Tag Archives: word

James McClean never wanted to play for Northern Ireland – Nigel Worthington

EXCLUSIVE: Worthington reveals McClean never wanted to play for Northern Ireland

qualifier against Italy in Pescara and now, almost 18 months after handing the reins to Michael O'Neill, he admits he would return.

'If the opportunity ever came up again, I wouldn't think twice about taking it,' he said.

'I loved every minute of that job. I loved working with the squad and the people behind the scenes were always terrific.'

those supporting Worthington in post are fondly remembered, he failed
to leave much of a legacy among the fans, who complained at his
'negative' tactics.

people will remember sections of the supporters having a go at me
towards the end of my time but I wouldn't say a bad word against them.

were fantastic, loyal and passionate throughout my time in charge and
there is no better sight in football than seeing 13,500 people inside a
bouncing Windsor Park.'

Jack Rodwell dismisses Adam Johnson claims about Manchester City

Rodwell hits back at Johnson claims that Man City is no place for a young player to go

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Having a ball: Jack Rodwell has no regrets about moving to Man City

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He said: 'I’m young and English. I’ve
not got a bad word to say about City. If they want you and sign you,
then they have got intent for you.

'I was not guaranteed a starting place
at Everton. I had a lot of injuries, Darron Gibson and Marouane
Fellaini were in form, so it was a push for me to get in that side.

'But when the champions come knocking, it’s hard to refuse.'

The player has made five appearances in the Barclays Premier League but admitted moving to City has been tricky at times.

He explained: 'It has been hard to adjust. I was at Everton from the age seven.

'Being there 14 years meant any move was going to be big. The methods and styles are very different.

'The respective managers are very different. The standard of training is amazing.'

Rodwell is set to feature for England U21s in a Europ 2013 first leg play-off against Serbia on Friday night.

It seems he has finally shaken off a recurring hamstring injury after a trip to Germany.

Rodwell said: 'The injury happened
about five or six times in a row. After the third time, I started to ask
some serious questions.

'It wasn’t as if they were major tears, they were just tiny grade ones. But they just kept recurring.

Set to feature: Stuart Pearce (left) is likely to select Rodwell

Set to feature: Stuart Pearce (left) is likely to select Rodwell

'I went to see Hans Muller-Wolfhart. He has got such a great camp there, loads of different people.

'I must have had 40 injections. I saw him twice, he was confident he would fix me.

'I now do extra work after training but I am fully fit and can just get on with things. I haven’t felt a thing at all since.'

Warm up: England U21s train at Carrow Road before their match there against Serbia

Warm up: England U21s train at Carrow Road before their match there against Serbia


Patrick Collins: Who would want their children to turn out like a Ferdinand or Terry?

Who would want their children to turn out like a Ferdinand or Terry


23:08 GMT, 14 July 2012



23:08 GMT, 14 July 2012

The post-match interview is a ritual
of modern football. It features a reluctant player, a docile inquisitor
and a parade of weary platitudes. The match is reviewed through a
rose-tinted lens; head-butts become ‘handbags’, vile insults are reduced
to ‘banter’, history is rewritten. At the close of this exchange, the
player is thanked for his candour and awarded a bottle of champagne.

Recently, I asked a television sports
executive why footballers are let off so lightly, why they are not posed
the kind of searching questions which other public figures expect to
face. He acknowledged that they get an easy ride but said: ‘If we
started embarrassing them, they wouldn’t agree to come on. Their image
is very important to them, you know.’

After the events of the past week, I’d
say they can stop worrying about that image because it is now hanging
in shreds from the rafters of Westminster Magistrates’ Court. We never
really swallowed the insulting fiction that the game is played between
old chums, who might differ over the odd decision yet revert to
back-slapping bonhomie at the final whistle. But we now discover that
the reality is even uglier.

Gutter abuse: The revelations at Westminster Magistrates' Court were not pretty

Gutter abuse: The revelations at Westminster Magistrates' Court were not pretty

Thanks to John Terry, Anton Ferdinand
and their various associates, we know that an alarming number of
professional footballers inhabit a world in which gutter abuse is
routinely employed as a tactic and the F-word is set aside only when the
C-word springs to the tongue, and arrogant entitlement is a way of life
while dignity is a distant stranger. All of these things we had
suspected, yet it was strangely depressing to have those suspicions
vindicated in court.

Already the legal implications have
been scrupulously dissected, by eminent lawyers as well as learned
pundits who have watched an entire box-set of Rumpole Of The Bailey. The
Crown Prosecution Service have been roundly condemned for proceeding
against Terry, although this would seem to be refuted by the
magistrate’s observation that ‘it is clear that the prosecution has
brought a strong case’.

But I know little of these affairs and
if I remain confused by Terry’s stated reason for uttering those
appalling words — that he was quizzically repeating something he thought
that Ferdinand had said — then better minds than mine will supply

More from Patrick Collins…

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Murray beats the clock in his new role as Cinderella: Victory takes him closer to dream of first Grand Slam

Patrick Collins: Pirlo the master shows how far behind England truly are

Patrick Collins: Sadly Chambers must be chosen, but he could at least end the petulance

Patrick Collins: That touch of Sir Alf is why there is such trust in Roy

Patrick Collins: Fans will be the last to gain from Premier League's 3bn jackpot

Patrick Collins: Now for the real test… but Hodgson's men travel to Euro 2012 in hope


No matter. Terry has been found not
guilty of the offence and his rackety reputation has avoided a further,
possibly fatal, blow. The game itself could not make a similar claim.

Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the
Professional Footballers’ Association, correctly believes that ‘the
searchlight’ is shining on football and footballers. ‘The players are
role models, whether they like it or not, and they must behave
accordingly,’ he says.

He may well have had in mind
Ferdinand’s extraordinary description of the crucial altercation: ‘He
called me a c*** and I called him a c*** back and he gave me a gesture
as if to say my breath smelled. I said to him: “How can you call me a
c*** You s*****d your team mate’s missus, you’re a c***”.’

When football’s apologists complain
that the national sport is wickedly misrepresented, they may care to
consider that piece of reportage.

In truth, the whole affair yielded
some memorable vignettes. There was, for instance, the character
reference which Terry received from none other than Jose Mourinho; the
shameless one endorsing the legally blameless one. It was the kind of
nugget which renders satire redundant. And there was Ashley Cole’s cameo
role in the witness box: ‘Am I supposed to laugh at that …
Personally, I don’t think I should be sitting here.’ And there was
Terry’s own, unwitting soliloquy: ‘Please, please, please, please,’
which will offer material for crowd chanting when the new season

Say please: John Terry was sniggered at in court

Say please: John Terry was sniggered at in court

Yet mention of chanting crowds serves to remind us of football’s toleration of the intolerable. In the course of his cross-examination, Terry testified that a section of Liverpool fans sang an obscene song about his mother, yet this piece of moronic offensiveness passed unremarked, just another part of the match-day experience.

At Chelsea’s own Stamford Bridge, there are frequent, cretinous eruptions of ‘Anton Ferdinand, you know what you are’. And at Old Trafford, Arsene Wenger regularly receives the kind of squalid abuse which ought to result in criminal prosecution.

I recall Harry Redknapp enduring a disgraceful afternoon at Villa Park. Redknapp is not an unworldly man but later he spoke with genuine anguish and disgust at what players and managers are required to endure from malevolent fools. ‘And some of them have their children with them,’ he said. ‘Young kids, watching their fathers make those evil gestures and scream those words. If they did it in the street, they’d be arrested. Why should football grounds be different’

Redknapp was right and the Terry-Ferdinand case has demonstrated the depths to which the game has sunk.

In the hot seat Anton Ferdinand leaves the court after giving evidence on Monday

In the hot seat Anton Ferdinand leaves the court after giving evidence on Monday

The Football Association are to conduct an inquiry to establish what action can be taken in the wake of the trial. The noises-off are not entirely encouraging; why, it has actually been suggested that Terry should be restored as captain of England, a role which he should never have been given and which he has deservedly lost on two occasions. But, frivolous diversions aside, there is a crying need for an intelligent reassessment of the disturbing standards which currently prevail in our national sport.

The FA are apparently considering charging both men with bringing the game into disrepute. Some would say that it is impossible to impugn something so patently disreputable. But it would at least represent an awareness of the problem. They could then go on to consider more fundamental questions, some of which might be occupying concerned fathers of young sons.

After reading those shaming accounts from the magistrates’ court last week, do responsible parents want their family to become involved in this game Are they willing to expose them to the jarring ugliness they will encounter in grounds across the nation Could they seriously propose some of these foul-mouthed louts as role models In short, would they risk their children turning out like Anton Ferdinand or John Terry

These are serious questions. If the game we have loved since childhood is to retain even a smattering of its self-respect, they demand urgent answers.

So it'll be 'Arise, Sir Bradley'

After a few attempts to cover the Tour de France, I came to a couple of conclusions.

The first was that this is the most demanding athletic test in the whole world of sport.

The second was that ultimate victory is reserved for the traditional cycling nations and that the idea of a British winner is merely a pipedream.

Hitting the heights: Bradley Wiggins (right)

Hitting the heights: Bradley Wiggins (right)

So how to account for the presence of Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome at the head of the pack Since I am unqualified to explain, I shall simply celebrate a glorious achievement.

And if either man should deliver that triumph, then whatever happens at London 2012, the victor will sweep up every end-of-year sports award.

And he will deserve to.


There are a good many Australian fast bowlers who would take serious offence were you to describe them as civilised, courteous and agreeable. Especially if they were blindingly quick and relentlessly aggressive.

But Brett Lee is the exception.

Formidable: Brett Lee claimed 310 wickets in 76 tests and 380 in one-day cricket

Formidable: Brett Lee claimed 310 wickets in 76 tests and 380 in one-day cricket

In 76 Tests, he hurt a lot of batsmen, shattered a lot of reputations and made a whole lot of friends.

The most honourable of opponents, he will take our respectful good wishes into his retirement from international cricket.

Ronnie O"Sullivan refuses to commit to snooker ranking events

O'Sullivan refuses to commit to ranking events as world champion confirms break



18:39 GMT, 6 June 2012

World champion Ronnie O'Sullivan has refused to sign the contract binding tour players as he backs up his promise to take a break from snooker.

O'Sullivan said after winning his fourth Crucible title last month that he would 'have four, five, six months off and assess the situation'.

True to his word, he has not signed the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association agreement ahead of the entry deadline for the first two ranking events of the season.

On top of the world: Ronnie O'Sullivan won at the Crucible for a fourth time

On top of the world: Ronnie O'Sullivan won at the Crucible for a fourth time

O'Sullivan was critical of the demands of the contract in a statement released by his management company, Grove Leisure.

The statement read: 'I have decided not to enter any tournaments for the time being, including this year's Premier League and forthcoming WPBSA ranking events.

'I have not signed the player's contract as I feel the contract is too onerous and am in a stage of my career where I don't wish to make this commitment.

'I still want to play snooker and visit those places around the world such as China where snooker is enthusiastically received and adored.

Love for the game: O'Sullivan still wants to play in places such as China

Love for the game: O'Sullivan still wants to play in places such as China

'I hope to remain involved in the sport in some way in the future.'

He will miss one early trip to China, for the Wuxi Classic, as well as the subsequent Australian Goldfields Open.

He has also declined to enter the Premier League, but the development does not amount to the retirement he has often hinted at as he will have the opportunity to sign the contract at any time and compete in ranking events later in the season.

The next competition entry deadline arrives next month, with September's Shanghai Masters the next ranking event after Australia.

Nasser Hussain: England should keep the sweep

England should keep the sweep, but they must do it right



21:00 GMT, 2 April 2012

The sweep is in danger of becoming a dirty word with this England side, but the truth is it’s a crucial shot to have in your armoury in Asian conditions.

The problem is not with the shot itself, but the manner in which it has been executed.

Look at all the best players of spin in recent times – Brian Lara, Matthew Hayden, Marcus Trescothick, Andy Flower, Graham Gooch – they all worked ferociously on their sweep because they realised it disrupts a spinner more than any other shot. But they chose their moment to play it.

On the sweep: Ian Bell gets down to the spinners

On the sweep: Ian Bell gets down to the spinners


STRAUSS: Out lbw after missing a very full, quicker delivery.

BROAD: Attempts to sweep a fuller ball but misses and is out lbw.

BELL: Mistimes a premeditated sweep and is given out lbw.

PRIOR: Sweeps Herath straight to Thirimanne at short leg despite good connection.

SWANN: Misses a sweep and is plumb out lbw.

In the last four Tests, England have been sweeping full-length deliveries off the stumps. It’s a sign of panic. They feel they don’t have any other release shot against spinners on slow pitches, so they premeditate and fail to adapt when they realise they might be in trouble. Their bodies and minds are scrambled.

Plenty of sweeps are premeditated – it’s not a crime. But there must be a Plan B if you realise you’ve chosen the wrong ball. Play an ugly dink, if you like – just don’t get out!

But it’s Plan A that concerns me most. You have to choose the right line for the sweep. The shot is relatively safe to play if the ball’s outside off stump, as there’s less chance of an lbw. And if it’s outside leg, just paddle it round the corner, as Jonathan Trott did so well at Galle.

Showing how it's done: Trott plays a reverse sweep on the way to his century

Showing how it's done: Trott plays a reverse sweep on the way to his century

If you keep sweeping the ball when it’s straight and full, you are playing a high-risk game. And that is especially the case in the era of the decision-review system. Look at Ian Bell in the second innings at Galle. He was hit just in line with off stump – Dickie Bird would never have given it. But now the umpires have got DRS to fall back on, the stroke becomes riskier.

Kevin Pietersen is a good example of someone who has changed his game post-DRS. In his first Test match he was slog-sweeping Shane Warne at Lord’s. He used to sweep Muttiah Muralitharan too. Now he’s less inclined to play it. And the less you play it, the more hemmed in you feel.

When that happens, you’re more likely to do something silly. It can be a vicious circle. And yet bowlers hate it. Murali preferred it when the batsman was trying to hit him over the top rather than sweeping him.

Man-of-the-match: Herath profited from England's poor use of the sweep shot in Galle

Man-of-the-match: Herath profited from England's poor use of the sweep shot in Galle

When I toured Sri Lanka in 2000-01, we knew we could sweep Murali because he turned it so much. If the ball hit you in line with the stumps, the chances were it would spin on past leg stump. And if it was going to hit, it probably hit your pad outside the line of off stump.

But Rangana Herath isn’t such a big turner of the ball, and England are getting into trouble on pitches that are not exactly bunsen burners (turners). They’re trying to manufacture strokes that don’t come naturally to them on pitches they’re not comfortable on.

It’s easy for armchair critics to say they should give up the sweep. But on these slow, low tracks, it’s not easy to come down the track and hit straight.

England are in a bind. But Trott showed there is a solution. Be patient and pick the right ball. And be flexible enough to change your mind if disaster’s looming.

Luis Suarez race row: Liverpool striker apologises for racist insults.. but not to Patrice Evra

I'm sorry (but not to you, Evra): Suarez finally apologises for racist insults

Luis Suarez finally issued a public apology for racially abusing Patrice Evra but stopped short of saying sorry to the Manchester United defender.

The Uruguayan accepted that his decision to call Evra ‘negro’ during a game at Anfield on October 15 last year had caused offence.

Suarez, 24, was found guilty by an independent three-man commission of using the word ‘negro’ seven times in a two-minute spell but on Wednesday he insisted he only used the word once.

At last: Luis Suarez issued an apology for the racial abuse inflicted on Patrice Evra

At last: Luis Suarez issued an apology for the racial abuse inflicted on Patrice Evra

‘I admitted to the commission that I said a word in Spanish once and only once. I told the panel members that I will not use it again on a football pitch in England.

‘I never, ever used this word in a derogatory way and if it offends anyone then I want to apologise for that.’ The Liverpool striker had initially published a statement on Tuesday evening, saying he would serve his eight-match ban ‘with the resignation of someone who has done nothing wrong’.

Liverpool have received enormous criticism for the way they have conducted themselves during this case, after releasing two combative statements and allowing their players to wear T-shirts in support of Suarez.

Show of support: Liverpool players donned Luis Suarez T-shirts before their 0-0 draw at Wigan

Show of support: Liverpool players donned Luis Suarez T-shirts before their 0-0 draw at Wigan

Though it is understood that the club’s owners, John W Henry and Tom Werner, are furious with how Suarez has been treated, there is recognition at Anfield that the club could have handled the issue more sensitively.

Liverpool realise they have to repair their fractured relationship with the Football Association. The club will seek high-level talks with the FA, probably with chairman Sir David Bernstein, as they still harbour concerns over how Suarez’s hearing was handled, and they believe other issues must be addressed.

They may suggest that in such cases a higher threshold of proof must be required to convict a player, not simply ‘the balance of probability’.

Flashpoint: Suarez and Evra clash at Anfield

Flashpoint: Suarez and Evra clash at Anfield

Liverpool felt that appealing against the eight-game ban would have been futile and that prolonging the saga would have further tarnished the club’s reputation.

They believe important evidence was omitted from the hearing and questioned why Evra had the benefit of television replays to give his statement, while Suarez had to give his version of events from memory.

Liverpool have acknowledged that Suarez, whom the independent commission cleared of being a racist, was guilty of speaking to Evra in an offensive manner and have accepted the punishment.

Support: Kenny Dalglish has backed his player

Support: Kenny Dalglish has backed his player

They also feel, though, that Evra should have faced disciplinary charges for the abusive language he used in a squabble that started after he made comments about Suarez’s sister in Spanish. Sympathy for Liverpool, however, remains in short supply.

Professional Footballers’ Association chief Gordon Taylor believes the punishment meted out to the Uruguay forward shows that racism in football will not be tolerated.

He said: ‘We have probably the most multi-cultural game in the world so it’s important to set the right example. We don’t want (Evra) feeling like a victim.

‘Some issues are bigger than a player, the club or the game and racism is one of those.’

Blackburn striker Jason Roberts says foreign players must be educated better when they arrive in England.

Roberts said: ‘If you’re going to come and play in the Premier League and live in our society, it’s important that you understand the rules we abide by.’