News & Current Affairs

August 13, 2008

Terry doubts Man Utd credentials

Terry doubts Man Utd credentials

John Terry

Terry is confident Chelsea can win the Premier League title this season

John Terry believes Manchester United have reached their peak and Chelsea can regain the Premier League trophy.

United were European and domestic champions last term, with Chelsea runners-up, but the Blues’ captain believes his side can raise their game.

“I don’t think United have another level to go to,” said Terry, whose side have a new manager this season in Brazil’s Luiz Felipe Scolari.

“They had a lot of players at the peak of their form for the last two years.”

Terry’s comments come after United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said that the majority of Chelsea’s squad had reached an age where they were unlikely to improve any further.

The Scot compared the current Stamford Bridge outfit to that of the Liverpool team of the early 1990s, who slipped into decline after their 1990 title triumph, and predicted that Chelsea are on the brink of a similar downturn.

But Terry has hit back and pinpointed several players at Old Trafford who he thinks will be unable to match their performances of last season.

They include Cristiano Ronaldo, whose 42-goal haul underpinned United’s double success.

“Rio Ferdinand has been awesome for the last two years and Cristiano Ronaldo was unbelievable – I don’t think you’ll see that again,” Terry said.

“[Wayne] Rooney, [Carlos] Tevez, [Ryan] Giggs at his age, they’ve all been fantastic.

“I think we can close the gap because Man United were at the very top of their game last season.

“But we’ve been very close to them and we had injuries and a change of manager.”

Terry says he has been impressed with the business Scolari has conducted during the transfer window.

He also believes a good start will be key if they are to wrestle the title from United, who arguably face a tougher start in their Premier League defence.

“The new manager has come in and made a few changes. He’s made some great signings. Deco looks awesome so I’m excited to see him play,” Terry said.

“We need to start well and get off to a flyer, just keep winning.

“Man United have a few tough games early on. Liverpool have made some good signings and will be stronger this year. We need to focus.

“We have a good home record and if we can continue that and get off to a good start we’ll be all right.”

Advertisements

August 5, 2008

Pietersen named England captain

Kevin Pietersen has succeeded Michael Vaughan as England cricket captain.

Courtesy BBC

Following Vaughan’s shock resignation on Sunday, the 28-year-old’s appointment was confirmed by national selector Geoff Miller at Lord’s.

Pietersen will captain both the Test and one-day sides and will lead England in the final Test against South Africa at The Oval on Thursday.

He said: “I’m very thrilled and excited to have been given the opportunity to captain England.”

The South Africa-born batsman, who becomes England’s 74th Test captain, had been widely tipped to take over from Vaughan and one-day captain Paul Collingwood, who also stood down on Sunday following England’s Test series defeat to South Africa.

Pietersen, who has played 40 Tests for England and burst onto the international stage in the famous Ashes win over Australia in 2005, added: “It’s a huge honour and a terrific challenge for me at this stage of my international career.

“I have learned a great deal about leadership from playing under both Michael and Paul and fully appreciate the level of responsibility that comes with the job of captaining your country.

“My immediate priority will be this week’s fourth npower Test and I will be devoting all my energies to ensuring that the team are properly prepared and play to their full potential, starting on Thursday.”

Pietersen has captained England before, in the recent final one-day match against New Zealand, which England lost.

Miller, together with selectors Ashley Giles and James Whittaker and England coach Peter Moores, sat down on Sunday to decide on Vaughan’s successor.

Other potential captains whose names were in the frame were Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook and Kent skipper Rob Key.

Miller said: “In choosing a new captain, we were keen to identify a player who could lead the team in all three forms of cricket and bring fresh enthusiasm and ideas to the role of captain.

“Kevin is a world-class player who will command the respect of the dressing room and I am sure he will be looking to lead from the front and work closely with both the players and the coaching staff to bring England success in the future.”

With Vaughan deciding not to play in the final Test, England have made one change to the squad with Essex’s Ravi Bopara replacing him.

England also announced the squad for five one-day internationals with all-rounder Andrew Flintoff returning in place of Hampshire’s Dimitri Mascarenhas.

Sussex wicketkeeper-batsman Matt Prior has earned a recall as a replacement for Tim Ambrose while uncapped Nottinghamshire all-rounder Samit Patel is included for the first time.

Pietersen started his tenure as England captain praising his predecessor Vaughan.

“What a great man he was as a skipper – They are huge boots to fill and I’ll try to give it the best possible go I can,” said the new captain.

“He was a great leader, he brought me into the side and I always tried to the best I could for a great man.”

Pietersen said he would look to the senior players for advice but wanted to stamp his own captaincy style on the national team and he did not believe his own form would suffer because of the extra burden.

“I will always respect what has happened in the past and I will always respect what Michael did and what my predecessors did,” he said.

“I will always look for advice because I’m new in this job and I’ve had calls and messages from the senior players in the squad.

“Once you have the support of the lads around you, you can’t ask for any more.

“But I’ll have my own ways and it’s very exciting. It’s a brand new test and a bright new challenge for me.”

There have been suggestions Pietersen has had a strained relationship with coach Moores but he insisted they would have no trouble working as a team.

“I don’t think I would be sitting here today if I wasn’t 100% confident that everything is going to be perfectly fine,” said Pietersen.

“Yesterday I sat down with Peter and we had a really good discussion on how we want to take this team forward.

“My position as a player to becoming captain is now totally different and we need to unite and get onto the same hymn sheet and we need to get this team going forward.”

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew said that once the selectors had decided to appoint one captain for all forms of the international game, Pietersen was the logical choice.

“He was the only real candidate once the selectors decided there was only going to be one captain – that was the big decision,” said Agnew.

“From what I’m hearing (Kent captain) Rob Key was in second place, if you like. I’m not saying it was a close contest between Pietersen and Key at all, I don’t think it was.

“But because they wanted that starting point of a unified captain, Key was higher up the pecking order, I think, even than Andrew Strauss.”

August 3, 2008

Vaughan may step down as captain

Filed under: Latest — Tags: , , , , , , — expressyoureself @ 11:48 am

England’s selectors will name the squad for the final Test against South Africa .

Courtesy BBC

And BBC Sport understands Michael Vaughan may not be captain for The Oval after a poor run of form with the bat and three defeats in five series.

The 1300 announcement is certain to be significant. Usually, in the middle of a series, Oval are announced via a simple media release.

Vaughan may have chosen to resign his position after five years in the role.

It may be a permanent resignation, or he may seek to regain his form at domestic level with a view to being captain again for the winter tours.

The selectors are unlikely to have sacked him with one match to go in the series.

South Africa clinched a 2-0 series win with one to play with a five-wicket victory at Edgbaston on Saturday.

And England team managing director Hugh Morris did not guarantee the position of out-of-form captain Michael Vaughan.

We have an incredibly important 12 months ahead of us
Hugh Morris
Managing director, England team

Morris told BBC Radio 5 Live: “Later today we will have to consider the best way forward for the England team.”

Asked whether or not that included a future with Vaughan as captain, Morris replied: “Michael has been the most successful Test captain England have ever had.

“The critical thing is that will be sitting down with Michael and the selectors to plot the way forward. It was a significant blow to lose the series to South Africa.”

Morris desribed the series defeat as “desperately disappointing”.

He added: “We had high hopes after two wins in two previous Tests against New Zealand so clearly the selectors will be talking this through.

“We have an incredibly important 12 months ahead of us.”

That period incorporates tours of India and West Indies, before England host the ICC World Twenty20 in June 2009 and then attempt to win back the Ashes later that summer.

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew had earlier said he did not think Vaughan – given assurances about his immediate future by coach Peter Moores on Saturday – would be dropped.

But he added that England might seek to add another potential captain to the squad for The Oval, with one eye on the future, and suggested Kent skipper Rob Key getting a possible recall.

That would inevitably put pressure on another member of the top three, presumably Andrew Strauss, while there might also be a new wicketkeeper and some bowling reinforcement.

Agnew said: “England have now lost to three of their last four opponents, so perhaps it is a good thing that this dead game presents itself as an opportunity for the selectors to take proper stock of the situation.

“If no changes are made there will again be accusations of a closed shop but I sense the mood for a shake-up and the time is right.”

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.