Tag Archives: years

Lucas Leiva signs new long-term contract at Liverpool

Fan favourite Lucas is 'where he belongs' after signing new long-term Liverpool deal

By
Gerard Brand

PUBLISHED:

16:45 GMT, 10 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:49 GMT, 10 April 2013

Liverpool have announced that influential midfielder Lucas Leiva has signed a new long-term contract at the club.

The Brazilian who has made 20 appearances in the Premier League this season, has put pen to paper on a new deal as Brendan Rodgers looks to build a midfield capable of challenging for the top four in the coming years.

The news comes just over two years to the day that the 26-year-old signed another long-term contract with the club, that time being rewarded for his superb form by manager Kenny Dalglish.

Signing in: The midfielder has pledged his future to the club after several impressive seasons

Signing in: The midfielder has pledged his future to the club after several impressive seasons

He told the club's website: 'It's another long-term contract that I have signed – but it was the same feeling as when I first came here.

'I am really delighted to have the opportunity to play for this club. It's where I think I belong and where I wanted to stay, so I am very happy and looking forward to a few more years here.

'It was an easy decision because after the long period of my career I have had here, I would like to give the best of my time to this club. It was not a difficult decision to make and I am really looking forward to what will hopefully be a few more years with a lot of success.'

Lucas, who has appeared for Brazil on 20 occasions, joined the Merseyside club from Brazilian side Gremio for a reported 5million in July 2007, making 208 appearances since and slowly becoming a fans favourite after a slow start.

His previous deal was due to run out in the summer of 2015.

The club's managing director Ian Ayre showed his delight with the signing, which warns off any of Europe's top clubs making a move for the midfield maestro.

Ayre told the club's website: 'It's fantastic. He has been such a great servant to the club and I think during the period he went through with his two injuries, he put so much work into it and the club supported him through it.

'He just goes from strength to strength. We said throughout last summer and January, we wanted to keep our best, experienced players, and this is another great example of that.

'The manager has said several times that as well as having a great, young squad, it's important we have experience and it's important we have characters. People like Lucas fit that.

'He'll tell you he's still very young, but in footballing terms he's experienced and a big part of the team.'

Coming of age: After a slow start at the club, the Brazilian has been an influential member of midfield

Coming of age: After a slow start at the club, the Brazilian has been an influential member of midfield

Lucas

Lucas

Phil Jones is an animal: Manchester United defender backed to play up front by Sir Alex Ferguson

Step aside, Van Persie: Fergie backs 'animal' Jones to play as STRIKER

-Why-did-Roy-Hodgson-Phil-Jones–Martin-Samuel.html” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”>Baresi of England. It seems Sir Alex Ferguson agrees!

'Jonny's been really brilliant this season,' Ferguson told Inside United.
'He's 25 years old now and, hopefully for the next six or seven years,
he could be a regular centre back for us.

'Obviously, Rio (Ferdinand) is
34 now and (Nemanja) Vidic is 31. (Patrice) Evra is 31 so, in that
sense, players like Smalling, Jones and Evans will come to the fore.

'Jones is going to be a fantastic
player, his talent is unbelievable. Yes (his best position is
centre back) but you could play him anywhere. I think you could play him
centre forward! He’s just that type of player.

John O'Shea

Phil Neville

Utility men: Before Jones, John O'Shea and Phil Neville both once played many important roles for Ferguson

'He’s
an animal for football. He grasps the game, he understands it. Play him
right back Brilliant. Play him centre midfield No problem. Play him
centre back Terrific.'

United players were preparing themselves for the Manchester derby on Monday, which could see Jones start in midfield.

Competition: Robin van Persie (second left) could soon be vying for a place up front with Jones... or maybe not

Competition: Robin van Persie (second left) could soon be vying for a place up front with Jones… or maybe not

Under threat: Danny Welbeck (right) hasn't scored many goals this season but Rio Ferdinand has done his job at the back

Under threat: Danny Welbeck (right) hasn't scored many goals this season but Rio Ferdinand has done his job at the back

Phil Jones

Robin Van Persie

Unusual: Jones (left) is extremely versatile and Ferguson is predicting big things for him

Ferguson continued: 'He’s just one of those unusual players you get now and again who can play anywhere. We’ve not had a player like him in terms of someone who can play at that performance level since, well the closest you would get would be Brian McClair.

'Now, Brian McClair was a fantastic player. He could play anywhere, McClair. I remember kidding him on once; I said to him, just go and play in the right-back area and he laughed.

'I said to him, “What are you laughing at” and he said, “Next week I’ll be centre half.” But that was his character, so composed about life. Nothing bothered him.'

Trend setter Brian McClair was also an important figure for United

Trend setter Brian McClair was also an important figure for United

Greg Dyke announced as new FA Chairman

Former Man United director Dyke voted as new FA chairman, replacing outgoing Bernstein

By
Charles Sale

PUBLISHED:

11:30 GMT, 21 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:54 GMT, 21 March 2013

Former Manchester United director and TV mogul Greg Dyke has been voted through as the next FA chairman, replacing the outgoing incumbent David Bernstein.

Dyke, 65, will replace Bernstein when he leaves the post after two-and-a-half years in July – and takes the helm from Saturday July 13.

Dyke told the FA website: 'Football has always been a big part of my life whether playing 11-a-side on Sunday mornings or six-a-side on Thursday evenings.

Main man: Former United director Dyke will take the helm at the FA

Main man: Former United director Dyke will take the helm at the FA

'I was brought up in a household where my father was much more interested in whether or not you had won at football than whether you had passed your exams. In my case that was just as well.

'I still turn out to play six-a-side some Thursday evenings although at my age I seem to spend more time injured than playing.

'I supported my local team Brentford as a kid where my elder brother was a junior, watched York City while at university and followed Manchester United whenever I could.

'I got involved in how the game was run
when I was first involved in buying sports rights as Chairman of ITV
Sport in the late eighties and later at the BBC.

Game over: Bernstein's (left) tenure at the FA will soon come to an end

Game over: Bernstein's (left) tenure at the FA will soon come to an end

'I learnt a lot in the years when I was on the Board of Manchester United and have seen the other side of the professional game at Brentford.'

The FA said in a statement: 'The Football Association Board has today unanimously approved the nomination for Greg Dyke to be appointed independent FA chairman.

'Dyke, 65, will take over as chairman from David Bernstein when he leaves the post after two-and-a-half years in July – subject to approval by the FA council. The appointment will take effect from Saturday, July 13.

Football man: Dyke's local team while growing up was Brentford

Football man: Dyke's local team while growing up was Brentford – where he became non-executive chairman in 2006

Football man: Dyke's local team while growing up was Brentford

'This follows a recruitment process led
by FA independent director Roger Devlin (chairman of the nominations
committee) with fellow board members Roger Burden and Keith Lamb.

'In a high-profile broadcasting industry career, Dyke has worked as director general of the BBC and managing director of London Weekend Television.

'Dyke has had a long background in football. He was a director of Manchester United in the late nineties and since 2006 he has been non-executive chairman of Brentford Football Club, the team he supported as a boy. He will relinquish this role at the end of the season to take up his new post at the FA.'

Red alert: United director Gill (seen with Dyke) is also on the FA board

Red alert: United director Gill (seen with Dyke) is also on the FA board

Jack Rodwell ruled out for up to four weeks

Mancini set to be without Rodwell for up to FOUR weeks after hamstring injury recurs to haunt City midfielder yet again

By
John Curtis, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

20:37 GMT, 4 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

01:28 GMT, 5 March 2013

Roberto Mancini's relief at Manchester City keeping their slim hopes alive of retaining their Barclays Premier League title was tempered by another injury setback to Jack Rodwell.

A first half goal from Carlos Tevez was sufficient to earn City a 1-0 win at Aston Villa and cut the gap on leaders Manchester United to 12 points.

But midfielder Rodwell suffered a recurrence of his hamstring injury midway through the opening period and will be sidelined for 'three to four weeks'.

Injury curse: Jack Rodwell was marking his 11th appearance for Manchester City since his summer arrival from Everton

Injury curse: Jack Rodwell was marking his 11th appearance for Manchester City since his summer arrival from Everton

Mancini said: 'We are very sorry for Jack, because he is a good guy, a good player, but he is unlucky. It is his hamstring.

'I think it is impossible to resolve
his problem after six or seven months because he's had this problem for
five or six years and we need maybe more time.

'How long will he be out Maybe he will be back after the international break, three or four weeks. It is the same injury.

'I am very sorry because he is a
young player. He needs to improve but he has played very well against
Chelsea and was playing very well tonight.'

Mancini repeated his determination
that City will not give up on the title without a fight but admits they
probably have to win their 10 remaining games.

Blow: Rodwell was replaced by Edin Dzeko after suffering an apparent hamstring injury

Blow: Rodwell was replaced by Edin Dzeko after suffering an apparent hamstring injury

He said: 'It is difficult because we have 30 points to play for and we need to try to win.

'At the end, we will see what happens. In football everything can happen right up to the last second.

'We probably need to win all 10 matches that are left. We need to win all the matches.

'If they (United) lose three or four or five games…..it is difficult because they are too strong for this.

'When you have to win always, it is difficult to win every game. But last year we did this. Why can't we do it this year'

Sergio Aguero was also ruled out with
a knee injury and will also miss the weekend FA Cup tie with Barnsley
but Mancini is hopeful he will be available for the next league clash
with Everton.

Villa remain in the bottom three and
manager Paul Lambert admitted a mistake by defender Ciaran Clark proved
crucial in the build-up to Tevez's decider.

Not again: Rodwell looked disappointed after the recurrence of his hamstring complaint

Not again: Rodwell looked disappointed after the recurrence of his hamstring complaint

Lambert said: 'I thought we were well
in the game. The goal is a mistake. I wouldn't have minded if someone
had put one in the top corner with a bit of skill.

'But it's a mistake by us. It is easy
to be critical of Ciaran. The lad has been excellent all season. He
will learn from it, he won't make the same mistake again.'

Midfielder Fabian Delph will be
suspended for the next two games against Reading and QPR after
collecting his 10th booking of the season for handball.

Lambert said: 'He's playing extremely
well, really well. You are pressing forward, to try and get a goal back
and things like that happen.'

The Villa boss knows the significance of the next two matches.

He said: 'The next two games are massive for us. If we play like that, we will give teams a fright, that's for sure.'

Joe Hart – The Footballers" Football Column: I"d have Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney in my all-Premier League team

JOE HART: We go into every game thinking a draw is not a good enough result for us… And I'd have both RVP and Rooney up front in my all-Premier League team

PUBLISHED:

10:54 GMT, 14 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:06 GMT, 14 January 2013

Joe Hart

The latest columnist in MailOnline's exclusive Footballers' Football Column series is Joe Hart, arguably the finest goalkeeper in the Barclays Premier League, England's No 1 and a champion last season with Manchester City. Fresh from yesterday's 2-0 triumph at the Emirates – City's first league win at Arsenal for 37 years – Hart lifts the lid on life on the Carrington training ground, his goalkeeping rivals and Lionel Messi's dress sense.

Hart, an ambassador for head&shoulders, at 25 has made almost 250 senior appearances, 146 of them at City. Watch the video, then enjoy his column…

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With Roberto Mancini we all know where we stand and that's how we work. He sets the team and it's up to us. He's played me so I can't ask for anything more from a manager so I try to repay that faith by playing as well as possible and training hard.

He's got his methods and we do our best to adapt to them but it's up to us, basically, when we go on the field.

It's different for me in training because I disappear and for 80 per cent of the training I'm nowhere near him. But he's got his ways, we try to adapt to them and hopefully that works.

Thanks for coming: Joe Hart (centre) joins team-mates Matija Nastasic (left) and Joleon Lescott applauding City fans, who paid 62 each, for travelling down from Manchester

Thanks for coming: Joe Hart (centre) joins team-mates Matija Nastasic (left) and Joleon Lescott applauding City fans, who paid 62 each, for travelling to London yesterday

Training aid: Hart uses a crash mat to cushion his dives last week. As a goalkeeper he trains away from the rest of the squad for 80 per cent of the time

Training aid: Hart uses a crash mat to cushion his dives last week. As a goalkeeper he trains away from the rest of the squad for 80 per cent of the time

We know where we stand with Roberto: Man City boss Mancini gives James Milner and Co specific instructions during training last Friday

We know where we stand with Roberto: Man City boss Mancini gives James Milner and Co specific instructions during training last Friday

We go into every game thinking that a draw is not a good result for us. That's our mindset, that's how we feel and that's how we line up, player to player.

We don't go into any match fearing anyone. I can't see us losing to anyone but we will lose and we will draw, that's football but our attitude is not like that.

Roberto has brought in players with that mindset already instilled into them and I think every single player has got that attitude in our place – that it's win or die. It's the only way you're going to win things.

Manchester United have that refusal to accept to defeat and have been great about it over the years and it's certainly something everybody wants. But I feel we have that at our place, we feel strong and I do feel like we're not going to lose. Sometimes you do, of course, but we come back late sometimes and sometimes we wrap it up early.

The Champions League has been tough for us but we're playing against champions. We've just not been great. It sounds horrible to say it and some of the games we've done all right but our below par performances have unfortunately been in the Champions League.

Against some teams in the domestic league you might get away with it but in that competition you don't.

The first result is key for us. We had a bad one in Madrid and drew 1-1 the year before at home but it depends how your group goes. You could qualify with seven points or you might not and it's difficult.

Top of the stops: Real Madrid's goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas in action against Celta Vigo last week

Top of the stops: Real Madrid's goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas in action against Celta Vigo last week

Joe Hart

Joe Hart is an ambassador for head&shoulders

Well, the World XI It is what it is. I
think everyone's got their opinion and if the captains all voted for
those players then it's probably deserved. I didn't look at the team too
closely but most of the names on there speak for themselves. I never
thought I'd be involved in something like that but to come close to
getting in there is great for myself. But I think Iker
Casillas deserves it. He's been amazing for so many years so there are no
questions about that one.

But there are a lot of players I'd like
to see on there. Some that I'm friends with, some that I see a lot and
some that I play with, but it's only opinions so as long as you're
playing well for your team then you're happy.

For my Premier League XI, I purposely won't pick any City players
because it's not fair to pick them because their my team-mates. Keeper
wise, on this year alone, it would be either Petr Cech, Simon Mignolet
or Asmir Begovic.

Wayne Rooney of Manchester United

Robin van Persie of Manchester United

Prize picks: Hart, who excluded all City players from his thinking, would have United duo Wayne Rooney (in training last week, left) and Robin van Persie in his Premier League All-stars team

Simon Mignolet

Asmir Begovic

No 1s: Sunderland's Simon Mignolet (left) and Stoke's Asmir Begovic (right) are both highly rated by Hart

HART'S PREMIER LEAGUE XI

(4-4-2)* Cech, Mignolet or Begovic; Johnson, Jagielka, Shawcross, Cole; Lennon, Cazorla, Mata, Bale; Rooney, Van Persie.

* Hart excluded his Man City team-mates from his considerations due to fairness

In defence I'd have Phil Jagielka and
Ryan Shawcross in the middle and Ashley Cole at left back with Leighton
Baines a very close second. And at right back I'd have Glen Johnson.

In the middle I'd have Santi Cazorla
and, I know he doesn't really play there, but I'd have Juan Mata. On the
wings I think Aaron Lennon has done really well this year and then
obviously Gareth Bale would be on the other side.

Up front it'd have to be Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney.

Save of the century: Sportsmail's simulation shows Hart keeping out a penalty from Lionel Messi

Save of the century: Sportsmail's simulation shows Hart keeping out a penalty from Lionel Messi

I said your Football Manager simulation would throw up a 5-0 win for the Premier League XI,
so it's sad to see us lose 2-0. But if I saved a penalty against Messi
then it must be real! But if I did have to face him for a penalty, I'd
definitely dive the way the ball went.

I missed the Ballon d'Or awards but because it doesn't have much to do with the Premier League it's hard to take an interest.
I just waited to see the news. I did hear about Messi's jacket but he
can do whatever he wants and nobody could say anything to him. He could
turn up naked if he wanted.

I've had a few fashion faux pas though. We
had a fancy dress do for our Christmas party and I was quite dotty. I
think I had an orange outfit with blue dots all over it, it was a good
look.

Silver fox: City boss Mancini (in the hat) says goodbye after enjoying lunch with his friend Robbie Savage (right) in Alderley Edge, Cheshire earlier this month

Silver fox: City boss Mancini (in the hat) says goodbye after enjoying lunch with his friend Robbie Savage (right) in Alderley Edge, Cheshire earlier this month. The pair became close when playing at Leicester City together

 Lionel Messi

MANCHESTER CITY FOOTBALLER JOE HART IN FANCY DRESS

Spot of bother: Hart reckons that if anyone can pull off the polka-dot look, it's the world's finest footballer Lionel Messi (left), but Joe's own dotty effort left a little more to be desired

In our changing room Pablo Zabaleta
is a pretty bad dresser, mainly because everything he has is free. He
will turn up in anything that anyone will give him. Anything with two
arms and two legs will do him.

Mancini's got quite a bit of style about him too for the older guy I suppose. He likes to think he's a bit of a silver fox.

With Casillas at Real Madrid, I don't know what's going on and I wouldn't even want to get involved. It seems like it's got a few twists and turns that I wouldn't have a clue about. But he's an amazing keeper and I've played against him a few times now and of course I look up to him. There's a few keepers I look up to and he's definitely one of them.

In the Premier League, too, we've got a lot of brilliant goalkeepers. There's not a team in the league where I think they've got a weak point in goalkeeping.

There's so many good young goalkeepers and I think some of them get overlooked because of the ones that stand out, your Buffons, your Casillases, your Neuers. They deserve the praise they get and I think they're awesome goalkeepers. I've played against each of them and they seem like really good people as well, which is even more interesting for me personally because you always want to meet your heroes.

There's the likes of Mignolet coming through and Asmir Begovic is the same age as me so I hope he's still classed as a young talent. There's Tim Krul, there's the Chelsea keeper Thibaud Courtois on loan at Atletico Madrid, there's Fraser Forster, there's Jack Butland, John Ruddy, I could go on and on.

Hart stopper: the Manchester City and England No 1 at a dark Etihad Stadium

Hart stopper: the Manchester City and England No 1 at a dark Etihad Stadium

More from The Footballers' Column…

The Footballers' Football Column – Kevin Nolan: Sometimes I wish I was Ryan Giggs… But if I scored with my elbow to knock United out of the cup, there's no way I'd tell the referee
11/01/13

FRANK McPARLAND: What does it take to be a Liverpool player Personality… We had one German lad who said: 'I've had a look at my wage slip and I want to opt out of this tax thing!'
08/01/13

CAROLYN RADFORD: Suarez a cheat I'd like to think one of my players would own up but football's not like that… And the secret to a swinging Mansfield party: Elvis and Bob Marley (of course)
07/01/13

THE FOOTBALLERS' FOOTBALL COLUMN – KEVIN BETSY: Why my boss Hill is the non-league Harry Redknapp… And these lads are hot – the best lower league talent available this transfer window
04/01/13

THE FOOTBALLERS' FOOTBALL COLUMN – MARTIN ALLEN: I can't believe people pay 70 for Premier League football, it's like watching chess… Diving I did it all the time, 'course I did
21/12/12

THE FOOTBALLERS' FOOTBALL COLUMN – EDGAR DAVIDS: Players are predators that's why Benitez may struggle at Chelsea… And sometimes the best players are not the most talented – just look at Roy Keane
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VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Going out on loan really helped me develop as a player but I wouldn't like to tell people what to do because you look at people like Steven Gerrard who have spent their life at one club.

It works for some people and it's what i needed to do because i wasn't going to play where I was so I had to go on loan otherwise I would have just been sat around so it was good for me.

I think there's still plenty of life left in the cups. The League Cup has really kicked on another level and I think it's really good. It's a good way to get some silverware for your club and teams have started to play stronger sides more and more – it's really good to watch.

I missed Luis Suarez's handball last week. We've had a couple of days off and I've been away from everything so I haven't seen it but i heard about it, though it didn't sound too great. But the refs are there to do a job. It's their job to see things like that so you play to the whistle, you're always told that.

You go to any Sunday league side and at the age of eight they're told to play to the whistle and I don't think that changes in the Premier League.

Crazy stuff happens in football. You look at when Paolo Di Canio caught the ball but I don't think anyone would have gone mad if he'd smashed it in the goal because at the end of the day it's a business and you need to win.

I'm not into any of the social network sites. I've got a phone and that's it. It's a big part of the world at the minute and it's interesting to read about but some of the stuff is pathetic and ridiculous.

I think everyone appreciates that. It makes the news and everyone reads it but nobody actually really cares. There's obviously some more serious issues but if it's officially you on one of those sites then you've got to be responsible for your actions.

Joe Hart head&shoulders

Joe Hart is the
ambassador for new head&shoulders Itchy Scalp Care shampoo, giving you an
instant save from an itchy scalp and leaving your leave hair 100% flake free

Harry Redknapp argues about Frank Lampard with a West Ham fan

You were spot on Harry! The moment Harry Redknapp backed Lampard to go 'right to the top' in 1996 row with West Ham fan

By
Sunni Upal

PUBLISHED:

14:18 GMT, 3 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:54 GMT, 3 January 2013

Harry Redknapp was spot on when he said that his nephew Frank Lampard would go right to the top.

In 1996, Redknapp had a row with a sceptical West Ham fan who thought Lampard wasn’t good enough and was being favoured for being family.

But how wrong could that supporter be…

Scroll down for video

Prospect: Lampard during his West Ham days

Prospect: Lampard during his West Ham days

Winner: Frank Lampard salutes the fans after Chelsea won the title in 2004/05

Winner: Frank Lampard salutes the fans after Chelsea won the title in 2004/05

Awesome: Lampard's best season was in 2009/10 when he scored 34 goals during Chelsea's double-winnning campaign

Awesome: Lampard's best season was in 2009/10 when he scored 34 goals during Chelsea's double-winnning campaign

What happened next: Frank Lampard…

Lampard moved to Chelsea in 2001 for 11million and hit double figures for goals scored every year since 2003.

He has won three league titles, a Champions League, four FA Cups and Football Writers' Footballer of the Year award in 2004/05.

Then West Ham manager Redknapp said: 'I’m telling you now, and I didn’t want to say this in front of him, but he will go right to the very top.

'He’s got everything needed to become a top class midfield player.

'His attitude is first class, he’s got strength, he can play, he can pass it and he can score goals.'

After watching the video, former West Ham team-mate and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand tweeted: 'Is the fella who was doubting Frank Lampards ability at a WHUFC Fans Forum yrs ago on twitter! Harry knows a player when he sees 1!'

Matt Holland…

Holland left West Ham for Bournemouth in 1995 before six-year spells at Ipswich and then Charlton. He then went into a career in media, appearing on Final Score and Talksport among others.

Lampard showcased his vast talent for nine years at West Ham before making an 11million switch to west London to join Chelsea in 2001 where his career scaled new heights.

He was ever-present in Chelsea’s dominant title-winning teams under Jose Mourinho in 2005 and 2006 and has gone on to become a club legend.

Scott Canham…

West Ham is as good as things got for Canham. He had spells at Brentford and Leyton Orient before dropping down even further to Woking, Farnborough, Grays and then Thurrock. Canham was also assistant manager at Leyton Orient but only for one season and he left in 2009.

For a midfielder, his goal-scoring record is imperious. Lampard has reached double figures every season since 2003 and he racked up 34 in the double winning season of 2009/10 under Carlo Ancelotti.

Lampard’s future may be uncertain but what he has achieved at Chelsea proves that Redknapp knew what he was talking about at a fans forum all those years ago.

Youngster: Lampard at the fans' forum in 1996

Youngster: Lampard at the fans' forum in 1996

Joe Cole latest: West Ham to beat QPR to Liverpool flop

He's coming home! Kop flop Cole set to chose West Ham over old boss Harry at QPR

By
Matt Fortune

PUBLISHED:

14:36 GMT, 2 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:06 GMT, 2 January 2013

West Ham are confident they can beat QPR to the permanent signing of Joe Cole from Liverpool, and want him back at Upton Park in time for the weekend FA Cup tie with Manchester United.

The midfielder has endured a torrid two and a half years since leaving Chelsea, and was farmed out on a season-long loan deal to Lille last season.

Cole's the goal: West Ham look set to beat QPR to the signing of Joe Cole

Cole's the goal: West Ham look set to beat QPR to the signing of Joe Cole

He returned with the hope of forcing himself into Brendan Rodgers' plans, but has once again fallen short of expectation.

Sources at Liverpool are hopeful a deal can be agreed for the severance from the 18 months left on Cole's 90,000-per-week deal. If West Ham want Cole to play this weekend, he must be registered by midday on Friday.

Last week, Harry Redknapp admitted his interest in luring the former England international to Loftus Road

Favourite: Cole broke through at West Ham as a teenager and is still popular

Favourite: Cole broke through at West Ham as a teenager and is still popular

Favourite: Cole broke through at West Ham as a teenager and is still popular

'I’ve got a lot of time for Joe as a
player and as a person,' said Redknapp, of the player who have him his
competitive debut in 1998. 'I’d like to bring Joe here if I can but the
deal would have to be right for the club.

'We couldn’t do a deal as it [Cole’s
wages] is at Liverpool. I’ll have to speak to Brendan Rodgers. We’ll
have a chat when the time’s right.'

But now the Hammers, Cole's first
club, have jumped ahead of their London rivals in the race for a player
with 56 international caps to his name.

The No 26 shirt, worn by Cole during his time in east London is currently vacant in Sam Allardyce's squad.

But what will Harry say: Cole get his chance under old boss Redknapp

But what will Harry say: Cole get his chance under old boss Redknapp

Phew! Relief for Lambert after ending three game losing streak with "huge point" at Swansea despite conceding late equaliser

Phew! Relief for Lambert after ending three game losing streak with 'huge point' at Swansea despite conceding late equaliser

By
Andrew Gwilym, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

20:26 GMT, 1 January 2013

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UPDATED:

00:39 GMT, 2 January 2013

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert described his side's 2-2 draw at Swansea as a huge point, despite seeing them denied all three by Danny Graham's injury-time equaliser.

The Villans had conceded 15 and scored none in their previous three games and Wayne Routledge added to their woes as he fired the hosts ahead in the ninth minute.

But relegation-threatened Villa had looked set to take the points when Andreas Weimann levelled just before the interval and Christian Benteke scored from the spot when Nathan Dyer conceded an 84th-minute penalty for a foul on Weimann.

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert needs to improve things on the pitch

Under pressure: Lambert's side are just one point off the relegation zone after Swansea's stoppage time goal

However, Graham fired home a rebound in a late goalmouth scramble, to leave Lambert with his head in his hands.

A point at least ends Villa's miserable run of defeats and, despite the crushing disappointment, Lambert feels he can take great heart from a gutsy effort by a side with an average age of just 23 years and 119 days – making it the youngest the club had ever fielded in a Premier League fixture.

Villa players react as they concede an equalizer

Gutted: Villa players were left dejected after conceding in the 94th minute

He said: 'It is a huge point although we should have seen it through. But it's a massive point and we were very good and threatening in the second half.

'In the first half they were coming at us from all angles and we had to weather that storm and we needed a couple of good saves from Brad and they also hit the woodwork.

'But to get the goal before half-time certainly helped us and it had a galvanising effect, it gives you something to get going and in the second half we were very good.

'We have been beaten heavily in the last three games so this is a huge point for the future of the club.

'The young lads in the side have been excellent and when you get beaten heavily you learn a lot about people and today showed they are mentally strong.'

Looking up: Christian Benteke celebrates after scoring the second goal for Aston Villa from the penalty spot

Looking up: Christian Benteke celebrates after scoring the second goal for Villa from the penalty spot

Injury-hit Villa, already without the likes of Darren Bent, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Charles N'Zogbia, Ron Vlaar, Nathan Baker and Richard Dunne, also lost Ashley Westwood to an ankle problem after he was felled from behind by Michu's clumsy tackle.

And Lambert will wait before assessing how severe the problem is.

He said: 'He is hobbling at the minute but we will see how he feels. We think it is his ankle.'

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup, meanwhile, was left scratching his head as to how his side had not won a game in which they had almost 70 per cent possession and had threatened to run away with during an opening half-hour when Villa were all at sea.

Michu, Graham and Routledge were among those to miss gilt-edged chances, and the Dane said: 'We did not win because we only scored one goal from seven chances with that first-half performance.

Danny Graham celebrates after scoring the late equalizer for Swansea

All Smiles: Graham wheels away after scoring the last minute goal

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'It was a great performance – it could have been 4-0 after 12 minutes – but we know how it is when you don't take chances.

'It means one mistake, one free-kick, one corner or whatever it is and the game is back level, and that is what happened at the end of the first half.

'They had only been near our goal two or three times in the first 45 minutes and we gave Villa belief they could come from behind and get something out of the game.

'If we had got a second or third we would maybe be sitting here talking about a 5-0 win.'

Laudrup was also disappointed his side were not awarded a penalty just before the hour mark.

Joe Bennett was penalised for handball on the left-side of his own area as he blocked Angel Rangel.

But referee Mark Halsey only awarded Swansea a free-kick on the edge of the box when the ball had appeared to strike Bennett just inside.

When asked if he thought it was a penalty, Laudrup said: 'Yeah of course, both of his feet are on the line and the hand is inside, I think the line is still part of the box so there was no doubt about it.

'It was a clear penalty but it was not given and that's that, we have to go on.'

Frank Lampard is outperforming Chelsea"s other midfielders but still no contract offer

Time to be Frank: On this season's evidence, Benitez and Chelsea should be scrambling to offer Lampard a new contract

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UPDATED:

15:05 GMT, 31 December 2012

For the past 15 years, Frank Lampard has thrived on being in the right place at the right time.

And he exhibited his perfect judgement once more yesterday, as his two immaculately-timed goals gave Chelsea a 2-1 success at Everton.

Lampard, 34, is the club's fourth highest appearance maker, with 575 outings in blue, and is just one goal off overtaking Kerry Dixon to become the club's second all-time highest goalscorer.

Sign him up! Frank Lampard, 34, is out of contract at Chelsea in the summer but there's no sign of a new deal despite his two goals at Everton on Sunday

Sign him up! Frank Lampard, 34, is out of contract at Chelsea in the summer but there's no sign of a new deal despite his two goals at Everton on Sunday

Right place, right time: Lampard's two goals ay Goodison Park were just the latest example of his predatory goalscoring abilities

Right place, right time: Lampard's two goals ay Goodison Park were just the latest example of his predatory goalscoring abilities

Source: Opta

Source: Opta

He is admired far beyond Stamford Bridge for his selfless workrate, box-to-box leadership, chance creation and finishing, and has been a pillar of the successful Roman Abramovich era.

How peculiar, then, that Lampard could be in a different place next season having not yet been offered a contract extension at the club to which he has devoted the last 11 years.

In the same way evergreen players such as Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs still have something to offer at Manchester United, Lampard still has plenty in the tank.

The season's statistics prove this – Lampard has outperformed Chelsea's other midfielders in all the goalscoring and shooting categories.

With six goals in the Barclays Premier League, he has more than Ramires, John Mikel Obi, Oscar and Oriel Romeu combined.

And this, despite having played less than half the minutes of the first three.

Only Oscar has been more creative – fractionally – with an opportunity sparked every 51 minutes compared to Lampard's 58.

But the England man is deadlier in front of goal and boasts a phenomenal shooting accuracy rate of nearly 91 per cent.

Fan favourite: This Chelsea fans makes her feeling for Frank clear at Everton on Sunday

Fan favourite: This Chelsea fans makes her feeling for Frank clear at Everton on Sunday

Thumbs up: Lampard is Chelsea's third highest goalscorer and fourth highest appearance maker

Thumbs up: Lampard is Chelsea's third highest goalscorer and fourth highest appearance maker

On these measures, Lampard has remarkably got better since last season, when he scored 11 times in 30 league appearances.

His manager, Rafa Benitez, is famously one for 'facts' but despite these consistently impressive statistics, no offer of a new deal has been forthcoming.

ALL-TIME APPEARANCES

1. Ron Harris (1961-1980) 795
2. Peter Bonetti (1959-1979) 729
3. John Hollins (1963-75 and 1983-1984) 593
4. Frank Lampard (2001-) 575
5. John Terry (1998 – ) 557

ALL-TIME GOALSCORERS

1. Bobby Tambling (1959-1970) 202
2. Kerry Dixon (1983-1992) 193
3. Frank Lampard (2001-) 192
4. Didier Drogba (2004-2012) 157
5. Roy Bentley (1948-1956) 150

Consistency: Lampard has been scoring crucial goals for Chelsea for 11 years, including this one in a 2-0 win at Bolton in April 2006 as Chelsea headed for the title

Consistency: Lampard has been scoring crucial goals for Chelsea for 11 years, including this one in a 2-0 win at Bolton in April 2006 as Chelsea headed for the title

Frank Lampard of Chelsea celebrates scoring against Bolton

After his brace at Goodison Park, Lampard said: 'We haven't been talking about a new contract in the last couple of weeks. At the moment nothing has been said and my contract is up in the summer.'

Benitez was similarly cagey on the chances of a new deal, saying: 'My job is to keep Lampard fit. He is a good player.

'He is under contract, fully committed and working hard and that is the way. We cannot say too much about this.'

Some 'facts' for Benitez to consider about Chelsea's midfield

Source: Opta

Source: Opta

What next It remains to be seen whether Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez will offer Lampard a new contract

What next It remains to be seen whether Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez will offer Lampard a new contract

If Benitez's doubts centre around Lampard's ability to cut it in the hustle and bustle of the Premier League, then he might keep him simply as a good luck charm.

In the 11 league matches Lampard has featured this season, Chelsea have won ten and drawn one.

Really though, on recent evidence, Benitez should be personally typing out that new contract.

Rafa Benitez refused to rule out a return to Anfield

Never say never: Rafa refuses to rule out a return to Anfield

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UPDATED:

00:31 GMT, 29 December 2012

Rafael Benitez has refused to rule out a second coming at Liverpool ahead of his first match on Merseyside as Chelsea boss.

Interim Blues manager Benitez has been linked previously with a return to Anfield and will be a free agent again at the end of the season.

Sunday sees Benitez take a team to Merseyside for the first time since he was sacked by Liverpool two-and-a-half years ago when Chelsea visit Everton in the Barclays Premier League.

Refusal: Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez refused to rule out ever returning to Liverpool but did say he will give '100 per cent' for Chelsea

Refusal: Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez refused to rule out ever returning to Liverpool but did say he will give '100 per cent' for Chelsea

And asked if he could see himself returning to manage his former club one day, he said: 'At the moment, I'm really pleased here.

'I want to keep winning and you never know what can happen in football.

'I have a very good relationship with the fans and the city but I'm a good professional and that means I will give 100 per cent for this club.'

Return: Benitez returns to Merseyside for the first time since leaving Liverpool when Chelsea visit David Moyes' Everton team

Return: Benitez returns to Merseyside for the first time since leaving Liverpool when Chelsea visit David Moyes' Everton team

Benitez's work ethic has helped him begin to rebuild his reputation as one of the most astute coaches around, the Spaniard having got Chelsea's campaign back on track in recent weeks.

However, his latest comments are unlikely to aid him in his quest to win over Chelsea fans who still see him as the enemy due to his Liverpool connections.

Benitez's work ethic has seen him begin to rebuild his reputation at Chelsea

Graft: Benitez's work ethic has seen him begin to rebuild his reputation at Chelsea

He added ahead of Sunday's game at Goodison Park: 'It is always something special when you go back to Liverpool.

'My connection with the city is very strong.'

Those links continue, with Benitez's family home still on the Wirral near the city after he decided against relocating them when he joined Inter Milan or when he was appointed to the Chelsea hotseat.

He said: 'When you have children, 10 and 14, they have their friends around and have been there for eight years so it is difficult to move the family and you have to do something for them.

'I have to move around on my own and then find a way to be there for Christmas dinner or whatever.'

Liverpool have nosedived since sacking Benitez and are on their third manager in that time.

To compound matters, they have also been supplanted as the top team on Merseyside by Everton, who finished above them last season and ended the first half of the current campaign eight points clear of their neighbours.

However, Benitez was almost at pains to avoid discussing whether there had been a power shift in favour of David Moyes' men.

He said: 'I cannot say this. What I can say is that Everton are doing well.

'I don't think it is fair for me to talk about one or the other one. I think it is fair for me to say that we are playing Everton and they are doing well.

'Moyes is doing a great job, they have good players and a good team spirit and it will be difficult for us.'

Dissent: Despite a recent run of good results there are still protesting voices among the Chelsea support

Dissent: Despite a recent run of good results there are still protesting voices among the Chelsea support

Side-stepping another row with Everton is unlikely to spare Benitez the role of pantomime villain when he takes a team to Goodison Park for the first time in more than three years.

The Spaniard is still suffering a backlash from his own club's fans, whose revolt against his appointment was galvanised by criticism they perceived him to have levelled at them while Liverpool boss back in 2007.

That was also the year Benitez branded Everton one of the Premier League's 'smaller teams', something that provoked a furious response from Liverpool's arch-rivals.

Benitez was the subject of plenty of unpleasant chants from Toffees fans during his six years at Anfield and he was not expecting an easy ride this weekend.

Return to form: Chelsea have won their last three Premier League games, scoring 12 and conceding just one

Red hot: Chelsea have won their last three Premier League games, scoring 12 and conceding just one

Everton have also made themselves Chelsea's bogey-team, having won the sides' past three league meetings at Goodison Park.

But Benitez has won on his past three league visits there and goes on the back of six wins from seven games.

He said of his own impact on his players: 'We are adjusting things but, at the same time, we are giving them freedom to do things in the way they want to do.

'I think we have a good balance and you can see they are keen to learn and that is the main thing for a manager.'