How England wonderkid lost childhood sweetheart
Pretty Emily Blowfield was the soccer-crazy boy’s first love. They dated on and off for five years after meeting at school as 11-year-olds and are still close friends. Blonde Emily (17), has told how Theo ‘ bought by Arsenal for ’10 million and last week picked to play for England in the World Cup ‘ had saved to buy her a heart-shaped diamante necklace for her 16th birthday. Emily, who ended the relationship because they were “too young to be in love”, stresses she’s not jealous of 17-year-old Theo’s new girlfriend, Melanie Slade. And she has no regrets about missing out on a footballer’s lifestyle. Talking about their time as sweethearts, she said: “The first time I saw Theo I thought he was very handsome. The more I got to know him, the closer we became. Eventually we decided to be boyfriend and girlfriend. “We waited until the very last day of year seven, when we were both 12, to have our first kiss. We stayed behind at school, sat on the playing fields, held hands and kissed. It was all very sweet and innocent and we were both really nervous.” Don’t ruin Rooney: Keane Roy Keane fears that English expectation could prompt Wayne Rooney to take a World Cup gamble with his Manchester United career. United legend Keane may be the most decorated captain in the club’s history, but he has also had his share of disappointments. He missed the epic 1999 Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich through suspension and walked out of the Republic of Ireland squad on the eve of the last World Cup. And his advice to Rooney is not to risk his health further by going to Germany next month unless he has recovered completely from his broken metatarsal. The 35-year-old Irishman said: “I don’t know the extent of Wayne’s injury, but I’ve had that same type of problem myself and I’ve even been in the oxygen tent as he has. “It’s not an easy problem to recover from and that’s why I think everyone is very selfish regarding what will happen to England.” Manchester United still THE club Manchester United are still the club that everyone should want to join, according to former Old Trafford skipper Roy Keane. Roman Abramovich’s money may have put Chelsea in a league of their own financially, but Keane insists that if he had his time over again there is only one shirt he would wear ‘ the red of United. The Irishman, with his 36th birthday approaching, is on the verge of announcing his retirement because of continuing problems with his hip. But he insisted: “I’ve been so lucky and I’d do it all again tomorrow. If Alex Ferguson rang me and I was 18 or 19 years old I’d walk all the way from Nottingham to Manchester to join United. “Chelsea are doing very well at the moment, there is a lot of money at Stamford Bridge, and London is appealing to a lot of players. But Manchester United are still Manchester United. The club is unique, very special.” Fergie betrayed me: Ruud Ruud van Nistelrooy believes he has been “betrayed” by Sir Alex Ferguson. And the Dutch star’s closest football ally has revealed the moment when Van Nistelrooy’s Manchester United career effectively ended. Wim van Hanegem, the former Dutch World Cup hero and Van Nistelrooy’s close friend, said: “The departure of Roy Keane had a massive impact on Ruud. “In the dressing-room Ruud openly sided with Keane when Ferguson decided to separate the player from the club. Because of Ruud’s passion and determination he would not keep his mouth shut. “Ruud can go far, ‘ sometimes too far. And that has worked “against him at United.” But Van Hanegem also believes his friend made a basic error in his judgment of the United boss. You can count on me: Becks David Beckham has told millions of expectant England fans: “You can rely on me to lead our lads to World Cup glory”. Captain Becks promised supporters that, along with stars like Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, he will make the nation proud even if Wayne Rooney misses out. Beckham declares he’s ready to carry the hopes of his countrymen and lead England’s World Cup bid in Germany; Insists England’s squad is full of world-class stars who will give everything to bring the trophy home ‘ even without Rooney; Warns Rooney against risking his career by rushing back from the metatarsal injury he suffered in Manchester United’s clash with Chelsea; And admits this could be his last World Cup but declares he will carry on as England skipper for as long as possible. Hail the FA Cup legend Cardiff 2006 will be remembered as the year Steven Gerrard wrote his name as an FA Cup legend. At the end of a week when the Liverpool skipper became a father for the second time, he produced a performance which proved he’s the daddy of all midfielders. Two sensational goals, a nerveless penalty shoot-out strike after a glorious pass which had enabled Djibril Cisse to restore the Liverpool faith damaged by West Ham’s two-goal opening salvo, are the stark statistics of Gerrard’s display. What won’t be recorded in the history books is the leadership, spirit and determination that the Huyton-born midfielder dredged from his soul to make sure almost single-handedly that Rafa Benitez’s men just wouldn’t be beaten. Just as in Istanbul last May, when Liverpool looked down and out after falling three goals behind AC Milan in the Champions League final, they looked to their captain for inspiration. Once again Gerrard was up to the task.