Morning update from the Paddy Power Blog on all the latest betting moves in sport
– Shay Given has retired from international football. The 36 year old was criticised for his performances at Euro 2012, but having made no announcement in the aftermath of the tournament, it was assumed he had decided to continue beyond his current tally of 125 caps. In retrospect, the injury Given carried into the tournament may have been more debilitating than was first acknowledged, but for a player of his standards, he certainly looked below par. That can’t take away from the fact he is one of the greatest players Ireland has ever produced.
Despite leaving the national team in a tricky situation, Giovanni Trapattoni was effusive in his praise for a player that has been pivotal in so many great Ireland performances – both for him and previous managers.
“He is a strong player, with a great character and his love of playing for his country always shone through. It has been a pleasure to work with him during my time with the team. I wish him the very best in his future,” he said.
It still comes as a surprise because as recently as last week Trapattoni indicated that he believed the Aston Villa goalkeeper would be available as Ireland attempted to secure qualification for Brazil 2014. The Italian is likely to turn to Keiran Westwood for the bulk of that campaign, but with the Sunderland keeper currently behind Simon Mignolet at club level, it’s far from ideal. Ireland take on Serbia in a friendly on Wednesday, before the serious work of reaching their first World Cup since 2002 begins with a trip to Kazakhstan next month. Ireland are 11/4 to qualify.
– Joey Barton will not be allowed to join a Football League team in order to speed up serving the 12 game ban he got for going mental at Manchester City on the last day of last season. Barton (29) has been training with Fleetwood Town with a view to a loan deal, but the Football League have revealed they will not allow his registration because it’s too clever and they never enacted rules to stop it. They won’t block a move to another Premier League club, but they will use the vague ‘against the spirit of the game’ and ‘bringing the game into disrepute’ defences should QPR push ahead with the loan option. The Rs are 9/2 to get relegated this season.
– Here’s the round-up of today’s transfer rumours that will probably never happen:
- Liverpool want Barcelona’s Christian Tello.
- Barcelona will give Arsenal £12 million in return for one of Rigobert Song’s cousins – preferably Alex Song.
- Robin van Persie is still an Arsenal player because Fergie isn’t offering enough money.
- *Yawn* Luka Modric to Real Madrid will happen for £25 million say Spanish journalists *Yawn*
- The Guardian say Manchester City have been told to up their bid to £27 million if they want to secure the collection of skin, bones and mental tattoos that make up Daniel Agger of Liverpool.
- Adam Johnson apparently threw a hissy fit at Roberto Mancini during the Community Shield and the next logical step in that already dubious story is a move to Everton and Liverpool.
Frankel completed his last serious bit of work on the Newmarket gallops this morning before he tackles the Juddmonte International at the Ebor Meeting in York next week. The superstar four year old is looking to extend his career record to 13 wins in 13 attempts. On form alone, you’d presume it’s a foregone conclusion, but the addition of two more furlongs than he’s ever previously run adds an element of doubt to it. Not a whole load of doubt however as he’s 1/8 to win the race.
‘The England players have been hurt and they may never love again.’ That’s not the exact quote from Michael Vaughan, but that’s essentially what he was saying about Kevin Pietersen and his potential return to the England set-up. The South African was dropped from the team for the third Test against South Africa on account of reportedly slagging off Andrew Strauss in a text message to his compatriots (the South African ones) and Vaughan reckons the breach of trust makes a return to the dressing room extra difficult.
“If it’s true that he sent those texts, it will take a long time for him to be allowed back,” explained Vaughan to BBC Five Live.
In other news, a randomer by the name of Richard Bailey claims to be the man behind the infamous KP Genius Twitter account that has complicated all matters KP lately. He had such geniuses at Matt Prior, Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan and James Taylor following the parody account, which inadvertently added legitimacy to the joke.
England need to win the match to claim a series draw and they’re 5/2 outsiders to do so.