Tag Archives: striking

Arsene Wenger hails Gervinho after Arsenal beat Reading

Wenger hails Gervinho as Arsenal stay in the hunt for Champions League place

By
Jim Van Wijk, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

20:44 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

20:44 GMT, 30 March 2013

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hailed the confident display of Gervinho after the Ivory Coast forward set the Gunners on the way to a 4-1 win over relegation-battlers Reading which kept them in the hunt for Champions League qualification.

Gervinho has often cut a controversial figure among supporters following a string of frustrating displays following an 11million move from Lille in July 2011.

However, the 25-year-old was on the money this afternoon, opening the scoring on 11 minutes and having a hand in everything positive as Arsenal eventually broke the Royals stubborn resistance again at the start of the second half when Santi Cazorla sweeping home. Olivier Giroud added a third following a quick break by Gervinho.

Key role: Gervinho was praised by Arsene Wenger following his performance against Reading

Key role: Gervinho was praised by Arsene Wenger following his performance against Reading

Hal Robson-Kanu headed in a consolation for Nigel Adkins' men, but there was to be no recovery to mark their new manager's first match in charge as Mikel Arteta's penalty made sure Arsenal closed up on Chelsea in the race for fourth-spot and also remained within striking distance of Tottenham, on whom they hold a match in hand.

'Gervinho's performance was very strong. He was always dangerous, always looked like he could score, gave assists and scored himself,' Wenger said.

'I believe that sometimes Gervinho has lost confidence because he played in a very negative atmosphere during a period. Strikers need confidence, and [with] his game, even more.

Winning feeling: Gervinho celebrates with team mate Bacary Sagna after the 4-1 victory

Winning feeling: Gervinho celebrates with team mate Bacary Sagna after the 4-1 victory

'He was always taking the ball and going forward, and provoking. When you lose confidence, that is a very dangerous game then.

'When he has found the confidence back, he's a very dangerous player.

'At the African Nations Cup, for me he was the best striker there. He is the type of player who is difficult to find, because they always go at people.'

Wenger was pleased with the final result for his side, who have now won six of their last eight league games and also won 2-0 away over Bayern Munich in the Champions League, although still bowing out of Europe.

'I enjoyed our technical side, our creative side, our spirit and how disciplined and focused we were,' said Wenger.

Mind the gap: Arsene Wenger fighting for Champions League qualification

Mind the gap: Arsene Wenger fighting for Champions League qualification

'The regret you have is that there were more goals in this game than the number of goals we scored.

'Overall, it's a good basis to finish the season well. Let's just keep that spirit, that attitude and play the football we want to play.'

Wenger called for his side to keep their performances high over the run-in, with little margin for error if they are to gatecrash the top four once again.

'What we do is we look at the table and we are still behind Chelsea and Tottenham. We are not in a calculation mode,' he said.

'We can just win our next game and continue to do what we do at the moment.

'We are on a run so let's take care of the quality of our game and that run. After, we'll see where we stand.

On target: Gervinho was on the scoresheet

On target: Gervinho was on the scoresheet

'It (Champions League qualification) will be less predictable than it was predicted. We have a word to say in that and we want to give our best to do it.'

For Reading, meanwhile, the outlook is not so positive as the defeat sent them bottom of the table on goal difference, some seven points adrift of safety.

However, with a home clash against former club Southampton, Adkins is not about to throw in the towel just yet.

He said: 'We have had a bit of a fragmented week with the change, and players away on international duty, trying to get to grips with where we want to go and what to do is going to be challenging.

'We wanted to get something here, but didn't. Arsenal kept the ball very well.

'We will analyse it now, debrief back with the players, take the lessons from it and work very hard on the training ground for the next one.

'You can't change everything straight away, but we will all work hard together to give us a chance in the next game.'

Adkins added: 'The spirit is there in the group, and all we can do is take it one match at a time – there here and now is putting this one to bed, working hard over the course of the week for the next one.'

Eden Hazard ball boy: Don"t let Charlie Morgan tarnish reputation, says former Arsenal ball boy

Inside the mind of a ball boy: Swansea lad wasn't doing it right… and I should know, it was my job at Arsenal for a season

By
Phil Duncan

PUBLISHED:

10:42 GMT, 24 January 2013

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UPDATED:

11:40 GMT, 24 January 2013

'It is a fact,' Glenn Hoddle proclaimed. 'You will tell people who are instructing ball boys that if you're winning the game, don't get the ball back quickly.'

Well, sorry to disappoint you, Glenn. But that's not the case – fact.

I spent one season marshalling the Clock End for Arsenal Football Club and never was I ordered or told to influence play. We were simply under instruction to retrieve the ball and get it back on the pitch as soon as humanly possible.

There were no towels, no multi-ball system – other than games in the Champions League where this was compulsory – and certainly no instruction to treat one team differently from another.

On the ball: That's me on the left celebrating a Robert Pires strike against Charlton in the 2002-03 season

On the ball: That's me on the left celebrating a Robert Pires strike against Charlton in the 2002-03 season

Hoddle, speaking as a pundit on Sky Sports after last night's stunning events, also suggested that all home teams use the multi-ball system to their advantage on European nights.

Not in my experience. The message was clear: 'European officials are watching tonight, and they want you to retrieve and return the ball as quickly as you can. Don't mess it up.' As a 14-year-old representing Arsenal Football Club, I made sure I didn't.

What Eden Hazard did last night was wrong. He shouldn't have kicked out. But the self-proclaimed 'king of ball boys' Charlie Morgan hardly covered himself in glory either.

Before the game he hinted at
deliberately slowing down play under the hashtag 'timewasting'. As such,
there can be little sympathy.

Kick it out: Eden Hazard is ent off (below) after striking ball boy Charlie Morgan in last night's Capital One Cup match

Kick it out: Eden Hazard is sent off (below) after striking ball boy Charlie Morgan in last night's semi-final clash

Eden Hazard sent off

Social media hadn't been invented during my stint as a ball boy back in 2002. A 'hash' was a term which went before a figure, or used to determine the kind of telephone you were using during an automated call. But even in this era obsessed with Twitter and Facebook, I'd still be surprised if you found a current Arsenal ball boy gloating about his or her role. From the boardroom to the ball boys, the same strict rules apply to any employee of the north London club.

The act of a ball boy may seem like a menial task to most but we were under clear instruction to do our job professionally and properly. I wasn't paid but that wasn't the point. Watching Arsenal from the front row of the Clock End was payment in itself. We actually used to win things back then.

Wearing the Arsenal tracksuit, taking my designated seat for every game of the 2002-03 season – I was given the section nearest the away fans as I was one among the eldest of the group – and walking on to the hallowed Highbury turf to wave the Champions League flag on European nights are memories I will always cherish. As a defender who didn't like tackling or heading (and still doesn't) I knew this was the closest I'd get to playing for my childhood team. It was an honour.

Take your seat: A ball boy at WhTake your seat: A ball boy at White Hart Lane ite Hart Lane

Take your seat: Fans at White Hart Lane share a joke with a ball boy

Twenty of us between the ages of 12 and 16 were trialled and picked for one season, and one season only. There were clear rules. Don't celebrate an Arsenal goal (although, I must confess to ignoring that one). Don't kick the ball, or use your feet. And don't enter the field of play to retrieve the ball.

I remember one instance when Peter Schmeichel, who was playing for Manchester City, berated one of my colleagues for refusing to go on to the pitch to return the ball to him. He was simply obeying instructions. The Clock End responded by chanting 'ball boy give us a wave'. He did.

Speaking this morning, Pat Nevin, a former Chelsea player said, like Hazard, he too would have kicked the ball boy. And I'd have to agree. By smothering the ball, and then appearing to feign injury, the 17-year-old let himself down, he let Swansea down, and he called into question the integrity of ball boys across the country.

Nevin then suggested that ball boys should be banned. Nonsense. Retrieve the ball. Throw it back. Assume your position. Job done. Just do it the right way, the Arsenal way.

Charles van Commenee bemoans stars who reveal all in "boring books"

Britain's head coach quits and hits out at stars who reveal all in 'boring books'

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UPDATED:

20:24 GMT, 8 December 2012

The man whose ruthless leadership as Britain's head athletics coach helped Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah to Olympic glory has promised to resist spilling the beans on the controversies of his four-year reign.

Charles van Commenee, who will move back to Holland later this month after resigning his post as UK Athletics head coach because his team failed to meet their London 2012 medals target, roared with laughter as he said: 'I will take my secrets to the grave.'

Keeping mum: Van Commenee has turned down five book offers

Keeping mum: Van Commenee has turned down five book offers

The provocative 54-year-old Dutchman also delivered a parting swipe at athletes, including Ennis, who cash in on their fame by publishing what Van Commenee claims are 'boring' books.

And he has revealed the tough management decisions he took to give his stars their best chance of striking gold.

'I've had five offers to write a book,' said Van Commenee.

'But I promise you won't see one. They either become boring, a big ego document, or you reveal things and you look cheap. I can't see the point other than financial benefits.

'Who wants to read a book by an athlete You see pictures of them when they were babies or when they were 12. You read what their headteachers or their parents said to them or how important their coaches were and how hard they've worked. It's all the same.'

Asked if he had read Unbelievable, Ennis's autobiography, or recently published books by gold medal cyclists Victoria Pendleton and Bradley Wiggins, Van Commenee replied: 'I know what to expect, I don't need to.

Unbelievable: Jessica Ennis

Unbelievable: Jessica Ennis

'If I wrote a book, I'd have to break confidentiality because I can't help myself in that respect. I'd want to deliver quality. I can't write a book about having a nice coffee and pleasant conversation on the river bank on a rainy Monday morning.'

Two days before Christmas, Van Commenee will pack his belongings into the back of a friend's van and set sail on the final ferry to leave Harwich for the Hook of Holland that evening.

He arrived from Amsterdam to transform a flabby, disparate organisation after Britain won just four athletics medals in Beijing.

He leaves having overseen Super Saturday, the finest evening of British sport for almost half a century.

He helped to turn 25million of funding into six medals – including four golds and some historic moments – but half came from outside the traditional UK Athletics training centres of Loughborough and Lee Valley.

Van Commenee insists, however, that important decisions were taken to support Farah, who trained in Portland in the United States, and Ennis, who trained at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.

'Sometimes you read, “Jess and Mo are not part of the system”, but that's incorrect,' insisted Van Comenee.

'In Jessica's case, I'm the line manager of her coach, Toni Minichiello. We direct medical support, UKA pay for the facility and I allocate the biomechanist and her massage therapist. For Mo, he had one exercise physiologist, a brilliant man there for 80 athletes.

'I sent him for almost half a year to Mo in the run-up to the Olympics, ordering him not to leave his shadow. That meant 79 athletes couldn't use him at the time. That's a management decision to increase the chance of Mo winning medals.

'We employ Toni full time to work with one athlete and it paid off, but it's quite exceptional. It was a calculated risk but it's proved to be the best decision and they both did a wonderful job.'

The head coach set a team target of eight Olympic medals, including one gold, and never considered staying in his reported 250,000-a-year role after that was not achieved.

'I'm a strong believer of having clear targets, and when one is not hit it should have consequences,' added Van Commenee.

'To remain in the job when other coaches are losing theirs would have betrayed the philosophy. It wouldn't have been right.'

FIFPro want end to player "blackmail" in wake of Wesley Sneijder and Fernando Llorente disputes

FIFPro wants to end 'blackmail behaviour' of clubs in wake of Sneijder and Llorente contract disputes

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UPDATED:

21:21 GMT, 28 November 2012

FIFPro has called for an end to what it claims is the 'blackmail behaviour' of some football clubs.

The worldwide trade union for professional footballers believes a growing number of players are being put under pressure to prolong their contracts and are being frozen out of first-team action if they refuse.

FIFPro points to Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder and Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente as two recent examples of such practices, although in both cases the clubs in question maintain the players' non-selection is for purely tactical reasons.

Strongarmed: Wesley Sneijder has been told to accept a wage cut if he wants to play for Inter Milan again

Strongarmed: Wesley Sneijder has been told to accept a wage cut if he wants to play for Inter Milan again

FIFPro has nevertheless requested dialogue with FIFA, UEFA and the European Commission to share its concerns, which tonight were outlined in a statement entitled 'FIFPro wants to end blackmail behaviour of clubs'.

'For clubs, football seems to have become more like business. Football comes in second place,' the statement read.

'FIFPro signals a growing number of players who are put under pressure to prolong their contract. This is no new phenomenon.

'A club forces a player with a contract nearing expiry to sign a new contract. If the player refuses, the club puts him on the reserve bench or in the grandstand. This professional footballer doesn't get a chance to play any more.

'Only when he has signed a new contract he can resume playing.'

The statement continued: 'The two most striking examples at the moment are Wesley Sneijder and Fernando Llorente.

'Sneijder's contract runs until the middle of 2015. Inter has demanded that the Dutch international extend his contract until 2016, but then for exactly the same total salary. In other words, to work a year longer without receiving any salary for it.

Dispute: Fernando Llorente is rowing with Athletic Bilbao

Dispute: Fernando Llorente is rowing with Athletic Bilbao

Sneijder refused and since then, coach Andrea Stramaccioni has kept the playmaker outside the match selection.

'Llorente has a contract until the middle of 2013. Last summer, the Spanish international refused to sign a new contract. Since then, coach Marcelo Bielsa has kept the striker on the bench. He has only come into action as substitute.'

Speaking in Dutch newspaper Volkskrant, FIFPro secretary general Theo van Seggelen added: 'This type of practice used to be an exception. Unfortunately, we now see clubs in all countries in Europe using this type of measure.

'For us, the time has come to sound the bell.'

Australian Masters 2012: Ian Poulter and Adam Scott in fight for gold jacket

Poulter in straight duel with Scott Down Under as in-form duo move clear of field

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UPDATED:

10:03 GMT, 17 November 2012

The race for the gold jacket at the Australian Masters is between Ian Poulter and Adam Scott after they stamped their authority on the tournament with superb third rounds at Kingston Heath in Melbourne.

Poulter fired off a brilliant 64 to be 13 under overall and will head into the final day with a slender one-stroke advantage over Scott.

Scott's up-and-down round of 67 was not as flashy as Poulter's but it was good enough to keep him within striking distance and some five shots clear of third-placed Matthew Guyatt.

On the march: Poulter holds a one-shot advantage over Scott heading into the final day

On the march: Poulter holds a one-shot advantage over Scott heading into the final day

Guyatt could only manage a 75 on Saturday and is at seven under, while Kiwi Mark Brown is alone in fourth a shot further back at minus six.

The rest are too far back, although Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell picked up seven birdies when out nice and early on Saturday to fire a five-under 67.

That score was easily the world No 24's best of the week and was good enough to move him into a share of 13th place at one under overall.

Brown matched that score later in the day, but the two stars on show were Scott and Poulter and they look to be the only golfers set to fight it out for the gold jacket on the final day.

All smiles: Ian Poulter

Adam Scott

Head-to-head: Poulter and Scott will battle it out for the gold jacket at the Australian Masters

Golf blog

Playing in the penultimate group of the day, Poulter and Scott matched each other for the majority of the round through two distinctly different looks and playing styles.

Poulter was dressed boldly in red and often cautious off the tee, while Scott was more conservatively clothed in a grey sweater and often outdriving the Englishman by over 50 metres on some holes.

The two contrasting styles were obvious to all following the marquee group in Melbourne's south-east and none more so than on the relatively short par-four 7th.

Scott boomed his drive just a lob wedge away from the green and tapped in for his three after his approach shot stopped within a couple of feet from the hole, while Poulter made his birdie the hard way.

He had to rely on a putt from just off the green rolling in after his long-iron failed to make the putting surface from quite some distance out.

The Englishman cheekily smiled at his playing partner once the ball hit the bottom of the cup as Poulter took a share of the lead for the first time during his round.

Scott joined Poulter and Guyatt out in front at the eighth when he made his third consecutive birdie, but from that point on there were only two players in contention.

It was a case of 'anything you can do, I can do better' for Scott and Poulter, with the pair going head-to-head on the inward nine and producing some outstanding golf.

They picked up another four birdies apiece on the way home and none more impressive than when they made a mockery of the short and tricky par-three 15th by making a pair of twos with relative ease.

A hole later they both dropped a stroke – it was to be Poulter's only blemish for the day – and, when Scott could not get up-and-down from the back of the 17th and had to settle for a bogey, the defending champion was out in front on his own yet again.

The duo then birdied the last in style to complete the day's showdown and will once again go head-to-head on Sunday when the Masters winner will be crowned.

Spurs 3 Maribor 1 – match report: Jermain Defoe hits hat-trick

Spurs 3 Maribor 1: Defoe hits hat-trick to reward AVB's faith after Lloris gaffe

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UPDATED:

22:45 GMT, 8 November 2012

It seems Andre Villas-Boas does not have the stubborn streak we once thought he might. Spurs fans had clamoured for Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor to play together in a 4-4-2 formation and that is just what their manager gave them.

Defoe responded with a hat-trick but Tottenham, once again, made hard work for themselves, conceding a sloppy goal after 40 minutes thanks to an error from Hugo Lloris. It leaves Villas-Boas’ side second in Group J with two games to go.

The Spurs manager described the match as a ‘defining moment’ in his team’s Europa League campaign but the same could apply to Tottenham’s domestic fortunes.

Hotshot: Defoe fires the opening goal past Maribor keeper Jasmin Handonovic

Hotshot: Defoe fires the opening goal past Maribor keeper Jasmin Handonovic

Match facts

Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Naughton, Lennon (Falque 90), Huddlestone, Carroll, Bale (Mason 86), Defoe (Dempsey 82), Adebayor. Subs not used: Cudicini, Gallas, Sigurdsson, Livermore.

Booked: Bale, Carroll.

Goals: Defoe 22, 49, 77.

Maribor: Handanovic, Milec, Rajcevic, Arghus, Mejac, Cvijanovic, Mertelj (Dodlek 89), Filipovic, Ibraimi, Tavares (Komazec 76), Beric. Subs not used: Pridigar, Vidovic, Mezga, Potokar, Viler.

Booked: Mejac.

Goal: Beric 40.

Referee: Antti Munukka (Finland).

Europa League tables, fixtures and results

Spurs were chasing their first home
win in more than a month last night and had mustered just two wins in
seven matches at White Hart Lane prior to NK Maribor’s visit.

It was the first time Villas-Boas has
named both Adebayor and Defoe in his starting XI and only the ninth
time the pair have started together for Spurs. Last season under Harry
Redknapp, they began eight matches together and guess what Tottenham
won seven of them.

It makes sense when you think about it; this classic big and small striking partnership.

A classic partnership maybe, but not
necessarily a harmonious one. As Gareth Bale whipped in a cross from the
left in the seventh minute, the ball was poked on towards Defoe by
Adebayor. As the England striker’s attempt at an acrobatic volley
bounced off the turf, Adebayor chided him for not spotting the return
pass. Defoe simply shrugged.

It was Adebayor’s time to hit the
turf six minutes later when he went to ground under pressure from Arghus
after a neatly threaded pass from Aaron Lennon. Finnish referee Antti
Munukka was not impressed and neither was Arghus, who made a diving
motion with his hands as play restarted.

Main men: Both Gareth Bale and Defoe were in exceptional form

Main men: Both Gareth Bale and Defoe were in exceptional form

Yet the chances kept coming,
generally courtesy of Bale’s left foot. A 17th-minute cross from the
Wales winger was just a touch too high for Defoe, but the striker
anticipated another inviting delivery five minutes later, stealing in
front of Aleksander Rajcevic brilliantly to find the bottom right-hand
corner and put Spurs ahead after 21 minutes.

Adebayor then found the target with a
delightful chipped effort, which was correctly disallowed for offside
but Spurs reverted to this season’s type by conceding the softest of
goals.

Hotshot: Defoe fires the opening goal past Maribor keeper Jasmin Handonovic

Hotshot: Defoe fires the opening goal past Maribor keeper Jasmin Handonovic

When Kyle Naughton passed the ball
back to his goalkeeper, Lloris tried to dribble it past Robert Beric
only for the striker to intercept and knock the ball in with his right
foot. It was an absurd back- pass but the Frenchman should not have been
so ambitious.

Fabrice Muamba made an emotional
return to White Hart Lane at half-time, thanking Spurs for their support
after he collapsed on this pitch last March.

Howler: Hugo Lloris failed to deal with Kyle Naughton's poor backpass, leaving Robert Beric with a gift of a goal

Howler: Hugo Lloris failed to deal with Kyle Naughton's poor backpass, leaving Robert Beric with a gift of a goal

Howler: NK Maribor players celebrate after Robert Beric scored their first goal

Howler: NK Maribor players celebrate after Robert Beric scored their first goal

Howler: NK Maribor players celebrate after Robert Beric scored their first goal

Face like thunder: Naughton reflects on a hospital ball to his keeper

It was a poignant moment as the
former Bolton midfielder tearfully tried to explain his gratitude and
need for closure. Amid the rumblings of discontent from fans, perhaps it
brought a sense of perspective, too.

It took only four minutes for the
atmosphere to lift again as Tom Carroll and Defoe combined to score
Spurs’ second. The young midfielder’s one-touch pass set Defoe free and
his left-foot shot flew past Jasmin Handanovic in the Maribor goal.

Emotional scenes: Fabrice Muamba returned to the White Hart Lane pitch - the scene of his cardiac arrest last year - at half-time

Emotional scenes: Fabrice Muamba returned to the White Hart Lane pitch – the scene of his cardiac arrest last year – at half-time

Emotional scenes: Fabrice Muamba returned to the White Hart Lane pitch - the scene of his cardiac arrest last year - at half-time

Yet Spurs still failed to take
command, quickly conceding a soft free-kick from which Beric was unlucky
not to score. Adebayor then mistimed a volley after a beautiful chip
from Bale beat the offside trap.

The Villas-Boas master plan, though,
worked out nicely, Defoe adding his third in brilliant fashion after
77 minutes. Tom Huddlestone picked out Bale on the left and Defoe
pounced in the centre to finish off a thrilling Tottenham
counter-attack.

Crunch time: Maribor's Martin Milec goes in hard on Gareth Bale

Crunch time: Maribor's Martin Milec goes in hard on Gareth Bale

Familiar face: Former Tottenham player Jurgen Klinsmann - currently coach of the USA - sits next to chairman Daniel Levy (right)

Familiar face: Former Tottenham player Jurgen Klinsmann – currently coach of the USA – sits next to chairman Daniel Levy (right)

Wayne Rooney sheds light on Sir Alex Ferguson"s "hairdryer"

There's nothing worse! Rooney sheds light on Ferguson's 'hairdryer' treatment as he recalls fiery tirades

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UPDATED:

09:02 GMT, 14 September 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Wayne Rooney has shed some light on Sir Alex Ferguson’s notorious dressing-room ‘hairdryer’ treatment – and has revealed the United manager’s most fiery tirade.

Ferguson’s ferocious temper is infamous, and former United striker Mark Hughes coined the ‘hairdryer’ phrase to describe the locker-room rages.

But despite claims the 70-year-old boss has mellowed with age, Rooney says the Scot can still lose it when absolutely necessary – striking fear into his playing staff.

Still got it: Wayne Rooney says that there is nothing worse than receiving the 'hairdryer' from Sir Alex Ferguson

Still got it: Wayne Rooney says that there is nothing worse than receiving the 'hairdryer' from Sir Alex Ferguson

Rooney said in his book My Decade, serialised in the Daily Mirror: ‘There’s nothing worse than getting the “hairdryer” from Sir Alex.’

‘When it happens, the manager stands in the middle of the room and loses it at me. He gets right up in my face and shouts.

‘It feels like I’ve put my head in front of a Ba/09/14/article-0-0BC507CD00000578-875_468x356.jpg” width=”468″ height=”356″ alt=”He's not all bad! Rooney (right) says that he does not like to be shouted at by anyone, including Ferguson (left)” class=”blkBorder” />

He's not all bad! Rooney (right) says that he does not like to be shouted at by anyone, including Ferguson (left)

‘I’ve seen the manager shout and scream at people and when they’ve gone back on the pitch their heads have dropped. They’ve lost it.’

In his biography, Rooney recounts a particularly heated dressing-room telling off when United were beaten 1-0 at Celtic in a Champions League group game in 2006.

The now Sunderland striker, Louis Saha, missed a last-gasp penalty and failed to level the match.

Saha got the full treatment as Ferguson was livid to have lost to Gordon Strachan’s side.

‘It’s the worst “hairdryer” I’ve seen,’ said Rooney. ‘He’s in Louis’ face, shouting and screaming.

‘But Louis isn’t the only one getting an earful.

‘The manager knows I’ve been negotiating a new deal with the club and he saves some for me, “Players wanting more money from the club and new deals – you don’t deserve anything after that performance!”’

The worst he's seen: Louis Saha took a tirade after missing a penalty against Celtic in 2006

The worst he's seen: Louis Saha took a tirade after missing a penalty against Celtic in 2006

Control: Rooney believes Ferguson sometimes yells at his players to maintain his authority over his squad

Control: Rooney believes Ferguson sometimes yells at his players to maintain his authority over his squad

Reflecting on the blast, Rooney said his performance hardly warranted the new and improved contract he eventually received from the club.

Later in the same season, Rooney also revealed that Ferguson ripped into the team just before United lifted the trophy at Old Trafford.

Ferguson’s side ended Chelsea’s two year reign at the top, but the Scot was furious that his side went down 1-0 to West Ham on the final day of the season.

‘Most sides would be celebrating in the dressing-room, getting ready for the champagne and the photos,’ recalled Rooney.

‘Not us. We’re staring at the floor like school kids, the manager giving us the “hairdryer”.

‘After the rollicking it takes a while before everyone cheers up enough to put their Premier League-winning smiles back on.’

Sidelined: Rooney is out after gashing his leg against Fulham

Sidelined: Rooney is out after gashing his leg against Fulham

London 2012 Olympics: Sir Clive Woodward praises Great Britain"s female Olympians

Sir Clive: The golden girls will inspire Britain's next generation after the Games have gone

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UPDATED:

22:36 GMT, 10 August 2012

Sir Clive Woodward is a ladies’ man. Not that this revelation should alarm his wife Lady Jane. This knight of the realm is a gentleman. His interest in any other members of the fairer sex is confined exclusively to the promise which won the Games for London and which has to be honoured right now.

It’s the legacy, of course. ‘Legacy, legacy, legacy,’ vowed Lord Coe.

Well, the legacy starts on Sunday night. The moment the Olympic flame flickers and dies at the end of the closing ceremony the yet greater task of igniting a brilliant and unquenchable future for British sport begins.

Games changer: Boxing golden girl Nicola Adams

Games changer: Boxing golden girl Nicola Adams

Who will strike the first match ‘The girls,’ says Woodward. ‘The most striking feature of London 2012 has been the advances made in female sport.

‘Perhaps because they had further to go they have focused even more intensely and been open to fresh thinking about their preparation.’

So these are The Emancipation Games ‘Yes,’ says the elite performance director of the British Olympic Association. ‘The final breakthrough for the women. They have transformed the Olympic landscape.

‘No fewer than 48 per cent of the Team GB competitors are female. Their performances have been watched by all the live spectators here and the hundreds of millions of television viewers with the same fascination and excitement as the men.

Boxing clever: Adams beats China's Ren Cancan on her way to gold

Boxing clever: Adams beats China's Ren Cancan on her way to gold

‘We have arrived at true equality.’ Emmeline Pankhurst can sleep easy in her grave. The suffragettes who fought for the freedom to play men’s games as well as the right to vote can leave the rest to Sir Clive. He will employ the women to unlock the door to Seb Coe’s revolution in British sport.

The key to that is in the coaching. Woodward found it in the combat sports as Nicola Adams, in the boxing ring, and Jade Jones, on the taekwondo mat, boosted the surge of gold medals.

‘Just look at these girls,’ says Woodward. ‘They are not only talented but technically correct, fast, beautifully balanced, have perfect footwork and absolute commitment to their training. That tells us that they have world-class coaches and that is where the legacy has to come from.

‘It’s not only about the money and the facilities, although of course all that is important. The future is in the teaching.’

As the only England manager to win the Rugby World Cup, Woodward is the most iconic figure in team coaching in this country since Sir Alf Ramsey in the 1960s.

Talking a good game: Sportsmail's Jeff Powell talks to Sir Clive Woodward

Talking a good game: Sportsmail's Jeff Powell talks to Sir Clive Woodward

That makes it all the more significant that he sees one-on-one coaching as the most vital element for every sport.

‘Look at it in the Olympic perspective,’ he says. ‘The most successful athletes have individual coaches. Some more than one. Jessica Ennis has her main coach but they also use specialists for some of her different disciplines in the heptathlon.

‘Without doubt that focused training is the most crucial. Our national football and rugby teams need one-on-one coaching for all the players.

‘Put it this way. If I could have a rugby XV in which every position was filled by an Olympic gold medal winner then that team would win. Without doubt. Team coaching is easy when you have properly schooled players.

Golden girl: Hepthalete Jessica Ennis competes in the long jump and celebrates her win (below)

Golden girl: Hepthalete Jessica Ennis competes in the long jump and celebrates her win (below)

She's done it! Ennis celebrates her gold

She's done it! Ennis celebrates her gold

‘I will go so far as to say that it would benefit football and rugby players to spend some time being coached in the combat sports. They develop that great balance as well as strength and grit — and courtesy, grace and good manners. Look how polite most Olympic athletes are.

‘Then who knows Some footballers who might not make it to the top could suddenly find another sport at which they could become stars, maybe Olympians.

‘The biggest lesson I learned from my time at Southampton Football Club was the need for concentration on individual skills. Matt Le Tissier told me about the hours he spent just working on his first touch and he became one one of the most highly skilled players in the country.

‘Look at the Brazilians. I went to watch their Olympic team play the other night and I was impressed by the way they all wanted to demonstrate that wonderful ability of theirs by running with the ball and taking on opponents.

‘That is the product of all the hours, days, weeks, months and years they spend with a ball on the beach. To be honest, I prefer that way of playing to teams who look to pass the ball at once, even Spain. Not least because for them it’s not just training. It’s the other factor we have to inject into the teaching — FUN in capital letters. But it is the individual coaching that matters, especially with the young.’

Track star: Laura Trott won two gold medals

Track star: Laura Trott won two gold medals

Good fit: Trott with her medal

To increase that factor a multi-million-fold, Woodward sends out this clarion call to every father and mother in the country to become coaches to their sons and daughters:

‘No-one spends more time with their kids than their parents.

‘Games teachers at school are essential but they may not get more than an hour a day with each child, if they are lucky. Imagine if they could send the boys and girls home with a schedule for them to work on their skills and fitness. Then they could be in training and thinking about the sports they love in the mornings and the evenings.

‘People talk about angry parents on touchlines but we need to educate them, too, to help their kids.

‘A prime example has been staring at us here — all the work that Judy Murray has put into Andy. If we can get millions of parents thinking like that we can bring out more success.

‘You don’t win gold medals unless you are totally committed and that is easier with the right kind of help. We are now seeing not only the men but more and more girls putting in that effort and it’s paid off.

Welsh wonder: Jade Jones won taekwondo gold

Welsh wonder: Jade Jones won taekwondo gold

Golden wonder: Jones with her medal

Golden wonder: Jones with her medal

‘So I’m not talking about finding millions and millions in funding to pay for armies of trainers. I for one am not cynical about the way Government ministers have taken to coming to the Games and supporting our athletes.

‘I want them to become excited and then stay involved so that they continue to put in the finance where it’s needed. But I also want every mum and dad who is looking to get excited about how they can help their children.’

Coe’s slogan for London 2012 is: ‘Inspire a Generation’. His target is the potential athletes of the future.

Woodward adds another: ‘Inspire a Generation of Coaches’.

He says: ‘We need them if we are to be as successful at future Games as we have been in London. We’ve had home advantage here. Of course it’s helped. Would you rather take on the All Blacks at Twickenham or in Auckland

Taking it all in: Sir Clive Woodward enjoys the opening ceremony

Taking it all in: Sir Clive Woodward enjoys the opening ceremony

‘Next time we are away. So we have to take it a step higher.

‘The challenge is difficult — to be at least as good in Rio as we have been here, then even better in all the Games after that. It can be done.

‘And if we do we will know that we have improved the health of the country, delivered something permanent and important for the feelgood factor in Britain and re-confirmed our belief in ourselves as a nation.’

London 2012 Olympics: Fabian Cancellara crash is boost for Bradley Wiggins

Cancellara crash may wreck his time-trial tussle with Wiggins

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UPDATED:

21:17 GMT, 28 July 2012

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LIVE RESULTS |
EVENT SCHEDULE |
MEDALS TABLE

An extraordinary crash by Fabian Cancellara robbed the great Swiss champion of a likely Olympic title and boosted Bradley Wiggins' chances of striking gold on Wednesday.

Cancellara, the 2008 Olympic time trial champion and road race silver medallist, looked good on improving in Saturday's road race when he appeared to be the strongest contender in a breakaway group of 32 riders that caught out Wiggins, race favourite Mark Cavendish and the rest of the five-man British team.

But just 10 miles before the finish on the Mall, Cancellara's wheels locked at the Star and Garter corner in Richmond Park and he crashed into the roadside railings.

Injury: Fabian Cancellara's Olympic hopes are in doubt

Injury: Fabian Cancellara's Olympic hopes are in doubt

Although he picked himself up and continued to race, the lead group were gone and he was left easing his way into central London clutching his right shoulder.

Ironically, he had tweeted a photo of the same corner on Friday during a reconnaissance of the course.

On Saturday night Cancellara, known for his bike-handling skills, was undergoing a scan at a London hospital for a suspected fractured collarbone and the chances of him being fit enough to attempt a defence of his time trial Olympic title on Wednesday around Hampton Court and through the roads of Surrey appear remote.

This immeasurably improves Wiggins's chances of winning a fourth Olympic gold – and a seventh medal in total – to add to his Tour de France victory last week.

Surprise boost: Bradley Wiggins has a great chance of gold

Surprise boost: Bradley Wiggins has a great chance of gold

The 32-year-old was seen as joint favourite for the time trial alongside Cancellara. The Swiss won the first trial at the Tour earlier this month, Wiggins taking the other two in the event.

Now the road appears to be clear for the Londoner as long as he recovers from his gruelling efforts. If Wiggins ends up on the podium on Wednesday he will have captured more Olympic medals than anyone else in British sport.

He stands level with rower Sir Steve Redgrave on six, with three golds, a silver and two bronzes to Redgrave's five golds and a bronze. Another potential crash was narrowly avoided inside the first hour when a dog ran across the road in St Margaret's, Twickenham, in between a lead group of riders and the peloton.

Sergio Aguero told to quit Manchester City for Real Madrid by Maradona

Quit now! Aguero urged to swap City for Madrid by father-in-law Maradona

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UPDATED:

14:13 GMT, 3 April 2012

Sergio Aguero's father-in-law, the great Maradona, has urged the Manchester City striker to quit England for Real Madrid at the end of the season.

'Kun' has only been at the Etihad since last summer when Roberto Mancini paid a club record 38million to Atletico Madrid for his services.

Aguero has enjoyed a better-than-expected debut campaign in the Premier League, scoring 17 times despite a series of niggling injuries.

Wanted man: Sergio Aguero was a target for Real Madrid before choosing Manchester City

Wanted man: Sergio Aguero was a target for Real Madrid before choosing Manchester City

Go that way: Diego Maradona think Aguero made a mistake and should move to Madrid soon

Go that way: Diego Maradona think Aguero made a mistake and should move to Madrid soon

The latest of those resulted a public telling off by boss Mancini after it became known the striker was suffering with blisters as a result of an anaesthetic freeze spray, applied after a knock against Chelsea.

And now, after City's shortcomings in Europe (they failed to escape the group stage in the Champions League), Aguero has been urged Maradona to jump ship for Spain.

Maradona told Radio de la Red: 'Kun has to play for Real Madrid. Even though he is flying at City, the best thing would have been to sign for Madrid. He made a mistake.

'Now, as he is doing so well, it will be difficult to get him from City. However if Madrid want someone, they get them. Florentino [Perez, the club boss] has no limits. It's a question of convincing City – but not with money because they have plenty of that.'

Spanish newspaper AS reported on Tuesday that the La Liga leaders were considering a swap deal that would involve sending Gonzalo Higuain plus 8.5m the other way.

The striker, who is an international team-mate of Aguero, has been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea as well as clubs in Italy, including Juventus.

Better together: The striking pair are international team-mates with Argentina

Better together: The striking pair are international team-mates with Argentina

AS claim Aguero has already discussed
a potential move back to the Spanish capital with team-mates, and that
there is a growing feeling a move will materialise this summer.

Real manager
Jose Mourinho, though, has dismissed the story, claiming that the
country's media are trying to destabilise his team as they chase a
domestic and European double.

The Portuguese, speaking at a press conference ahead of Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final second leg against APOEL Nicosia, said: 'You (the press) want to destabilise the squad. Last week I had signed for (Manchester) City, (Iker) Casillas was going to Schalke, Higuain to Malaga…'

Dismissed: Jose Mourinho has launched an attack on the Spanish media

Dismissed: Jose Mourinho has launched an attack on the Spanish media

On the Higuain-Aguero story, he added: 'The front cover of (newspaper) AS is false. If you want me to comment on false front covers then forget it.'

Meanwhile, the club's director of institutional relations Emilio Butragueno also dismissed the suggestion of selling Higuain.

'Rumours seem to be inevitable,' he
told the club's official website. 'But we are delighted with Higuain.
He's scored 24 goals in 20 league games and just remember I was the
league's top scorer with 19.

'He
is a world-class striker and we intend for him to stay here many years.
He arrived here very young and we regard him as a club player. He has
always behaved impeccably, whether he plays or not.'

Dutch of class: Roberto Mancini has made no secret of his wish to sign Robin van Persie

Dutch of class: Roberto Mancini has made no secret of his wish to sign Robin van Persie

The report in AS added that a strong relationship between Real and City's owners – Perez and Sheikh Mansour – enhances the chances of a deal going through, while Mancini falters on his own prime target, Arsenal's Robin van Persie.

The Italian has made no secret of his admiration for the Dutchman – who is the Premier League's leading marksman – but has been met with resistance from Arsenal and the player's family.

Mancini, meanwhile, will listen to offers for Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tevez.