Frustrated Depay to consider future

LONDON — Attacker Memphis Depay admitted he could be forced to leave Manchester United if his situation doesn’t change.

Depay moved to Old Trafford for £25 million (RM132 million) in the summer of 2015 but has seen his stock fall considerably since then.

He has made just three Premier League appearances this season under manager Jose Mourinho, all of which have come from the bench.

Depay admits he will look for a move away from the club if his bit-part role continues.

“I am the same person and I know what I want,” he said.

“A supporting role is not for me. I’m not a player who is happy with the fact he is under contract with Manchester United.

“This is my dream club, but I want to play.”

Despite struggling for opportunities, Depay admits Mourinho’s arrival has taken things up a notch at Old Trafford.

“The training sessions are going well, I’m sharp and fit, but it applies to everyone,” he said.

“The level has become higher. Mourinho is a top manager.” — Daily Mirror

Lionel Messi (5)

Take it easy, Messi

BUENOS AIRES — Lionel Messi does not look after himself properly because he always wants to play, says Argentina team secretary Jorge Miadosqui.

The 29-year-old has been sidelined since Sept 21 after suffering a groin strain during Barcelona’s 1-1 La Liga draw with Atletico Madrid at Nou Camp, meaning he will sit out World Cup qualifiers against Peru and Paraguay.

The attacker’s latest muscle injury prompted Argentina manager Edgardo Bauza to call for club and country to work closer to ensure Messi can maintain full fitness.

But Miadosqui, appointed by the Argentine Football Association (AFA) in August, believes Messi does not help himself with his determination not to be rested.

“The one who isn’t being careful is the player, who always wants to play,” he told ESPN Radio.

“We all have to look after him together.

“The national team look after players in the best way. We sent the doctor for Augusto Fernandez’s operation, and he went to look at Messi. We have to look after all national team players.”

Miadosqui expects Messi to be available for the key qualifying matches against Brazil and Colombia next month, but is confident Bauza’s side can cope without the captain against Peru and Paraguay.

“He’ll be back in the next few weeks, we hope to have him for the matches in November,” he said.

“We have to thank the players who come because they do it for the shirt.

“You have to think they can get good results without him. We have great players to do just that and you have to be relaxed about it.”

Argentina are third in the South American qualifiers after eight matches, a point behind leaders Uruguay.

Bauza said Messi is desperate to return but is concerned about his injury problems.

“Messi is worried about his injury. He wants to play the games and it’s difficult to have him sidelined,” Bauza told TyC Sports.

“We never toyed with the option of having him in this squad. We have to be careful together.

“Barca’s medical staff know what he has to do, I simply say he has to look
after himself.

“He’s now in the recovery process, which is good news. He’ll be at a good level when he returns.”

Bauza conceded Messi will be missed, but was confident he has a squad strong enough to take maximum points from the games in Lima and Cordoba.” — Agencies

Godin: I’m fine to contribute

MONTEVIDEO — Atletico Madrid defender Diego Godin says he has recovered from an ankle ligament strain picked up last week against Bayern Munich and is ready to play in Uruguay’s World Cup qualifiers against Venezuela and Colombia.

After last Wednesday’s 1-0 Champions League win at home to Bayern Munich, Atletico said Godin had sprained his left ankle, and seemed set for a few weeks on the sidelines.

However the 30-year-old centreback was back training with his teammates within 48 hours, and made the trip for Sunday’s La Liga 2-0 win at Valencia, even though he was not deemed fit enough to take part in the game.

“I tried to play, but manager Diego Simeone made the decision I shouldn’t be there. There were teammates who were fitter,” he told Ovacion.

Godin has travelled to Uruguay ahead of the qualifiers at home to Venezuela tomorrow and away in Colombia next Wednesday.

He told reporters he feels ready to feature for his country if the medical staff and manager Oscar Washington Tabarez
say so.

“I want to play. I had a little ankle sprain,” Godin said.

“I didn’t play at the weekend as a measure of precaution. Now we will evaluate the situation and we will go over it with the doctor and coaching staff.

“But I want to be here. If I’m fit then the manager can pick me. My intention is to be here.”

Uruguay go into the latest round of qualifiers sitting top of the South American table with 16 points from eight games.

Godin said three more points at home to Venezuela would put them in an excellent position to qualify.

“These are two fundamental games, above all the home match against Venezuela, in which we win,” he said.

“Getting these three points, we would be in a much better position to finish the first round of games.” — Agencies

Julen Lopetegui

Tactical maestro, Lopetegui

MADRID — It may have come as a surprise appointment but Spain are quickly getting to grips with working under manager Julen Lopetegui.

Midfielder Sergio Busquets claims the 50-year-old Lopetegui is more tactically focused than his predecessor Vicente del Bosque.

Spain are preparing for World Cup qualifiers against Italy tomorrow and Albania next week as the former Porto boss attempts to take his unbeaten run to four matches.

The legacy left behind by del Bosque is significant and the differences between the pair are always going to be spoken about but Busquert admits they are more similar than many would imagine.

“The two have more or less the same system but with Lopetegui we are working more tactically, there is much more emphasis on it, but more or less they are quite similar,” Busquets told Movistar.

It was the Azzurri who knocked Spain out of Euro 2016 and Busquets claimed his team are out to avenge what happened in France.

“This match is about qualifying for the World Cup,” said the Barcelona man.

“At the European Championship, we were not up to par, we made mistakes and yes we want to get revenge. However, this match isn’t decisive.

“But it is important we fight for first position,” said Busquets.

Tomorrow’s clash will be the 28-year-old’s 90th for Spain yet he heads into the encounter in relatively poor form.

However this doesn’t faze Busquets who is determined to put things right.

“Clearly when you make mistakes in important areas you are punished as has happened to me in the last two matches,” he said.

“I must learn from it but I don’t want to look back, I have a chance to have a good game against Italy and I work harder every day to return to my previous high level.”
— Agencies

Giampiero Ventura

Good test of Ventura’s abilities

TURIN — Spain and Italy have undergone managerial changes since Antonio Conte handed Vicente del Bosque a tactical masterclass at Euro 2016.

However, Spain go into tomorrow’s World Cup qualifier in Turin in better shape than their Group G rivals.

Veteran Serie A manager Giampiero Ventura (pic), took over from Conte in July while del Bosque, who resigned after the 2-0 defeat by Italy in the European Championship last 16, was succeeded by former Spain Under-21 boss Julen Lopetegui.

Lopetegui led the side to an impressive 2-0 friendly win in Belgium and an 8-0 mauling of Liechtenstein in Spain’s first World Cup qualifier.

The dominant victory in Brussels bore many hallmarks of the Spain teams who won successive European Championships and the World Cup between 2008 and 2012.

Even taking into account the limited qualities of the opposition, Spain’s rampant display against Liechtenstein also revealed a renewed hunger in a team that had started to look stale under del Bosque.

One of the most striking moments in the game was David Silva’s reaction to having an 89th minute goal harshly ruled out for offside when Spain were seven goals ahead.

The Manchester City midfielder became even more determined to grab one last goal and duly did in stoppage time.

As well as sparking the team into life on the pitch, Lopetegui has made bold political decisions, sidelining former captain and record appearance maker Iker Casillas as well as mainstays like Pedro and Cesc Fabregas.

“This manager (Lopetegui), who I greatly admire, has given them adrenaline, conviction and made them a completely different team. It’s a different Spain to the past,” Ventura said.

Ventura, who has been in management for 35 years but never won a major trophy, has struggled to have the same impact, overseeing a 3-1 home friendly defeat by France in his first game in charge.

His side earned a 3-1 win in Israel in his first competitive game, although they struggled in the second half after key defender Giorgio Chiellini was sent off.

The Juventus veteran is suspended for tomorrow’s meeting between the two giants of international football, who have won a combined five World Cups and four European Championships.

His absence, coupled with the contrasting starts for the two managers, adds to a sense that Spain may have the edge this time.
— Reuters

Wayne Rooney (4)

Next question, please

LONDON — Wayne Rooney insists he will have no influence over his role in the England team.

Interim manager Gareth Southgate confirmed Rooney would retain the captaincy in the wake of Sam Allardyce’s departure, despite him losing his starting spot at Manchester United.

Rooney’s performance during Allardyce’s sole game in charge — the last-gasp 1-0 World Cup qualifying win in Slovakia — was widely criticised, particularly after the then manager told reporters “Wayne played wherever he wanted to.”

Having dropped into a midfield role for United towards the end of last season and during Euro 2016, Rooney’s best position remains a topic of debate, with his performances as a No 10 this season leading to Jose Mourinho benching him at
Old Trafford.

Asked whether he was guaranteed to start when Malta visits Wembley in Group F on Sunday, Rooney, who turns 31 on Oct 24, told reporters: “I don’t know, that’s a question for Gareth.

“And also, another question for England about where I play — it’s getting a bit tired, the questions about whether I play striker, midfield, No 10.

“I’ve answered that question many times and it’s the same answer. I’ll play where the manager wants me to play.

“I don’t pick myself, I haven’t picked myself ever for England. I’ve played to instructions and I am sure the instructions Gareth gives me — whether to play or not to play — are instructions which I will try and do to the best of my ability.”

Rooney is disappointed not to be first choice for Mourinho at present but is accepting of his situation at club level.

“Of course you want to play as a football player. It’s my job, I love football, I love being involved in the team,” he said.

“Obviously I am not starting at the minute for United but I’ve got to work hard to get back in the starting line-up and when I get my chances I have to take them.”

Marcus Rashford’s impressive form for United is part of the reason for Rooney finding himself among the substitutes, with a return to the senior England squad the reward for the 18-year-old striker this week.

Rooney believes Rashford has the ability to establish himself in the England setup.

“It’s important we’ve got exciting young players and good young players who get the rewards they deserve,” he said.

“He deserves it. He’s been fantastic since he got into the United squad and he’s carried on this season.

“I hope he can become an England regular. I think he’s a fantastic player, a young player with a great attitude. He’s got all the ability so I don’t see any reason why he can’t.” — Agencies


13th boss? Cahill takes it in stride

DEFENDER Gary Cahill has played under so many managers, it seems they come and go through a revolving door.

Cahill is set to play under his 13th different boss for club and country within five years when Gareth Southgate leads out England against Malta on Sunday.

The Chelsea centreback has already worn the Three Lions kit under Fabio Capello, Stuart Pearce, Roy Hodgson and Sam Allardyce.

It has been a similar story at club level — Owen Coyle was in charge when he left Bolton for Chelsea in Jan 2012 and he has served under Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto Di Matteo, Rafa Benitez, Jose Mourinho, a Steve Holland/Eddie Newton partnership, Guus Hiddink and now Antonio Conte with the Blues.

Cahill admits he was sorry to see Allardyce go after just 67 days, but is now desperate for a period of stability to allow England to move forward.

“It’s disappointing but it’s done. I’ve been involved in many managers changing in my career, at club
and country,” said Cahill.

“It’s been a tough week for everybody involved and now we look to build for the coming games.

“As players, especially us older ones, you learn to kind of move on and get cracking straight away under a new manager.

“That’s what we’re aiming to do. We have some important games coming up.

“For me it’s disappointing, I can only comment on my dealings with the former manager. My personal dealings with him were fine. We got a good result in Slovakia.

“It’s disappointing to lose a manager but we have to move on and prepare for the games coming up in the best possible frame of mind.”

Cahill spoke glowingly about Southgate, but admitted players should not have a say in who gets the job next, although he is happy Chelsea coach Steve Holland has joined the set-up.

“Southgate was an experienced player, who played many times for England and working with the Under-21s. Him and Holland know how things are run,” said Cahill.

“There’s new challenges, maybe some new ideas which we’ll find out.

“Southgate was a top player. As a kid — I was at Aston Villa in the Under-13s, Under-14s when he was there — I watched him may times growing up and I’m familiar with his career, especially with England.

“It’s good he’s got Holland, they’ve worked together for a long time and I’ve worked with him for many years at Chelsea. I know him very well and no doubt he’ll do a fantastic job.”

After Malta, England face Slovenia away three days later.

Two victories could help Southgate get the job fulltime and England take a huge step to Russia in 2018 — they could also get Cahill to the 50-cap milestone as he is on 48.

“I can see that 50-cap mark. It would be a massive achievement, something I’d be very proud,” said Cahill. — Daily Mirror

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