Thursday, March 29, 2007

Giggs praise for Bale

WELSH legend Ryan Giggs has hailed Saints starlet Gareth Bale.

Giggs and Bale were among the scorers last night as Wales defeated San Marino 3-0 in a Euro 2008 qualifier at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

Giggs said of Bale: ''Gareth scored a great goal, he has scored some spectacular ones already for Southampton, and now us.

"He has a great left foot and, along with Jason Koumas, was our best player.

''What you look for in a young player is not just ability, but temperament. There are lots of players with ability, but you need so much more to really make it.

''You need hunger and the desire to practice. You must have the right mental approach".[Via]

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Bale has got full package - Giggs

Ryan Giggs believes Manchester United target Gareth Bale has "got the lot" following the teenager's latest goalscoring display for Wales.

United ace Giggs finds himself acting as father figure these days to Wales' young guns, a job he has taken to with relish.

And the man who is on the brink of winning a record-breaking ninth league championship medal sees a similar hunger and drive from a youngster who could even become his team-mate next season if United win the £10million race for the Southampton wonder-kid's signature in the summer.

Bale scored another outstanding long-range goal for Wales against outclassed San Marino, his second in six games from left-back.

Giggs had already sidefooted Wales ahead before Bale's cracker, while Jason Koumas scored from the spot in the second-half.

And Giggs said of Bale: "Gareth scored a great goal, he has scored some spectacular ones already for Southampton, and now us. He has a great left foot and, along with Jason Koumas, was our best player.

"What you look for in a young player is not just ability, but temperament. There are lots of players with ability, but you need so much more to really make it.

"You need hunger and the desire to practice. You must have the right mental approach.

"At a young age, he looks like he has got all that. He must keep improving and I think he should be okay for a fine career."

Wales boss John Toshack is loath to praise youngsters too much, but even the 58-year-old finds it hard to contain his enthusiasm at the potential in the Cardiff-born youngster.

Toshack said: "At the moment, he is without doubt our first-choice left-back. He's only 17, but he has shot through the ranks and has really impressed.

"I try not to say too much about youngsters as they come through, but I know Southampton are very pleased with him - he has virtually played every minute of every game for them.

"We are also pleased when he is with us. He has come along very well. He will have setbacks, everyone does at his age, but - if he keeps going like he is - he will become a very tidy little player."

Pleased with Bale's contribution, Giggs was also confident enough to predict that Wales could make a late charge from a near-impossible position towards qualification.

He said: "We got the win we were all after. We could have scored six or more but it wasn't to be, but we got the points and we are hoping that this will give us momentum.

"We were pleased to score early. Thankfully, I got it and we were able to play with less tension after that.

"We could pass the ball, make chances and keep them pinned down knowing we had already got one goal.

"We were always going to win, but it is never easy against such opposition. They want the ball put in the air - we were trying to pass our way through.

"We need games to go for us now in the rest of the group, and second place is still open, even though the Irish and Czechs both won in midweek.

"As long as we have games in hand, and we have the Czechs and Irish both at home, we have a chance.

"If we can win those games, we will be in a good position. that is how we have to approach the rest of the group matches.

"We proved we could compete with the Czechs in the away game so we know what is possible. A little more luck and we could turn this group around.

"If we beat the Czechs here, it will give us a great boost. We need to win our home games and that one is make or break.

"Getting the points was the most important after losing in Dublin. It is how you react to defeats that is important, particularly for the younger lads.

"We have to keep moving forward." [Via]

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Rossi enjoying loan spell

Italian striker Giuseppe Rossi expects to return to United next term after a valuable season out on loan.

The 20-year-old is an integral part of Parma's fight against relegation from Serie A, and also spent three months before Christmas at Newcastle United.

Rossi was quoted in the Oldham Chronicle as saying: “My contract with United does not expire until June 2010 and I expect to complete it."

The striker has three goals to his name for Claudio Ranieri's side from nine appearances, and he is delighted with how his season has panned out.

“It is important for young players to get their chance and I am getting my chance at Parma where I am turning out regularly and playing well," he said.

“Going to Newcastle was also a good experience, though I didn’t play as much, but the important thing was that I learned a lot while there.”

Rossi briefly returned to England last weekend, starting the Italian U21's pulsating 3-3 draw against England at Wembley.

“Of course it was special to be here," he said. "Just by saying the name Wembley makes you have goose bumps. It was a great occasion and I think we put on a good show." [Via]

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Fergie happy for Scholes break

Sir Alex Ferguson believes Manchester United will benefit from a refreshed Paul Scholes in the closing weeks of the season.

Scholes was hit with a three-game suspension after being sent off in the victory over Liverpool at the start of the month, and has not played since the UEFA Champions League clash with Lille on 7th March.

And, after retiring from international football, he has enjoyed an extended break over the last couple of weeks.

Ferguson has applauded the midfielder's decision to call time on his England career for family reasons, and is confident he will end the season strongly.

"Paul regards family life as very important," Ferguson told Sky Sports News.

"He knows the travelling with the international team is tremendous and coming to his age, I think he felt it was time to give more time to his family.

"That is the reason he gave up international football.

"His form this season has been absolutely fantastic and now we are getting him back fresh after a little break."

Ferguson also reiterated his intention to remain in charge of United for a few more years.

The Scot accepts there are many potential candidates who would like the chance to replace him, but insists he is still as hungry for success as ever.

"There are many people who would love this job but I have got a few more years yet," he said. [Via]

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Irwin urges Man Utd not to sell Heinze

Manchester United hero Denis Irwin has urged manager Sir Alex Ferguson to shelve all thoughts of selling Gaby Heinze in the summer.

"I have been a big fan of Heinze and at his best I would have him in the team ahead of Patrice Evra because of his defensive qualities. He edges it for me because of that," Irwin told the Manchester Evening News.

"Patrice, however, has been outstanding this season. His improvement has been dramatic. He has come on a ton and United haven't looked any weaker with him in the side.

"So up to a few matches ago he had the position in his grip. It was very hard for Heinze under those circumstances. He fought back early to go the World Cup in Germany last summer with Argentina. I am not sure the club would have been too happy with that.

"Nevertheless, he went but suffered a bit as a result this season. Because he wasn't getting regular matches his game fitness suffered.

"In view of that and how Patrice was playing you did have to wonder if he'd ever get back in on a regular basis and would he put up with that."

But Heinze has finally grabbed his chance again with Evra sidelined to throw the battle for the left-back berth into the air again and possibly alter the thinking on his future in the summer.

"I want to see Gabby at United again next season," Irwin added. "I want the club to hang on to all the players they have. Battles for places is vital.

"Heinze's fantastic display against Bolton was the Gabriel Heinze of two years ago and it was great to see." [Via]

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Park wants league trophy

Park Ji-sung admits his priority is winning the Premiership with Manchester United this season.

The Red Devils are chasing success on three fronts, having also reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League and semi-finals of the FA Cup.

With a six-point advantage over Chelsea in the title race, reclaiming the Premiership is currently the team's best chance of a trophy.

And Park, who has scored on his last three Premiership starts, feels winning the league is the prime target.

"Personally, my number one target is the Premier League," Park told the South Korean media.

The former PSV Eindhoven midfielder, though, is refusing to dismiss the prospect of United repeating their 1999 Treble feat.

With Roma to face in the Champions League, and Watford the opponents in the FA Cup, Park feels three trophies are not beyond the team.

He added: "It is possible for us to get the results to succeed in all competitions.

"I have had a similar experience in the Netherlands.

"Even if we have bad results, we have to bounce back quickly and concentrate on the next game." [Via]

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Sir Alex receives another accolade

Sir Alex Ferguson has picked up his second League Managers Association (LMA) Performance League award of the season.

The LMA award quarterly accolades aimed at recognising the work of managers at all levels of the professional game.

Sir Alex won the award earlier this season for the excellent start United made to the 2006/07 campaign and now, as the season enters its most crucial stage, the United boss has won it again for January-March 2007.

“It's a great honour to win this award for a second time," he told the LMA website,, after being presented with the award at United's Carrington training ground by former Reds skipper Bryan Robson.

But he dedicated the award to the hard work his players and staff have put in since the turn of the year. “The efforts of our players and all our coaching staff has been fantastic this season," he said, "this award is for their collective efforts.”

Chief Executive John Barnwell said: “It is a great achievement to win one award in a season but the fact that Sir Alex has now won two demonstrates the tremendously high standards he is setting for our profession on a consistent basis."

Sir Alex beat two managers from League Two to top spot in the awards - powered by ProZone. Stockport’s Jim Gannon finished runner-up behind Ferguson, with Rochdale’s Keith Hill in third.

“Our unique awards are designed to reward and reflect success by managers at all levels of the professional game," added Barnwell. "And Jim and Keith are both doing marvellous jobs with Stockport and Rochdale." [Via]

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