The Daily Football Diary: Welcome back Rio Ferdinand
Roy Hodgson’s revealing of the England squad for the world cup qualifiers was today released. It see’s Manchester United Centre back Rio Ferdinand return to the squad. The powerful defender hasn’t been a part of the England squad since June 2011, against Switzerland. However consistent performances for Manchester United have clearly appealed to Hodgson, and have earned him a place in the squad. The former West Brom manager said “A player of Rio’s calibre and of Rio’s age you don’t necessarily bring into the squad as back-up, you bring them in because you hope they’re going to make the team better. It wouldn’t take too much guesswork to work out that now he’s in the squad he’s there in order to play, not to make up numbers.” The squad also includes the return of Ben Foster along with Tottenham Hotspur pair Scott Parker and Michael Dawson. The squad also sees Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor overlooked once again. England are away at San Marino on 22 March, four days before they take on current group leaders Montenegro in Podgorica.
Nuri Sahin: Thank God I’ve left Brendan Rodgers
Former Liverpool midfielder Nuri Sahin has hit out at former boss Brendan Rodgers. The Turkish midfielder was recently on loan at Anfield, however found his chances limited and made a move to Borussia Dortmund. Speaking of Brendan Rodgers, Sahin said “Brendan Rodgers wanted me to play as a 10 but I do not play behind the forwards, I spoke with him and asked him why I was playing there. It is not my real position. The boss could not answer me… still, I am not sorry about it. But I have left Brendan Rodgers, thanks be to God.” The 24 year old went on to say “Maybe if I had not gone there I would not have been able to return to Borussia Dortmund. For that, I am happy. I feel well physically and mentally, everything is perfect. After returning to Germany, I feel much better,” he added.
Tito Vilanova set to return to Barcelona hotseat
Barcelona director Carles Rexach has revealed that Tito Vilanova will return to work as head coach on 25th March. Vilanova has been recovering from a return of his throat cancer since December, but is now close to making his way back to the bench at Camp Nou. “Tito will return on 25th March,” Rexach told TV3. Meanwhile Xavi picked up an injury whilst playing against AC Milan on Tuesday evening. “Further tests confirmed that the player has strained his muscle and therefore will miss the match on Sunday at the Camp Nou,” read a statement released on the club’s official website. Xavi has already been laid low with a similar injury this season, however he is expected to be back in action by the time Spain take in a World Cup qualifying double-header with Finland and France.
Arsene Wenger to see out contract
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told Beln Sport “I am under contract until 2014 and I am used to fulfilling my contracts, I still have desire”. The French manager’s position has come under increasing scrutiny in recent times, with some Arsenal fans growing frustrated with their lack of success in recent years. However, Wenger remains a highly-respected coach and he is continually linked with rival clubs, with Real Madrid and Paris St Germain among those mentioned in recent months. But the Frenchman remains steadfastly loyal to Arsenal, and his stance does not look like changing.