Colombia captain Radamel Falcao talks about his Manchester United future after the 3-1 friendly win against Kuwait.
AFC Bournemouth coach Eddie Howe believes his Championship-topping side will go back an improved team after their warm weather training camp in Dubai.
It is the first time the young English manager has brought a side out to the UAE and he was left thoroughly impressed with the set-up at Dubai Sports City.
“The facilities are first class and I am really, really impressed,” he told Sport360 after the final training session. “We have been well looked after and I think it has been a worthwhile experience.”
It wasn’t, however, a relaxing trip for the Bournemouth players, who are sitting at the top of the Championship after a remarkable campaign.
“We have worked the players very hard,” added the 37-year-old. “It’s a change of environment for us and a chance to take the players away, get some privacy and do some hard work.
“It’s obviously very hot here. We have trained very early and got our work in. I hope we go back a better team than when we came.”
Howe insists he is taking nothing for granted despite Bournemouth’s position at the summit, with the former Burnley boss refusing to entertain the idea of Premier League football next season yet.
“It’s all about keeping this group concentrated on the short-term objectives. The only way I can do that is by commenting on the short-term objectives which is the next game. Next season isn’t in our thoughts.
“People say we have got a decent run-in but the Championship has proved that no game is easy and no-one gives you anything.
“The games are very competitive, the margins are very small between winning and losing, so we respect all the teams in the division and we know it is going to be very tough.”
One man who is keeping tabs on Bournemouth’s rise is former West Ham, Spurs and QPR boss Harry Redknapp, who cut his managerial teeth with The Cherries – famously masterminding an FA Cup victory over then-holders Manchester United in the 1984 FA Cup.
HARRY REDKNAPP spotted at the Dubai World Cup! Next to my table! @DWC_Meydan
— Rahul (@rahulm3) March 28, 2015
Howe said: “Harry’s a real Bournemouth man. He still lives in the area, he supports the club and watches the club when he can. I’m sure he is very proud of the team and would love to see Bournemouth reach its potential.”
In the cash-rich world of modern football, there is plenty of room for ridicule; Sport360 has it for you in abundance every Monday. This week, we look at which fairytale Harry Kane is living out after scoring on his England debut.’
Fairy tale for Kane, but which one?
Harry Kane’s dream debut for England at Wembley Stadium against Lithuania on Friday night, scoring with only his third touch, has been described by countless media outlets, and indeed England manager Roy Hodgson, as a ‘fairytale’. Kane’s continuous rise has certainly been something magical to behold, but no one has actually expressed the fairytale that Kane is living out. Exactly what ‘against all the odds’ journey is Kane channeling? This is where I can draw from my childhood the many times I was forced in to watching Disney films with my sister (a crime now regarded as torture in the Geneva Convention).
So then, the Premier League top scorer could possibly be the equivalent of Pinocchio, a young lad who has great potential with plenty of strings attached, but is given a breath of life courtesy of an eccentric and rather unhinged father figure, Tim Sherwood. Or perhaps we can exactly map Kane’s progression alongside that of Cinderella? After all he has patiently broken free of the tyranny of the ugly sister strikers – Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado – to find his way into the affection and admiration of Prince Pochettino; an unlikely romance made possible by a beautiful right boot.
Ultimately, the Little Mermaid seems to be the best fairytale match. Despite harbouring mythological status and spending most of his career in an ocean of obscurity, Kane yearns to integrate alongside some very ordinary humans, such as Danny Rose and Paulinho. Worryingly for England fans, the animation’s sequel, ‘Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea,’ was a cinematic abomination, going direct-to-DVD. This is a perturbing indicator that we can’t take Kane’s longevity for granted.
HARRY KANE HAS ARRIVED! pic.twitter.com/ToEspj8HG9
— TheSPORTbible (@TSBible) March 27, 2015
Lamppost vs Kane debate
Some rather more cynical England football fans have baulked at the ‘HurriKane hysteria’. One fan venting in a comments section said that Kane deserved no credit whatsoever for his goal because ‘even an inanimate lamppost could have scored that header.’ Whilst we can’t knock the impressive aerial presence and upper-body strength of a lamppost, the comparison falls a little bit short when we consider the quiet brilliance of Kane’s goal. His simple finish, like many of his strikes, was the product of some very intelligent movement. And so, until lampposts acquire the mobility to side step defenders, change direction and scramble into the six-yard box unmarked, they will always come up short in comparisons with Kane, especially at international level where luminous street-side poles have notoriously struggled to make their mark.
Platini’s decision will echo in eternity
The recently re-elected UEFA President Michel Platini did a pretty good impression of a merciless Roman emperor on Saturday night. The Euro 2016 qualifier between Montenegro and Russia fell into chaos within 20 seconds of kick-off after a flare struck and knocked over Russia goalkeeper Igor Afinkeev. Despite the horrific scene of Afinkeev being stretchered off with concussion and burns to his neck, and the match temporarily halted, the game was not put out of its misery. Platini reportedly made a phone call to the match referee and demanded that the game continue. Picture Joaquin Phoenix in Gladiator unflinchingly giving the thumbs down, insisting that his subjects continue to fight it out until the bitter end. Thankfully the game was permanently suspended in the second half and thereby Platini was denied the opportunity to unleash caged tigers into the Montenegrin coliseum.
In his post-match interviews, Russia manager Fabio Capello was understandably simmering with rage – rebuking the all-powerful UEFA hierarchy for restarting the doomed contest in the first place. I’m afraid Fabio will have to make do as the closest thing to Maximus Decimus Meridius here. A portly, bespectacled and stripped to the waist Capello doesn’t quite match up to a snarling and heavily stacked Russell Crowe, but it’s a striking image all the same and a reminder of Capello’s famously bristly run-ins with anyone who threatens his authority. What’s Italian for ‘Are you not entertained?’
Incredible footage of last night’s Akinfeev flare incident from the Montenegrin fans. https://t.co/qAvPYxoPcz
— Martin Lowe (@plasticpitch) March 28, 2015
The moon vs Zlatan
Zlatan Ibrahimovich scored my favourite goal of the weekend. It saw Moldova goalkeeper Ilie Cebanu launching a clearance directly at the mountainous Swede’s forehead. Despite being just 10-yards away, Zlatan somehow found time to flick his head towards the ball – thudding it into the back of the empty net. Out of all the impudent and instinctive goals Ibra has ever scored, and there have been many, this has to be right up there.
You have to feel for poor Illie. Whilst he’ll know full well it wasn’t the greatest clearance in the world, he is probably unaware that Zlatan has his own gravitational field. His outstanding ability to score sensational airborne volleys, flicks and headers is a combination of both technique and an ability to suck spherical objects into his magisterial orbit. How else to explain his unbelievable kinship with the volley? Indeed, lunar experts have estimated that the moon has been ‘moving towards the Earth at an exponential rate since Imbrahimovich’s career took of at Ajax – pausing briefly when he he was benched at Barcelona in the 2009-10 season. If it wasn’t for Pep we could be living underground right now.’
The NASA boffins, who term the astrological phenomena ‘The Ibracadabara Paradox,’ are understandably worried that the PSG forward will one day cause the moon to crash into the Earth. Whilst they are right in thinking this scenario would ‘put the entire human race on the precipice of Armageddon’, that concern must surely be balanced out by the exciting potential for Zlatan to nonchalantly volley the celestial object’s dusty backside into the top corner of our planet’s mesosphere – a nailed on entry for the FIFA Puskas Award shortlist.
Do the right thing Andorra
All eyes now start to move to the next round of Euro 2016 qualifiers in the summer. Without doubt, the most intriguing game will be Andorra vs Cyprus. La Tricolor got dispatched 3-0 on Saturday by Bosnia-Herzegovina, courtesy of a lovely treble from Edn Dzeko, and thereby incurred their 49th competitive loss on the trot. This naturally serves up a huge dilemma for the Cyprus game. Do Andorra fight to finally earn a long-awaited draw, or do what we all know is right and accept, nay welcome, their 50th defeat in a row? I know it sounds counterintuitive, but Koldo Álvarez’s men are so close now to achieving the special half century, a once in a minnow’s lifetime opportunity. Fifty caps, goals, and games unbeaten are all celebrated, so why should the equally impressive 50 defeats be any different? Sporting immortality is just 90 minutes away. Don’t choke Andorra, don’t choke.