution is defending set-pieces for the European champions and says there is no need to worry about his goal drought because he is scoring goals for fun in training.

Chelsea need Torres, who has not scored since November 7, to find the net in a proper match against Nordsjaelland if they are to progress from Group E.

Lurking in the shadows: Benitez is confident Torres will rediscover his goalscoring touch

Lurking in the shadows: Benitez is confident Torres will rediscover his goalscoring touch

Benitez reacted after ex-Manchester United defender and Sky Sports analyst Gary Neville said Chelsea players have lost confidence in Torres.

Benitez said: 'The main thing is what you can see as a manager on the pitch and in training – and Fernando is doing a great job. In training he scores a lot of goals, but it's not just about that. I don't know if Gary Neville had the opportunity to analyse the corners against us, but Fernando is amazing.

Fernando Torres

Fernando Torres

Knees up: Fernando Torres in training yesterday with Juan Mata (left) and Ashley Cole

Time for a new position, Fernando

91 — Despite playing as a striker, Torres has won 91 per cent of his tackles this season.

11 — Of Chelsea’s attacking players, only Oscar has made more clearances (13) this season than Torres.

'He has cleared the ball two or three times and afterwards he goes man to man because he's good in the air. He's a striker but he helps the team.

'I didn't watch the analysis, but Fernando is a great player and his team-mates know he's a great player.

'If he's in the right position, they will play with him. If he's in the wrong position, maybe not but I can make the analysis 200 times watching the telly and I'll be right. I can find clips you can use in one way or the other way.'

Stomach for the fight: Torres listens to Benitez ahead of Chelsea's clash with Nordsjaelland

Stomach for the fight: Torres listens to Benitez ahead of Chelsea's clash with Nordsjaelland

What can happen…

Chelsea need to beat Nordsjaelland at Stamford Bridge — and hope Shakhtar defeat Juventus in Donetsk — to go through to the knockout stage.

If Juve draw they are through regardless, since they have a better head-to-head record against Chelsea.

Chelsea need to overcome Nordsjaelland and then hope Group E leaders Shakhtar Donetsk beat Juventus at home to avoid a humiliating Champions League exit.

Benitez added: 'It's part of my job to push on and try to keep them (the players) in the competition.'

Benitez also admitted Eden Hazard is struggling to cope with the demands of playing for one of Europe's biggest clubs after his 32m move from Lille.

Hazard was singled out by team-mates after the 3-2 home win over Shakhtar for his lack of work-rate.

Benitez said: 'He has to adapt to the tempo of the Premier League. It's not the same as France where he was the main man. 'Here in the Premier League you have to be at your best all the time or you will not be able to make the difference in matches. He's doing well, but he could do better.'

Sir Bobby Charlton: My weekly goalscoring chats with Wayne Rooney

VIDEO: Revealed – Sir Bobby Charlton’s weekly goalscoring chats with Rooney… I tell him not to worry about placement but just batter the bloody ball

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UPDATED:

16:24 GMT, 29 November 2012

Sir Bobby Charlton is looking forward to the day when Wayne Rooney overtakes him as England's all-time leading goalscorer.

Charlton has held that record for 42 years and has seen many try but all fail in their attempts to supplant him in the annals of the national game.

The icon of Manchester United and the greatest England midfield player says: 'Wayne would be the ideal young man to pull off this achievement.

United front: Sir Bobby Charlton (left) has regular chats with Wayne Rooney (right) about scoring goals

United front: Sir Bobby Charlton (left) has regular chats with Wayne Rooney (right) about scoring goals

Talking a good game: Sportsmail's Jeff Powell speaks to Sir Bobby Charlton at Old Trafford

Talking a good game: Sportsmail's Jeff Powell speaks to Sir Bobby Charlton at Old Trafford

'I would welcome him doing it and I don't say that simply because he's a United player.'

Charlton was speaking in an interview I filmed with him at Old Trafford for the Soccerex convention in Rio de Janeiro as part of the build-up to the 2014 World Cup.

It prefaced a fascinating retrospective of the major moments in football history which involve several of the great 1970s Brazil team, led by captain Carlos Alberto.

Charlton's record has withstood the best efforts of Gary Lineker, who came within one fluffed penalty of equalling Sir Bobby's 49 goals for his country, and what seemed at one time to be an inevitable succession by Michael Owen until injuries took their toll.

Sir Booby is more comfortable with Rooney's impending anointment now that the 27-year-old has reached 32 goals in 78 caps.

He explains: 'Wayne is a very nice young man. He is also respectful of the game and he appreciates its history.

Spot on: Charlton wants Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney to break his 40-year record as England's greatest goalscorer

Spot on: Charlton wants United striker Wayne Rooney to break his record as England's greatest goalscorer

Spot on: Charlton wants United striker Wayne Rooney to break his record as England's greatest goalscorer

'I have the opportunity to chat with him on pretty much a weekly basis and he's a good listener. We talked about scoring goals from long-range and I told him not to worry about exact placement but to keep a mental picture in his mind of where that rectangle is – and to batter the bloody ball.

'In the next United game after that conversation, which happened to be at Hull, he did just that and it flew in.

'People might find it strange but I see a lot of myself in Wayne. He just can't wait to get out on the pitch. He's one of those guys who simply loves
playing football. He's also extremely proud of playing for England and especially the occasions when he's captained his country.

'For him the moment he led out the team he was in paradise.'

One of the greats: Sir Bobby Charlton raises the Jules Rimet trophy in the air following England's 4-2 victory after extra time over West Germany in the World Cup Final at Wembley in 1966

One of the greats: Sir Bobby Charlton raises the Jules Rimet trophy in the air following England's 4-2 victory after extra time over West Germany in the World Cup Final at Wembley in 1966, and below playing for United

Sharp shooter: Charlton in action for Manchester United during his glory years

Sharp shooter: Charlton in action for Manchester United during his glory years

Charlton also revealed that in the 1966 World Cup final he was asked by manager Sir Alf Ramsey to stifle his natural instincts and mark the then-teenage Franz Beckenbauer against West Germany at Wembley.

It has been well documented that Ramsey's substitution of Charlton four years later released Beckenbauer to inspire the quarter-final comeback which ended England's defence of the World Cup.

But Charlton says: 'Alf told me in '66 that they had this young man Beckenbauer who could do impulsive things that might be decisive and he needed me to shut him out of the game. I thought “blow me, this is my chance to show myself in a World Cup final”, but if he said that this would win the trophy for England, I would do it.

'The odd thing was that Franz had been told to mark me, so we had the strange situation where were rarely more than a couple of yards apart and in a game of such magnitude, neither of us really participated in the World Cup final.'

Charlton also revealed that Antonio Rattin, the Argentina captain who was considered the villain of 1966 when he was sent off against England in the quarter-final, has remained a good friend.

Sir Bobby says: 'He calls me at home on the telephone immediately prior to every World Cup so that we can talk about what happened between us and what will happen in the latest finals.'

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Andy Carroll goal drought: when will he score again?

Without a league goal since April, can Carroll rediscover his golden touch at high-flying West Ham

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UPDATED:

15:03 GMT, 20 November 2012

It’s a question that only Chris Hughton knows the answer to and to a slight extent, Alan Pardew too.

Kenny Dalglish was left stumped, Brendan Rodgers didn’t try to put much effort into answering it and now Sam Allardyce is doing some long division sums to find a solution.

So on to the poser itself: How do you get Andy Carroll scoring goals

Imperfect 10: Carroll has not scored yet this season

Imperfect 10: Carroll has not scored yet this season

West Ham’s 1-1 draw with Stoke on Monday night brought another battling performance out of the striker but also his tenth match this season without a goal.

In fact you have to go back to Euro 2012 in June for the last time Carroll found the back of the net, with a brilliant header for England against Sweden.

The 23-year-old’s last domestic goal proved to be a consolation strike against Chelsea in the FA Cup final, while his last Premier League goal was a 90th-minute winner at Blackburn in April (another great header).

That’s a worrying drought for any marksman, let alone one that cost Liverpool 35million last January when he joined from Newcastle.

It’s coming up to two years since Carroll departed St James’ Park on the last day of the 2011 January transfer window and the stats do not make good reading for him.

After helping Newcastle return to the Premier League in 2010, the striker scored 11 goals in his first four months back in the top flight under Hughton and Pardew. Since joining Liverpool he has scored six.

Revelation: Carroll burst onto the scene with Newcastle in 2010

Revelation: Carroll burst onto the scene with Newcastle in 2010

To put that into context we have Fernando Torres, who left Liverpool and joined Chelsea for 50million on the same day Carroll ventured into Merseyside.

With 40 league starts (seven more than Carroll) the much maligned striker has found the net 11 times. But while Blues fans have started to lose patience with the Spaniard, West Ham and some sections of Liverpool fans only have positive things to say about Carroll. So if he isn’t scoring, what is he doing

The simple answer is he is bringing more team-mates into play just by being on the pitch. The striker’s fantastic ability to contest an aerial ball has made him a victim of his own success.

As a relative unknown threat at Newcastle he was the focal point of the attack and given as much licence as any striker to contest a cross – and the goals soon followed.

At Liverpool he was often in a more unsuited role playing alongside No 1 striker Luis Suarez (or injured). But the Premier League teams have caught up on their homework and now, on loan at West Ham, he is a marked man.

Frozen out: Rodgers was not interested in keeping Carroll at Liverpool

Frozen out: Rodgers was not interested in keeping Carroll at Liverpool

Or make that double marked. Watch any long ball played towards Carroll this season and you will see two opposition defenders jump with him. It’s no wonder the goals have dried up when he is given very little chance to win an attacking header these days.

This may be starting to read like the England international is a heading machine and nothing more but there is finesse to Carroll’s game too.

His left foot can be just as powerful and deadly inside and outside the penalty box. He holds the ball up well and can spot an intelligent pass to make.

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce knows this and has been keen to exploit the gaps left by defences’ concentrated efforts on Carroll by bringing Kevin Nolan into an advanced role – the midfielder may as well be masquerading as a centre-forward these days.

Carroll and Nolan, good friends off the field, were a lethal combination at Newcastle and have formed a similar understanding at Upton Park.

Marked man: Carroll is renowned for his aerial ability

Marked man: Carroll is renowned for his aerial ability

CARROLL BY NUMBERS

Newcastle: Games 91, Goals 33,

Liverpool: Games 58, Goals 11

West Ham: Games 6, Goals 0

England: Games 5, Goals 2

Nolan in his ‘secret striker’ role has scored five goals already this season – only Everton’s Marouane Fellaini has more from midfield (Michu has played as a striker on many occasions for Swansea).

Everyone benefits from having Carroll in the team, and that includes the defence as the striker is always happy to come back and defend set-pieces inside his own box too.

West Ham are a more balanced team with him than without him and he is a big reason why the Hammers are flying as high as seventh in the table.

In six games without the striker this season, West Ham have won just two. One was the opening day victory against Aston Villa, the other a Capital One Cup win against Crewe.

It’s a similar story for England. The Three Lions have won six of the nine games Carroll has been involved in and despite scoring just two goals in that time remains in Roy Hodgson’s plans.

At a time when the national side is struggling for creativity, Carroll’s presence on the pitch potentially builds space for players like Theo Walcott and Wayne Rooney to exploit. But he also has the desired quality to show off his own contribution when needed – a factor that often caught out Emile Heskey when he played his own supporting role for Michael Owen at international level.

High hopes: Carroll's last goal was scored for England against Sweden at Euro 2012

High hopes: Carroll's last goal was scored for England against Sweden at Euro 2012

Nurtured well he could still be England’s new No 9 but he needs to find a way to adapt an already promising game. His work-rate so far at West Ham has been admirable but there is more to learn and he can’t live off the excuse of being marked out of every game.

A potential Plan B for West Ham going forward is the impressive Modibo Maiga being paired up in attack with the striker to try and discourage the double marking.

It should free Carroll up slightly and at least give him a few more chances in front of goal. He may have missed a sitter at Newcastle recently but he looks settled at West Ham and the goals will surely come if given more opportunities to feed on.

It’s very unlikely he can ever match his 35million fee, but Carroll didn’t choose his price tag and much of the value in that transfer was due to the enormous loss and little time Newcastle had to replace their star man (plus the Torres factor) rather than a fair gauge of his overall ability.

It’s a striker’s job to score goals but it’s a team’s duty to win and so far West Ham and Carroll are proving a winning combination despite his non-existent strike rate. Even if Rodgers still doesn’t want him at Anfield by the time next summer comes around – plenty of other Premier League teams will.

Manchester United set to bid for Wilfried Zaha in January

United set to blow rivals out of the water with mega bid for Palace star Zaha

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UPDATED:

10:33 GMT, 18 November 2012

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to launch a bid to sign Crystal Palace sensation Wilfried Zaha with an offer that will blow away any other interested clubs.

Ferguson decided to enter the race to England’s newest star when he received the recommendation from his son Darren, after Zaha ripped his Peterborough side apart a few weeks ago.

And now United are set to offer ‘what it takes’ to see off Tottenham and Arsenal in the January window which includes handing the 20-year-old better terms to come to Old Trafford.

Star performer: Wilfried Zaha helped Crystal Palace stay top of The Championship with a 3-0 win over Derby

Star performer: Wilfried Zaha helped Crystal Palace stay top of The Championship with a 3-0 win over Derby

England calling: Zaha made his international debut against Sweden

England calling: Zaha made his international debut against Sweden

According to The Sunday People, Ferguson has kept an eye on Zaha since he dazzled against them in Palace’s shock League Cup triumph last season.

A United source told The People: ‘Sir Alex now thinks Zaha has the skill and bottle to play for United – and he wants him badly.’

Palace are hoping to get 20million for
Zaha but will realistically settle for half of that – a figure United
will gladly pay, having paid similar sums for emerging talents Phil
Jones from Blackburn and Chris Smalling from Fulham.

Keeping tabs: Sir Alex Ferguson is believed to be a fan of Zaha

Keeping tabs: Sir Alex Ferguson is believed to be a fan of Zaha

Ferguson sees Zaha as a Cristiano Ronaldo-style attacker, capable of playing down either wing and scoring goals through pace and trickery.

Zaha is seen as the ideal replacement for Nani who is in a contract dispute and may be on his way out, creating a gap in the United squad. Spurs and Arsenal are also keen but will struggle against United.

The Ivory Coast-born kid has lived in London since he was four, but he would head north if the clubs can sort out a fee.

While Palace would like to keep him for their promotion push, the auction could reach a level where they cannot refuse.

Palace boss Ian Holloway, meanwhile, fears the youngster's progress could suffer as result of his elevation to the England senior squad.

'It’s a difficult time for him as everything has happened at once.

'This could damage a young man who is as pure a footballer as he is.

'He has to learn to handle it, put the emotion away and do his job.'