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Thursday, 29 May 2008

Squarefootball Diary; Easy For England; Cheeky Ched Wows Welsh; Baggies Get Moore

Squarefootball Diary - Wednesday May 28 2008

With many of Europe’s top footballing nations preparing for the start of Euro 2008 next weekend England warm up for their summer holidays with a 2-0 friendly victory over the USA at Wembley.

John Terry’s 38th minute headed opener hardly makes up for his penalty gaffe in Moscow last week, regardless of how many times John Motson suggests it might. What it does is put England in command against a toothless, ambition-deficient US outfit. There had to be more, and just before the hour Steven Gerrard latches on to Gareth Barry’s sumptuous pass to steer home England’s second. Other than that Jermain Defoe misses enough chances to win three games while goalkeeper David James spends much of the sub-fest second half leaning against his post trying to dominate the high-scores list on the latest PSP title;

“John Terry is always John Terry, in good moments and bad. He has good charisma for other players, he is a natural leader.” says Fabio, who handed the captain’s armband back to the former skipper for this one;

“The team played like in training.” adds the Italian;

“The pressing and tackling were very good. We tried to win back the ball and we did this a lot of times.”

Wales also register a win, 1-0 in Iceland. Manchester City youngster Ched Evans sits it out for 41 minutes before replacing the unfortunate Carl Fletcher, and promptly announces himself onto the international scene with a clever back-heeled goal just moments from half-time;

“He stole the show, he can be pleased.” offers Wales boss John Toshack generously;

“We have shown today that with some top players out we have the strength in depth to cope and go to difficult places and win.” he adds, as Wales take the spoils despite the absence of regulars like Gareth Bale, Simon Davies and Danny Gabbidon, with Craig Bellamy only taking part for the last half hour from the bench.

Brian McBride missed out on the action at Wembley having retired from international football, and the former Everton striker won’t be turning out for Fulham any more either. The 35-year-old played a key role in saving the Craven Cottage club from relegation in the latter part of 2007/08, but leaves west London in favour of a move back to his homeland;

“I've always stated my intention to go home at some stage and this seems like the right moment to move on.” he explains;

“Brian McBride has been a fine ambassador for Fulham Football Club.” chips in Cottagers boss Roy Hodgson.

The day’s big transfer news is that Luke Moore joins West Bromwich Albion for a fee of around £3million. The Aston Villa man had been on loan at The Hawthorns and is allowed to make his move permanent despite impressing at Villa Park during the early days of Martin O’Neill’s reign;

“I think Luke will be happy to start next season afresh. I'm sure he'll be looking forward to pushing his way into the team. That's how it will be.” offers the ever charismatic Baggies boss Tony Mowbray;

“You can become stale at the same place so this is a fresh challenge for Luke.” adds Mowbray.

By Stephen Orford

29 May 2008

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