Paul Parker

  • Modric is one of a kind

    Luka Modric looks set to be involved in one of the summer's big transfer sagas following Tottenham's rejection of Chelsea's £22 million bid for him and his comments about a potential move to Stamford Bridge.

    Manchester United had previously been the first name linked with the 25-year-old, but now the Premier League's top two clubs are ready to fight over him.

    Manchester City will inevitably try and elbow their way in for a piece of the action, but with David Silva on their books they already have their own midfield magician to call upon.

    The little Croatian is a rare breed in the modern

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  • United need a new Roy Keane

    Ashley Young was the right signing at a good price for United but I still think they need more in midfield to complete the jigsaw.

    Young is going to have to hit the ground running - Antonio Valencia did really well coming back from serious injury so quickly and his only poor game was, unfortunately, in the Champions League final.

    Young has something extra in that he can cross the ball and is brilliant with set pieces, which will help United as they haven't been relying so much on crosses of late.

    He may have to change the way he plays a little but United may do so too if they are going to get

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  • Fletcher omission a mistake

    There was always going to be a gulf in class between Barcelona and Manchester United at Wembley, but that should not disguise the fact that Sir Alex Ferguson's tactical choices prevented us from seeing a closer contest.

    They suffered from a lack of presence in midfield and I was quite surprised to see Darren Fletcher sat on the bench while Javier Hernandez partnered Wayne Rooney in a two-man attack.

    I know Fletcher had been out for a while due to a virus and was lacking a bit of fitness, but his natural enthusiasm and his desire to play in the final - having missed out due to suspension in

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  • England not the place to nurture talent

    The failure of England's Under-21 side to get out of their group at the European Championships is yet another in a long line of disappointments for the national team in recent years.

    It was not even so much the results themselves that are so unpalatable, but the manner of them. The young players, just like their senior counterparts, seemed to run out of ideas all too quickly. It seems that creativity is just not in the English footballing culture. If you look at the Premier League, the main creative sources in most teams are foreigners.

    How many truly accomplished all-round footballers have

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  • Bent not the answer for England

    Saturday's match against Switzerland at Wembley is a good opportunity for Darren Bent to build on his recent performances for England, but that should not disguise the fact that he is not international class and the country is bereft of top-class strikers.

    If Bent scores against the Swiss, as he did in the away fixture in September and the qualifier against Wales in March, then he will have taken the chance presented to him once again. However, his ability pales in comparison to some of the strikers England have had in the past.

    Bent is scoring with regularity in the Premier League, and

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  • Rio should apologise – and not on Twitter

    Rio Ferdinand should apologise to Edwin van
    der Sar for the poor backpass that started the chain of events before
    Manchester City's FA Cup goal - and he should to it in person, not via a stupid
    Twitter comment.

    Everyone talked about Michael Carrick's lazy
    ball that directly resulted in Yaya Toure's winner and indeed it exposed a
    failing in the Manchester United midfielder's game: sometimes he is brilliant,
    but all-too-often he makes these kinds of sloppy errors.

    But Ferdinand's initial backpass was poor
    and selfish: 99 times out of 100 he clears his lines but he saw an easier
    option in playing

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  • Feisty Barca no soft touch

    There
    is a perception among some people ahead of the Champions League final that
    Barcelona are a team who don't like it up them and can be muscled out of
    contention.

    I
    saw Jack Wilshere advising United to 'get in their faces', although I'm not sure
    what a 19-year-old Arsenal midfielder can offer a man with 47 trophies to his
    name in terms of tactical pointers.

    This
    Barcelona team are certainly not soft touches. This season they have overcome a
    Real Madrid team that seemed intent on hacking their way to victory, and they
    have been on tough away trips to places like Ukraine and won.

    Let's

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  • Rooney should get ban for camera outburst

    On balance,
    Wayne Rooney probably deserves a ban and heavy fine for his unacceptable
    outburst during the win over West Ham.

    Everything
    that's going on now - on and off the pitch - was going on when I was playing.

    In those
    days though cameras didn't get shoved in your face so much and people didn't follow
    - or care about - your every move: times have changed and the money in the game
    reflects that.

    Wayne
    should be clever enough to know you can't do that. He has a child himself and,
    like any parent, you don't want someone effing and jeffing in front of your
    kids.

    He would
    take umbrage if a man

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  • West Ham troubles start at the top

    The root of West Ham United's relegation from the Premier League stems right from the top. Sure, their bumbling players and dour manager have to take their fair share of the blame, but it is those in charge who are most culpable for their awful season.

    The two Davids, Gold and Sullivan, and Karren Brady had the chance to change things around in January but got it all wrong. They completely mismanaged the planned transition from Avram Grant to Martin O'Neill, and as a result lost out on hiring one of the most astute managers out there and ending up stuck with a lame duck in the dugout.

    They

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  • United have left rivals playing catch-up

    I was at Manchester United when they won their first Premier League title in 1993. That was the club's eighth title overall, and I can assure everyone that at the time none of the players could have imagined that United would now be on the verge of beating Liverpool's record of 18 titles.

    For Sir Alex Ferguson, however, I think it was always a different story. He came to United with the aim of one day surpassing Liverpool's domestic dominance and, after winning his first Champions League, set his sights on beating them in Europe too.

    If United beat Barcelona in this season's final at Wembley,

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