Category: Tottenham Hotspur

Ross Barkley's impressive start to the season has earned him a surprisingly rapid elevation to the senior England squad (Image | Liverpool Echo)

Ross Barkley’s impressive start to the season has earned him a surprisingly rapid elevation to the senior England squad (Image | Liverpool Echo)

After my commanding performance in central midfield during game 3 of our works tournament last month (my first two efforts were poor), I was contacted by a man named Roy who asked if I wanted to appear in the Scotland friendly. He didn’t use the word “desperate”, but the tone of his voice was telling. Unfortunately, I was unavailable due to a family dinner.

The above may not be entirely true, but if England’s selection policy continues to develop along its current trajectory, I won’t be letting go of my phone any time soon.

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Hopefully Sky Sports will appreciate how long this took and won’t try to sue us. Please. (Image | Sky Sports, very graciously)

Deadline day once again produced its usual mix of excitement, hyperbole and confusion yesterday, with a standard assortment of a couple of ‘blockbuster’ moves and many, many loan deals done between Premier League teams and lower-league clubs.

As is our duty, though, we’ve dredged through the rumours, the hopes and the hogwash to bring you the ten most intriguing deals of yesterday’s shopping frenzy…

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Banter this was not: Liam Stacey invited the wrath of the nation with his despicable sense of humour on a day when most feared Fabrice Muamba to be dead. (Image | ITV)

University of Swansea student Liam Stacey, who was jailed for his brainless and insensitive comments about Fabrice Muamba, yesterday apologised for his remarks on Twitter.

Stacey, speaking to BBC Wales’ “Week in Week Out” programme, said: “I heard the news [about Muamba] during the England-Ireland game [Six Nations]. I don’t know why I decided to tweet about it.”

Neither do we, Liam. The student elaborated on his actions, calling them a “stupid, massive, massive mistake”, adding: “I’ve paid a huge price for it.”

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Sergio Aguero fires past Paddy Kenny to secure Manchester City‘s first title in 44 years. (Image | The Guardian)

The ultimate round of matches of the 2011-2012 Premier League season had more twists and turns than a rollercoaster. In this vein, footballing clichés were wheeled out by the bucket load. At Manchester City, it really was a game of two halves, as the league leaders thoroughly pummelled the Queens Park Rangers defence, peppering shots at Paddy Kenny and any other body the R’s could get in the way. 44 of them, in fact. With Manchester United maintaining a 1-0 lead over Sunderland for the majority of the game at the Stadium of Light, all eyes were on the Etihad Stadium. Pablo Zabaleta set the Citizens on their way just before half-time, at almost exactly the same point as Bolton Wanderers completed their turnaround against Stoke City to take a 2-1 lead. QPR were relegated, Bolton were staying up, and City had a hand on the trophy. Surely this would be it from Mark Hughes’ ultra-defensive side?

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One has to wonder whether Diego, or any of his team mates, would accept English clubs’ blanket assertion that the Europa League is not an important part of modern football. (Image | Bleacher Report)

Atlético Madrid won the Europa League last night, thanks primarily to a concerted display of attacking football from Radamel Falcao. The Colombian hit man has netted 12 times in the competition this season, and this impressive strike rate will likely see England’s big guns make a move for the 26-year-old in the summer. Still, if you asked Harry Redknapp, Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Roberto Mancini or any other manager from the footballing “elite” of this country, they would tell you that the Europa League is a worthless competition. Some may even go so far as to suggest that it ought to be abolished, because it simply “doesn’t matter.” Tell that to the Spanish. And the Portuguese.

The disdain for the Europa League in England is typical of the haughty, arrogant manner in which we judge the various merits and weaknesses of our own competition, which disgracefully extends to the Premier League and nothing else, and that of the rest of Europe. Are we missing something here? The answer is yes. Far from being some sort of mickey-mouse, two bit little tournament, the Europa League is the second most prestigious pan-European competition.

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Liverpool icon Steven Gerrard lifts the Carling Cup, the club's first major trophy in six years (Reuters)

Liverpool’s long wait for a trophy is over following a 3-2 penalty shoot-out triumph over a battling Cardiff City, after the game finished 2-2 following extra time.

After the first three takers – Steven Gerrard and Charlie Adam for Liverpool, and Cardiff’s Kenny Miller – had missed, Don Cowie gave Cardiff the advantage. Dirk Kuyt hit back for Liverpool, and after Rudy Gestede struck the post, Stewart Downing put Liverpool ahead. Peter Whittingham levelled the scores, but with Glen Johnson having beaten Tom Heaton, Anthony Gerrard missed the crucial kick.

It was a devastating end for Cardiff’s cup adventure. The Welsh side punched above their weight throughout the game and pushed Liverpool until the final whistle.

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Djibril Cisse returned to the Premier League with struggling Queens Park Rangers in one of the more intriguing transfer stories of the day

The January transfer window is a dreadful instrument of greed and stupidity. Yet even worse than the window itself, is Sky Sports’ wet dream, also known as Transfer Deadline Day. It is football’s equivalent of a one night stand. You almost always choose wrongly, sacrifice far too much dignity in the process, can rarely justify your decision, and very soon afterwards regret what you’ve done.

Leaving the often incomprehensibly desperate signings made by clubs in pursuit of silverware or, more likely, as part of a desperate scramble to assemble a team capable of reaching the heady heights of 17th in the Premier League, it is the most hyped, monotonous day on the British footballing calendar.

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