View Full Version : Latest Football News 14-12-2011
BENDIKSEN IN LINE FOR EXTENSION
http://images.sportinglife.com/11/12/330/Bendiksen_2687393.jpg Bendiksen: Has impressed at Rangers
Rangers manager Ally McCoist says the club are hoping to agree a contract extension with Thomas Bendiksen.
The 22-year-old from Norway has impressed recently, helping Rangers to a four-point lead at the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League ahead of Saturday's fixture with Inverness.
Manager Ally McCoist has already indicated talks are imminent with midfielder Maurice Edu and striker Kyle Lafferty and now Bendiksen appears set to be offered new terms, with his current six-month deal poised to finish at the end of this month.
McCoist told Rangers TV's Blues News: "We've always known about Thomas' talent, this isn't a surprise to us.
"I'm delighted the lad's now fit and he's got an opportunity to express himself.
"We're just pleased he's back in the swing of things after the best part of two years of injuries. Hopefully that's all behind him.
"I've spoken to his agent myself on a couple of occasions. He is very keen for Thomas to stay, we're keen for Thomas to stay, hopefully Thomas is keen to stay too.
"Negotiations have already started and hopefully we can get him on a long-term contract."
ARMSTRONG WAITING ON IFA RESPONSE
http://images.sportinglife.com/11/12/330/Gerry-Armstrong_2690725.jpg Armstrong: Wants to manage N Ireland
Northern Ireland legend Gerry Armstrong has yet to hear back from the Irish Football Association regarding his application to succeed Nigel Worthington as manager of the national side.
The IFA have been weighing up applications for the vacant post in recent weeks and were thought to be preparing to interview leading candidates.
Worthington's predecessor, Lawrie Sanchez, ruled himself out of the running on Monday by issuing a formal statement through his current club Barnet, indicating he had not applied for the job and had not been approached by his former employers.
Other contenders for the job include ex-Cardiff manager Dave Jones and former internationals Jim Magilton, Iain Dowie and Michael O'Neill - who is currently bookmakers' favourite after announcing his exit from Shamrock Rovers.
But Armstrong, who represented Northern Ireland in the 1982 World Cup and was assistant manager under both Bryan Hamilton and Sanchez, has suggested an appointment may not be close.
"I feel I've as good a chance as anybody. But I haven't heard anything else, so as yet nothing's moving," he told UTV.
"There are a lot of good candidates that have applied. Until the Irish FA decide what they want to do, who they want to speak to and until they have the official interviews I don't think anything will move.
"I spoke to Dave Jones, funnily enough, a few days ago and Dave told me the same thing. He hasn't heard anything from the Irish FA."
The IFA are in no rush to name a new boss before the new year, but are eager to have a manager in place in good time to prepare for the first match of 2012, a friendly against Norway at Windsor Park on February 29.
Sanchez, meanwhile, today expanded on his reasons for distancing himself from a return to Windsor Avenue.
He blamed misreporting of an interview he gave in September about the performance of Worthington for making it "inappropriate" for him to return.
"It caused me a lot of embarrassment and I'm sure it caused Nigel a lot of embarrassment as well and on the back of that, some ill-informed comments came from managers and players," he told BBC Sport.
"The fuss caused by that interview has made it inappropriate for me to apply at this time. I've since written to Nigel apologising for any embarrassment that was caused.
"I'd like to return to Northern Ireland. Whether people like it or not, I'm the most successful manager since the days of Billy Bingham, and statistically actually better than Billy Bingham. But at the current time, with the fuss caused by that interview, it wasn't the appropriate time."
GUZAN OUT TO PROVE HIS WORTH
http://images.sportinglife.com/11/12/330/guzan_2688795.jpg Brad Guzan: Keeping his options open
Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan has admitted he is keeping his options open as he weighs up his next move.
Despite 23 various cup appearances to his name, Guzan only made his full Barclays Premier League debut at the weekend in Saturday's 2-1 win at Bolton after almost three-and-a-half years at the club.
After spending three years as understudy to Brad Friedel, Guzan now finds himself behind Shay Given in the pecking order at Villa Park.
Given's hamstring injury means Guzan now has a chance to prove his worth to boss Alex McLeish in what is his most vital season as he only has six months remaining on his current contract.
"I know there are discussions ongoing with my agent so it is a case of seeing what happens," the 27-year-old told the Birmingham Mail.
"Six months from now I'll be out of contract. It has to be right for both parties, but Villa is a great club.
"At the moment I'm obviously pleased to be playing football, in the side helping out while Shay recovers from injury, and pushing us up the table.
"Obviously I'm in the team now so it gives the manager a chance to look at me. I've seen he has said some nice things about me recently which is good to see."
McLeish, meanwhile, has dismissed speculation he is planning to sell skipper Stiliyan Petrov in next month's transfer window.
Rumours have surfaced McLeish will offload Petrov as he aims to rebuild the squad, even though the 32-year-old midfielder still has another 18 months remaining on his current contract.
However, McLeish has admitted only a silly money offer will force him to part with the Bulgarian.
Regarding the stories, McLeish said: "I saw that but we've never said anything.
"I can only assume it's come from an agent. We've never said, and I've never said to Stan, we'll try and get you out in January.
"We have no intentions of letting Stan go in January unless someone comes in with a bid we can't refuse."
HUGHTON PONDERS BUTLAND FUTURE
http://images.sportinglife.com/11/09/330/Jack-Butland-Birmingham-and-England-Under-21_2647569.jpg Butland: Impressed during Cheltenham loan
Chris Hughton is considering whether Birmingham's Jack Butland will go out on loan in January.
Chris Hughton will weigh up whether to allow Birmingham's highly-rated goalkeeper Jack Butland out on loan again in January. The 18-year-old, already established as number one for England's Under-21 side, has now returned to Blues after his maximum three-month loan spell with League Two side Cheltenham came to an end with Saturday's 3-0 victory over leaders Southend.
It was Butland's sixth clean sheet in 11 league appearances and the teenager's rave reviews, in what was his first experience of professional football, have only served to strengthen his claims as one of the stars of the future.
Hughton now faces a dilemma as to where the next stage of his education takes place.
"Jack played very well at Cheltenham," the Birmingham boss told the club's official website. "But he is still a very young goalkeeper and we have to assess where we are with him now he's back at Birmingham.
"It's whether we look to keep him or whether we look to get him out on loan again come January. Anything we do with Jack has to be for all our best interests."
INCE: UNITED NEED MODRIC OR INIESTA
http://images.sportinglife.com/11/11/330/Modric_2677375.jpg Luka Modric: Potential Man United target
Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Ince believes the transfer window has come at the right time for the club.
United announced that midfielder Darren Fletcher is to take an extended break from the game because he is suffering from ulcerative colitis, a chronic inflammatory bowel condition.
The Old Trafford club had previously stated they did not intend doing much activity in the transfer window - but Ince believes the absence of the Scotland international means they may reverse that decision.
With fellow midfielders Anderson and Tom Cleverley sidelined and central defender Nemanja Vidic also injured, Ince believes Tottenham's Luka Modric may interest manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
Ince told BBC Radio Five Live: "I feel they need that creativity in midfield, losing Paul Scholes was a big loss obviously.
"You're not going to get players like Roy Keane or Bryan Robson, those players aren't around anymore.
"The game has changed since then and you don't get those type of characters, so he (Ferguson) has got to look at another way of controlling the midfield and I think that can come from creativity in someone like Luka Modric or Andres Iniesta, they are the players I would be looking at.
"I'm sure Sir Alex will take stock and he'll be looking at what type of player he will need in January and it won't just be in midfield, I'm sure he's looking at a centre-half with Vidic being out.
"But I'm sure he knows what to do, there's no point me telling him what to do because he's the greatest manager I've ever played under."
Former West Ham, Liverpool and United midfielder Ince also believes a goalscorer should be on Ferguson's wishlist, particularly with Javier Hernandez out for several weeks with an ankle injury.
He added: "There is a lot of pressure on Rooney and we saw what that did to him in the World Cup.
"If you are going to compete with the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea you need someone who is going to score you 20 goals a season and you can't just rely on Wayne Rooney to do it year in and year out.
"Nani has chipped in and Ashley Young was flying early on, but they have quietened down form-wise, so you wonder where the goals are going to come from.
"[Dimitar] Berbatov's not playing enough, Michael Owen is out injured again and Danny Welbeck is still a young lad but he will chip in with goals."
WOLFSBURG EYE TOMAS ROSICKY SWOOP
http://images.sportinglife.com/11/12/330/Tomas-Rosicky-Arsenal_2687460.jpg Tomas Rosicky: Wolfsburg target
Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky could be a January transfer target for Bundesliga club Wolfsburg.
Felix Magath, manager of the German outfit, has revealed he is an admirer of the Czech Republic international.
And with Rosicky having made just three Premier League starts this season, Wolfsburg could tempt the former Borussia Dortmund star back to the Bundesliga.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has played down suggestions the 31-year-old will leave the Emirates Stadium, but there has been a link to Wolfsburg since the summer.
Magath told BILD: "Tomas Rosicky is definitely a quality player, there should be no doubt about that.
"And he is on top of his fitness. A few years ago, he was chased by all of the big clubs in Europe."
Magath has also confirmed his interest in Ivica Olic, who is expected to leave Bayern Munich in January ahead of the conclusion of his contract at the end of the season.
"Ivica Olic could fit right into our setup. And as far as I am concerned he is looking to move clubs," said Magath.
"He might play his final tournament in the coming summer, when he features for Croatia at the Euro 2012.
"This is why he needs to play regularly now. But we have to wait and see what Bayern Munich wants to do or not."
McCARTHY: FLETCHER NOT FOR SALE
http://images.sportinglife.com/11/12/330/Fletcher_2686904.jpg Steven Fletcher: Among the goals for Wolves
Wolves manager Mick McCarthy has made it clear Steven Fletcher is not for sale.
Fletcher's six goals in 10 Premier League matches this season, and five in his last six in particular, have ensured he is currently hot property.
With the January transfer window looming, McCarthy is wary of the vultures who could look to sign the 24-year-old Scotland international.
"He's a Premier League player scoring goals so he's going to get headlines. Players always do when they're scoring goals," McCarthy told the Express & Star.
Asked if he felt Fletcher would be a transfer target, McCarthy said: "No. If I say yes then I've suddenly put him up for sale haven't I? So, categorically, no.
"All Fletcher can do is play and score, for his career here and his Scotland career.
"He's still only a young man, so all he can do is keep playing well and scoring. It's a great feeling as a footballer to be playing well.
"He's a very good player, he's excellent. It's his all-round game, but as with all strikers it's his goals that top his performances off.
"And he wants to score. He loves scoring."
GUARDIOLA: DAVID VILLA NOT FOR SALE
http://images.sportinglife.com/11/08/330/David-Villa-Celeb-Real-Madrid_2636249.jpg David Villa: Not for sale
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has rubbished reports suggesting he is prepared to sanction the sale of David Villa during the January transfer window.
Spanish sports paper Marca claimed the Catalan giants had made the World Cup winner available for a New Year move.
A number of Premier League sides were said to be keen to strike a deal, with Villa's strike rate the envy of many strikers in Europe.
The 30-year-old has struggled to hit the heights expected of him at Camp Nou following his arrival in the summer of 2010, but he has still managed 32 goals in 75 appearances.
With Barca boasting few out-and-out strikers on their books, Villa is considered to be an important member of their squad.
Taking that into account, Guardiola has sought to bring an end to the mounting speculation regarding his future.
Speaking in Japan ahead of Barca's Club World Cup campaign, he said: "Marca lie.
"I have not spoken to David after the last match in Madrid, but all of the players are in my plans.
"I am the one who comes up with 25 different line-ups during the season because I feel that is the best thing to do.
"Most of the players that are here now will continue for the rest of this season and the next.
"I wish I could play with 15 players on a team because then everyone could play."
JONJO SHELVEY EYES LIVERPOOL FIRST XI
http://images.sportinglife.com/11/11/330/shelvey_2673467.jpg Shelvey: Impressive spell at Blackpool
Jonjo Shelvey has his sights firmly set on the Liverpool first team following his successful loan spell with Blackpool.
Shelvey scored six goals in 10 appearances for the Championship side earlier this term before being called back to Anfield due to Lucas Leiva's season-ending cruciate knee ligament injury.
Along with Lucas, the Reds have captain Steven Gerrard (ankle) in the treatment room, while fellow midfielder Jay Spearing was sent off on his first Premier League start of the campaign at Fulham last week and still has two matches of his suspension to serve.
It presents a potential opportunity in the middle for Shelvey and the 19-year-old is keen to show manager Kenny Dalglish he is ready for action.
"I feel that the time I spent away from the club really helped me come on as a player," Shelvey told Liverpool's website.
"But it also made me realise just how much I want to be playing in Liverpool's first team.
"There's a big difference between Championship football and Premier League football.
"It's so good to be back in and around the squad.
"I only got on for a few minutes on Saturday (in the 1-0 win against QPR) but it was really special to be back out there on the pitch in front of the fans. It's always a great honour to play for Liverpool.
"Kenny called me back and hopefully now I can show the gaffer what I can do.
"I've got to deliver day in, day out in training and try to force my way into his plans."
He added: "Obviously it was really unfortunate for Lucas to get such a bad injury and then for Jay to get a ban as well.
"With a few players missing there's definitely an opening there but it's down to the gaffer whether he wants to pick me.
"When my time comes I'll be waiting and ready to take my chance."
Meanwhile, another Reds midfield man Charlie Adam says he is not concerned by any additional sense of pressure to perform in the absence of the likes of Gerrard and Lucas - because responsibility is something he has felt from the moment he joined Liverpool this summer.
"I've always felt responsibility because when you come to a club like this you have to take responsibility and you can't hide," Adam said.
"The two players we've lost is a big loss for us - one is the captain and one is an international for Brazil.
"It's been difficult, but the lads have come in and done and great job.
"Hopefully we can continue that and it will be nice to see them back in the first team."
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