Henk ten Cate – Ajax boss – looks poised to join Avram Grant at Stamford Bridge in the capacity of assistant coach. Grant has already said he wants to improve the backroom staff – bringing in one big domestic target and a foreign coach who already backs the style Chelsea likes to play. ten Cate lost out on the Dutch Eredivisie Championship last year by one goal and the pinnacle of his career might have already passed as assistant coach to Frank Rijkaard at Barcelona. At he seemingly doesn’t want to budge from his position at Amsterdam ArenA after giving a press conference that states just that.
The big-bad American doesn’t look so bad after all as Arsenal Peter Hill-Wood has looked to American billionaire and Colorado Rapids owner Stan Kroenke to counter the questionably-intentioned Russian Alisher Usmanov. About 45% of the Arsenal shareholders have signed a ‘lockdown’ agreement to ensure the Usmanov and Kroenke don’t launch a takeover bid, but now Kroenke’s 12% share is seen as friendly instead of hostile. Can’t wait to see how this one pans out.
An England squad that has several surprises will take on Russia and Estonia in about 2 weeks. Michael Owen was included despite injury, Dean Ashton found his way back onto the shortlist, and Joleon Lescott will get a go at his first cap. Owen Hargreaves and Michael Carrick are the biggest injury disappointments (and you can’t help but feel a tad sorry for Sir Alex Ferguson on these losses).
Full England squad: Robinson (Tottenham), James (Portsmouth), Carson (Liverpool, on loan at Aston Villa), Richards (Man City), Brown (Man Utd), Ferdinand (Man Utd), Terry (Chelsea), A Cole (Chelsea), P Neville (Everton), Campbell (Portsmouth), Lescott (Everton), Shorey (Reading), Wright-Phillips (Chelsea), Gerrard (Liverpool), Barry (Aston Villa), J Cole (Chelsea), Downing (Middlesbrough), Lampard (Chelsea), Young (Aston Villa), Bentley (Blackburn), Owen (Newcastle), Rooney (Man Utd), Smith (Newcastle), Ashton (West Ham), Defoe (Tottenham), Johnson (Everton), Crouch (Liverpool).