Hull can aid my England hopes – Ince

21 July 2014
Last updated at

Tom Ince hopes his move to Hull City can boost his England chances.

The 22-year-old winger, who has

arrived on a two-year contract

following the end of his deal at Blackpool, has been capped 14 times at Under-21 level but is yet to receive a senior call-up.

“I’ve taken the long route (to the top flight) but feel I’m back where I belong,” he told BBC Look North.

“This is the next step for me. I have ambitions and dreams to play for my country at the top level.”

Ince, who had been a target for

Inter Milan,

spent the second half of last season playing in the Premier League on loan at

Crystal Palace.

The former Liverpool youth-team player added: “It’s been a whirlwind summer. The last six months have been a bit up and down but I’ve finally found my home.”

Ince’s father Paul was a team-mate of Tigers boss Steve Bruce at Manchester United in the 1990s. The wide player admits Bruce, whose own son Alex is also a Hull player, was a key factor in his decision.

He added: “The key factor was the manager. I have known Steve on a personal level and as a manager. I know what style of football he brings.

“I have good memories of Alex and I playing football in the lounge at Old Trafford. I’m sure it’s surreal for the manager to see me back playing football with his son. There’s that whole family feeling again.”

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Captain Gerrard quits England duty

21 July 2014
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England captain Steven Gerrard has retired from international football after winning 114 caps.

Gerrard, 34, won his first cap in a 2-0 win over Ukraine in 2000 and played for the last time at the 2014 World Cup in a 0-0 draw with Costa Rica.

“I have enjoyed every minute of representing my country. It’s a sad day for me,” the Liverpool midfielder said.

Gerrard will now assume a “high profile” ambassadorial role with the Football Association.

The England midfielder scored 21 times and represented his country at six major tournaments.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty analysis

“It is the right decision for England, Liverpool and most importantly for a player who had earned the right to choose his own time of departure. He may not have touched the same heights for country as he did for club, but still made a fine contribution to several eras for England.”

“It was a very difficult decision to make. It’s something I have been contemplating for a long time, not just since the end of the World Cup,” the Liverpool skipper said.

“I’ve had to take an awful lot of advice from people who are close to me – players that I still play with, ex-players who I played with a long time ago, managers who I played for years ago.

“It’s been a really tough decision, certainly one of the toughest since I turned professional at 18.”

Gerrard will continue his club career with Liverpool, with whom he made his debut in 1998 against Blackburn Rovers.

BBC Sport’s chief football writer Phil McNulty said: “Gerrard said he was ‘broken’ by England’s exit from the World Cup after only two games and he was never going to be involved in Euro 2016.

“He had, by his own standards, a disappointing campaign in Brazil and it was clear that the 34-year-old’s influence at this level was wavering.”

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England ‘should play like Liverpool’

29 May 2014
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Manchester United legend Paul Scholes has urged England boss Roy Hodgson to emulate Liverpool’s attacking style of play at the World Cup in Brazil.

Scholes said Liverpool’s “swagger” this season, in which they fell just short of a first league title since 1990, reminded him of “United at their best”.

“It would be refreshing for England to adopt Liverpool’s attacking mentality,” said Scholes.

“That means four – and possibly five – Liverpool players in the starting XI.”

Liverpool, rejuvenated under manager Brendan Rodgers, scored 101 goals in the league this season as they finished just two points adrift of champions Manchester City.

They topped the table with just three matches to go but faltered to let City claim their second title in three years.

Nevertheless, Liverpool’s performances impressed Scholes.

“The thing I admired most was the swagger of their play and how they terrorised opponents, which reminded me of United at their best,” he wrote in a blog for bookmakers Paddy Power.

At the heart of Liverpool’s rise were captain Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson and Glen Johnson, who are all in Hodgson’s 23-man squad.

“I’d definitely start with Gerrard, Sturridge, Henderson and Sterling,” said Scholes. “The question mark is Johnson at right-back.”

The former England midfielder felt former United team-mate Phil Jones was a serious rival to Johnson, but admitted the Liverpool defender was “a touch better going forward”.

Scholes said Hodgson’s decision to exclude Michael Carrick from the squad was an error, though, claiming that the Manchester United player offered the best alternative to Gerrard in a deep-lying midfield position.

“If there’s an injury to Gerrard, nobody jumps out to replace him,” said Scholes, who made 66 appearances for England.

“I don’t see Henderson, Frank Lampard or Jack Wilshire playing Gerrard’s role. England’s success in the group stages hinge on Gerrard staying fit.”

Scholes also voiced his opinion on Yaya Toure’s

recent complaints about a perceived lack of respect

shown him by the club’s owners on the day of his 31st birthday.

“It was comical,” said the 39-year-old, “It’s quite embarrassing, really. I can’t remember Man United players acting like this.”

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Wenger ‘put England ahead of Arsenal’

28 May 2014
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Arsene Wenger refused to rush Jack Wilshere back from injury because he wanted to ensure the midfielder was fit for England’s World Cup campaign.

Wilshere says Wenger, who has been critical of aspects of international football in the past, was prepared to sacrifice short-term impact at Arsenal to boost the national team.

“I thought I was ready,” said Wilshere, who

suffered a foot injury in England’s win over Denmark in March..

“He said ‘no’. For a good World Cup I had to train and have a good fitness base.”

That injury was the latest in a series of setbacks for Wilshere, so the 22-year-old was happy to take the advice from his experienced manager.

“The team were doing well at that time so I didn’t say ‘look, I want to be in the team, I want to play tomorrow’,” added Wilshere.

“I spoke to him because I came back training and I was panicking a bit about the squad.

“He wanted me to get a week or two of training under my belt because even though I had been with the fitness coach, I didn’t have that contact.”

As well as injury difficulties, Wilshere had to contend with

criticism from Paul Scholes this season, 

with the former Manchester United player claiming that the Arsenal midfielder had not developed significantly since his debut in 2008.

Wilshere spoke to Scholes about the pointed criticisms

to ask for advice and received an open invitation to ring for further advice whenever the need arises.

Wilshere accepts his injuries, dating back to an ankle problem suffered in the pre-season of 2011, have been a concern, although he is not sure what he could have done about them.

“I wouldn’t say I get depressed but the more it happens you get more depressed,” he said. “You have to take positives. We are away quite a lot in this job and it is nice to be at home with your kids sometimes.

“But my problems have never been muscle injuries or from playing. It has always been an impact injury.

“In that respect anything can happen. But I am fully fit, my muscles are good and hopefully it will be alright.”

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Drop may hurt England hopes – Caulker

10 May 2014
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Cardiff City captain Steven Caulker has admitted playing in the Championship next season could hinder his England ambitions.

The 22-year-old is believed to have a release clause in his contract triggered by the club’s relegation.

Caulker, who has one England cap, says playing outside the top-flight could restrict further appearances.

“To be playing for England you more than likely have to be playing in the Premier League,” he said.

“I’ve signed a four year deal with Cardiff and as it stands I’m a Cardiff City player and I’ll be trying to get them promoted next season.”

Caulker cost Cardiff City more than

£8m from Tottenham in July 2013.

BBC Wales understands

Caulker and team-mate Gary Medel

have release clauses in their contracts which could be triggered by the club’s relegation to the Championship, but potential buyers would have to meet the Bluebirds’ valuation.

Continue reading the main story

It’s always nice to hear good things and to hear that big clubs are sniffing around. That’s all positive

Steven Caulker
Cardiff City defender

Speaking after Saturday’s

3-0 loss to Newcastle,

Caulker said: “I signed a four-year deal here so I’ll be looking to get us back promoted next season.”

The former Tottenham and Swansea City defender scored on his one and only England appearance to date, a

4-2 defeat against Sweden in November 2012.

Although he has not made further appearances Caulker has been called up on a number of occasions and has not given up on making Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad.

“We’ll see what happens this summer regarding the World Cup,” Caulker added.

“There will be no bigger honour if the call comes. There’s great competition for places all throughout the England squad.

“If I’m in and around the squad then great; if not then my focus will be on getting Cardiff right next season.”

Liverpool, managed by Caulker’s former boss at Swansea Brendan Rodgers, have been linked with a summer move for the Fulham-born defender.

But Caulker insists his focus is on

Cardiff’s final Premier League game of the season,

at home against Chelsea on Sunday.

“It’s always nice to hear good things and to hear that big clubs are sniffing around. That’s all positive.

“The key thing for me now is there’s one game left of the season and it’s important for me to put in a good performance.

“We’re looking to put in a performance for the fans. They’ve been brilliant to us, home and away, this season.

“Our goal at the start of the season was to remain in the Premier League and unfortunately we’ve not been able to do that.”

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‘Pick Shaw for England ahead of Cole’

9 May 2014
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Former England defender Graeme Le Saux believes Roy Hodgson should include left-back Luke Shaw in his World Cup squad instead of Ashley Cole.

Southampton’s Shaw, 18, made his

England debut

in March while Cole, 33, has 107 England caps despite limited league starts for Chelsea this season.

Le Saux says Shaw’s “composure and undoubted quality” and his age could give him the edge over Cole.

Everton left-back Leighton Baines is likely to be first choice in Brazil.

“You still have to pick your best team but ultimately there has to be one eye on the future as well,” said Le Saux.

“From Cole’s point of view, while he has the pedigree, you have to ask if he has played enough football at Chelsea this season – and whether or not that is a signal he is coming to the end of a magnificent career at the highest level.

“Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has been picking a right-back, Cesar Azpilicueta, ahead of him for most of the season and the question is: Why?

“With Luke Shaw’s arrival in the Premier League, his composure and undoubted quality – and the opportunity he has to learn so much from the players around him during the tournament – I wonder if that would give him the edge.”

Cole, who played at the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups, has been out of favour with Mourinho this season, making one substitute appearance in three months from 26 January this year.

But despite being out of contract at the end of the season, he has since returned to the Blues side, impressing Le Saux in the

2-0 Premier League win

at Liverpool and the

goalless Champions League semi-final first leg

against Atletico Madrid.

Former Chelsea and Southampton left-back Le Saux, who earned 36 caps and played in the 1998 World Cup, added: “It’s a nice problem for Roy Hodgson to have three quality left-backs but, certainly, Leighton Baines has become the first choice with the season he has had and I think Luke Shaw has more to gain as an understudy.

“Cole’s experience is a very valuable asset for Roy Hodgson and the England team, but you have to look at Luke Shaw and ask what he would gain from the experience of going to a World Cup.

“I can see advantages to both of them but I would take Luke Shaw as back-up to Leighton Baines.”

Hodgson names his 23-man squad on Monday and will pick seven players on standby in case of injuries before England’s first game in Brazil against Italy on 14 June.

But he said recently

he has known

for some time who he will select, adding: “If there are young players in the squad, it will be because they can do a job now.”

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Lineker backs Stones for England

8 May 2014
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Everton’s teenage defender John Stones is worthy of a gamble in England’s World Cup squad, according to former Three Lions captain Gary Lineker.

Stones, 19, could be in contention for a standby place when boss Roy Hodgson names a 30-man party on Monday.

Injury fears over Manchester United’s Phil Jones may boost his chances.

“The one I might take a chance on because we are short in central defence is Stones. I really like him and he has got a lot about him,” said Lineker.

“Sometimes central defenders need a little bit more experience than players in other positions because of the extra discipline and the nature of that particular role.

“But is he worth a gamble? Well, if Roy loses another one – if Jones doesn’t make it for example – then what else have we got?”

Former Everton striker Lineker, who scored 48 international goals in 80 appearances for England, added: “We have got Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka, then (Cardiff defender Steven) Caulker, who struggles a little bit on the turn. We are short in that position.”

England under-21 international Stones was playing for Barnsley last season before a £3m move to Goodison Park in January 2013.

The Yorkshire youngster has made 26 appearances in an impressive season at the heart of Everton’s defence and can also play at right-back.

Manchester United’s Jones suffered a shoulder injury in Tuesday’s Premier League win over Hull, and Tottenham defender Kyle Walker has been out for the past two months because of a pelvic problem.

Everton’s Jagielka has only just returned from two months out with a hamstring injury.

Hodgson will name a 30-man squad on Monday, which will include seven players on standby in case of injury.

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World Cup 2014: Luke Shaw backed for England over Cole

9 March 2014
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Luke Shaw should go to this summer’s World Cup instead of Ashley Cole, says former England manager Graham Taylor.

The 18-year-old

made his full England debut

last week against Denmark.

The Southampton defender is expected to compete for one of two left-back spots in Roy Hodgson’s England squad, along with Leighton Baines, 29, and Cole, 33.

“Shaw could be seen as a gamble, but if you’re taking Cole and he is not first choice, then I think Shaw should be taken instead,” Taylor said.

“I think Baines will play and Shaw should be taken to earn experience for the future,” he told BBC Radio 5 live’s Sportsweek programme.

“I’m not discrediting Cole for all that he has achieved with England, but everybody’s time comes and in Ashley’s case it is gradually coming.

“There will be a lot of time off the pitch and Ashley, with over 100 caps, will want to know why he is not playing. Better to take a boy who you know has great potential.”

Cole made his England debut under Sven-Goran Eriksson in 2001 and has played in three World Cups and two European Championships.

The defender made his 107th international appearance in Wednesday’s 1-0 victory against Denmark at Wembley.

Cole has played only 13 times in the Premier League for Chelsea this season, however, and is no longer an automatic pick for his country.

That mantle appears to have been passed over to Baines, not least because of the Everton defender’s fine performances in two crucial World Cup qualifying fixtures in October.

Hodgson rested him for the Denmark friendly, in order to better

assess Cole and Shaw.

The latter became the youngest Southampton player to win an England cap when he replaced Cole at half-time.

Coming only 16 months after his Premier League debut, it was was an experience the teenager described as

“like a dream”.

Taylor, who managed England for three years between 1990 and 1993, said he would also include Shaw’s Southampton team-mate Adam Lallana in the 23-man squad for Brazil.

The 25-year-old midfielder impressed against Denmark as he earned his third England cap.

“The way he takes people on gives him something to offer,” said Taylor.

“He has done ever so well every time he comes on and should be in the squad.”

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Jack Wilshere: Arsenal & England midfielder out for six weeks

6 March 2014
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Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere will be sidelined for at least six weeks after fracturing his left foot.

The 22-year-old was injured in a challenge with Liverpool’s Daniel Agger in the 12th minute of

England’s 1-0 win over Denmark

on Wednesday.

He was eventually substituted in the 59th minute of the match at Wembley.

He will miss Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final with Everton and Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 second-leg tie against Bayern Munich.

Arsenal then have a north London derby with Tottenham at White Hart Lane the following Sunday and also play fellow title contenders Chelsea and Manchester City before the end of the month.

It was initially thought Wilshere had escaped serious damage after the Football Association carried out scans on Wednesday evening.

It emerged the fracture was so miniscule that the scanning equipment inside Wembley Stadium failed to detect it when the midfielder left the pitch.

A further examination by his club on Thursday discovered a crack in the navicular bone, which runs along the top of the foot.

The news will no doubt have been a huge surprise to Wilshere, who confidently told reporters after the Denmark match that he was fine before speaking of his desire to finish the season strongly with Arsenal.

“It is a bit sore, but just a bruise,” he said. “I have had a scan already and I will be all right.”

Arsenal will be compensated for the injury by the FA and will not have to pay for Wilshere’s wages while he is on the sidelines.

Wilshere’s career has been hampered by injuries, including a

stress fracture of his right ankle

that ruled him out for the 2011-12 campaign and forced him to miss Euro 2012.

He has played 41 games for club and country this season, but

served a two-game ban

in December for an abusive hand gesture.

Television pictures appeared to show him raising a finger towards the crowd during the 6-3 defeat by Manchester City.

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Luke Shaw: England defender cherishes “dream” debut

6 March 2014
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Southampton defender Luke Shaw hopes he has improved his World Cup chances after a “dream” England debut.

Shaw became the youngest Southampton player to win an England cap

after coming on at half-time against Denmark.

The left-back, 18, is battling Ashley Cole

and Leighton Baines for a place in Roy Hodgson’s squad for Brazil and did himself justice with a solid display.

“It was like a dream, it was kind of weird…but I think I handled it quite well,” Shaw told BBC Radio Solent,

“It has been an emotional week and the best week of my life. I’ll never forget this week,”

Alan Shearer was Southampton’s previous youngest England debutant, having made his debut against France in 1992 at the age of 21.

And Shaw admitted he was consumed by nerves on the bench as he waited to come on, but senior players in the squad helped him settle down.

“It was very weird for me at the start [of the week],” he said. “Some of the big names were there like [Wayne] Rooney, [Steven] Gerrard, [Frank] Lampard and [Ashley] Cole. They are people I look up to and it was great to be alongside them and train alongside world-class players.

“There were a lot of nerves and I was sat on the bench shaking as I knew I was coming on at a half-time. This was the biggest game of my career but the older pros told me to enjoy myself and I did.

“Gerrard obviously knew how I was feeling, so it was good of him to get me a touch early rather than waiting anxiously for the ball to come.”

Shaw has made rapid progress, having only made his Premier League debut 16 months ago, but with Everton defender Baines’ World Cup place all but certain, he believes he has only a “little chance” of getting the nod for Brazil ahead of the experienced Cole for the other left-back berth.

However, he added: “Wow, I’m 18 years old, I’ve played in the Premier League over 50 times and now I have a cap for England and not many 18-year-olds can say that. I’m very proud.

“I felt like I had a good game, I played my normal attacking game and I felt I did well.”

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