Emmanuel Adebayor can take Tottenham back to the Champions League – Gareth Bale

July 25th, 2014

Gareth Bale has been impressed with Emmanuel Adebayor’s start at Spurs

  • News: Redknapp did not want to let Woodgate go
  • News: Harry pushing for new Modric deal
  • News: Liverpool don’t have discipline problem – Dalglish
  • Profile:Gareth Bale

Tottenham winger Gareth Bale believes Emmanuel Adebayor is exactly the sort of striker the club needed to bolster their chances of finishing in the top four this season.

Adebayor has made a fine start to his current loan spell at White Hart Lane – scoring one of the goals in the club’s first victory of the season against Wolves, and then twice as Harry Redknapp’s side hammered Liverpool 4-0 on Sunday.

With the club hoping to qualify for the Champions League again after missing out last season, Bale believes Adebayor’s versatility could prove a decisive weapon.

“He [Adebayor] is a great character. He gets along with everyone,” Bale told The Mirror. “He has lifted the spirits in the place and on the pitch he does what he does. He can play the ball on the floor, in the air and he scores goals and that’s exactly what we needed.

“He is a good character in the dressing room, and we need someone like that, so it’s a great addition to our squad, and hopefully he can keep on going. He is a lively, bubbly character and it’s great for him to be here. The longer he stays the better.”

With the Togo international already among the goals, Bale insists the whole squad believe they can finish among the top four come the end of the season. “There are no doubts in the changing room that we can’t finish in the top four,” the Welshman said.

“We showed, even when Liverpool had 11 [men], we were attacking and we were creating many chances and we showed that against Wolves last weekend and in patches against Man United and Man City. We are all confident we can get in to the top four, and I am sure that we will.

“There is always one surprise team up there and there’s the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea. We know it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be a long, hard season but we are prepared for it.

“I think the gaffer and the chairman know exactly what they want the club to be doing. They are taking us in the right direction. They have made two good signings in Adebayor and [Scott] Parker and keeping Luka [Modric] was massive for the club and the team, so we are aiming to achieve things and that’s why we want our best players to stay.”

Bale believes, like Adebayor, new signing Parker has boosted the club with his attitude. “Scott is a leader. He shows that on the pitch. He is aggressive. He plays with his heart on his sleeve,” Bale noted. “He rallies us up before games and gets us motivated, so they are two great signings for us and they have shown that already on the pitch.

“Luka has been a true professional and has been great with everybody. [Jermain] Defoe has struck up a good partnership with Adebayor and hopefully they can continue to do that.

“We have a great team, a great squad, and we know it will be a tough season, but we are just going to battle away, take each game as it comes and then hopefully we will be there at the end of the season.”

Emmanuel Adebayor can take Tottenham back to the Champions League – Gareth Bale

July 25th, 2014

Gareth Bale has been impressed with Emmanuel Adebayor’s start at Spurs

  • News: Redknapp did not want to let Woodgate go
  • News: Harry pushing for new Modric deal
  • News: Liverpool don’t have discipline problem – Dalglish
  • Profile:Gareth Bale

Tottenham winger Gareth Bale believes Emmanuel Adebayor is exactly the sort of striker the club needed to bolster their chances of finishing in the top four this season.

Adebayor has made a fine start to his current loan spell at White Hart Lane – scoring one of the goals in the club’s first victory of the season against Wolves, and then twice as Harry Redknapp’s side hammered Liverpool 4-0 on Sunday.

With the club hoping to qualify for the Champions League again after missing out last season, Bale believes Adebayor’s versatility could prove a decisive weapon.

“He [Adebayor] is a great character. He gets along with everyone,” Bale told The Mirror. “He has lifted the spirits in the place and on the pitch he does what he does. He can play the ball on the floor, in the air and he scores goals and that’s exactly what we needed.

“He is a good character in the dressing room, and we need someone like that, so it’s a great addition to our squad, and hopefully he can keep on going. He is a lively, bubbly character and it’s great for him to be here. The longer he stays the better.”

With the Togo international already among the goals, Bale insists the whole squad believe they can finish among the top four come the end of the season. “There are no doubts in the changing room that we can’t finish in the top four,” the Welshman said.

“We showed, even when Liverpool had 11 [men], we were attacking and we were creating many chances and we showed that against Wolves last weekend and in patches against Man United and Man City. We are all confident we can get in to the top four, and I am sure that we will.

“There is always one surprise team up there and there’s the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea. We know it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be a long, hard season but we are prepared for it.

“I think the gaffer and the chairman know exactly what they want the club to be doing. They are taking us in the right direction. They have made two good signings in Adebayor and [Scott] Parker and keeping Luka [Modric] was massive for the club and the team, so we are aiming to achieve things and that’s why we want our best players to stay.”

Bale believes, like Adebayor, new signing Parker has boosted the club with his attitude. “Scott is a leader. He shows that on the pitch. He is aggressive. He plays with his heart on his sleeve,” Bale noted. “He rallies us up before games and gets us motivated, so they are two great signings for us and they have shown that already on the pitch.

“Luka has been a true professional and has been great with everybody. [Jermain] Defoe has struck up a good partnership with Adebayor and hopefully they can continue to do that.

“We have a great team, a great squad, and we know it will be a tough season, but we are just going to battle away, take each game as it comes and then hopefully we will be there at the end of the season.”

Iker Casillas bemoans wrong result for Spain against England

July 25th, 2014

Iker Casillas’ replacement, Pepe Reina, could not stop Frank Lampard prodding home after Darren Bent’s heading

  • News: England strong enough to cope without Rooney – Walcott
  • News: Fabregas amazed by England negativity
  • News: Capello expects young Lions to get even better
  • News: Lampard not getting carried away after win
  • Match report: Lampard steals in to give England victory
  • Profile:Iker Casillas
  • Gallery: England v Spain

Defeated Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas does not believe England deserved to win against the world champions at Wembley on Saturday night.

Casillas, who made his 126th appearance for Spain to equal the record of Andoni Zubizarreta, only played the first-half of the 1-0 friendly defeat that ruined his landmark celebration.

The 30-year-old, who made his debut as a teenager against Sweden in 2000, was replaced by Pepe Reina at the break and could only watch as his team lost to an England team that he insists did nothing to justify their success.

“It is a shame we didn’t manage to win,” the Real Madrid goalkeeper said. “It leaves a bitter taste because, in my personal opinion, it was not the right result.

“We created a few more chances than England, who showed their strength at a dead ball situation and managed to convert something. Other than that, I can’t really think that they created anything else throughout the game.

Casillas added: “As for the record, it is not something I have ever really thought or spoken about. I suppose if I retired tomorrow I would realise I had been very fortunate. But at the moment all I am concerned about is playing Costa Rica on Tuesday.”

Bolton hopeful Lee Chung-Yong will return by March

July 25th, 2014

Lee Chung-Yong is recovering from a horror leg break

  • News: Blow for Bolton as Lee faces nine months out

Bolton Wanderers manager Owen Coyle is hopeful Lee Chung-Yong could make an early return from his long-term injury.

Lee, 23, suffered a double fracture of his lower right leg during a pre-season friendly with Newport County in July and was estimated to be out for nine months.

Coyle, though, has been encouraged by the South Korea international’s recovery so far, and is optimistic he could be back in action by March 2012.

“At this moment in time, he’s doing better than I would have envisaged,” Coyle told the Bolton News.

“I don’t want to get ahead of myself but I don’t think it will be as bad as we first thought – i.e. the whole season – but what part of it he comes back is still very much up in the air.

“We could get him back March, maybe, but he’s certainly doing well.”

Lee joined Bolton from FC Seoul for £2.2 million in 2009 and has impressed at the Reebok Stadium since the switch, scoring seven goals in 65 Premier League appearances.

Arsenals Theo Walcott available for QPR clash after bug

July 25th, 2014

Theo Walcott should be available for selection this weekend

  • News: Spurs defeat Norwich as Fletcher frustrates Gunners

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed winger Theo Walcott should be available for selection for Saturday’s Premier League game against QPR, after missing Tuesday’s draw with Wolves due to illness.

Arsenal were unable to win without Walcott at Emirates Stadium, as Gervinho’s opener was cancelled out by Steven Fletcher’s header – in a game that later saw Nenad Milijas sent off for what was deemed to be a dangerous tackle by referee Stuart Attwell.

Walcott could return to the line-up for the club’s final game of 2011, however, after coming through the worst of a stomach bug.

“Walcott is sick,” Wenger said after the game with Wolves. “He has a stomach problem. He is already better today.

“He could not come to training yesterday, but should be available for Saturday’s game.”

Republic of Ireland avoid toughest Euro 2012 play-off tests

July 25th, 2014

Republic of Ireland beat Armenia to guarantee a play-off spot

  • News: Spain shatter Scotland dream; Republic still alive

Republic of Ireland have been seeded for the Euro 2012 play-offs, meaning they will avoid a clash against Portugal, Croatia or Czech Republic, the three other seeds.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkey, Montenegro and Estonia are possible opponents for the Republic, who will play their first leg away on November 11 or 12, before a return match on home soil on November 15. All the teams will learn their fate in Thursday’s draw.

Ireland secured their place in the play-offs after clinching second spot in Group B with a 2-1 victory over Armenia on Tuesday thanks to an own goal from Valeri Aleksanyan and an effort from Richard Dunne.

Alongside co-hosts Poland and Ukraine, holders Spain, Germany, Russia, Italy, France, Netherlands, Greece, England, Denmark and Sweden have all already booked their spots at next summer’s tournament.

Aston Villas Barry Bannan arrested after car crash

July 25th, 2014

Barry Bannan

  • News: Bannan back in Villa training

Aston Villa midfielder Barry Bannan has been arrested on suspicion of drink-driving after crashing his Range Rover on the M1 in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Bannan, 21, escaped without injury but was arrested with 20-year-old Shrewsbury Town striker James Collins – who came through Villa’s youth system – in the nearby village of Bulwell, Nottinghamshire by police.

A Nottinghamshire Police spokesman said: “A Range Rover collided with the central reservation near junction 26 at around 5.30am. No other vehicles were involved.

“Two men aged 20 and 21 were arrested in Bulwell on suspicion of drink-driving and failing to stop at the scene of an accident. Both have been bailed pending further enquiries.”

Liverpool midfielder Charlie Adam finding inspiration at Anfield

July 25th, 2014

Charlie Adam is enjoying life at Liverpool

  • News: Chelsea and Liverpool in battle for Lucas
  • Profile:Charlie Adam

Liverpool midfielder Charlie Adam says he has fully adjusted to life at the club and is feeling more enthusiastic than ever about his football.

Adam, the Scotland international, made the £7 million switch to Liverpool from relegated Blackpool during the summer. The playmaker admits that he was intimidated by the quality of his new team-mates in the first few weeks, but now feels a key part of Kenny Dalglish’s squad.

“Maybe the first couple of weeks you are overawed a little bit with the quality of the players here,” Adam told The Mirror. “At the end of the day I had only played in the Premier League for one season and you come up against people like Stevie [Gerrard], Dirk [Kuyt], Luis [Suarez] – established, top-class players.

“Now though, they are team-mates. That is how I look at it.

“There has been a rapid rise in my career since I left Rangers, but I have always aimed for an opportunity to play regularly for a club of this stature, and I want to continue doing that.”

Adam also revealed that the move to Merseyside has changed his training habits, after settling into a comfortable routine while he was plying his trade under Ian Holloway at Bloomfield Road.

“I love it. When I hear the name ‘Liverpool’ it brings a smile to my face and that is why I am delighted to be here,” he said. “I’m not one for waking up in the morning, but since I’ve been here I’m up at quarter past seven, looking forward to training. I just love being at this club.

“When I was at Blackpool, it helped that I only lived 15 minutes down the road. We had to be in for 10am and I would be getting up at quarter past nine.

“Here, I’m getting up early because there’s a buzz and a feel-good factor about coming in.”

Lazios Djibril Cisse close to Premier League return with QPR

July 25th, 2014

Djibril Cisse could be set for a return to England

  • News: QPR sign Samba on loan

Queens Park Rangers are set to complete the signing of Djibril Cisse from Lazio before the transfer deadline, ESPNsoccernet understands.

Cisse only joined Lazio from Panathinaikos last summer but the former Liverpool and Sunderland striker has emerged as a top target for new QPR boss Mark Hughes.

A fee in the region of £4 million is said to have been agreed between the two clubs, with Lazio reportedly keen to reinvest the money in CSKA Moscow start Keisuke Honda.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar cool on Manchester United bid talk

July 25th, 2014

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar joined Schalke from AC Milan in 2010

  • News: United target Huntelaar stalls on contract talks

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has moved to quell speculation linking him with a move to Manchester United by stating he would be open to holding talks with his current club Schalke over a new deal.

Huntelaar, 28, has been in scintillating goalscoring form for Schalke this season, netting 15 times in 16 Bundesliga games, and he has subsequently been linked with a switch to United when the transfer window reopens on January 1.

But the Netherlands international is unaware of United’s purported monitoring of his situation, and he has moved to stress his commitment to the Veltins-Arena club.

“I know nothing of alleged interest from Manchester United,” Huntelaar said to Voetbal International. “I will not even speculate, I am concentrating fully on Schalke.

“I’ll let any offers come to me quietly and will then see what happens. This is the attitude I’ve always had. My contract runs until the summer of 2013. If they [Schalke] want to talk, I’ll gladly listen.”

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