Fabio Capello has moved to reassure David Beckham that he will be given his 100th England cap this season and, despite concerns over the former captain's fitness, he has been told he is ''in contention'' for the friendly in France this month. Capello will send his general manager, Franco Baldini, to assess the 32-year-old in a friendly against FC Dallas in Texas on March 15.
Jose Mourinho cracked into a knowing grin, as if anticipating the incredulity to come, before offering up his reinvention. ''This year I will be more mellow, yes, mellow,'' he said, the second mention delivered in his best mock Caribbean lilt. ''I've thought about it and it's something I want to do.''
ArsÃ¨ne Wenger was ambling off the pitch, his back turned on the shuddering pyrotechnics as the Chelsea players bounced jubilantly on the stage with the Carling Cup aloft in their midst. The Arsenal manager does not generally take defeat well.
Petr Cech insists the last thing he remembers is jogging the length of the pitch to change ends immediately before kick-off. The Chelsea goalkeeper spoke publicly last week for the first time since clashing with Reading left-winger Stephen Hunt only 20 seconds into the champions' 1-0 win at the Madejski Stadium.
Rafael BenÃtez's attempts to reshape his Liverpool squad are increasingly being frustrated by rival clubs' inflated valuations of their players, effectively casting yet more doubt on the future of Steven Gerrard at Anfield. BenÃtez is adamant that the Liverpool star is not for sale.
Premiership clubs, led by the European champions Liverpool, were three of the top four earners in last season's Champions League, though Manchester United were not among them. Uefa revealed this week reveal that Liverpool generated £20,5-million from tele-vision and media revenues, as well as performance bonuses.
After the blur of a breathless final afternoon last weekend came brutal reality. The Championship's three reluctant new chairpersons awoke to the grim facts of relegation with a tortuous season of cutbacks, contingency plans and financial restructuring ahead. The trauma will not be confined to the season's finale.
James Vaughan may have been heralded as the new Wayne Rooney after becoming the Premiership's youngest ever goalscorer on Sunday but he will have to wait a while before sending his girlfriend on shopping trips to Milan. The 16-year-old has been handed a whopping Â£10-a-week pay rise but will have to wait until June before that finally kicks in.
The lure of Old Trafford is simply too strong for most players and Sir Alex Ferguson invariably gets his man. Should they edge nearer to Everton's valuation of Wayne Rooney ahead of the closure of the transfer window, the 18-year-old will surely be wearing a red shirt by the time he has recovered from the metatarsal fracture sustained at Euro 2004.
Euro 2004 introduced some new and explosive players to the world of football. Dominic Fifield takes a look at them, from Roma's Antonio Cassano -- born a day after Italy won the 1982 World Cup in Spain -- to PSV Eindhoven's Johann Vonlanthen, included in Euro 2004 only because of injuries to Marco Streller and Leonard Thurrer.
It took a Frenchman with divided loyalties to offer the sceptics, hypnotised by a season of Gallic glory at Highbury, hope for the Euro 2004 tournament ahead. “There are areas in which I think England will be superior to France,” said Gérard Houllier. “Do you see anyone in world football better than Steven Gerrard at the moment?”
The mood was subdued at Turf Moor as Mick McCarthy shrugged off a victorious end to the league season proper and turned his attention to the play-offs. “We haven't achieved anything yet, but it's good to finish third,” said the Sunderland manager with a sigh. But Sunderland must rise above automatic disappointment.