Tag Archive: Wayne Rooney

It is clear that England have a shortage of top class strikers at the moment. With Wayne Rooney constantly struggling to re-produce his club form for the national team, and the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck lacking experience on the international stage; there is an opening for forwards to stake a claim to be a fixture in Roy Hodgson’s future squads.

The Likes of Grant Holt, anyone who follows Premier League news  will have seen that he bagged 15 League goals in his debut Premier League season last year for Norwich City, and Danny Graham at Swansea City have consistently been overlooked for a place in the Three Lions squad despite performing superbly for their Club sides.

But another man who has not as yet been given a look in is Gary Hooper at Celtic. The Harlow born front man has been nothing short of a goal machine for the Bhoys after making a £2.4 million move from Scunthorpe United back in 2010.

Since then, Hooper has netted over half a century goals for the Hoops and his manager, Neil Lennon, has urged England to give him a chance.  His blistering form has led to both Scotland and Wales making enquires over whether the 24 year old could be eligible to play for them, but such a turnover of goals should have caught the attention of Roy Hodgson.

Many sceptics will point to the fact that Hooper has been plying his trade at a relatively poor standard in the SPL,  but the ball still needs putting in the back of the net; no matter what level you play – and Hooper does that better than most.

What’s more, he has dealt with the pressure of playing for one of Britain’s biggest club’s in the shape of Celtic and thrived on the atmosphere. The prospect of playing for his country in front of big crowds is something that is unlikely to faze him and natural born goal scorers will always have that ability to create something out of nothing.

If you like a football bet , you will see that Hooper is the favourite to be the leading scorer in the SPL this campaign.

It would be great to see players rewarded for their league form, no matter who they play for, with international friendlies offering the perfect chance to try out new faces. In the shape of Hooper, England may have a predatory forward on their hands; but they will never know unless they give him a chance to prove his worth.

By Andrew Ward


Englandare through to the quarter-finals of the Euros yes, but let’s not get carried away.

Their performances in Euro 2012 to date haven’t set the world alight, and have not fired the sort of signals to the rest ofEuropethat make the continent’s top players start quaking in their shiny, overly expensive football boots.

The one thing the Englandplayers have managed to do, though, is start believing in themselves, and each other, with positive football scores the inevitable consequence

England are never, ever, in a million years, going to be as good as Spain, and we don’t possess the ability that the Germans do, but we do seem to have the unity and togetherness that has previously helped lesser teams succeed against the odds.  

The Greeceteam of 2004 springs to mind as the best example of a relatively unskilled team being successful in a major tournament. The football betting at the outset suggested they would struggle to get out of their group, let alone win the whole thing. But their success inPortugal eight years ago has gone down as one of the greatest upsets in modern day football.

But before we all get excited, thisEnglandteam is very, very unlikely to repeat this feat.

If we can get close, though, this current side will be in a decent position to be viewed as a strong competitor at the next World Cup, and maybe (just maybe!) might be able to win a major tournament for the first time since 1966.

If Roy can create a scenario that allows this kind of belief to exist, he will have exceeded everything that was first expected of him, and will have bought himself precious time to prove those who doubt his ability as national team manager.

While there is plenty of time for everything to go wrong again for England, we can now at least have just a little more hope than we did before the start of the Euros!

By Laurie Fitzgerald

Tonight, the biggest game of the Premier League season – and one of the biggest Manchester derbies of all time – takes place at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester City take on Manchester United knowing that victory will put them above their fierce rivals with just two games remaining.

For United, a win will all but secure their 20th league title and end the hopes of Roberto Mancini‘s side in a title race that has had plenty of twists and turns.

It looked well and truly over a few weeks ago when City’s defeat at Arsenal left them eight points adrift of Sir Alex Ferguson‘s men with just six games remaining.

But a shock defeat for United a few days later at Wigan left the door ajar, and City haven’t looked back since.     Continue reading

By Laurie Fitzgerald

On Sunday night, the Professional Football Association revealed the recipients of their numerous annual awards as the Premier League season draws ever nearer to its conclusion.

Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie received the PFA Player of the Year after his 27 league goals have helped keep the Gunners on course for a Champions League spot.

Tottenham full-back Kyle Walker was awarded the PFY Young Player of the Year following his impressive displays at for Harry Redknapp’s side.

Also announced was the PFA team of the year, where the best players in their respective positions are recognised for their efforts throughout the campaign.

As always, this has drawn plenty of debate from football lovers as to those that deserve to be in the XI, and those that have been unfairly ignored for their performances over the past nine months.     Continue reading

By Tony Alvarez
Yesterday the shortlist of players who are in with a chance of winning the PFA Player of the year were revealed, the lucky six include three Manchester City players in Sergio Aguero, David Silva and goalkeeper Joe Hart, the other nominees are the Premier League’s top two scorers Arsenal’s Robin Van Persie who has scored against every club besides Man City and Fulham. Manchester United Wayne Rooney and finally Tottenham’s midfield destroyer Scott Parker.
Shortly after the nominations many were questioning the shortlist especially the inclusion of Tottenham man Scott Parker. Unfortunately for Parker he plays a role which is not often appreciated by fans but even aside from that I don’t think his nomination is justified.
Parker to his credit played very well for the first half of the season when Tottenham were a breath of fresh air in the Premier League with their style, however it wasn’t only Parker who was good in that spell Gareth Bale at spells was unplayable, Adebayor was a constant menace either through his goal scoring ability or as a provider of goals.      Continue reading

By Laurie Fitzgerald

Wayne Rooney has began to rediscover his form in front of goal after a barren spell was ended with three goals in two games for Manchester United.

A brace against Wolves was followed by an early header that got United on their way to a win at QPR that kept them firmly in the title race going into the festive period.

But it was that strike at Loftus Road that gave a reminder to what could be the crucial component to Rooney’s sudden upturn in goalscoring fortunes.

The England forward’s early strike in West London came courtesy of a cross from a winger who has worked his way back into the team after being out of favour so far this season.

For the early months of the campaign, Antonio Valencia was often playing second fiddle to both Nani and summer recruit Ashley Young on the flanks.

Young started the season with real purpose, determined to prove he was worth the £16 million Sir Alex Ferguson paid for him in pre-season.

Meanwhile, Portuguese star Nani was continuing to grow in form and confidence as the season started to settle, meaning Valencia was firmly consigned to mainly occupying a role in the Carling Cup.

But while Rooney was in prolific form to begin with, the goals quickly dried up and nine Premier League games had passed without the 26 year-old getting onto the scoresheet.

However, with goals becoming a difficulty for the Red Devils in general, Valencia was brought into the side to add a different option on the wing, and it has been paying off.

Valencia has set up two of Rooney’s recent goals, and his ability to pinpoint the former Everton youngster with his crosses have given United a new dimension going forward.

With the former Wigan man in the side, Rooney looks a far bigger threat to opposition defences, and mirrors the kind of form he showed in the 2009/10 season when he won PFA Player of the Year.

Rooney managed to score 26 goals in the league that year, but Valencia played a big part in that goal tally, often finding his team-mate in the right place at the right time.

Valencia is often understated by the footballing public in the role he plays within this United squad with the likes of Young and Nani the more standout names.

However, his understanding with Rooney has not only galvanised Rooney’s campaign but also United, and while the much-hailed striker will continue to get the plaudits if he keeps finding the net, it may well be down to the coincidental return of an unsung hero into the starting line-up.  

So what do you think? Is Valencia the key to Rooney finding the net in the United line-up? Or has the Ecuadorian’s return to the team coincided with Rooney rediscovering his touch? Leave a comment and let us know your views.


By Tony Alvarez

It was announced yesterday that no player that is selected for the Euro 2012 championships will be selected for the London Olympics due to fatigue and also to keep relations strong between the clubs and the Football Association.

Of course initially this only effects English players as none of the other home nations qualified for Euro 2012, however there is still some disagreement whether players from other nations will play and the FA has contacted players to see if they would like to be considered for selection.

It is thought that Welsh players Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey of Tottenham and Arsenal respectively are both interested in being part of the tournament next summer.

The squad will consist of 18 men 15 of which must be under 23 and the other 3 can be of any age.

The manager of the GB men’s squad Stuart Pearce said about today’s announcement “It’s a sensible football decision when you consider the demands on players, and it now leaves no room for doubt for players and their clubs about next summer and the two major tournaments”

Although it will come as a relief to many managers and fans who primarily focus on club Football it will mean that the team GB side will be a lot weaker than initially thought, players such as Chris Smalling, Jack Wilshere, and Phil Jones to name just a few look likely to be selected for the Euro 2012 squad fitness permitting meaning they will not be in consideration for London 2012.

It had originally been thought before yesterdays announcement that no player would be made unavailable for selection and that players were likely to compete in both competitions much to the dismay of managers throughout the Premier League.

I personally think the decision is a great decision for the game inEnglandwhere many fans are proud in calling their league the best on earth. For me it is also a sensible decision and should mean there is a good balance between the standard of the Team GB squad and the Barclays Premier League.

It will also please managers such as Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger who could of lost stars such as Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere. However it will not all be joy for Wenger who could lose Ramsey until September should team GB progress through the tournament.

What are your thoughts? Is the decision to not select players for both tournaments the correct one? Will the decision help to raise the level of the Premier League? Will Team GB still have a chance of Olympic gold without the players who go to Euro 2012

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By Laurie Fitzgerald

This afternoon, the 16 nations that have qualified for the 14th European Championships will find out their fates in the draw of the group stages in Kiev.

Fans of both England and the Republic of Ireland will be particularly interested in who they face after recent qualification heartache for previous tournaments.

England failed to qualify for Euro 2008, while the Republic have not participated since their only appearance back in 1988, so there will be great anticipation by both countries.

For Fabio Capello, an unbeaten qualifying campaign has helped lift spirits following a pitiful World Cup campaign in South Africa last summer.

Despite reaching the finals without defeat, Capello’s Three Lions find themselves in the second pot of seeds along with Germany, Italy and Russia.

Whilst it is a boost to avoid that particular trio, it does leave England exposed to the possibility of playing either Spain or the Netherlands in the group stage.

Last year’s World Cup finalists are joined by the joint-hosts of Poland and Ukraine, who despite being two of the weaker teams in the tournament are put into the top seeds category due to their hosting responsibilities – together.

In fact, due to the way that the rest of the seeding is based on world rankings and recent qualification results, England could find themselves in a group of death consisting of Spain, Portugal and France.

However, a kinder draw could see them draw Poland, Greece and the Czech Republic, which would give Capello’s men a great chance of making the quarter-finals, especially in the absence of star player Wayne Rooney through suspension.

For Giovanni Trapattoni‘s side, they find themselves in Pot Four along with the French, the Czechs and Denmark.

It means they can find themselves in a similar group to England’s worst case scenario, with a group of Spain, Germany and Portugal lurking in the draw.

But a more positive looking outcome could see them face Poland, Russia (who they will be familiar with from the qualifying campaign) and Greece to give them a very realistic chance of reaching the last eight.

So there is plenty of permutations that can occur from today’s events in the Ukraine Palace of Arts. But the paths chosen for both England and the Republic of Ireland will give us a greater understanding of both team’s chances in Central and Eastern Europe next summer. 

Pot 1: Ukraine, Poland, Spain, Netherlands.

Pot 2: Germany, Italy, England, Russia.

Pot 3: Croatia, Greece, Portugal, Sweden.

Pot 4: Denmark, France, Czech Republic, Republic of Ireland.

So what do you think? What will be the best outcomes for England and the Republic of Ireland? Who are the teams to avoid from the draw? Leave a comment and let us know your views.

By Tony Alvarez

FIFA have announced their 10 nominations for the Puskas award, which you would recognise as the goal of the year award, the shortlist includes goals from international fixtures, youth team fixtures and woman’s football.

I will run through my thoughts on all of the contenders and give my view on who should take the award.

For those of you who have not seen the nominated goals, you can do so on the following link http://www.fifa.com/ballondor/puskasaward/index.html

Benjamin de Ceulaer, LOKEREN vs Club Brugge

A stunning piece of skill and control topped off with a nice finish, this truly is one of those goals had it been scored by Cristiano Ronaldo or Xavi we would be seeing it endlessly, however I don’t think it has enough to win the award.


Giovani dos Santos, MEXICO vs United States

FIFA love to pushing their own competitions (you will hear me say this throughout the article) which for me is the reason this goal is in the shortlist, had this goal come in a League Two match it would not find itself on the shortlist, it was however a delightful chipped finish from the Tottenham youngster whilst on international duty for Mexico in the Gold Cup.

Julio Gomez, MEXICO U17 vs Germany U17

Again another goal that was in a FIFA competition the under 17 World Cup. If this is one of the top 10 goals this year I have been watching a different sport. Not taking anything away from Gomez it was a nice finish but the top 10 goals this year……. Not a chance.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, AC MILAN vs Lecce

This is a real contender I believe from the huge talent that is Zlaten Ibrahimovic, he can so often flatter to deceive but he is so often capable of the sublime. This goal combines pace, strength, skill and huge technical ability its not common that you can describe a goal that was scored from 30 yards out as having all those aspects.


Lisandro ‘Licha’ Lopez, ARSENAL SARANDI vs Olimpo

This for me was the best goal that was nominated, not many of you will of heard of Lisandro Lopez of Argentinean side Arsenal but he is a defender that showed the technical ability of a accomplished striker.

Following a whipped in corner, running away from goal Lisandro executed the perfect overhead/ bicycle kick, this is difficult at the best of times but running away from goal makes it virtually impossible. Top Strike.

Lionel Messi, BARCELONA vs Arsenal

This is not me having an Arsenal bias as I am a huge Lionel Messi fan but had any other player on earth scored this goal it would not be any where near this shortlist, forget top 10 goals of the year this goal probably would not be the top 10 of any given week.

Neymar, SANTOS vs Flamengo

This is one of those goals I have watched over and over and im still not quite sure how he done it. The individual brilliance on display is supreme and shows off so many qualities, this is a real contender and will only help enhance Neymars reputation.

Heather O’Reilly, US Women vs Colombia Women

Yet again this is a case of promoting their own competitions and attempting to show equality in Football.

It was a stunning long range effort that found the top corner and dipped and swerved before hitting the back of the net.

I don’t think this is in the top 10 goals I’ve seen this year but it is also unfair to argue with its inclusion it is a fine strike.

Wayne Rooney, MAN UTD vs Man City

The probable winner of the award. It is certainly seen that way in England anyway not only is the quality of the goal recognised but also the circumstances it came in 1-1 with your local rivals who have newly become a threat and Rooney pulls out this act of brilliance.

I personally think Lopez scored the better goal but as there was no real significance that came with the goal I think Rooney will take the award.

Dejan Stankovic, INTER MILAN vs Schalke 04

The sheer technique and audacity shown in this strike by Stankovic mean that it deserves its place on this list.

Although he effectively scored an open goal having the ability and confidence to strike the ball from such distance on the volley set it apart from many other strikes.

This strike will not win the award but it is worthy of its place on the list.

What are your thoughts? Which of these will win the award? Have you seen any goals that trump all of the above efforts? Can you provide videos of any other lower league goals as FIFA tend to ignore lower leagues?

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By Tony Alvarez
Earlier in the week the shortlist of 23 players who are in contention to win the coverted Ballon D’or or the world player of the year award to you and me were announced.
Amongst the shortlist were many of the usual contenders Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and a whole host of other Spanish based players, the players who ply their trade in the Premier League on the shortlist were Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney and Nani Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero Liverpool’s Uruguayan hot shot Luis Saurez and former Arsenal man Cesc Fabregas (mentioned due to him being at Arsenal for most of the calendar year.) 

What makes the Ballon D’or different from other awards apart from its prestige is the fact it is judged on calendar year so from Jan 1st 2011 to Dec 31st 2011 this is so voters can take into account any international tournament there may have been during the year.
You will notice from the title of my article that its about the omission of one man from the 22 man shortlist, Robin Van Persie, I know I am an Arsenal fan but I don’t believe I’m being biased when I say in this calendar year he has been in the top 10 players in the world so to not be on a 22 man shortlist is ludicrous.
His goals to game ratio speaks for itself in the league in 2011 he has scored 29 goals from 28 appearances, only 5 men have ever scored 30 goals in the Premier League in a calendar year before fitness permitting Van Persie has 8 games to add his name to the list, not only is the record great but he has performed at every level, he is not only notching against the lesser sides, he has hit the back of the net at Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge and least we forget scored a pivotal goal in a victory against the eventual Champions League winners.
Not only has he consistently performed home and away whilst leading by example and captaining Arsenal he has also been on form with his international side a criticism which is often labelled at many of the nominees on the shortlist.

In the current season Van Persie has scored four goals in four international fixtures, these may have been against some weak competition but all the major nations will come up against weaker nations, they still have to be punished.

I am not for one minute saying that Van Persie is a better player than him but on goals per game record in 2011 Van Persie is second ahead of many people’s favourite to receive the award Lionel Messi, Van Persie’s record is bettered only by that of Cristiano Ronaldo.

How can the second best striker in Europe who is plying his trade in arguably the best league in Europe if not the second best be omitted, he has scored more goals than most others led his side and to be frank he does not have the quality of players along side him that other nominee’s have.

There are many people who can feel hard done by to not be on the shortlist includingManchesterCity’s David Silva but it can be argued he has not performed for the whole year and just since August.

There is obviously no way the shortlist will be changed but I feel Van Persie has been dealt a huge disservice in over looking him, as an Arsenal fan and a Football fan I hope he makes them take notice of his ability’s and keeps scoring from now until the date the player of the year is announced to make a mockery of the system.

What are your thoughts? Should Van Persie of been included in the shortlist? Where would you place him in terms of Worlds best player this year? Was Van Persie overlooked because Arsenal are no longer a glamorous side? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts

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