Rooney set for centre stage: Wayne Rooney is about to be granted his wish to play in his preferred number 10 position for England against Uruguay, most papers have on their back pages today. The Manchester United striker trained through the middle on Tuesday, providing a big clue that he will be restored to his favoured role, behind main striker Daniel Sturridge, for the match on Thursday. That will mean Raheem Sterling will switch to the right, with Danny Welbeck asked to play on the left, according to the Daily Mirror.
Paper Round's view: As Sterling himself said, with his pace utilised on the wing and Rooney's invention through the middle, it could well be a recipe for success. The thing is, Sterling played well as a number 10 against Italy, while Rooney has failed to do so for quite a while in an England shirt. And it's a pretty big game to be reverting to a formula that has not been proven. That said, in Rooney, England have a player of talent and experience, and one who should be relied upon. Time for him to ram his critics' words down their necks.
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England prepare for penalties: Roy Hodgson has had his England team practising penalties after training, reports the Times. Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard, Leighton Baines and Rickie Lambert stayed behind to brush up on their techniques from 12 yards, leading the paper to believe that the quintet are likely to be Hodgson's first-choice penalty takers in the event of a shoot-out. The players again shot at a target without a goalkeeper, with specially constructed netting divided into separate sections used to hone their accuracy.
Paper Round's view: No mention of how the players did, but it certainly is prudent to be practising penalties at the moment, given England's dismal track record in that department. Forget that in all likelihood England won't even get the chance to have a shoot-out in the knock-out stage, covering all bases seems to be a good idea at this juncture. Still, no matter how much preparation is under taken on the training ground, it won't matter a jot if England play the Germans.
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United warn Madrid off Januzaj: Manchester United have moved to rebuff any attempt by Real Madrid to sign Adnan Januzaj, reports the Daily Mail. The paper claims that the Spanish giants have added the Belgian youngster to their summer shopping list, but United are adamant they will not sell up the player they signed to a long-term contract just last winter. The report adds that Januzaj "will be hoping to return to Old Trafford and continue his progression under new boss Louis van Gaal next campaign".
Paper Round's view: Those pesky Spaniards at the Bernabeu, always wanting to nick off with other clubs' best players... Januzaj seems to have his head screwed on though, having chosen to pen a deal to stay at Old Trafford, where he is likely to be given a chance to shine, when the vultures were already circling at the turn of the year. United fans will hope that nothing has changed since, or will change at the World Cup.
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Mexico goalkeeper sparks interest: Guillermo Ochoa is open to a move to the Premier League with Liverpool and Arsenal both preparing offers for the Mexico goalkeeper, according to the Daily Express. The 28-year-old put in a storming performance to foil Brazil at the World Cup, sparking interest in his signature. He is a free agent, having been released by Ajaccio, and would be regarded as "a coup" for both the Reds and the Gunners, the paper claims. Monaco are also interested.
Paper Round's view: It's amazing/unbelievable/inevitable (delete as appropriate) that within hours of putting in that heroic performance in Brazil, several clubs are already 'preparing offers' to sign Ochoa. His outing against Brazil was incredible, but a decent international tournament does not a great player make (just look at Karel Poborsky). And let's not overlook that his team Ajaccio were relegated from Ligue 1 this season after finishing rock bottom; that doesn't say a lot for his form on a week-to-week basis, does it?
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Spurs ready to offload Adebayor: Tottenham are willing to listen to offers for Emmanuel Adebayor, according to the Daily Mirror. With his main ally Tim Sherwood no longer in charge, the Togo striker has been told he is not part of new manager Mauricio Pochettino's plans at White Hart Lane. His former side Monaco are interested in taking him off Spurs' hands. As a replacement, Pochettino is keen to enter the bidding war for Chelsea's Romelu Lukaku, whose future at Stamford Bridge is up in the air with Diego Costa about to arrive in west London. Any move for Lukaku could be part funded by the sale of Roberto Soldado, who is keen to return to Spain after just one, failed season in the Premier League.
Paper Round's view: Spurs may be willing to listen to offers for Adebayor, but whether the player himself is willing to move on is another matter entirely, considering his reluctance to leave last summer when Spurs first tried to offload him to one of a number of interested parties. Adebayor's stubbornness ultimately paid off, with Sherwood resurrecting his career in the latter half of the season, but it seems he cannot expect the same treatment from Pochettino. Still, a prospective club will have to be prepared to pay his sizeable wages - if not, he seems happy to stay put and pick up his pay cheque in north London.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Wayne Rooney
- Manchester United
- Raheem Sterling