Tag Archives: stuttering

France v Spain preview – Giants prepare to meet in crunch clash in bid to reach World Cup

Le Crunch: All eyes on Paris as France host stuttering Spain in World Cup clash that could send champions tumbling towards play-offs

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Killer blow: Xabi Alonso opens the scoring for Spain against France in the Euro 2012 quarter-final in Donetsk

All-time Record

Played 32
Spain wins 11
France wins 14
Drawn 7

Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane could win his second cap by virtue of his more intricate knowledge of the Spanish forwards.

The Spanish – as is their way – will take nothing less than three points to recover the initiative in Group I with three matches remaining.

'The only thing that changes is that a draw with France now isn't enough,' Cesc Fabregas said. 'But the idea was always to go to France aiming for a victory.

'We will be highly motivated and we will have to bring out the best in ourselves.'

Draw is not enough: Cesc Fabregas, in action here in the return fixture in Gijon, says Spain will be going all out for the win

Draw is not enough: Cesc Fabregas, in action here in the return fixture in Gijon, says Spain will be going all out for the win

European World Cup qualifying Group I

Turning possession into goals is Spain's priority and the country's all-time leading scorer David Villa, who netted on their last visit to Paris in a 2-0 friendly victory in 2010, was confident of success.

'We were going there for a win anyway and now we do so with a stronger motive,' the Barcelona striker said after the Finland game.

'Our way of playing is always the same. Even if we had beaten Finland we would have played the same in Saint-Denis. We aren't thinking of the playoffs, or anything else beyond getting a win against France on Tuesday.'

When Spain beat Italy to win their third straight major title at last year's European Championship, it was unthinkable they could be absent from the Rio football carnival.

Following a run of 24 consecutive qualifying wins, they have slumped to back-to-back draws with France and Finland, having beaten Georgia and Belarus earlier in the campaign.

For once, Spain appear to be there for the taking, though much will depend on striker Benzema, who has scored just three times in his last 23 outings for France.

Certain sections of the French media have called for him to be dropped as a result, but Deschamps has no such intention.

'I believe in Karim,' he said unequivocally.

Thankfully for Deschamps, other sectors of the French attack are in full flow, with winger Franck Ribery and attacking midfielder Mathieu Valbuena in excellent form – particularly Valbuena, who scored a great goal against Georgia and created the other two.

'We ask attacking players to be decisive, and Valbuena is just that,' Deschamps said. 'He's full of confidence and it shows.'

Jubilation: Mathieu Valbuena and Franck Ribery celebrate after the former scores against Georgia

Jubilation: Mathieu Valbuena and Franck Ribery celebrate after the former scores against Georgia

Dropped points: Cazorla and teammates at the end of Spain's 1-1 draw with Finland on Friday evening

Dropped points: Cazorla and teammates at the end of Spain's 1-1 draw with Finland on Friday evening

Deschamps has high praise for Giroud, too, but suggested he could be more useful using his aerial threat against a tiring defence.

'He has that ability, and that's a weapon I can obviously use at any time,' Deschamps said.

Spain's Santi Cazorla knows all about Giroud, playing alongside him for Arsenal, and considers him to be an equal threat to Benzema.

'They are very different. Olivier has killer instincts, a penalty box player,' Cazorla said. 'Karim is a playmaker, he enters in open play more. They are two great players.'

Probable teams:

France: Hugo Lloris; Christophe Jallet, Mamadou Sakho, Raphael Varane, Patrice Evra; Moussa Sissoko, Blaise Matuidi, Yohan Cabaye, Mathieu Valbuena, Franck Ribery; Karim Benzema

Spain: Victor Valdes; Alvaro Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Nacho Monreal; Xabi Alonso, Sergio Busquets, Xavi, Andres Iniesta; Cesc Fabregas, David Villa

Arsene Wenger tells Stan Kroenke he wants to turn Arsenal round alone

Stay out of it Kroenke! Defiant Wenger wants to get Arsenal's season back on track without interference

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UPDATED:

10:52 GMT, 14 December 2012

A defiant Arsene Wenger today said that he is determined to turn Arsenal's stuttering season around and does not expect any intervention from the club's board, including majority shareholder Stan Kroenke.

Arsenal suffered a crippling defeat at Bradford on Tuesday, when they were beaten on penalties in the Capital One Cup.

Wenger watched his season go from bad to worse at Valley Parade. The Gunners sit in 7th in the Premier League and are already 15 points behind leaders Manchester United after just 16 games.

Deflated: Arsenal lost in the Capital One Cup to Bradford earlier this week

Deflated: Arsenal lost in the Capital One Cup to Bradford earlier this week

With hopes of winning the league all but over, should Arsenal fail to bring home the FA Cup or the Champions League this season, it will be their eighth in succession without a trophy.

But Wenger has pulled Arsenal through
rough patches before, and he is determined to do so without any
intervention from Kroenke and the board.

Wenger said: ‘I am responsible for the football front, I don't expect Stan Kroenke to intervene.

‘The way to support me is to let me
do my work and do my job, I don't expect anything else. I'm very
determined and very hungry – if I wasn't I wouldn't be here.

‘I love the club, I sit here and show
how much I love the club. We have been through difficult periods before
and I know how to turn this around because I have been here 16 years.’

Wenger is looking to pick his players up at Reading on Monday evening after a difficult week, but believes he and his players should be looking forward, not back.

Crunch time: Arsene Wenger is determined to get the season back on track without interference

Crunch time: Arsene Wenger is determined to get the season back on track without interference

'We are top professional people. What
is important is what happens tomorrow, not what happened yesterday. We
are sorry for that [Bradford] but what is important is the next game.'

'They [Reading] are a team who deserve a lot of
credit because they came up last year, for me surprisingly.

'They make it difficult for every
team in every game, so we expect a battle. Our results are quite
consistent and good away from home.

'We had a good game against West Brom [and] it’s important to confirm that in our next away game.'

The Frenchman believes his players are committed and resilient enough to bounce back from the Bradford loss.

He said: 'This team cares, is serious and wants to do well, I do not question the spirit of the team.
I believe I have a strong team.

'If you look at our season at the moment, we have not produced our performances at home, away our results are in the same bracket as the two top teams.

Resilient: Wenger believes his players can bounce back at Reading

Resilient: Wenger believes his players can bounce back at Reading

Stop the rot: Arsenal are in seventh place in the league, 15 behind leaders Manchester United

Stop the rot: Arsenal are in seventh place in the league, 15 behind leaders Manchester United

'Where we have lost the points is we made too many draws at home.

'Manchester United are top of the league, six points ahead. They have lost three games, we have lost four. We had more draws, especially at home, that is where we have lost the points.'

The Arsenal manager was also asked whether, after 16 years at the helm, he had been at the club for too long.

He said: 'I can understand people
criticise when the results are not as expected. It looks like has become
the modern way to think.

'You say that 16 years can be a handicap, but it can also be an advantage because you have experience, you love the club.

'If I sit here, it is because I have really shown how much I love his club. We have gone through difficult periods before and you know how to turn it around.'

There has also been speculation that all-time top goalscorer Thierry Henry could re-join the club on loan in January, but Wenger refused to comment on the proposed move, and said: 'I cannot tell you anything about it because nothing has happened.'

SOS: Arsenal could be tempted to make a move for all-time top goalscorer Thierry Henry

SOS: Arsenal could be tempted to make a move for all-time top goalscorer Thierry Henry

Not even close: Gary Jones of Bradford scores with his penalty attempt past goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny

Not even close: Gary Jones of Bradford scores with his penalty attempt past goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny

Lee Cattermole: Sunderland will turn season around

Captain Cattermole: We can't hit the net but Sunderland will be alright

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UPDATED:

18:02 GMT, 5 November 2012

Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole insists Martin O’Neill’s shell-shocked players can turn around their season.

Saturday’s defeat to Aston Villa has left the Black Cats squandering in 16th and the stats are stacked against them.

They have not scored in eight hours, taking away Demba Ba’s own goal in the Tyne-Wear derby which makes him the club’s second top scorer Steven Fletcher who has five, but hasn’t scored in games.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/teampages/sunderland.html

Confident: Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole believes the club can reverse their stuttering start

Not that he’s had many chances. Sunderland have managed just 13 shots on target all season and it is a hindrance they struggled to shake off against Villa, who clocked up their first away win.

In fact Cattermole, who went agonisingly close when Sunderland were on top, managed the only shot on target, and even that was nearly chalked off because Steven Fletcher was judged offside after trying to beat Brad Guzan to the shot the American spilled.

The midfielder was outstanding but his efforts, which were acknowledged by a 40,000-plus crowd which stuck volubly with their increasingly desperate team, were not enough to prevent their second defeat of the season.

Cattermole said: 'The fans were magnificent towards the end whereas in the past they have got on the players' backs at times. Against Villa they were absolutely brilliant and we all appreciate that support.

'As a team we are absolutely devastated. We will stick together and it is as good a dressing room as I have ever been in.

'There is no arguing, there will be points that need to be made and nobody is happy with losing games. We have to win more than we lose this year, but the dressing room is very strong.

'The dressing room is absolutely brilliant and it is still up-beat. The lads are great. People can have disagreements, and it's good we can have a row with each other because we are all in it together. We understand that.

'People keep saying Johno because he is that good a player. He cant do it all of the time. We all have to help each other out.

'We have top, top footballers here. You are going to see some quality here this season. Before Saturday we had only lost to Man City and there is a lot of pressure on the team for not scoring goals. We have to keep working hard. The quality will come through in the end.

'We can do different drills in training, we have been doing that, getting the ball out wide. At the minute we are not doing the right stuff.

'It's not quite happening for us at the moment. If we had managed to score first in the Villa game then it would give us such a huge lift in confidence and have had an effect on the away team as well.

'I'm not a massive believer in stats, but we haven’t created enough chances and it is something we are working on. We believe in the team we have got.

'There is real quality in that dressing room to turn this around.'

Liverpool striker crisis as Fabio Borini breaks foot

Liverpool face striker crisis as Borini breaks his foot leaving Rodgers left with just Suarez leading the attack

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UPDATED:

07:15 GMT, 12 October 2012

Liverpool's stuttering season has been dealt a fresh blow after Fabio Borini broke his right foot during training with Italy’s Under 21s.

The 21-year-old was preparing for his country’s Euro 2013 play-off with Sweden in Pescara when he suffered the injury to his scafoide bone and taken to hospital for X-rays.

There is no diagnosis yet of how long Borini, who was signed for 10million from Roma in July, will be out but it could be that he is sidelined for months rather than weeks.

Injury blow: Liverpool striker Fabio Borini

Injury blow: Liverpool striker Fabio Borini

It leaves Luis Suarez as Liverpool’s
only fit striker for the foreseeable future and leaves Brendan Rodgers
fretting that his leading scorer will return from Uruguay’s World Cup
qualifiers against Argentina and Bolivia unscathed.

The Liverpool boss loaned out Andy Carroll to West Ham in August and was unable to replace the England striker, leaving him short of options. Under the terms of the deal, Carroll cannot return to his parent club until January at the earliest.

Rodgers was desperate to bring Clint Dempsey to Anfield but was outbid by Tottenham. The decision by the club's board not to back their manager looks even more costly in light of Borini's injury.

Mistake Andy Carrroll was loaned to West Ham despite Liverpool's thin squad

Mistake Andy Carrroll was loaned to West Ham despite Liverpool's thin squad

Suarez meanwhile will line up against Argentina
on Friday and he has admitted for the first time to a South American newspaper
that he will have to change his ways on the pitch.

He has courted controversy once again
this week after he went down theatrically in an attempt to win a
penalty in last Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Stoke at Anfield.

But Suarez, who has been booked three
times in the Barclays Premier League this season, is aware that he
needs to stop showing dissent to match officials.

Last man standing: Brendan Rodgers must hope Luis Suarez remains fit

Last man standing: Brendan Rodgers must hope Luis Suarez remains fit

‘As the years go by you realise what
you have to correct,' Suarez said. ‘There are things I must improve,
like my attitude on the pitch.

‘But that's how I've played since I
was a kid. I try to correct it but there are times when my anxiety makes
me play that way. Those are things I must improve on.’ Meanwhile,
Liverpool have dismissed Alessandro Del Piero’s claim he rejected a move
to Anfield out of respect to the victims of the Heysel disaster.

The Italian striker moved to Sydney
FC last month after leaving Juventus but he was also linked with
Liverpool. He says, though, that a joining Rodgers’ side was never an
option because of the tragedy before the 1985 European Cup final when 39
Juventus fans were killed.

But an Anfield official said: ‘No
attempt was made to sign Alessandro Del Piero. Nobody at Liverpool spoke
to the player or his representatives at any stage about the possibility
of him joining the club.’

Liverpool striker Fabio Borini breaks foot in Italy

Borini breaks foot in Italy leaving Liverpool boss Rodgers with just ONE fit striker

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UPDATED:

21:09 GMT, 11 October 2012

Liverpool's stuttering season has been dealt a fresh blow after Fabio Borini broke his right foot during training with Italy’s Under 21s.

The 21-year-old was preparing for his country’s Euro 2013 play-off with Sweden in Pescara when he suffered the injury to his scafoide bone and taken to hospital for X-rays.

There is no diagnosis yet of how long Borini, who was signed for 10million from Roma in July, will be out but it could be that he is sidelined for months rather than weeks.

Injury blow: Liverpool striker Fabio Borini

Injury blow: Liverpool striker Fabio Borini

It leaves Luis Suarez as Liverpool’s
only fit striker for the foreseeable future and leaves Brendan Rodgers
fretting that his leading scorer will return from Uruguay’s World Cup
qualifiers unscathed.

Suarez will line up against Argentina
and he has admitted for the first time to a South American newspaper
that he will have to change his ways on the pitch.

He has courted controversy once again
this week after he went down theatrically in an attempt to win a
penalty in last Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Stoke at Anfield.

But Suarez, who has been booked three
times in the Barclays Premier League this season, is aware that he
needs to stop showing dissent to match officials.

Last man standing: Brendan Rodgers must hope Luis Suarez, left, does not suffer any mishap in Uruguay

Last man standing: Brendan Rodgers must hope Luis Suarez, left, does not suffer any mishap in Uruguay

‘As the years go by you realise what
you have to correct,' Suarez said. ‘There are things I must improve,
like my attitude on the pitch.

‘But that's how I've played since I
was a kid. I try to correct it but there are times when my anxiety makes
me play that way. Those are things I must improve on.’ Meanwhile,
Liverpool have dismissed Alessandro Del Piero’s claim he rejected a move
to Anfield out of respect to the victims of the Heysel disaster.

The Italian striker moved to Sydney
FC last month after leaving Juventus but he was also linked with
Liverpool. He says, though, that a joining Rodgers’ side was never an
option because of the tragedy before the 1985 European Cup final when 39
Juventus fans were killed.

But an Anfield official said: ‘No
attempt was made to sign Alessandro Del Piero. Nobody at Liverpool spoke
to the player or his representatives at any stage about the possibility
of him joining the club.’

Joe Hart calls for Manchester City to play like champions

We need to play like champions, says Hart as City look to recover from shaky start

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UPDATED:

10:38 GMT, 28 September 2012

Joe Hart has tipped Manchester City to put their indifferent start to the season behind them and remind everyone why they are champions when they travel to Fulham on Saturday.

City have drawn three of their five league games so for this season, leaking seven goals in the process. In all competitions Roberto Mancini's side have conceded an alarming 16 goals in eight games.

That form is in stark contrast to the 17 clean sheets kept last season en route to winning the title, and City and England No 1 Hart has called for improvement on Saturday.

Stuttering: City were held by Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium last weekend

Stuttering: City were held by Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium last weekend

No 1: Hart has called for City to regain their form

No 1: Hart has called for City to regain their form

'We go in there with confidence, we’re the champions and we need to play like champions,' Hart told City's official website.

'It’s going to be hard, it was hard last year – they took the first points of the season off us last season.

'The year before we played really well and beat them comfortably, so I think we need a little bit more of that.'

Hart, 25, admitted that he enjoys playing at Craven Cottage.

'It’s always a tough game with a good crowd that appreciates football,' he added.

'They’re not too harsh though, they get behind their team and Fulham are a good side.'

Frankel wins Sussex Stakes at Goodwood

Sussex stroll: Fantastic Frankel's better by the dozen after Goodwood breeze

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UPDATED:

17:29 GMT, 1 August 2012

As Great Britain’s stuttering Olympic challenge finally moved into gold medal gear, Frankel underlined why he is the world’s most ruthless winning machine with a six-length victory in the Group One Sussex Stakes.

Forget Usain Bolt, move over Ye Shiwen and (much as we love him) step aside Wiggo.
You might be the best in your business but when it comes to invincibility, nothing matches the galloping hero of Glorious Goodwood.

Untouchable: Tom Queally eases Frankel down after a sensational victory

Untouchable: Tom Queally eases Frankel down after a sensational victory

And there may be an extra chance to see him race as Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khaled Abdullah, revealed a tilt at the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp on September 16 in the eight-week gap between the Juddmonte International Stakes at York on August 22 and the Champion Stakes at Ascot on October 20 is being considered.

Grimthorpe said: ‘The Prix du Moulin would be a possible stepping stone. What we really want to do is get through York. There is no great plan beyond but we have to think about what we might do in that two- month gap.’

Unlike some of our stuttering Olympians, there was never a hint of jitters, nerves or doubt — not that any were expected with the 1-20 favourite which was a third winner at the meeting for trainer Sir Henry Cecil and jockey Tom Queally.

Downs destroyer: Frankel powers his way to glory

Downs destroyer: Frankel powers his way to glory

Grimthorpe spoke of ‘the glow of victory’ extending to Newmarket where Cecil is recovering from the draining chemotherapy and Los Angeles where Abdullah has undergone a back operation.

The nearest thing to a racing certainty that you are ever likely to see proved a stroll of the Downs for Frankel with Frankie Dettori fruitlessly chasing shadows on runner-up Farhh.

In the 12th win of Frankel’s career and an eighth at Group One level, he averaged 43.19mph in a visually deceptive, brutal penultimate furlong.

The fact that one of the most prestigious races in the calendar was widely viewed as a stepping stone to Frankel’s next great challenge in the International Stakes over an extra quarter of a mile tells its own story.

Glorious: The Frankel team pose in the winners' enclosure

Glorious: The Frankel team pose in the winners' enclosure

Queally said: ‘It felt like a piece of work. He is amazing and had all the horses cooked at halfway — it was a nice prep for his next race.

‘I came into the race thinking there wasn’t anything that could beat him but you have to
treat every race with a great deal of respect.’

Ryan Moore escaped serious injury but suffered soft tissue damage in a fall from Romeo Montague in the Goodwood Stakes. He gave up his remaining rides and is not certain to be in action this afternoon.

Roberto Mancini under pressure

Rocky road ahead for Roberto as City's stuttering puts boss under pressure

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 2 April 2012

Roberto Mancini's future at Manchester City will be under threat if the club’s problems continue between now and the end of the season.

City would be reluctant to sack the Italian even if he fails to beat neighbours Manchester United to the Premier League title and ends a promising campaign empty-handed.

But if their season continues to unravel as it has in recent weeks, it will factor prominently in their thinking when senior figures sit down next month to assess the club’s progress since finishing third and winning the FA Cup in May.

Feeling the pressure: Mancini (centre) argues with referee Phil Dowd after Saturday's game

Feeling the pressure: Mancini (centre) argues with referee Phil Dowd after Saturday's game

Although Mancini’s side are all but guaranteed a top-two finish after matching last season’s total of 71 points with seven games to play, a string of below-par displays have seen them drop seven points in their last four Premier League games and crash out of Europe to Sporting Lisbon.

With incidents of player unrest continuing to undermine their challenge, Mancini’s ability to control his expensive squad will also be considered when deciding if he is still the right man to take the club forward.

Most of the problems have inevitably surrounded Mario Balotelli, who scored twice in Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Sunderland but clashed with team-mate Aleksandar Kolarov on the pitch and Yaya Toure in the dressing room.

In-fighting: Balotelli and Kolarov argue amongst themselves

In-fighting: Balotelli and Kolarov argue amongst themselves

Now City are ready to cut their losses on the volatile striker and hope to sell Balotelli to AC Milan in the summer.

Even after a series of on- and off-field controversies, Mancini has tried to recognise the value in having the 21-year-old. But his view on the Italy star, once described by Jose Mourinho as ‘unmanageable’, has shifted.

City hope Milan are serious about taking Balotelli back to the San Siro, where he played for rivals Inter before joining City for 20million in August 2010.

As his club’s challenge continues to stall, captain Vincent Kompany insisted the title race is not over. He said: ‘We have to believe, there is no other choice.

‘Hopefully we can still win the title but, if not, we’ll improve again next season.’

Loic Remy and Eden Hazard top Tottenham summer transfer wish list

Get Remy and Hazard! Redknapp targets duo to launch Spurs summer spree

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UPDATED:

10:12 GMT, 12 March 2012

Harry Redknapp is already planning for next season after after identifying Eden Hazard and Loic Remy as his leading summer transfer targets for Tottenham.

The Spurs boss will go head-to-head with Manchester United, Arsenal, Man City and Chelsea in a bid to snap up Belgium ace Hazard from Lille.

And he is ready to reignite his interest in Marseille hitman Remy after missing out on his signature in the January transfer window.

Top target: Harry Redknapp wants to sign Marseille striker Loic Remy this summer

Top target: Harry Redknapp wants to sign Marseille striker Loic Remy this summer

Remy hinted at the weekend that his future in France is uncertain, adding to Redknapp's admiration for the 25-year-old who has scored nine goals in 21 games so far this season.

The Spurs boss said: 'Yes, we wanted to get him, we tried. But he wasn’t for sale.

'We like him a lot, he’s a very good player.'

But Remy played down talk of a move to White Hart Lane, insisting he is focused on Marsielle's push for an improved league finish, with the club stuttering in eighth place in Ligue 1.

'For now it's not a reality,' Remy told Telefoot. 'I spoke about it with president (Vincent Labrune) and Jose Anigo.

'Today, the fans really need me because we are in a delicate situation.
'My future We will speak about it at the appropriate time.'

In demand: Lille ace Eden Hazard is wanted by a host of top European suitors

In demand: Lille ace Eden Hazard is wanted by a host of top European suitors

Redknapp is also keen to recruit 35million-rated Hazard with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy ready to back him with the cash.

But the Tottenham boss concedes he faces a tough battle with champions Manchester United, after manager Sir Alex Ferguson made a flying visit to France at the weekend to watch the attacker in action against Lyon.

'Our owner’s ready to pay for a talent like Hazard,' said Redknapp.

'But United are following him closely. City too. It’ll be difficult.'

Target man: Montpellier forward Olivier Giroud has impressed so far this season

Target man: Montpellier forward Olivier Giroud has impressed so far this season

Montpellier striker Olivier Giroud is also on Redknapp's radar. The 25-yer-old is the top scorer in France this season with 17 goals and the Spurs boss admitted he is keeping a close tabs on the player.

'He looks good, I have read many good reports on him and I have a scout following the French championship,' Redknapp added.

'If a player attracts my attention I will watch him play.'

Prince Charles: England cricketers must do better

England must do better! Cricketers receive scathing assessment from Prince Charles!

England's stuttering cricket stars have received an unexpected show of support in their attempts to remain No 1 Test side in the world – from the Prince of Wales.

Prince Charles met former umpire Dickie Bird while on a visit to the Yorkshire town of Barnsley on Tuesday where the two chatted about the current series with Pakistan – which England are losing 1-0.

Bird was humbled to meet the heir to the throne and revealed details of their brief discussion, he said: 'He said to me 'I'd like to see England do a lot better in this Test series'.

Howzat! Bird and Prince Charles share a joke during the statue unveiling in Barnsley on Tuesday

Howzat! Bird and Prince Charles share a joke during the statue unveiling in Barnsley on Tuesday

'I said “I would as well”.'

Charles met Bird at the statue which was erected in the middle of Barnsley in 2009 to honour the former Test umpire.

The bronze figure features the umpire's classic pose – arm arching forward, finger aloft, giving an unfortunate batsman out.

Humbled: Bird was delighted the Prince of Wales made time to attend the event in Yorkshire

Humbled: Bird was delighted the Prince of Wales made time to attend the event in Yorkshire

Bird continued: 'The heir to the throne in my own town is just marvellous. It’s a really special occasion for Barnsley. Barnsley deserves it because there are nice people in Barnsley.

‘I never left the town. I was born and bred in the town and they are wonderful, wonderful people. It’s been a great pleasure for me to meet the Prince again.'

England resume the series in the United Arab Emirates at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium where they trail Pakistan 1-0 following the 10-wicket drubbing they suffered in the Dubai opener.

Famous pose: Bird stood in 66 Tests as umpire

Famous pose: Bird stood in 66 Tests as umpire