Manchester City playmaker David Silva has backed team-mate Jack Rodwell to bounce back from his latest injury setback. Rodwell faces another month on the sidelines after limping out of Monday’s Barclays Premier League win at Aston Villa with yet another hamstring problem. The 21-year-old, whose City career since a £12million summer move from Everton is yet to take off, has a history of such injuries and only returned to action in January after a three-month lay-off. Spain World Cup winner Silva said: “It’s a great shame he is injured again after getting back into the team and playing in the last two games.” He added: “I have never been injured in the same way, but I know what it’s like to have an injury where you can’t see the end of the tunnel. “Jack needs to know that in the end you get there, you just have to keep walking until you start to see the light again. “He has worked really really hard already, but he needs to keep concentrating, and he will be back with us.” Manager Roberto Mancini was expected to give fitness updates on two other injured players on Friday morning as he met media to preview this weekend’s FA Cup quarter-final against Barnsley. Despite being close to a return on a couple of occasions, captain Vincent Kompany has now missed six games with a calf injury and it remains uncertain whether he will feature against the Tykes at the Etihad Stadium. Striker Sergio Aguero pulled out of the Villa Park game with a knee problem and has tweeted pictures of himself undergoing treatment. He has not indicated how long he might be out but said he is “leaving this injury behind slowly but steadily”. Victory on Saturday would take City back to Wembley and a step closer to repeating their 2011 FA Cup success. Press Association
The 26-year-old has not featured for the Canaries since the draw at Everton on November 24 after needing surgery on a torn muscle. Ruddy played all of the 2-0 Barclays U21 Development League defeat at Newcastle on Monday night, and will now be expected to come into contention for a first-team return over the run-in as Chris Hughton’s men target top-flight survival. Goalkeeper John Ruddy is likely to step up his rehabilitation from a thigh injury after completing 90 minutes of Norwich’s Under-21s match at Newcastle. Writing on his official Twitter account, Ruddy said: “Good to get the 90 minutes, leg held up ok.” While Ruddy is not expected to be rushed back, the imminent return of the England international will be welcome news for Hughton. Understudy Mark Bunn limped off early in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Swansea after he picked up a groin problem on his first match back after suspension, meaning third-choice Lee Camp could again be between the posts for Saturday’s trip to Arsenal. Norwich are 14th, but just four points above Wigan, who have a match in hand. Despite this weekend’s trip to Emirates Stadium expected to offer little other than a sound beating, Hughton’s men still have enough time to put a safe distance between themselves and the battle for survival – with key games against Reading, Stoke and Aston Villa next on their fixture list. Winger Elliott Bennett is confident the results will come, telling the Eastern Daily Press: “We have just got to keep plugging away and picking up points where we can. “If we draw six of the next six then that would put us on 41 points – that would probably be enough. It is all about Premier League survival, not about how many wins you get in a season. For this football club it is about staying in the Premier League and then building on that for next season.” Press Association
Press Association “He got his first competitive 65 minutes but he hasn’t had any other serious action,” said Moyes. “I will assess it but right now, I couldn’t tell you (whether he will be involved).” If the long-running Rooney saga seems to have staggered on with nothing changing, the same could be said of United’s search for new players. The attempt to sign Cesc Fabregas has apparently not been abandoned as appeared to be the case after the player himself claimed he had no wish to leave Barcelona, whilst Real Madrid duo Luka Modric and Mesut Ozil have also been linked with United, as has Tottenham’s wantaway winger Gareth Bale. Not have being lured to Old Trafford so far, although Moyes is still confident of making reinforcements to his squad. “I am confident,” he said. “It’s moving along in the right direction. “Everybody wants things done quickly but you have to remember, I got the job on July 1. I have had five or six weeks now and three of them are on tour. “I always thought this could be a difficult window for me because the level I have been shopping at in the past is not the level Manchester United have been shopping at. “That has to come into consideration.” There is a body of opinion which believes the transfer window should be shutting on Friday because it is unfair to have such a major issue hanging over clubs a fortnight into a new campaign. As the window is not a stand-alone concept and Europe’s leagues all start at slightly different times, it is hard to see how an alternative could be implemented. “It’s a big debate,” said Moyes. “Should we have a full window or a shorter one? “But all the countries start their seasons at different times so I think the fairer system we have is the one we are using just now.” For Moyes, the end is not in sight. That will not come until 11pm on September 2 when the transfer window closes. But once his team get their title defence under way at Swansea on Saturday evening, at least there will be a change of focus. “It’s part of the job and I understand he is someone everybody wants to discuss,” said Moyes. “I have to answer it the best I can but we will all be glad once the season is started. “We want to get the season under way. When we get the games going the focus will hopefully shift from the off-field stuff we have at the moment.” But for now it is about the fall-out from Rooney’s 65-minute appearance in England’s victory over Scotland on Wednesday night. Rooney might have shown obvious signs of rustiness on his first appearance of the summer. But there appeared to be no ill effects from the hamstring and shoulder complaints that had prevented him playing up to that point, so he must presumably come into contention for the weekend trip to south Wales. From his unveiling press conference at Old Trafford on July 5, throughout a pre-season tour taking in Thailand, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong, back to Sweden and at various points throughout the past week, the new Manchester United manager has been peppered with questions about his high-profile forward. The subject matter is always the same; Rooney’s hoped-for move to Chelsea, the answer similar; the 27-year-old is not for sale. David Moyes will be glad when the Premier League season starts so he can stop talking about Wayne Rooney.
Press Association His country were proud too, with president Michael D Higgins saying the people of Ireland would celebrate his success. “All of us will share in this wonderful moment for Rob and his family,” said President Higgins. “Rob came so close to success in the London Olympics and now, through hard work and dedication, he has achieved all that he deserves.” Heffernan’s triumph saw him follow in the footsteps of Eamonn Coghlan, the last Irish man to take global gold when he won the 5,000m in Helsinki in 1983. Heffernan was Ireland’s first world champion of either sex since Sonia O’Sullivan triumphed over 5,000m in Gothenburg 18 years ago. He went to Moscow in fine form and was considered a genuine medal hope for an Irish team, although few could have predicted gold. In a composed morning run, he was with the leading pack at the halfway mark and, when one by one it was whittled down, he went toe-to-toe with Ryzhov. Heffernan looked far fresher going into the final 5km, though, and was away and gone by the time he came into the Luzhniki Stadium, winning by 62secs. The 35-year-old, who finished an agonising fourth at London 2012 last summer, strode away from home favourite Mikhail Ryzhov in the closing kilometres to win in a world-leading three hours 37 minutes 56 seconds. He said: “I wanted to go to Moscow and take on the Russians in Moscow and that’s what I did. I’m very proud that an Irish man can come to Russia and beat them in walking.” “It’s surreal, it’s just a great feeling,” he said. “When I came into the stadium it just felt like an out of body experience. It’s hard to take it all in at the moment. I’m delighted. “Coming into the stadium I felt as if I was watching myself on the outside, looking at myself on the big screen and thinking, ‘This fella looks good’.” Victory earned Heffernan his first major medal after years of near misses, including fourth-placed finishes over 20km and 50km at the 2010 European Championships in Barcelona. He added: “I knew I was motivated. People go on about medals, for the last 11 years I’ve been motivated and challenging for a medal. For some reason or other I hadn’t won one. “I was prepared for everything coming into it. I stayed thoroughly motivated this year after London when a lot of people take their foot off the gas. “I was very conscious of training hard and I had to be more motivated, because there was less hype for the World Champs. I was prepared for that mentally.” Australia’s Jared Tallent took the bronze, with Heffernan’s compatriot Brendan Boyce finishing 25th in a new personal best of 3:54.24. Robert Heffernan became Ireland’s first male world champion in 30 years by defeating the Russian challenge in their own back yard to win the 50 kilometres race walk gold in Moscow.
The in-form Will Porterfield, who followed up his century against England with an innings of 62 on Friday, fell for just five after being cleaned up by Ian Wardlaw. The Scotland paceman then accounted for another opener in Paul Stirling, who feathered a catch down the leg-side. Ed Joyce and Niall O’Brien put on 69 for the third wicket before the former was bowled by off-spinner Majid Haq for 39 although that failed to disrupt Ireland’s momentum. O’Brien continued to kick on and brought up his 50 off 54 balls with a clip to square-leg off Haq and it was fitting that he struck the winning run with a single down to long leg to finish on 65 not out, with Gary Wilson (35no) providing valuable support in an unbroken 75-run partnership for the fourth wicket. It was O’Brien’s younger brother Kevin who played a large part in giving Ireland a low victory target with figures of three for 31 as Scotland’s hopes of setting a large score were undermined by the steady fall of wickets. South African-born Sorensen (three for 36) started the rot when he had Freddie Coleman lbw, while Hamish Gardiner nicked Richardson behind. Matt Machan had reached a rather sedate 23 before hammering Kevin O’Brien straight to the seamer’s sibling Niall at mid-on. Scotland captain Preston Mommsen fell in Kevin O’Brien’s next over after an attempted pull was feathered behind to leave Scotland on 61 for four. Having ended Scotland’s hopes of automatic World Cup qualification on Friday, Ireland’s seamers twisted the knife further by taking all 10 wickets to restrict their opponents to a paltry 165 all out after they had won the toss. Sorensen and O’Brien took three wickets apiece, while Stuart Thompson and Eddie Richardson shared the remaining four scalps in the International Cricket Council World Cricket League Championship encounter before Ireland’s batsman chased down the target in 33 overs, with Niall O’Brien ensuring there were few alarms. Press Association Calum MacLeod and Richie Berrington led a fightback of sorts with a partnership of 66 for the fifth wicket before the latter fell for 35 after chipping O’Brien to wide mid-on. That was the start of Scotland’s collapse as they lost their last six wickets for the addition of 38 runs, MacLeod the next to fall having top-scored with 39 when he was cleaned up by a Richardson slower ball. David Murphy was unbeaten on 20, but he was let down at the other end as Sorensen and Thompson (two for 20) cleaned up the lower order as Scotland were all out in 49.3 overs. Max Sorensen and Kevin O’Brien each took three wickets as Ireland claimed their second win over Scotland in three days after easing to a seven-wicket victory in Belfast.
Discarded boss Martin Jol failed to get the best out of his midfield options. But new manager Meulensteen is confident he can push his influential trio to new heights for the Cottagers, by keeping them fresh as well as fired up. “What you get in exchange for age is experience,” said the former Manchester United first-team coach. “These players are well-trained: it’s our job in the staff to make sure they have the energy to play at this level. “And it’s important that you use them in the right jobs that are right for the team, and that’s what I’ve done.” Karagounis’ industrious display delighted his new manager, with Meulensteen indicating the 36-year-old can play a pivotal role in boosting squad morale. Meulensteen said: “Well on top of that performance he’s a fantastic character, he’s an inspiring person, and that transfers onto other players and transfers to the fans. “The win is a massive boost: it was a massive feel-good factor, although we lost against Tottenham last Wednesday. Scott Parker, Giorgios Karagounis and Steve Sidwell bossed the midfield in Fulham’s 2-0 Barclays Premier League victory over Aston Villa on Sunday. The experienced trio’s combined age of 99 helped Fulham’s starting line-up claim the record for the oldest fielded in the Premier League so far this season. Age is no barrier to a balanced midfield at Fulham, according to boss Rene Meulensteen. “And it was vital to maintain that feelgood factor then back it up with three points too. “It was important for the fans to see that we really are back on track now too, and that is equally important for the players to realise too.” Meulensteen insisted loan striker Darren Bent is only battling a hamstring complaint, and there are no issues with his general fitness levels. Fulham travel to Merseyside to take on Everton in league action on Saturday, with Meulensteen not yet ruling Villa loan man Bent out of the equation. He said: “The hamstring is the only reason, obviously he couldn’t play against Villa because of the loan.” Press Association
As well as Spurs, 19th-placed Cardiff face the daunting challenges of Liverpool and Everton, as well as a basement scrap with Fulham, in their next four games. The former Manchester United forward believes “loads of improvement” is needed to get any points from that quartet, “especially inside the two boxes, because you need to score goals to win games in football and not concede soft, easy goals”. He added: “We have to say, first half, they had two attacks (and) scored two goals.” Despite the bitter disappointment of losing so heavily to another bottom-half club – a defeat that leaves the Bluebirds three points and at least nine goals from safety – Solskjaer is confident they can get the five wins in 11 he believes should be enough to survive in the Premier League. “I still think so,” added the former Molde boss. “We need five wins. We need to find that fifth win that we were hoping was going to be today. “That means we have to get a win from maybe an away game we didn’t expect to. How often have we seen that in the Premier League, that there’s a surprise result? “All you can say is these lads, knowing the character of them; they will roll their sleeves up and work as hard as they can to get the points we need. The Norwegian had been planning to take the relegation-threatened Bluebirds out to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday to sharpen up ahead of their trip to fifth-placed Tottenham at White Hart Lane in a week’s time. But after watching his charges thrashed by the Tigers, suffering their biggest home defeat since losing 4-0 to Cambridge United in April 2000, Solskjaer confirmed he had changed his mind in favour of some intensive preparation in wintry Wales. “They’re never, ever going to lay down and give up. They have been knocked down, but luckily they’ve not landed face down. They’ve landed on their back and that way they can look up. “That’s the only way that we’re going to get out of this – work hard, work together, stick together and do the right things at the right time. At times, players wanted to do a little bit too much and that’s good. “You want that enthusiasm to want to make a difference and want to make an impression, but do your job. The enthusiasm was there, the effort was there, but the decision-making wasn’t the best.” Cardiff had plenty of chances against the Tigers, but for the third Premier League game in a row, they drew a blank. The visitors were happy to soak up the pressure and repeatedly hit them on the break. A brace from recent signing Nikica Jelavic and goals from Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore – on loan from Spurs – gave Steve Bruce’s men their biggest away win in the top flight. Bruce, who like Solskjaer was a hero at Old Trafford during his playing career, wished his counterpart all the best. He said: “I’m delighted that somebody like Ole, for a start, has gone into management and if we’re not careful – I keep saying this, week in week out – we’re going to discourage people like Ole Gunnar. “He’s had a wonderful playing career and wants to stay in the game. He’s an enthusiast of the game. You’ve got to give him time and let him manage. “That goes for everybody. When you see the ridiculous turnover of managers that we have repeatedly in this country, it’s ridiculous, and if we’re not careful we’re going to turn people away.” Press Association Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has cancelled his players’ warm-weather training trip to Abu Dhabi following the 4-0 defeat at home to Hull on Saturday.
Clement himself initially stated “the time for me to be a number one is soon”, thanking Ancelotti for providing him with the belief he can make the step up after working alongside the Italian at not just Real, but also Paris St Germain and Chelsea. But Clement, whose brother Neil played for Albion for 10 years from 2000 to 2010, has now suggested his time with Real is far from over. “Working for Real Madrid is a fantastic experience and I’m very happy here at the moment,” said Clement on talkSPORT. “My family are settled and we’d like to stay and enjoy this experience. “I do have ambitions to make that step up to management at some point in the near future, and if the right club comes along at the right time then I’d like to do it. “But at the moment I’m just going to enjoy my time here.” When it was suggested to Clement a potential move may come sooner rather than later, he replied: “Possibly, but we’ll just have to wait and see. “I’m working at a fantastic club every day, we’ve great players here and we’re competing for big trophies. “Next year we’ll play in the game against the Europa League winners (the UEFA Super Cup); we’ll be in the World Club Championship as well as competing for the La Liga title, Copa del Rey and Champions League. “It’s exciting times for Real Madrid.” Paul Clement has ruled himself out of the running for the vacant manager’s post at West Brom. As assistant to manager Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid, and following the club’s 10th Champions League triumph on Saturday, Clement has shot to prominence and been linked with a number of roles. With Albion in search of a successor to the sacked Pepe Mel, the 42-year-old was being hotly tipped to move to The Hawthorns despite his lack of managerial experience. Press Association
The London Legacy Development Corporation took the decision to hand West Ham the long-term lease and its chair of the budget and performance committee John Biggs admitted a second deal with Spurs would be beneficial to the company. “The government has cut funding to the LLDC, so it’s pretty clear that it would welcome an approach from Tottenham, as the income generated would be a boost,” he said. “Retro-fitting a roof to the Olympic Stadium is an expensive exercise and Londoners will have to foot the cost of any overruns. The Olympic Stadium is a good option for Spurs fans and for taxpayers – although West Ham may have something to say about it – but I’m sure it would be possible to come to a ground-sharing agreement.” Press Association Sport understands that the Hammers would not just have a say on the matter, they would in fact need to approve any agreement that may be struck with London rivals Tottenham to utilise the Olympic Stadium – although it is believed the Hammers have yet to be approached with any such deal. The other serious options available to Tottenham appear to be stadium:mk, home of the MK Dons, and Wembley bu t even a move to the national stadium would be fraught with potential snags. With the venue restricted to 37 events per year due to their contract with Brent Council, the number of games Tottenham could host there would be lowered due to existing football commitments as well as concerts and other events. There have been over 30 events already at the stadium in 2014 so, if a similar scenario occurred in 2017, there would be severe limitations for Tottenham games. A possible scenario could see Spurs play the majority of their games at stadium:mk with their bigger, most appealing fixtures, played out at Wembley – similar to Saracens, who play their bigger European rugby ties at the stadium. Press Association West Ham have the power to prevent their Olympic Stadium home being shared with Tottenham for the 2017-18 season, Press Association Sport understands. The Hammers have been awarded a 99-year lease to become anchor tenants of the landmark London 2012 venue and are set to leave Upton Park for the 54,000-seater stadium in August 2016. But, with news that Tottenham’s own new stadium will not be ready for the 2017-18 season, they are now looking for an alternative temporary home – and the Olympic site is believed to be on a shortlist of possible solutions.
The red-hot striker is the top scoring Englishman in the Barclays Premier League with five goals and helped fire England Under-21s to Euro 2015 this month. Tottenham had been linked with a £15million move but Irvine dismissed the amount – insisting Berahino would cost much more in today’s market. “It doesn’t sound a lot. I would be absolutely astonished if anyone could sign Saido from us for £15million,” he said. “You look at some of the fees going around in the transfer market that’s just been, everybody seems to start at £7million. “Ross McCormack went for £11million Championship to Championship. What the right figure is I have absolutely no idea and I wouldn’t make the decision as far as that was concerned. “But £15million doesn’t sound like a lot of money for a talented, young, English player with great potential who is playing really, really well in the Premier League at the moment and who is scoring goals. It would have to be higher than that. “It was a seller’s market in this particular transfer window. We know as we kept going to try to buy people and we realised how difficult that was.” Irvine would not welcome any offers but believes Berahino can handle any speculation and it will not harm his performances. “I have had a few conversations with him where it’s been a case of ‘You keep doing what you are doing and everything will happen for you’,” he said, ahead of Monday’s visit of Manchester United. “But he is going to have to deal with that speculation. I don’t think there are any alarm bells ringing for me at this particular time and if I saw a change in behaviour or anything like that I would probably have a little word with him.” West Brom head coach Alan Irvine has warned potential suitors Saido Berahino is worth more than £15million. But Irvine admitted, should the 21-year-old continue his fine form, interest and bids are inevitable. “That’s something which could happen, there’s no question about that but I don’t want him to play poorly so that they don’t come,” he said. “I am desperate for him to play really well and if that means other clubs come and start knocking on the door then the club will make a decision on whether these clubs are making the right kind of offers or not. “If Gareth Bale can be prised away from Tottenham I think it means every player has got his price.” Meanwhile, Baggies skipper Chris Brunt is winning his fitness fight to face Manchester United. The midfielder suffered a groin injury on international duty with Northern Ireland and missed their wins over the Faroe Islands and Greece. Silvestre Varela (groin) and Claudio Yacob (personal reasons) will not feature against Louis Van Gaal’s side at The Hawthorns on Monday, but Irvine has been boosted by Brunt’s progress. He said: ”Chris Brunt was the only man who came back and he came back early. Fortunately for us that’s given us time to work with him and he hasn’t trained with us yet but he will join in on Saturday. ”I’m expecting everyone who came back to be in contention for the game on Monday.” Gareth McAuley and Chris Baird played for Northern Ireland while James Morrison helped Scotland beat Georgia and draw in Poland. Press Association