Arsene Wenger subscribes to England captain Steven Gerrard’s view that Jack Wilshere can become one of the best players in the world. Press Association He added: “The most important thing for me will be to keep his passion for the game, and keep the attitude of wanting to become a better player. If he keeps these two ingredients that are not always easy, he can of course become a fantastic player. He is already one, but he can become one of the best in the world, yes.” Wenger handed Wilshere his professional debut against Blackburn in 2008 and has nurtured him from a raw teenager to the player he is today. As a result, he is understandably keen to make sure he gets as much out of him as he can, saying he worries about the player taking on too much at such a young age. “It is not just the physical aspect but the mental pressure every time he plays. We will have to manage him well physically to make sure he doesn’t face that burnout,” he said. “I had in fact expected Jack to play only a part of the game on Wednesday but it didn’t happen and because of his quality he will be exposed to that, the overuse of his quality, you can understand that. He will have to be managed like everyone else.” Wednesday’s show was proof of what many have long said Wilshere can do. At a time when Paul Gascoigne is in the news – albeit not for the happiest reasons – comparisons have been drawn between England’s star playmaker of the 1990s and their new hope. “As a very young boy he had a very special talent of course. But when you see a boy at 16 years of age, you never know how he will develop,” Wenger said of his discovery. “Let’s not forget that he is only 21 now, and he starts his career really because he was out for 17 months. The influence he has today on the England national team already is absolutely fantastic.” Wilshere, 21, was the star of the show for England as they beat Brazil on Wednesday night, the match marking his first start for his country since 2011 owing to a serious ankle injury. If anything, Wilshere’s stock rose during his absence, with many citing his creativity as the component England were missing at last summer’s European Championships. Wenger has never been one to get carried away, though, and while happy to laud Wilshere’s progress for club and country, he promised to make sure his talisman does not suffer from burnout. “You do not want to set any limit on the development of any player, especially when he plays at that level at his age,” Wenger said.
Manchester United have lost the number one spot in the Forbes list of most valuable football teams to Real Madrid. Press Association Real Madrid are valued at £2.15billion (3.3billion US dollars), making the Spanish club the most valuable sports franchise in the world, and United at £2.07billion. Forbes said in a statement: “This is the first time since Forbes began valuing soccer teams in 2004 that Manchester United is not No.1 on the list. “Real Madrid has been consistently delivering the highest revenues of any soccer team in the world, despite an intense economic meltdown in Spain. With superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo on the pitch, and coach Jose Mourinho on the bench, Real Madrid has thrived under the leadership of billionaire president Florentino Perez. “According to this year’s soccer valuations, the top 20 teams are worth an average of 968million dollars (£634m), an increase of 26% over last year. “Forbes’ team values are enterprise values (equity plus debt) that are based on multiples of revenue that teams garner from television, premium seating, media, licensing, merchandise and concessions.” David Beckham still tops the list of highest-earning soccer players with earnings of £33m, £29m of which came from endorsements. Real Madrid’s Ronaldo is second with earnings of £28.8m and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi in third place with a total of £26m last year from salary and endorsements. United had held top spot since business analyst Forbes started compiling the list in 2004 but have been overtaken by Real. Barcelona are in third place and Arsenal fourth ahead of Bayern Munich in fifth place.
The veteran centre-back will end his playing career later this month and turn his talents to television punditry. Everton have not won at Anfield since 1999 and Gerrard does not want their rivals to end that streak in Carragher’s last cross-city encounter. “I think being a local lad we feel the passion in the city,” said the England captain. “Jamie will be playing at the weekend, he will be one of the first on the teamsheet and has been brilliant since he came back into the team. We’re hoping to get a nice derby victory for Carra to remember because you will always remember your last derby.” Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard wants to give retiring team-mate Jamie Carragher a final Merseyside derby to remember this weekend. Press Association Carragher will leave a huge hole when he retires, not only in the centre of defence but around the club itself, and Gerrard expects to feel that more than most. “I’m going to miss him more than anyone. I’m close to Jamie on and off the pitch, ” he told talkSPORT. “It’s an emotional time him packing it in but he is going on to Sky and I’m sure he’ll do a fantastic job.” Liverpool head into the derby trailing sixth-placed Everton by five points with three matches remaining. Defeat would ensure the Toffees finish higher in the table for the second successive season – something which has not happened since the Reds were promoted back to the top flight in 1962.
Press Association The Premier League is close to finalising its deals which will see a total of around £5.5billion in broadcasting rights for the 2013-16 period – some £2billion more than the current deals. The league champions next season can expect to earn close to £100million in broadcast earnings while the bottom club, which this season was QPR, can expect their earnings to go up from £39.8million to around £63million – more than United earned from the most recent campaign. The Premier League distributes its TV money in a way that sees half of the total cash from the domestic deals divided equally between the member clubs, and all of the overseas broadcasting income also split equally. A further 25% of domestic TV income is split as merit money depending where each club finishes in the final league table, and the final 25% paid in ‘facility fees’ for each time a club’s matches are shown on television in the UK. For that reason, Arsenal and Tottenham both earned more than Chelsea despite finishing below their capital rivals in the table because both the north London sides appeared in more live TV games. Under the 2010-13 deal, which expired this season, each club received a £13.8million equal share each season plus £18.9million from overseas rights. Clubs were further guaranteed a minimum of £5.78million for live TV and highlights appearances. Manchester United earned the most from these facility fees, totalling £12.9million from 25 live appearances. Some £88million was paid out in parachute payments to clubs relegated over the last three seasons. Manchester United earned a record £60.8million in Premier League TV money after winning the title – but even the club that finishes bottom next season will exceed that income due to the top flight’s huge new broadcasting deals.
It was the manager’s first comment since the circus which has accompanied Kinnear’s unveiling as the new senior executive in charge of all football-related matters at St James’ Park pitched tent on Gallowgate. Pardew and Kinnear met for the first time since the 66-year-old Irishman was appointed on Tuesday, and Press Association Sport understands the initial talks were amicable. But it remains to be seen whether or not he and highly rated chief scout Graham Carr can forge a working partnership with a man who has a high opinion of his own abilities, but whose return to St James’, where he was manager for less than six months during the 2008-09 season, has been greeted with incredulity by the club’s fans. Llambias, however, has already voted with his feet and decided the time was right to end his five-year stay on Tyneside. The former casino boss has played a key role in the day-to-day running of the club and was heavily involved in its transfer business, although some of those duties have now passed to Kinnear. Llambias’ departure was announced in a statement issued at around 8.40am, 20 minutes before the fixtures for the new season, which handed the Magpies a tough start away at Manchester City, were due to be published. It said: “The club can announce that managing director Derek Llambias has resigned from his position with immediate effect.” Llambias, who is currently out of the country, was diplomatic in his comments less than 24 hours after he had welcomed Kinnear to the club. He said: “I have had an incredible journey during my five years at the club, including some challenging times. I will reflect with great fondness on my time in the North East and in me, Newcastle United have a lifelong supporter. I want to thank the staff for their hard work, our fans for their support of the club, and wish them all well for the future.” Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has insisted he is going nowhere after the resignation of managing director Derek Llambias plunged the club into fresh chaos. The 51-year-old confirmed his intention in a brief message to the city’s evening newspaper as news of Llambias’ departure, which came in the wake of Joe Kinnear’s controversial arrival as director of football, emerged. Pardew told The Chronicle: “I’m staying – to take the club up the league.” Press Association
Press Association Adams, who collected four league titles and three FA Cups in his 19-year stint at Arsenal, has expressed his concerns about Chips Keswick replacing outgoing chairman Peter Hill-Wood and claimed the Gunners will still be some distance off fighting for silverware. The former England defender wants to help Arsenal in any way possible and feels the club should already be drawing up a shortlist of managers for when Wenger decides to leave. “I’m a red and white man and I would literally, if I could be of service in any way, go there tomorrow,” he said. Former Arsenal captain Tony Adams has offered his services to the club and has said he will do anything to improve their chances of success, including working with the board to identify an eventual successor for Arsene Wenger. “The reality is if they need me – I am there. There needs to be mediation between the owner and a few other board members. I know the standards and the values of the club. “There is an issue with Arsene as well, he is a great manager and a fantastic man but he is 63 now and there is going to come a time when we are not sure if he is going to be out there. “If they need any advice around then I’d happily do that – the owner is in America a lot of the time so if he wants someone in the boardroom when the away directors come in I’d do that as well.” Adams told The Sun he felt the club were “miles away” from winning the Barclays Premier League but, with the likes of Real Madrid forward Gonzalo Higuain linked with a move to north London, they could move a few steps closer. Another high-profile player linked with a move to the Emirates is Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney. The England international handed in a second transfer request before the end of the season and, with Wenger expected to be given more financial backing than in recent years, the 27-year-old is not out of the club’s reach. But Adams is unsure Rooney’s off-field baggage would suit a move to London and believes the club will be looking to bring in quality players. He said: “I think he [Rooney] has got it on the pitch, I think technically he is one of the last brilliant Englishmen so I would love to have him at Arsenal. It is just that he comes with other things involved and London is a different place and a different situation and it takes a certain type of professional but that is Arsene’s call and I wouldn’t go against the great man.”
That would represent a major boost for manager Paolo Di Canio and his recruitment team, headed by new director of football Roberto De Fanti. The Black Cats confirmed three new signings on Monday as defenders Valentin Roberge and Modibo Diakite and midfielder Cabral officially became Sunderland players after running down their contracts at Maritimo, Lazio and Basle respectively. But work is continuing apace to further re-shape not only the first team, but the development squad too. Di Canio is hot on the trail of Velez Sarsfield’s 21-year-old right-back Gino Peruzzi, while Le Havre midfielder El-Hadji Ba, 20, is expected to complete a Bosman free transfer sooner rather than later. The Black Cats are also close to adding Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Manonne to the ranks after agreeing a fee with the Gunners over the weekend. Italian Mannone, 25, made 13 appearances for Arsene Wenger’s men last season, although his last game came in November after number one Wojciech Szczesny had returned from an ankle injury. He spent the remainder of the season on the bench with Lukasz Fabianski getting the nod when Szczesny succumbed to injury once again in March. A move to Sunderland may give him a better chance of competing for a first-team place, although he would arrive with Keiren Westwood seemingly the man in possession following Simon Mignolet’s departure. Liverpool paid an initial £9million for the Belgian, representing a significant profit on the £2mil the Black Cats had handed over three years earlier. Di Canio is desperate to recruit at least one striker, and AZ Alkmaar’s United States international Jozy Altidore has been heavily linked with the club. But there could be further departures too amid speculation that full-back Phil Bardsley, skipper Lee Cattermole and playmaker Stephane Sessegnon may leave. The 18-year-old Le Havre defender is expected to head for England to complete his switch with the two clubs having agreed a deal some time ago. Left-back Mendy has also been linked with Arsenal, Lyon and Marseille this summer, but the player has indicated that the Stadium of Light will be his destination and Press Association Sport understands the transfer could be completed within days. Promising full-back Benjamin Mendy is due on Wearside later this week to tie up a move to Sunderland. Press Association
“I am satisfied with how everything has been resolved and we as a club are looking to the future,” said Rodgers, who refused to confirm whether the player had apologised as he said he would have to in order to be reintegrated. “There is nothing to be said there. I won’t be saying anything on Luis Suarez and that is only purely out of respect for the (other) players.” Suarez is still suspended for a further six matches for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in April, but he was at Anfield to see his side win 1-0 against Stoke. His pre-match walk around the pitch’s perimeter brought muted applause and not the rapturous welcome he had received when he played in Steven Gerrard’s testimonial a fortnight ago at Anfield. “He is a part of our team and club and the supporters are a class act here,” said Rodgers. Rodgers had earlier described Suarez as “back…smiling and happy” in his pre-match interview with BT Sport. Suarez went public with his grievances last week after a second bid of £40,000,001 by Arsenal, which they thought should have triggered his departure, was rejected by the Merseysiders. Liverpool have always maintained there was no release clause as such, only a requirement to notify the player and begin negotiations should they wish. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists he is satisfied with how the situation with Luis Suarez has been resolved. Press Association The Uruguay international returned to training with the first-team on Friday having been exiled for more than a week after criticising the Reds boss, who said his attitude and performances had not been up to standard. Suarez claimed the club had reneged on a deal agreed last summer to allow him to leave if a Champions League club came in for him, with Arsenal having had two bids for him rejected. Suarez seemed much happier before Saturday’s game however, carrying daughter Delfina around the edge of the pitch to a ripple of applause from the smattering of fans assembled inside the ground an hour before kick-off. He even stopped to shake hands with former referee Mark Halsey at pitchside before disappearing down the tunnel, emerging less than 10 minutes later to make the walk back to the executive boxes in the Centenary Stand on the opposite side of the ground. A small group of Stoke bans booed as he walked past them but there was more applause and the odd cheer. Rodgers paid tribute to Simon Mignolet after the goalkeeper saved a late penalty to secure the win. Daniel Sturridge scored the only goal shortly before half-time but after missing a number of chances they were indebted to their £9million summer signing from Sunderland for saving Jonathan Walters’ 87th-minute spot-kick. Mignolet’s signing was questioned by many, mainly because it hastened the exit of established first choice Jose Reina who left on loan to Napoli soon after, but he has certainly begun well in his bid to win over the doubters. “It was a terrific performance all-round but of course the goalkeeper gets the plaudits when he saves a penalty at the end,” said Rodgers. “He made three terrific saves in the game. He made one in the first half from Walters but obviously when you don’t take your chances – and we created numerous chances – and you get a penalty against you at the end you have that sinking feeling. “But he had done his homework, he made a good first save and his second action to get up and make the double save (from substitute Kenwyne Jones) was impressive. From that (save) you also saw the spirit in the team and what we are trying to cultivate here.” Stoke’s assistant manager Mark Bowen stood in at the post-match press conference as boss Mark Hughes had dashed off to scout a player somewhere in Europe. “You’re disappointed because you think you’re going to come away with a point,” he said of Walters’ missed spot-kick. “He’s missed a couple in the past but he struck it well enough. I just thought the keeper made a good save. “Jon Walters gives everything for this club, so nobody in the dressing room will do anything other than pick him up and get him ready for the next game.” Bowen had praise for his own goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, who did more than enough to give the Potters a chance of snatching a point with a string of saves. “I thought it was going to be a battle and the keeper (Asmir Begovic) kept us in it at times,” he added. “It was a case of staying in the game as long as you can because we are asking them to play a different kind of game and you hope they don’t lose confidence, which I didn’t think they did.”
Captain Ron Vlaar maintains Aston Villa are ready to lay to rest the ghost of their 8-0 humiliation when they return to Chelsea on Wednesday night boosted by an opening-day win at Arsenal. Dutch defender Vlaar, though, believes it will be a very different game this time around in the hastily rearranged fixture because of Chelsea’s involvement at the UEFA Super Cup. He said: “If you can win at the Emirates, of course it is a great start. We want to do it again on Wednesday now. We all know (remember) what happened last year, so we want to put that to rest. “We learnt a lot and we still have to learn a lot, but mentally we became a stronger team. We need everybody, all 25 players because it is a long season. “The spirit is there in the group and that is the most important thing. To come back from an early goal was very good, and it was more than a win for us. “You know when you play in eight days against Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool, that it could be a little easier, but it is the start of the season and nobody really knows a lot about each other, and what will happen from now.” Benteke may have been on the scoresheet, but Gabriel Agbonlahor impressed with his all-action attacking display and it was his penetrating runs which saw Arsenal concede both penalties. Manager Lambert believes the 26-year-old, who last season became the club’s leading Premier League goalscorer, can force his way into the England set-up again. His last cap was earned in 2009. “If he plays like that and keeps that form, I don’t see how not,” Lambert said. “That was just a fabulous performance, once he gets a run at you, nobody can live with him.” Aston Villa will check on the fitness of Nathan Baker ahead of the Chelsea match, after the defender was substituted against Arsenal because of an ankle problem. Paul Lambert’s side produced a determined display at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, recovering from going behind to an early Olivier Giroud strike as two goals from Christian Benteke, both after penalty awards, and a late breakaway from summer signing Anthony Luna secured a memorable victory. For much of last season, Lambert’s young side battled for survival, with their heavy defeat at Stamford Bridge on December 23 one of many forgettable outings. Press Association
The 33-year-old said: “People in England talk about the FA trying to change the structure and trying to play a lot more English players, and they are slowly suffering from that. “We are going to be at the bottom of that, we are going to suffer as well from that, so if that does change, then it’s only going to benefit us as well. “We need more players to be coming through playing at a higher level. At the moment, that’s not the case. Obviously, there are a few, there’s no question about that. “The expectation level has always been high in Ireland, that’s just the country that we are, that’s the way we have always been. “There’s no harm in having expectations, but sometimes you have to look at the reality as well, and the reality is at the moment we are just not right there.” Keane will hope to play his part in a morale-boosting victory – and one which could ensure that Ireland are among the second group of seeds for the Euro 2016 draw – after recovering from the ankle injury which kept him out of Friday night’s 3-0 defeat in Germany. Celtic frontman Anthony Stokes was handed the task of filling his boots in Cologne and although he turned in a promising display, a series of the kind of chances Keane has converted throughout his career went begging. The LA Galaxy was a frustrated by-stander at the Rhein Energie Stadion, and he admits he is not a good spectator. Keane said: “As player, you don’t want to be sitting on the bench watching games because when you are playing, you always feel like you can do something and help change the game. “But when you are sitting on the bench, you can’t do anything. You are more nervous sitting on the bench watching games than you are playing.” Keane, who has 60 senior international goals to his name, has no intention of hanging up his boots just yet, but his time will come sooner rather than later. Stokes will hope to be one of the contenders to plug a huge gap and the Ireland captain was impressed by what he saw from him in Germany. He said: “I know he was disappointed, but it’s international level and if you get a few chances at international level, you certainly have to take them. You don’t get too many chances, certainly against Germany. “But I am sure he will learn from playing against a top team like Germany and knowing you can get chances against them, I am sure the next time he gets the opportunity, he will take them.” Press Association Ireland have qualified for showcase events under Jack Charlton, Mick McCarthy and Giovanni Trapattoni in recent years, but will miss out on next summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil after a disappointing campaign which draws to a close against Kazakhstan on Tuesday evening. Keane has no problem with the level of expectation successive Irish teams have created, but he admits it is sometimes unrealistic. Ireland skipper Robbie Keane has called for an injection of realism over the country’s hopes of reaching major tournaments.