Chelsea given ultimatum over teenagers

Chelsea already have a suspended three points penalty hanging over them following their illegal approach for Arsenal defender Ashley Cole.

Bates believes Leeds can prove Chelsea acted improperly in signing teenagers Michael Woods and Tom Taiwo from the Leeds Academy. They failed to persuade Danny Rose to join the exodus south.

Bates said: “We’re asking for ’24m for the players. They made an illegal approach for three of our kids so, at the moment, we’re going to report them to Fifa as well.

“They’re sitting on the three-point deduction for Cole. So three points for each player would represent a 12-point deduction for next season.”

Chelsea spokesman Simon Greenberg said: “We’ve always denied that an illegal approach was made for Woods, Taiwo and Rose. We made an approach to Leeds at the end of last year which they rejected. There was then a window of opportunity where any club could come in and make offers. Two of the players decided to join Chelsea.”

Eriksson dumps Nancy

Sven Goran Eriksson has dumped long-term love Nancy Dell’Olio during a secret 48-hour showdown.

The England World Cup failure finally transferred her out of his life following meetings with his lawyers, then with Nancy, 47, at their London home.

It was the first time they had met in 23 days, with 58-year-old Eriksson jetting in from Sweden while Nancy arrived from Rome where she has been staying with friends. They slept in separate beds in his villa near Regent’s Park last Friday night during the showdown over their eight-year relationship.

A source close to Nancy said: “She feared the worst when Sven said he wanted to meet her in London for talks. She’s devastated as he’s made it clear there’s no chance of a reconciliation.”

Eriksson arrived in England and had dinner with his lawyer Richard Des Voeux and advisor Athole Still at Chelsea’s trendy Lucio’s restaurant. They talked at length about the legal implications of splitting with Nancy.

The next day he dropped the bombshell face-to-face with her.

Lampard’s biography out

Frank Lampard believes England manager Sven Goran Eriksson should have taken striker Jermain Defoe to the World Cup.

The Chelsea midfielder is the first England player to reveal what really happened at Germany 2006 in an explosive biography out this month.

Although Lampard is full of praise for Eriksson, it is clear decisions were taken that left him baffled ‘ and frustrated.

And those decisions give us the first clues as to why England, and Lampard himself, failed to live up to a nation’s expectations in Germany.

Talking candidly and honestly, Lampard: (1) Believes he should have trained harder in the build-up to Germany, (2) Questions the decision to play Jamaica in the final warm-up game, (3) And answers criticisms Eriksson made of him after last season’s qualifier in Wales.

Lampard was particularly concerned about the puzzling omission of Spurs striker Defoe from England’s 23-man squad ‘ a squad that included untried Arsenal wonderkid Theo Walcott as potential cover for Michael Owen, who was still struggling for fitness.

Tough test for Beckham

David Beckham will have to survive Fabio Capello’s version of Celebrity Fit Club to secure his future with Real Madrid ‘ and hang on to his England place.

The new Bernabeu coach has introduced a gruelling training regime geared towards transforming Madrid’s under-achieving Galacticos into the Real deal.

And what’s more, no one is exempt from being forced through the pain barrier.

Beckham has been warned by team-mate Julio Baptista that the Capello boot camp is tough.

Baptista said: “Footballers expect pre-season to be hard, but this year has been much harder than usual. We knew of Capello’s reputation and that he would work us hard, but he is the most demanding coach I have ever worked under.

“Capello is the total opposite of the coach last year. He demands discipline at all times, that we work hard ‘ and there are no exceptions. He says that while individual aspects are necessary, the most important bit is the team.

“We have the talent but now he wants to give us the physical and mental strength to be a powerful unit.”

Jealousy will drive Reds

Steven Gerrard has revealed the “jealousy” that will drive Liverpool’s bid to end their title agony.

The Anfield skipper has won the Champions League, FA Cup, League Cup, Uefa Cup, Charity Shield and Super Cup in his career with the Reds.

But the sight of his England team-mate John Terry parading the Premiership trophy for Chelsea over the last two seasons has made him even more determined to win the one medal missing from his collection.

Gerrard, who will rival Terry to succeed David Beckham as England captain, said: “The Premiership is the one trophy I really want to get my hands on. I’ve seen John Terry lift it for the last two years and, while I’ve been happy for him because he’s a good mate, there is also a bit of jealousy there because I want to do the same.”

Woodgate hails Ruud

Jonathan Woodgate has hailed Ruud van Nistelrooy as a “sensational” signing for Real Madrid after sending out his own message that he is ready for the new season.

Woodgate has endured nightmare injury problems but he has featured throughout Real’s pre-season campaign in Austria and got another 45 minutes in last Saturday’s 0-0 friendly draw with Fulham.

Van Nistelrooy trained with his new team-mates before kick-off and Woodgate is predicting big things for him at the Bernabeu. “Ruud is a sensational signing,” the defender said. “I was definitely surprised that Manchester United allowed him to leave because he is a world-class player, but I’m delighted that he has come to Real Madrid.”

August 2006
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