Capello In Danger Of Losing His Right Hand Man

It’s almost silly season again, but Pete South has a plausible theory that fits in with the ‘Ancelotti to Roma’ rumours that are circulating…

England manager Fabio Capello could find himself with his general manager Franco Baldini when England play against Switzerland on June 4th after speculation grew the Italian is set to join Roma.

Baldini has been a central part to Capello’s reign as England manager, and was responsible for informing some members of the England squad they didn’t make the squad for their world cup campaign in South Africa.

A US consortium recently completed a takeover of the Italian club, and are said to be targeting Baldini to take over the role of General Manager, a position he held during Capello’s tenure in the Italian capital, and the temptation of an injection of funds from the new owners into the 6th placed Serie A club could prove to be too much for the 60-year-old with links to the city.

Baldini has always been seen as a crucial link between Capello and the players, and was said to be a central figure in the recent captaincy controversy which saw Rio Ferdinand stripped of the arm-band in favour of ex-captain John Terry, and also spoke to Ferdinand in an attempt to calm the situation.

US tycoon Thomas Di Benedetto, who led the take-over bid of Roma, is a confirmed fan of Baldini and admires his knowledge of the game.

“He is someone who knows his football,” he told the press. “I like him a lot.”

The former Real Madrid manager could be left isolated by the departure of Baldini, and after his communication skills were put under the spotlight following criticism from the media for his handling of the captaincy situation. If Baldini were to leave, the man who once said he only required “100 words” to communicate his message to his side may be forced into taking up a more involved role.

Baldini is said to be a popular member of the England set up, and if he were to join the Italian giants it would be a blow to England’s Euro qualifying campaign. Football bets suggest a possible option for Baldini is to wait until England’s qualifying campaign finishes in October after being rumoured to be unwilling to leave Capello high and dry.

England are football betting favourites to qualify for Euro 2012 and currently sit atop of Group G, level on points with Montenegro after four games, with their next opponents Switzerland six points further back in third place.

England’s Adam Johnson Seeks Move

Less than a year after his move from Middlesbrough – and with six weeks until the transfer window re-opens – it looks as if Roberto Mancini’s selection process may have had an unexpected affect on one of England’s promising youngsters. Guest blogger Thomas Rooney investigates.

Great things are expected of Adam Johnson. After impressing in his appearances so far for England, he has been touted as a big player for the national side in the future, with many pinning England’s hopes of Euro 2012 success firmly on his shoulders along with those of another few young stars currently lighting up the Premier League, such as Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere. However, the player realises that in order to fulfil his destiny on the biggest stage in international football, he needs to perform consistently for his club. 

Tired Of Riding The Pine?

The problem is that his club happens to be Manchester City, which sees world-class players warming the bench on a weekly basis. Although some of these individuals appear content to continue picking up their wages whilst sitting on the sidelines each week, it would seem that Johnson is different. 

“Every footballer has to think about [moving on] when the time comes. It is still early but I definitely would consider it,” he said. 

Johnson’s comments are likely to be received differently in different sectors, with some fans believing that the youngster reckons he’s too big for the club. With the playerstill developing and learning all the time, the chance to train with and observe some of the best players in world football under the guidance of one of Europe’s top coaches is an opportunity that no 23-year-old, no matter how talented, should pass up. The football predictions  suggest City could qualify for the Champions League next season, which would offer Johnson another chance to develop, but there’s no guarantee he’d make the squad.

Some fans clearly think the player believes his own hype and should stick with the club as they seek to help develop him over the next couple of years. Any move could be crucial for his future and that of the England national team. 

On the other hand, some fans have praised the player for not being content to pick up a hefty wage packet while doing nothing on the pitch, and others have urged him to take the plunge and make the move from Eastlands as they fear for his ability to improve under the management of such a defensive boss. If Johnson really is England’s brightest hope for the future, he needs to play regular first team football soon and the transfer rumours have linked him with a move. 

Whatever Johnson and City decide to do, there are likely to be many fans of other clubs in England with one eye on the player.

Redknapp Needs To Be Careful Not To Make An Enemy At Home

Written before the sensational result at Stamford Bridge yesterday and Spurs’ win over Blackburn on Saturday, guest blogger Thomas Rooney casts an eye over one of the contenders for the England job after Fabio Capello leaves the post. We’re not completely convinced Harry Redknapp is the right man for the job either…

Harry Redknapp is a man who appears to polarise opinion among football fans. Some can’t imagine a better candidate to replace Fabio Capello as England manager, while others simply can’t stand the sight of him. This probably wouldn’t be a massive problem for the Spurs boss if the Tottenham faithful were entirely won over by him. However, that seems not to be the case.

On Tuesday Spurs slipped to a 1-1 draw against Sunderland at White Hart Lane. In the latter stages of the game, Spurs played the sort of desperate hit it and hope football usually reserved for lower league teams chasing the game in the 90th minute. With Redknapp for some reason seeming reluctant to make any intelligent tactical moves, with many question marks still hanging over the long-term presence of David Bentley for example, Spurs fans were left feeling bewildered at how their team had managed to let another league game pass by without a win in matches the Betfair Football odds suggested they should win.

Tottenham, for all their Champions League glory over the past couple of weeks, have failed to win a domestic league game in four tries now and, after a dismal showing against Bolton at the weekend, can rightly expect to be judged harshly by their fans.

Redknapp, however, wasn’t having any of that, lambasting the Spurs faithful after the game for what sounded like a few boos ringing out around the ground after the final whistle. The Spurs boss did his usual job of painting his side up to be world, simultaneously mounting the pressure on his players and distancing himself from the club’s fans in the process. Digs at the referee, again, didn’t help matters and neither did Redknapp’s sarcastic retort that the supporters are used to watching their side win the league every year.

With Redknapp having ambitions to manage the England side one day, he needs to be wary of who he makes an enemy of in English football. Football fans are a powerful bunch, even though it doesn’t seem like it sometimes, and turning on a club’s faithful when they dare to voice an opinion doesn’t go down too well in any quarter. The football rumourshave linked Redknapp to the England job, but it doesn’t mean he’ll get it.

Steve McClaren felt all too keenly the effects of an English manager of the national side not being embraced by the fans across the country due to a perceived character flaw and we all know how that turned out. A similar fate could befall Redknapp if he fails to take a more modest attitude when it is needed.

Another rumour…

About to watch Man U v Spurs (not featuring either Wayne Rooney or Rio Ferdinand but with a chance for Michael Dawson to make a really strong claim to be called up for the World Cup) and doing a bit of pre-match crawling around the internet when I came across this.

I’m not going to jump to any conclusions but let’s see what – if anything – the Sunday papers make of it. Interestingly enough, I’m going to watch Derby County this afternoon.