United threaten Eriksson with lawsuit

United held a series of tense negotiations with the FA last week to try to ensure that Rooney was not rushed back into action before he recovers fully.

United will take legal action if Rooney gets injured again by being plunged into action too swiftly.

Rooney came on as a substitute against Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday.

A highly-placed source said: “If Sven picks Rooney in the group stages and he gets injured, then United will take legal action against him personally.”

Such unprecedented action could land the Swede with a multi-million pound lawsuit after he walks away from the England job at the end of the tournament.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is still raging about the Rooney affair. And he clashed with Eriksson in a bitter telephone conversation after the striker underwent a scan on his fractured metatarsal last week.

Star player’s dad causes stir

The father of England star Jamie Carragher was at the centre of a storm this week after getting drunk at the players wives’ hotel and taunting staff with a World War II victory salute.

Liverpudlian Gary Carragher (52) caused outrage in the bar of the plush ‘500-a-night Brenner’s Park Hotel with three pals.

The four ended a seven-hour trawl of bars in the picturesque Spa town of Baden Baden by returning to the five-star hotel barely able to stand. They abused bar staff and angered German guests with loud, derogatory remarks.

Staff were forced to step in when Gary reacted furiously to a barman’s suggestion that the group should call it a night after they were heard swearing loudly in front of stunned guests.

Let’s get streetwise: Owen

Michael Owen fears honesty could undermine England’s World Cup campaign unless they become more streetwise. Owen openly admits that some of England’s rivals are prepared to win at all costs – even if it means cheating their way to victory.

The England striker said: “We are a very honest nation. We try to win the right way. We are brave and courageous and I don’t think a lot of teams enjoy playing us. But England are not as streetwise as other nations.

“A lot of other countries know how to win but also how to keep a victory – to do certain things to hang on to a lead. It’s all well and good playing well – and of course we have got to do that – but there are big pitfalls in World Cups.”

England’s busiest Saturday morning

It was 2pm last Saturday, and England had other things on its mind. Shopping centres were eerily empty, supermarket checkouts silent, and the M25 almost deserted.

It was time for kick-off and the nation was glued to the TV. England were taking on Paraguay in their World Cup opener in Germany.

But hours earlier, it had been an entirely different story when punters splashed out ‘200 million in one of the busiest Saturday morning rushes ever.

Supermarkets struggled to keep up with demand as shoppers snapped up beer, disposable barbecues, champagne and English flags.

The World Cup fever had hit England.

Fergie drove Silvestre nuts

Mikael Silvestre has revealed how Sir Alex Ferguson drove him into such a depression he was forced to see a shrink (a physician who specialises in psychiatry).

The Manchester United defender has confessed to a living hell at Old Trafford.

Silvestre is just regaining the confidence that was strangled away last season.

And he puts his recall to the French squad down to his new psychiatrists.

Silvestre said: “I thought my World Cup dream was in tatters just a few months ago. I was totally down and being left out at United. I started asking myself what I was lacking, why the manager had dropped me, what I had to do to make him have faith in me again.

“That’s when I had the most help from a private company I had been seeing. They helped greatly because they are experts in technical and tactical aspects and in mental preparation.”

Drogba to stay at Blues

Didier Drogba is set to end months of uncertainty and sign a new four-year deal with Chelsea. And William Gallas could follow suit in a spectacular U-turn.

Blues boss Jose Mourinho made an offer of a new contract to Drogba (28) in a desperate bid to keep the striker at Stamford Bridge.

The champions opened talks with Drogba’s agent Pierre Frelot this week and are close to agreeing terms.

Frelot said: “We are in talks with Chelsea over a new contract for Didier. Mourinho absolutely wants him to stay.”

It looks like Gallas, who has already rejected an offer and said he fancied joining AC Milan, will also be given improved terms.

Southgate talks tough

Gareth Southgate has vowed to become Mr Angry as he looks to repay England’s heir apparent Steve McClaren for his help in getting on the managerial ladder.

The former England international says he will cast aside his nice-guy image as he tries to follow in McClaren’s footsteps at Middlesbrough.

Southgate said: “The days when you threw teacups are probably gone but I was very demanding of my teammates as a player and as a captain. All the players here know the commitment I expect from everybody. I don’t think you get to have the career I’ve had as a player by just being a nice fellow.”

June 2006
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