International News - Issue 177

Shinji Kagawa admits concern after lack of football at Manchester United. Shinji Kagawa has admitted his lack of regular first-team action at Manchester United is affecting his form for Japan. The playmaker conceded he was below-par in Japan's two friendly losses to Serbia and Belarus this week as he is struggling for form and fitness. - Full Story via Sky Sports

Football fans have been warned to expect a ‘World Cup of terror’ at the hands of Brazilian crime gangs. Supporters heading to South America next summer are said to be under threat from the notorious First Capital Of The Command crime syndicate. They will be targeted if police go ahead with moving some of the gang members to tougher prisons. The group made its threat in messages intercepted by police in the country’s largest city, Sao Paulo. - Full Story via Metro

Harry Wilson’s surprise debut for Wales this week has won his granddad a cool £125,000 – after he tipped the youngster to play for Wales when he was just 18 months old. Wilson, who is part of Liverpool’s academy set-up, became Wales’ youngest ever player when he got a run out against Belgium on Tuesday. The 16-year-old earned the call up from Chris Coleman to play in the final two World Cup qualifiers after impressing in the Under-17 team, but there was double cause for celebration in the family. - Full Story via Metro

Monaco coach Claudio Ranieri has warned Chelsea and Real Madrid that Radamel Falcao will cost £168million in the January transfer window. Falcao, who only moved to Monaco over the summer, remains a key target for Jose Mourinho while Madrid confirmed they are also after the striker this week. But despite interest from a number of clubs, Monaco insist their star man won’t come cheap. - Full Story via Metro

Brazilian legend Pele has released a book chronicling his career, which is priced at R16 000, and weighs a hefty 15 kilograms. Entitled '1283', in reference to the number of goals he scored in his career, the tome includes over 500 pictures, with each copy autographed by the player. There is also a luxury edition, which retails at R25000. - Full Story via Kickoff

Dawson vows to repay Spurs for show of faith. Tottenham captain Michael Dawson wants to repay the club's faith following their recent decision to hand him a new three-year deal. The defender looked set to leave Spurs as recently as August 2012 when Andre Villas-Boas accepted a bid from QPR for the player. - Full Story via talkSPORT

England captain Steven Gerrard keen to manage expectations. England captain Steven Gerrard has urged supporters not to pile pressure on them ahead of next year's World Cup. Victory over Poland at Wembley on Tuesday secured their place at the finals in Brazil but Gerrard is keen to manage expectations after experiencing disappointment at previous tournaments. - Full Story via Sky Sports

Mesut Ozil passed fit for Arsenal despite knee injury on international duty. Mesut Ozil is expected to feature for Arsenal against Norwich at the weekend with the knee injury he picked up on international duty not as bad as first feared. Ozil, who celebrated his 25th birthday on Tuesday, limped out of Germany’s 5-3 win over Sweden in Stockholm later that night with a nasty knee problem. But after analysis from the national team doctors, it’s thought the playmaker has only sustained bruising and should be fit for the clash with the Canaries on Saturday. - Full Story via Metro

Joachim Low claims Andre Schurrle has been reinvigorated by Chelsea switch. Andre Schurrle’s move to Chelsea from Bayer Leverkusen has reinvigorated a player whose career had stagnated, according to Germany manager Joachim Low. The hat-trick hero in Die Mannschaft’s 5-3 defeat of Sweden on Tuesday has left Low suitably impressed. - Full Story via Metro

Adnan Januzaj looks set to pledge his international future to England. The 18-year-old, who was born in Belgium, has family links to four other countries, including Albania, Serbia, Croatia and Kosovo.
But in a sensational move that is set to delight the FA, Januzaj has reportedly told his friends that he will take advantage of FIFA’s residency rule to play for England. - Full Story via Metro

Gareth Southgate to keep close tabs on Ravel Morrison and Wilfried Zaha after England Under-21s fall-out. The two Three Lions youngsters had to be separated by team-mate Nathan Redmond as they exchanged words and pushes during England’s 5-0 victory against Lithuania on Tuesday in a European Championship qualifier at Portman Road. - Full Story via Metro

Erik Lamela fears for World Cup place after a slow start to his Tottenham career. Tottenham’s record signing Erik Lamela fears he will miss out on the World Cup unless he becomes a regular in Andre Villas-Boas’ Premier League plans. The Argentina international was signed from Roma for £32million as Spurs embarked on a £109m spending spree in the summer to pave the way for Gareth Bale’s world-record transfer to Real Madrid. - Full Story via Metro

Arsene Wenger looks set to agree terms on a new two-year contract at Arsenal. Wenger, who’s current deal is due to expire at the end of the season, has been locked in negotiations over an extension for months. But after confirming he wants to see out his managerial career in England last week, the Frenchman has reportedly agreed terms on a deal that would take him until 2016. - Full Story via Metro

World Cup: Harry Redknapp admits the FA made a "good choice" to appoint Roy Hodgson. Harry Redknapp has admitted the Football Association made a "good choice" to appoint Roy Hodgson as England boss ahead of him. - Full Story via Sky Sports

Gus Poyet warns Sunderland players of "nightmare" 48 hours ahead of Swansea game. Sunderland boss Gus Poyet has warned his players they face a "nightmare" 48 hours as he looks to get his ideas across to them ahead of Saturday's clash with Swansea. - Full Story via Sky Sports

Chelsea transfer target Eliaquim Mangala now shares an agent with Jose Mourinho. The £40m-rated Porto defender linked with the Londoners and Manchester City in the summer has hired Jorge Mendes. Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala - a target for some the top clubs in Europe - has taken a step towards joining Chelsea by hiring Jorge Mendes as his agent. - Full Story via Mirror Football

World Cup 2014: Eidur Gudjohnsen and Iceland prepare to party. Former Chelsea forward inspires Nordic nation as they stand on brink of first ever World Cup finals. It is about time that Iceland’s bleak blast of economic austerity gave way to gladder tidings. “What’s the capital of Iceland?” went the gag at the nadir of its banking collapse. - Full Story via The Telegraph

England fans put off by cost will stay away from Brazil World Cup says supporters group representative. Ticket registrations for the World Cup are high but England fans' group representative predicts actual attendance in Brazil will be lower than in South Africa in 2010. Almost 100,000 English people had registered interest in tickets for football’s showpiece occasion in Brazil before Roy Hodgson’s men secured qualification on Tuesday night. - Full Story via The Telegraph

Under-fire Fulham manager Martin Jol receives backing of new owner Shahid Khan. The London team's opening seven Premier League fixtures this term have yielded just two wins and a total of seven points, and talk has been rife of Jol's job being under threat. - Full Story via The Telegraph

Roy Hodgson forced to apologise in bizarre race row after making joke about England winger Andros Townsend. England manager says sorry for any offence caused after making 'feed the monkey' joke at half-time during England game. It is understood that Hodgson told the joke at half-time of England’s 2-0 win against Poland, with the intention of encouraging right-back Chris Smalling to play the ball more frequently to Townsend. - Full Story via The Telegraph

The transfer window is not even open yet but Manchester City have already lost out on a key target – after defender Adil Rami agreed to join AC Milan. City manager Manuel Pellegrini had made signing Rami a key priority for the new year, after the France international was frozen out at Valencia. But despite being keen on the player, Pellegrini has been trumped by quick-thinking Milan, who have agreed to sign the defender on-loan when the transfer window re-opens. - Full Story via Metro

European World Cup qualifying: Bosnia-Herzegovina, England and Spain reach Brazil. Bosnia-Hercegovina have qualified for their first World Cup finals as an independent nation after beating Lithuania 1-0 to finish top of Group G. World champions Spain also made sure of their place at Brazil 2014, along with England and Russia. Croatia, Sweden, Romania, Iceland, Portugal, Greece, Ukraine and France will contest the play-offs next month. - Full Story via ESPN

Chile and Ecuador are into next year’s World Cup in Brazil, and Uruguay can join them if they win a two-match playoff next month against Jordan. Chile defeated Ecuador 2-1 on Tuesday in Santiago, a result that advanced both teams. Chile finished third in the South American qualifying group with Ecuador in fourth, claiming the two remaining automatic berths from the region. - Full Story via The Standard

Gareth Bale could be fit to play in Real Madrid’s La Liga match at home to Malaga on Saturday, club president Florentino Perez believes. Bale has made just one start since he arrived at the Bernabeu for a world-record fee in the summer as injury has kept the winger sidelined. Madrid were moved to deny a report in Spain at the weekend that the Wales international was suffering with a slipped disc in his back, rubbishing the claim as ‘completely false’. - Full Story via Metro

Andros Townsend is a nightmare to play against, says England and Tottenham Hotspur team-mate Kyle Walker. Townsend’s performance against Montenegro on Friday might have come as a shock to many fans but Walker had already told his friend that he would mark his England debut with a goal. - Full Story via The Telegraph

Steven Gerrard has played down Liverpool’s chances of challenging for the Premier League title by insisting topping the table is not their aim. The Reds have enjoyed a flying start to the season and are currently level on points with leaders Arsenal, having lost just one game this term. But skipper Gerrard has warned the Anfield faithful not to get over-excited, after he revealed Brendan Rodgers’ men are not planning to challenge for league honours. - Full Story via Metro 

Alan Pardew has piled the pressure on new Sunderland boss Gus Poyet by insisting the Uruguayan is not experienced enough to cope with the North East derby. The Newcastle manager insisted he is a fan of the 45-year-old, but doubts the former Brighton boss knows what he has let himself in for by taking charge of the relegation threatened Black Cats. - Full Story via Metro

If you want the joy put back into your football, it seems Tahiti is the place to go. For the island capital of French Polynesia has come up with a cracking idea to stop their footballers getting depressed. Quite simply: you get a point for a loss. Happy days! Tahitian Football Association director Charles Ariiotima said: “We just don’t want anyone to be sad. With this system, even if a team loses every game they won’t be on zero points at the end of the season. - Full Story via Metro

Carlton Cole has rejoined West Ham after putting pen to paper on a three-month contract. The centre-forward was released by boss Sam Allardyce at the end of last season, but despite being linked with a move to the likes of newly-promoted Crystal Palace, he could not find a new club. Cole continued to train with the Hammers in the hope of being offered a new contract and was believed to be on the verge of a new deal last month, but it fell through after he failed to prove his fitness. - Full Story via Metro

Chelsea's Kevin De Bruyne on good terms with Jose Mourinho. The 22-year-old was dropped from the Blues' squad for a UEFA Champions League clash with Steaua Bucharest at the start of October, fuelling speculation that he could soon be heading out of Stamford Bridge. - Full Story via Sky Sports 

Chelsea striker Fernando Torres admits he needs to score more goals this season. The Spaniard, currently on the sidelines with a knee injury, concedes that he needs to score more goals but he is confident that he will deliver if he is given time. Torres scored 23 goals last season in all competitions, and has won the Champions League, Europa League and FA Cup in his time at Stamford Bridge. - Full Story via Sky Sports

David Silva feels settled at Manchester City. The Spain international, who has been speaking to Mundo Deportivo while on World Cup qualifying duty, only signed a new five-year contract at City in September 2012. He intends to honour that agreement and claims he would not have signed if he was not happy in England. - Full Story via Sky Sports

Alex Ferguson tells David Moyes that Man United backroom harmony is the key to success
According to the legendary Manchester United boss, all members of Moyes' backroom staff need to be singing from the same song sheet to ensure success. The United manager has been questioned for clearing out Ferguson’s successful backroom team to bring his own people with him from Everton. - Full Story via Daily Mirror

Gareth Bale will struggle for form this year according to Wales boss Chris Coleman. World's most expensive player won't be at the top of his game until next year, after being hampered by injury and lack of pre-season activity. Real Madrid star Bale is sidelined with a thigh injury and the Spanish giants have admitted that the £86million ace also has a chronic disc problem in his back. - Full Story via Daily Mirror

On-loan Newcastle striker Loic Remy in no rush to decide his future. The 26-year-old joined the club in the summer on a season-long loan from relegated Queens Park Rangers. Remy has enjoyed a brilliant time on Tyneside so far after scoring five goals in five Premier League games. - Full Story via Sky Sports

Arsene Wenger prepared to keep spending at Arsenal. The Gunners boss broke with tradition over the summer as he secured the signature of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid in a club record deal. Wenger has favoured a more prudent approach to player recruitment in the past, with one eye forever locked on the future - both on and off the field. - Full Story via Sky Sports

England Captain Steven Gerrard is ready to lead the 'ghostbusters' to the World Cup finals in Brazil. Gerrard insists England's players, both young and old, are primed to seize the moment, forget former failures and send the nation to the World Cup finals in Brazil. England are going ghostbusting at Wembley on Tuesday night, chasing away the spectre of that 1973 qualifying heartache to Poland and of a more recent anguish haunting the current generation. - Full Story via The Telegraph

Thomas Vermaelen has hinted that he will consider his future if he cannot break into Arsenal’s starting XI. The centre-half, who starts for Belgium against Wales in Brussels on Tuesday, says he will have to re-assess his options if he remains on the sidelines at the Emirates.Marc Wilmots’ side qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 12 years with victory over Croatia last Friday. And the lure of a trip to Brazil is clearly uppermost in the defender’s mind. - Full Story via Daily Mail

Lewandowski is Poland's Plan A, B and C... England's opponents are a one-man band. England’s chances of winning will improve significantly if the threat of Robert Lewandowski is nullified.The Pole has established himself as one of Europe’s most feared centre forwards in recent seasons. - Full Story via Daily Mail

Ashley Cole out of World Cup qualifier but Leighton Baines confident they will get the job done.  The Chelsea left-back was unavailable for the match against Montenegro on Friday night, but his understudy Leighton Baines performed well in a 4-1 win which keeps Roy Hodgson's team well placed to secure an automatic berth at next summer's finals in Brazil. - Full Story via The Telegraph

France reunited as they shake off troubles of the past and emerge as force to be reckoned with again. France are already destined for the play-offs, but that can be blamed on sharing a qualification group with Spain rather than any inadequacies, as Friday’s 6-0 win over already-qualified Australia underlined. - Full Story via The Telegraph

Borussia Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski yet to decide on next move. Speculation has suggested that a switch to Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich is virtually guaranteed, with both sides having expressed a willingness to work together. - Full Story via Sky Sports

Manchester City's Stevan Jovetic happy to have left Italy for England. The Montenegro star admits he has struggled for fitness since arriving at the Etihad Stadium from Fiorentina in the summer, but he now feels he will start to prove himself now he is fully fit. - Full Story via Sky Sports

Santi Cazorla hails Arsenal's capture of Mesut Ozil. Ozil's arrival has provided direct competition to Cazorla in the creativity department, but the Spanish playmaker is confident he will play his part over the course of a gruelling campaign. - Full Story via Sky Sports

Cardiff City hold meeting with Malky Mackay future still uncertain. Mackay is seeking assurances that he retains the support of owner Vincent Tan - who is not thought to be present - following the departure of Head of Recruitment Iain Moody, one of his closest aides since their time together at Watford. - Full Story via Sky Sports

Thibaut Courtois happy with how things are going at Atletico Madrid. As Courtois has emerged as one of the best keepers in La Liga, speculation over his future has ensued and even Barcelona president Sandro Rosell revealed his admiration for him earlier this month. - Full Story via Sky Sports 

Alan Pardew delighted to still have Yohan Cabaye at Newcastle. 
Cabaye made it clear he wanted out of St James' Park when the transfer window was open, with interest from Arsenal having turned his head. - Full Story via Sky Sports 

Barcelona star urges Reina to make Nou Camp move. 
Pedro says Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina should join him at Barcelona. 

Victor Valdes is set to leave the club at the end of the season and Reina is one of many goalkeepers to be linked with a move to the Nou Camp. - Full Story via talkSPORT

Striker Craig Bellamy has backed Cardiff manager Malky Mackay and says the club are worse off following the departure of Iain Moody. Moody has left his role as Mackay's head of recruitment and been replaced by 23-year-old Alisher Apsalyamov, who is thought to be a friend of Cardiff owner Sri Vincent Tan's son and has little experience in football. - Full Story via football365

Glenn Hoddle believes english players are facing an uphill battle in Premier League. It is difficult to argue that England have progressed since Hoddle's departure in 1999. Despite only reaching the second round of the 1998 World Cup in France, playing an adventurous 3-5-2 and bowing out on penalties to Argentina, the style and approach Hoddle brought to the side has rarely been replicated since. Sven Goran-Eriksson led England to three quarter-finals but Hoddle believes the side has regressed in the last decade. - Full Story via The Guardian

Barcelona maestro Andres Iniesta is surprised Real Madrid let Mesut Ozil go, saying the German playmaker "understands football better than any one else". Ozil impressed in a three-year spell with Los Blancos, and has continued to shine at new club Arsenal following his £42.5 million switch on September 2. - Full Story via Kickoff

Swansea star Michu made his debut for Spain at the weekend, and says he is aiming at a regular place in time for the 2014 World Cup. Spain earned a 2-1 win over Belarus in a qualifier on Friday. With the score still goalless on 57 minutes, Michu was replaced by Manchester City’s Alvaro Negredo, who scored the winner with a wonderful diving header with 12 minutes to go. The world champions are now just one point away from sealing their place in Brazil next summer. - Full Story via Kickoff