Euro 2012

Euro 2012 Slideshow

FILE PHOTO - Football - Northern Ireland v Serbia - UEFA Euro 2012 Qualifying Group C - Windsor Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland - 2/9/11 Steven Davis (R) - Northern Ireland in action against Milos Ninkovic - Serbia Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Andrew Couldridge
Northern Ireland v Serbia UEFA Euro 2012 Qualifying Group C
FILE PHOTO - Football - Northern Ireland v Serbia - UEFA Euro 2012 Qualifying Group C - Windsor Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland - 2/9/11 Steven Davis (R) - Northern Ireland in action against Milos Ninkovic - Serbia Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Andrew Couldridge
The Three Lions and the Azzurri played out a thrilling* 0-0 draw before England inevitably exited on penalties but can you name the players who graced the white and the blue shirts?
Quiz! Can you name the line-ups from England vs Italy in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals?
The Three Lions and the Azzurri played out a thrilling* 0-0 draw before England inevitably exited on penalties but can you name the players who graced the white and the blue shirts?
Jan Vertonghen has said this current crop of Belgian stars is reaching its peak as time begins to run out for the country’s ‘golden generation’ to convert its talent into international success. The Tottenham Hotspur defender, who last year became the most capped player in Belgium’s history, has said the country’s leading players must “reward” themselves at this year’s World Cup. Under former Everton and Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez, Belgium will take one of the most talented squads to Russia, where they will meet England in the third game of the group stage. Vertonghen believes many in the Belgium team, particularly in the defence, will be at the pinnacle of their careers this summer. “You speak about that peak here at Tottenham and it is even more so at Belgium, especially defensively,” said the 30-year-old. Belgium are currently ranked fifth in the world Credit: AP “I am one of the youngest! We have players like [Vincent] Kompany, [Thomas] Vermaelen, myself and Toby Alderweireld who are around our 30s, when you should be at your best. I think we are now. “This could be the year where we need to reward ourselves. We have had great compliments before and now everyone knows what we can do. With Kevin De Bruyne, Eden [Hazard] or all the other guys where we are at, we should reward ourselves.” Belgium’s ‘golden generation’ has largely been unable to live up to expectations, having failed to qualify for Euro 2012 before losing in the quarter-finals of both the 2014 World Cup, against Argentina, and Euro 2016, against Wales. Martinez’s side will, however, be expected to progress from the World Cup group with England, Panama and Tunisia, and Vertonghen is targeting a place in the semi-finals in Russia, at least. “You can ask 10 teams and they all want to win it,” he said. “Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Germany, France. England are up there for me. “To start, [the target is] the semi-finals, but you have to be lucky with the draw. The semi-finals are a realistic goal, and then hopefully more.” With so many of their players based in the Premier League, including Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku and Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois, Belgium will be well prepared for the potential threat of England and, in particular, Vertonghen’s club team-mate Harry Kane. Both Vertonghen (L) and Harry Kane (R) are key men for club and country Credit: Getty Images Tottenham have eight league games remaining this season, as well as an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United. As it stands, their final game of the campaign will be against Leicester City on May 13th, after which Vertonghen and Kane will go their separate ways until they meet again in Kaliningrad on June 28. “After the Leicester game on the final day of the season I won’t see Harry again,” Vertonghen said. “For me, Harry is one of the top two strikers in the world because he has all the ability. “You can have a plan against Harry and he will find something. He is a great player and hopefully England and us have already qualified and he gets a rest.” Belgium became the first European side to qualify for the World Cup following a impressive campaign in which they were unbeaten in 10 games, scored 43 goals and only conceded six. However, the fine run of form did not prevent De Bruyne from openly criticising Martinez’s tactical approach after a draw with Mexico in November. The Manchester City midfielder said it was a “pity” that the national side are yet to find a setup that gets the best out of its star players, saying that Belgium are “playing a system that is very defensive, but filled with many attacking players who want the ball”.
Jan Vertonghen tells Belgium squad to get Russian rewards their talent deserves
Jan Vertonghen has said this current crop of Belgian stars is reaching its peak as time begins to run out for the country’s ‘golden generation’ to convert its talent into international success. The Tottenham Hotspur defender, who last year became the most capped player in Belgium’s history, has said the country’s leading players must “reward” themselves at this year’s World Cup. Under former Everton and Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez, Belgium will take one of the most talented squads to Russia, where they will meet England in the third game of the group stage. Vertonghen believes many in the Belgium team, particularly in the defence, will be at the pinnacle of their careers this summer. “You speak about that peak here at Tottenham and it is even more so at Belgium, especially defensively,” said the 30-year-old. Belgium are currently ranked fifth in the world Credit: AP “I am one of the youngest! We have players like [Vincent] Kompany, [Thomas] Vermaelen, myself and Toby Alderweireld who are around our 30s, when you should be at your best. I think we are now. “This could be the year where we need to reward ourselves. We have had great compliments before and now everyone knows what we can do. With Kevin De Bruyne, Eden [Hazard] or all the other guys where we are at, we should reward ourselves.” Belgium’s ‘golden generation’ has largely been unable to live up to expectations, having failed to qualify for Euro 2012 before losing in the quarter-finals of both the 2014 World Cup, against Argentina, and Euro 2016, against Wales. Martinez’s side will, however, be expected to progress from the World Cup group with England, Panama and Tunisia, and Vertonghen is targeting a place in the semi-finals in Russia, at least. “You can ask 10 teams and they all want to win it,” he said. “Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Germany, France. England are up there for me. “To start, [the target is] the semi-finals, but you have to be lucky with the draw. The semi-finals are a realistic goal, and then hopefully more.” With so many of their players based in the Premier League, including Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku and Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois, Belgium will be well prepared for the potential threat of England and, in particular, Vertonghen’s club team-mate Harry Kane. Both Vertonghen (L) and Harry Kane (R) are key men for club and country Credit: Getty Images Tottenham have eight league games remaining this season, as well as an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United. As it stands, their final game of the campaign will be against Leicester City on May 13th, after which Vertonghen and Kane will go their separate ways until they meet again in Kaliningrad on June 28. “After the Leicester game on the final day of the season I won’t see Harry again,” Vertonghen said. “For me, Harry is one of the top two strikers in the world because he has all the ability. “You can have a plan against Harry and he will find something. He is a great player and hopefully England and us have already qualified and he gets a rest.” Belgium became the first European side to qualify for the World Cup following a impressive campaign in which they were unbeaten in 10 games, scored 43 goals and only conceded six. However, the fine run of form did not prevent De Bruyne from openly criticising Martinez’s tactical approach after a draw with Mexico in November. The Manchester City midfielder said it was a “pity” that the national side are yet to find a setup that gets the best out of its star players, saying that Belgium are “playing a system that is very defensive, but filled with many attacking players who want the ball”.
Jan Vertonghen has said this current crop of Belgian stars is reaching its peak as time begins to run out for the country’s ‘golden generation’ to convert its talent into international success. The Tottenham Hotspur defender, who last year became the most capped player in Belgium’s history, has said the country’s leading players must “reward” themselves at this year’s World Cup. Under former Everton and Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez, Belgium will take one of the most talented squads to Russia, where they will meet England in the third game of the group stage. Vertonghen believes many in the Belgium team, particularly in the defence, will be at the pinnacle of their careers this summer. “You speak about that peak here at Tottenham and it is even more so at Belgium, especially defensively,” said the 30-year-old. Belgium are currently ranked fifth in the world Credit: AP “I am one of the youngest! We have players like [Vincent] Kompany, [Thomas] Vermaelen, myself and Toby Alderweireld who are around our 30s, when you should be at your best. I think we are now. “This could be the year where we need to reward ourselves. We have had great compliments before and now everyone knows what we can do. With Kevin De Bruyne, Eden [Hazard] or all the other guys where we are at, we should reward ourselves.” Belgium’s ‘golden generation’ has largely been unable to live up to expectations, having failed to qualify for Euro 2012 before losing in the quarter-finals of both the 2014 World Cup, against Argentina, and Euro 2016, against Wales. Martinez’s side will, however, be expected to progress from the World Cup group with England, Panama and Tunisia, and Vertonghen is targeting a place in the semi-finals in Russia, at least. “You can ask 10 teams and they all want to win it,” he said. “Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Germany, France. England are up there for me. “To start, [the target is] the semi-finals, but you have to be lucky with the draw. The semi-finals are a realistic goal, and then hopefully more.” With so many of their players based in the Premier League, including Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku and Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois, Belgium will be well prepared for the potential threat of England and, in particular, Vertonghen’s club team-mate Harry Kane. Both Vertonghen (L) and Harry Kane (R) are key men for club and country Credit: Getty Images Tottenham have eight league games remaining this season, as well as an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United. As it stands, their final game of the campaign will be against Leicester City on May 13th, after which Vertonghen and Kane will go their separate ways until they meet again in Kaliningrad on June 28. “After the Leicester game on the final day of the season I won’t see Harry again,” Vertonghen said. “For me, Harry is one of the top two strikers in the world because he has all the ability. “You can have a plan against Harry and he will find something. He is a great player and hopefully England and us have already qualified and he gets a rest.” Belgium became the first European side to qualify for the World Cup following a impressive campaign in which they were unbeaten in 10 games, scored 43 goals and only conceded six. However, the fine run of form did not prevent De Bruyne from openly criticising Martinez’s tactical approach after a draw with Mexico in November. The Manchester City midfielder said it was a “pity” that the national side are yet to find a setup that gets the best out of its star players, saying that Belgium are “playing a system that is very defensive, but filled with many attacking players who want the ball”.
Jan Vertonghen tells Belgium squad to get Russian rewards their talent deserves
Jan Vertonghen has said this current crop of Belgian stars is reaching its peak as time begins to run out for the country’s ‘golden generation’ to convert its talent into international success. The Tottenham Hotspur defender, who last year became the most capped player in Belgium’s history, has said the country’s leading players must “reward” themselves at this year’s World Cup. Under former Everton and Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez, Belgium will take one of the most talented squads to Russia, where they will meet England in the third game of the group stage. Vertonghen believes many in the Belgium team, particularly in the defence, will be at the pinnacle of their careers this summer. “You speak about that peak here at Tottenham and it is even more so at Belgium, especially defensively,” said the 30-year-old. Belgium are currently ranked fifth in the world Credit: AP “I am one of the youngest! We have players like [Vincent] Kompany, [Thomas] Vermaelen, myself and Toby Alderweireld who are around our 30s, when you should be at your best. I think we are now. “This could be the year where we need to reward ourselves. We have had great compliments before and now everyone knows what we can do. With Kevin De Bruyne, Eden [Hazard] or all the other guys where we are at, we should reward ourselves.” Belgium’s ‘golden generation’ has largely been unable to live up to expectations, having failed to qualify for Euro 2012 before losing in the quarter-finals of both the 2014 World Cup, against Argentina, and Euro 2016, against Wales. Martinez’s side will, however, be expected to progress from the World Cup group with England, Panama and Tunisia, and Vertonghen is targeting a place in the semi-finals in Russia, at least. “You can ask 10 teams and they all want to win it,” he said. “Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Germany, France. England are up there for me. “To start, [the target is] the semi-finals, but you have to be lucky with the draw. The semi-finals are a realistic goal, and then hopefully more.” With so many of their players based in the Premier League, including Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku and Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois, Belgium will be well prepared for the potential threat of England and, in particular, Vertonghen’s club team-mate Harry Kane. Both Vertonghen (L) and Harry Kane (R) are key men for club and country Credit: Getty Images Tottenham have eight league games remaining this season, as well as an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United. As it stands, their final game of the campaign will be against Leicester City on May 13th, after which Vertonghen and Kane will go their separate ways until they meet again in Kaliningrad on June 28. “After the Leicester game on the final day of the season I won’t see Harry again,” Vertonghen said. “For me, Harry is one of the top two strikers in the world because he has all the ability. “You can have a plan against Harry and he will find something. He is a great player and hopefully England and us have already qualified and he gets a rest.” Belgium became the first European side to qualify for the World Cup following a impressive campaign in which they were unbeaten in 10 games, scored 43 goals and only conceded six. However, the fine run of form did not prevent De Bruyne from openly criticising Martinez’s tactical approach after a draw with Mexico in November. The Manchester City midfielder said it was a “pity” that the national side are yet to find a setup that gets the best out of its star players, saying that Belgium are “playing a system that is very defensive, but filled with many attacking players who want the ball”.
Jan Vertonghen has said this current crop of Belgian stars is reaching its peak as time begins to run out for the country’s ‘golden generation’ to convert its talent into international success. The Tottenham Hotspur defender, who last year became the most capped player in Belgium’s history, has said the country’s leading players must “reward” themselves at this year’s World Cup. Under former Everton and Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez, Belgium will take one of the most talented squads to Russia, where they will meet England in the third game of the group stage. Vertonghen believes many in the Belgium team, particularly in the defence, will be at the pinnacle of their careers this summer. “You speak about that peak here at Tottenham and it is even more so at Belgium, especially defensively,” said the 30-year-old. Belgium are currently ranked fifth in the world Credit: AP “I am one of the youngest! We have players like [Vincent] Kompany, [Thomas] Vermaelen, myself and Toby Alderweireld who are around our 30s, when you should be at your best. I think we are now. “This could be the year where we need to reward ourselves. We have had great compliments before and now everyone knows what we can do. With Kevin De Bruyne, Eden [Hazard] or all the other guys where we are at, we should reward ourselves.” Belgium’s ‘golden generation’ has largely been unable to live up to expectations, having failed to qualify for Euro 2012 before losing in the quarter-finals of both the 2014 World Cup, against Argentina, and Euro 2016, against Wales. Martinez’s side will, however, be expected to progress from the World Cup group with England, Panama and Tunisia, and Vertonghen is targeting a place in the semi-finals in Russia, at least. “You can ask 10 teams and they all want to win it,” he said. “Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Germany, France. England are up there for me. “To start, [the target is] the semi-finals, but you have to be lucky with the draw. The semi-finals are a realistic goal, and then hopefully more.” With so many of their players based in the Premier League, including Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku and Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois, Belgium will be well prepared for the potential threat of England and, in particular, Vertonghen’s club team-mate Harry Kane. Both Vertonghen (L) and Harry Kane (R) are key men for club and country Credit: Getty Images Tottenham have eight league games remaining this season, as well as an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United. As it stands, their final game of the campaign will be against Leicester City on May 13th, after which Vertonghen and Kane will go their separate ways until they meet again in Kaliningrad on June 28. “After the Leicester game on the final day of the season I won’t see Harry again,” Vertonghen said. “For me, Harry is one of the top two strikers in the world because he has all the ability. “You can have a plan against Harry and he will find something. He is a great player and hopefully England and us have already qualified and he gets a rest.” Belgium became the first European side to qualify for the World Cup following a impressive campaign in which they were unbeaten in 10 games, scored 43 goals and only conceded six. However, the fine run of form did not prevent De Bruyne from openly criticising Martinez’s tactical approach after a draw with Mexico in November. The Manchester City midfielder said it was a “pity” that the national side are yet to find a setup that gets the best out of its star players, saying that Belgium are “playing a system that is very defensive, but filled with many attacking players who want the ball”.
Jan Vertonghen tells Belgium squad to get Russian rewards their talent deserves
Jan Vertonghen has said this current crop of Belgian stars is reaching its peak as time begins to run out for the country’s ‘golden generation’ to convert its talent into international success. The Tottenham Hotspur defender, who last year became the most capped player in Belgium’s history, has said the country’s leading players must “reward” themselves at this year’s World Cup. Under former Everton and Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez, Belgium will take one of the most talented squads to Russia, where they will meet England in the third game of the group stage. Vertonghen believes many in the Belgium team, particularly in the defence, will be at the pinnacle of their careers this summer. “You speak about that peak here at Tottenham and it is even more so at Belgium, especially defensively,” said the 30-year-old. Belgium are currently ranked fifth in the world Credit: AP “I am one of the youngest! We have players like [Vincent] Kompany, [Thomas] Vermaelen, myself and Toby Alderweireld who are around our 30s, when you should be at your best. I think we are now. “This could be the year where we need to reward ourselves. We have had great compliments before and now everyone knows what we can do. With Kevin De Bruyne, Eden [Hazard] or all the other guys where we are at, we should reward ourselves.” Belgium’s ‘golden generation’ has largely been unable to live up to expectations, having failed to qualify for Euro 2012 before losing in the quarter-finals of both the 2014 World Cup, against Argentina, and Euro 2016, against Wales. Martinez’s side will, however, be expected to progress from the World Cup group with England, Panama and Tunisia, and Vertonghen is targeting a place in the semi-finals in Russia, at least. “You can ask 10 teams and they all want to win it,” he said. “Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Germany, France. England are up there for me. “To start, [the target is] the semi-finals, but you have to be lucky with the draw. The semi-finals are a realistic goal, and then hopefully more.” With so many of their players based in the Premier League, including Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku and Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois, Belgium will be well prepared for the potential threat of England and, in particular, Vertonghen’s club team-mate Harry Kane. Both Vertonghen (L) and Harry Kane (R) are key men for club and country Credit: Getty Images Tottenham have eight league games remaining this season, as well as an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United. As it stands, their final game of the campaign will be against Leicester City on May 13th, after which Vertonghen and Kane will go their separate ways until they meet again in Kaliningrad on June 28. “After the Leicester game on the final day of the season I won’t see Harry again,” Vertonghen said. “For me, Harry is one of the top two strikers in the world because he has all the ability. “You can have a plan against Harry and he will find something. He is a great player and hopefully England and us have already qualified and he gets a rest.” Belgium became the first European side to qualify for the World Cup following a impressive campaign in which they were unbeaten in 10 games, scored 43 goals and only conceded six. However, the fine run of form did not prevent De Bruyne from openly criticising Martinez’s tactical approach after a draw with Mexico in November. The Manchester City midfielder said it was a “pity” that the national side are yet to find a setup that gets the best out of its star players, saying that Belgium are “playing a system that is very defensive, but filled with many attacking players who want the ball”.
BERLIN, GERMANY - JUNE 09: A German soccer fan cheers with German flags at the end of their team's first game of the Euro 2012 at a public viewing zone called 'fan mile' on June 9, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. Germany won 1:0 versus Portugal. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)
Why Germany Won't Have a Gender-Neutral Anthem
BERLIN, GERMANY - JUNE 09: A German soccer fan cheers with German flags at the end of their team's first game of the Euro 2012 at a public viewing zone called 'fan mile' on June 9, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. Germany won 1:0 versus Portugal. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)
England’s players will be allowed to go on holiday before the World Cup, Gareth Southgate has revealed. Southgate has decided against emulating Roy Hodgson by asking clubs to release members of his squad for a pre-tournament training camp straight after the end of the Premier League season. England made a big deal ahead of the last European Championship of Hodgson securing early access to his players, who even agreed to surrender their passports to demonstrate their commitment to the cause. That was after his decision to allow Wayne Rooney an extended holiday in Las Vegas before Euro 2012 backfired when the striker lost fitness. But the gesture made no difference, with Hodgson losing his job after England’s humiliating defeat to Iceland. Southgate need not worry about Rooney as the striker has called time on his England career Credit: Getty Images Southgate has decided to trust his squad not to go off the rails before football’s biggest event. He will not need to worry about Rooney, who had already announced his international retirement when he was banned from driving for two years in September after being caught three times over the alcohol limit. But Southgate will not want a repeat of Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson’s trip to a Bournemouth strip club the evening after England’s November 2016 qualifying win over Scotland, the same night Rooney went out on another drinking session. Players not involved in the FA Cup, Champions League or Europa League finals will be allowed around a week’s holiday straight after the end of the Premier League season on May 13 before the squad meets up at St George’s Park. England have not organised any friendlies before the Champions League on May 26 Credit: Reuters Southgate will have to decide how much, if any, time off to give to those who do feature in the last three matches of the campaign. Unlike two years ago, England have not organised any friendlies before the May 26 Champions League final, while players do not need to be released for World Cup duty under Fifa rules until five days later, two days before Southgate’s side play Nigeria at Wembley. Their opening match of the tournament against Tunisia is also not until June 18, more than five weeks after the Premier League season ends, and more than three after the Champions League final. World Cup 2018 stadiums Two years ago, those gaps were less than four weeks, and only two weeks, respectively. Southgate presented his pre-tournament plans to Premier League clubs at their quarterly shareholders meeting on Thursday.
England players allowed to go on holiday before World Cup
England’s players will be allowed to go on holiday before the World Cup, Gareth Southgate has revealed. Southgate has decided against emulating Roy Hodgson by asking clubs to release members of his squad for a pre-tournament training camp straight after the end of the Premier League season. England made a big deal ahead of the last European Championship of Hodgson securing early access to his players, who even agreed to surrender their passports to demonstrate their commitment to the cause. That was after his decision to allow Wayne Rooney an extended holiday in Las Vegas before Euro 2012 backfired when the striker lost fitness. But the gesture made no difference, with Hodgson losing his job after England’s humiliating defeat to Iceland. Southgate need not worry about Rooney as the striker has called time on his England career Credit: Getty Images Southgate has decided to trust his squad not to go off the rails before football’s biggest event. He will not need to worry about Rooney, who had already announced his international retirement when he was banned from driving for two years in September after being caught three times over the alcohol limit. But Southgate will not want a repeat of Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson’s trip to a Bournemouth strip club the evening after England’s November 2016 qualifying win over Scotland, the same night Rooney went out on another drinking session. Players not involved in the FA Cup, Champions League or Europa League finals will be allowed around a week’s holiday straight after the end of the Premier League season on May 13 before the squad meets up at St George’s Park. England have not organised any friendlies before the Champions League on May 26 Credit: Reuters Southgate will have to decide how much, if any, time off to give to those who do feature in the last three matches of the campaign. Unlike two years ago, England have not organised any friendlies before the May 26 Champions League final, while players do not need to be released for World Cup duty under Fifa rules until five days later, two days before Southgate’s side play Nigeria at Wembley. Their opening match of the tournament against Tunisia is also not until June 18, more than five weeks after the Premier League season ends, and more than three after the Champions League final. World Cup 2018 stadiums Two years ago, those gaps were less than four weeks, and only two weeks, respectively. Southgate presented his pre-tournament plans to Premier League clubs at their quarterly shareholders meeting on Thursday.
England’s players will be allowed to go on holiday before the World Cup, Gareth Southgate has revealed. Southgate has decided against emulating Roy Hodgson by asking clubs to release members of his squad for a pre-tournament training camp straight after the end of the Premier League season. England made a big deal ahead of the last European Championship of Hodgson securing early access to his players, who even agreed to surrender their passports to demonstrate their commitment to the cause. That was after his decision to allow Wayne Rooney an extended holiday in Las Vegas before Euro 2012 backfired when the striker lost fitness. But the gesture made no difference, with Hodgson losing his job after England’s humiliating defeat to Iceland. Southgate need not worry about Rooney as the striker has called time on his England career Credit: Getty Images Southgate has decided to trust his squad not to go off the rails before football’s biggest event. He will not need to worry about Rooney, who had already announced his international retirement when he was banned from driving for two years in September after being caught three times over the alcohol limit. But Southgate will not want a repeat of Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson’s trip to a Bournemouth strip club the evening after England’s November 2016 qualifying win over Scotland, the same night Rooney went out on another drinking session. Players not involved in the FA Cup, Champions League or Europa League finals will be allowed around a week’s holiday straight after the end of the Premier League season on May 13 before the squad meets up at St George’s Park. England have not organised any friendlies before the Champions League on May 26 Credit: Reuters Southgate will have to decide how much, if any, time off to give to those who do feature in the last three matches of the campaign. Unlike two years ago, England have not organised any friendlies before the May 26 Champions League final, while players do not need to be released for World Cup duty under Fifa rules until five days later, two days before Southgate’s side play Nigeria at Wembley. Their opening match of the tournament against Tunisia is also not until June 18, more than five weeks after the Premier League season ends, and more than three after the Champions League final. World Cup 2018 stadiums Two years ago, those gaps were less than four weeks, and only two weeks, respectively. Southgate presented his pre-tournament plans to Premier League clubs at their quarterly shareholders meeting on Thursday.
England players allowed to go on holiday before World Cup
England’s players will be allowed to go on holiday before the World Cup, Gareth Southgate has revealed. Southgate has decided against emulating Roy Hodgson by asking clubs to release members of his squad for a pre-tournament training camp straight after the end of the Premier League season. England made a big deal ahead of the last European Championship of Hodgson securing early access to his players, who even agreed to surrender their passports to demonstrate their commitment to the cause. That was after his decision to allow Wayne Rooney an extended holiday in Las Vegas before Euro 2012 backfired when the striker lost fitness. But the gesture made no difference, with Hodgson losing his job after England’s humiliating defeat to Iceland. Southgate need not worry about Rooney as the striker has called time on his England career Credit: Getty Images Southgate has decided to trust his squad not to go off the rails before football’s biggest event. He will not need to worry about Rooney, who had already announced his international retirement when he was banned from driving for two years in September after being caught three times over the alcohol limit. But Southgate will not want a repeat of Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson’s trip to a Bournemouth strip club the evening after England’s November 2016 qualifying win over Scotland, the same night Rooney went out on another drinking session. Players not involved in the FA Cup, Champions League or Europa League finals will be allowed around a week’s holiday straight after the end of the Premier League season on May 13 before the squad meets up at St George’s Park. England have not organised any friendlies before the Champions League on May 26 Credit: Reuters Southgate will have to decide how much, if any, time off to give to those who do feature in the last three matches of the campaign. Unlike two years ago, England have not organised any friendlies before the May 26 Champions League final, while players do not need to be released for World Cup duty under Fifa rules until five days later, two days before Southgate’s side play Nigeria at Wembley. Their opening match of the tournament against Tunisia is also not until June 18, more than five weeks after the Premier League season ends, and more than three after the Champions League final. World Cup 2018 stadiums Two years ago, those gaps were less than four weeks, and only two weeks, respectively. Southgate presented his pre-tournament plans to Premier League clubs at their quarterly shareholders meeting on Thursday.
England’s players will be allowed to go on holiday before the World Cup, Gareth Southgate has revealed. Southgate has decided against emulating Roy Hodgson by asking clubs to release members of his squad for a pre-tournament training camp straight after the end of the Premier League season. England made a big deal ahead of the last European Championship of Hodgson securing early access to his players, who even agreed to surrender their passports to demonstrate their commitment to the cause. That was after his decision to allow Wayne Rooney an extended holiday in Las Vegas before Euro 2012 backfired when the striker lost fitness. But the gesture made no difference, with Hodgson losing his job after England’s humiliating defeat to Iceland. Southgate need not worry about Rooney as the striker has called time on his England career Credit: Getty Images Southgate has decided to trust his squad not to go off the rails before football’s biggest event. He will not need to worry about Rooney, who had already announced his international retirement when he was banned from driving for two years in September after being caught three times over the alcohol limit. But Southgate will not want a repeat of Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson’s trip to a Bournemouth strip club the evening after England’s November 2016 qualifying win over Scotland, the same night Rooney went out on another drinking session. Players not involved in the FA Cup, Champions League or Europa League finals will be allowed around a week’s holiday straight after the end of the Premier League season on May 13 before the squad meets up at St George’s Park. England have not organised any friendlies before the Champions League on May 26 Credit: Reuters Southgate will have to decide how much, if any, time off to give to those who do feature in the last three matches of the campaign. Unlike two years ago, England have not organised any friendlies before the May 26 Champions League final, while players do not need to be released for World Cup duty under Fifa rules until five days later, two days before Southgate’s side play Nigeria at Wembley. Their opening match of the tournament against Tunisia is also not until June 18, more than five weeks after the Premier League season ends, and more than three after the Champions League final. World Cup 2018 stadiums Two years ago, those gaps were less than four weeks, and only two weeks, respectively. Southgate presented his pre-tournament plans to Premier League clubs at their quarterly shareholders meeting on Thursday.
England players allowed to go on holiday before World Cup
England’s players will be allowed to go on holiday before the World Cup, Gareth Southgate has revealed. Southgate has decided against emulating Roy Hodgson by asking clubs to release members of his squad for a pre-tournament training camp straight after the end of the Premier League season. England made a big deal ahead of the last European Championship of Hodgson securing early access to his players, who even agreed to surrender their passports to demonstrate their commitment to the cause. That was after his decision to allow Wayne Rooney an extended holiday in Las Vegas before Euro 2012 backfired when the striker lost fitness. But the gesture made no difference, with Hodgson losing his job after England’s humiliating defeat to Iceland. Southgate need not worry about Rooney as the striker has called time on his England career Credit: Getty Images Southgate has decided to trust his squad not to go off the rails before football’s biggest event. He will not need to worry about Rooney, who had already announced his international retirement when he was banned from driving for two years in September after being caught three times over the alcohol limit. But Southgate will not want a repeat of Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson’s trip to a Bournemouth strip club the evening after England’s November 2016 qualifying win over Scotland, the same night Rooney went out on another drinking session. Players not involved in the FA Cup, Champions League or Europa League finals will be allowed around a week’s holiday straight after the end of the Premier League season on May 13 before the squad meets up at St George’s Park. England have not organised any friendlies before the Champions League on May 26 Credit: Reuters Southgate will have to decide how much, if any, time off to give to those who do feature in the last three matches of the campaign. Unlike two years ago, England have not organised any friendlies before the May 26 Champions League final, while players do not need to be released for World Cup duty under Fifa rules until five days later, two days before Southgate’s side play Nigeria at Wembley. Their opening match of the tournament against Tunisia is also not until June 18, more than five weeks after the Premier League season ends, and more than three after the Champions League final. World Cup 2018 stadiums Two years ago, those gaps were less than four weeks, and only two weeks, respectively. Southgate presented his pre-tournament plans to Premier League clubs at their quarterly shareholders meeting on Thursday.
<p>Umbro went out with a bang in Ukraine. England went out on penalties. </p>
Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

Umbro went out with a bang in Ukraine. England went out on penalties.

FILE PHOTO: A passenger looks through the window at Borispol airport near Kiev, March 21, 2012. Borispol will be Ukraine&#39;s main air hub during the Euro 2012 football championship. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A passenger looks through the window in Borispol airport near Kiev
FILE PHOTO: A passenger looks through the window at Borispol airport near Kiev, March 21, 2012. Borispol will be Ukraine's main air hub during the Euro 2012 football championship. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Bert van Marwijk at Metalist stadium in Kharkiv, June 17, 2012. REUTERS/Yves Herman
Netherlands' coach van Marwijk gestures during his team's Group B Euro 2012 soccer match against Portugal at Metalist stadium in Kharkiv
FILE PHOTO: Bert van Marwijk at Metalist stadium in Kharkiv, June 17, 2012. REUTERS/Yves Herman
Ruined houses, shell craters and deserted streets - this is a typical scene in the Oktyabrsky district of Donetsk, the largest city of Ukraine&#39;s pro-Russian rebel region that bears the same name. The self-styled Donetsk and next-door Luhansk &quot;people&#39;s republics&quot; broke away from central rule in 2014 after months of violent street protests in Kiev toppled Ukraine&#39;s Moscow-leaning president and propelled pro-Western nationalists to power. In this calm suburb of Donetsk, many people stood aloof of politics. But then fierce clashes broke out between Ukrainian government troops and pro-Russian separatists for control over the nearby Donetsk Airport. A glistening air hub of steel and glass, specially built for the UEFA Euro 2012 of which Donetsk was a venue, the local airport was levelled to the ground, and many of the buildings in Oktyabrsky shared its fate. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko SEARCH &quot;ERMOCHENKO DAMAGE&quot; FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH &quot;WIDER IMAGE&quot; FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY. Matching text: UKRAINE-CRISIS/DONETSK-DWELLERS
The Wider Image: War-scarred neighbourhoods in rebel-held Donetsk
Ruined houses, shell craters and deserted streets - this is a typical scene in the Oktyabrsky district of Donetsk, the largest city of Ukraine's pro-Russian rebel region that bears the same name. The self-styled Donetsk and next-door Luhansk "people's republics" broke away from central rule in 2014 after months of violent street protests in Kiev toppled Ukraine's Moscow-leaning president and propelled pro-Western nationalists to power. In this calm suburb of Donetsk, many people stood aloof of politics. But then fierce clashes broke out between Ukrainian government troops and pro-Russian separatists for control over the nearby Donetsk Airport. A glistening air hub of steel and glass, specially built for the UEFA Euro 2012 of which Donetsk was a venue, the local airport was levelled to the ground, and many of the buildings in Oktyabrsky shared its fate. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko SEARCH "ERMOCHENKO DAMAGE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY. Matching text: UKRAINE-CRISIS/DONETSK-DWELLERS
Greece&#39;s goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias attends a training session in Wroclaw on June 11, 2012, on the eve of their Euro 2012 football championships match against the Czech Republic (AFP Photo/ARIS MESSINIS)
Greece's goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias attends a training session in Wroclaw on June 11, 2012, on the eve of their Euro 2012 football championships match against the Czech Republic
Greece's goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias attends a training session in Wroclaw on June 11, 2012, on the eve of their Euro 2012 football championships match against the Czech Republic (AFP Photo/ARIS MESSINIS)
Greece&#39;s goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias attends a training session in Wroclaw on June 11, 2012, on the eve of their Euro 2012 football championships match against the Czech Republic
Greece's goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias attends a training session in Wroclaw on June 11, 2012, on the eve of their Euro 2012 football championships match against the Czech Republic
Greece's goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias attends a training session in Wroclaw on June 11, 2012, on the eve of their Euro 2012 football championships match against the Czech Republic
FILE - In this Sunday, July 1, 2012 file photo, Italy&#39;s Mario Balotelli reacts after the Euro 2012 soccer championship final between Spain and Italy in Kiev, Ukraine. The best coaches in Italy emigrate. The stadiums around the country are falling apart. The lingering problems affecting Italy&#39;s domestic league might just be the reason for the country&#39;s failure to qualify for next year&#39;s World Cup. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic, File)
FILE - In this Sunday, July 1, 2012 file photo, Italy's Mario Balotelli reacts after the Euro 2012 soccer championship final between Spain and Italy in Kiev, Ukraine. The best coaches in Italy emigrate. The stadiums around the country are falling apart. The lingering problems affecting Italy's domestic league might just be the reason for the country's failure to qualify for next year's World Cup. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic, File)
FILE - In this Sunday, July 1, 2012 file photo, Italy's Mario Balotelli reacts after the Euro 2012 soccer championship final between Spain and Italy in Kiev, Ukraine. The best coaches in Italy emigrate. The stadiums around the country are falling apart. The lingering problems affecting Italy's domestic league might just be the reason for the country's failure to qualify for next year's World Cup. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic, File)
FILE - In this Thursday, June 28, 2012 filer, Italy&#39;s Mario Balotelli celebrates his second goal during the Euro 2012 soccer championship semifinal match between Germany and Italy in Warsaw, Poland. The best players in the world go elsewhere. The best coaches in Italy emigrate. The stadiums around the country are falling apart. The lingering problems affecting Italy&#39;s domestic league might just be the reason for the country&#39;s failure to qualify for next year&#39;s World Cup. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)
FILE - In this Thursday, June 28, 2012 filer, Italy's Mario Balotelli celebrates his second goal during the Euro 2012 soccer championship semifinal match between Germany and Italy in Warsaw, Poland. The best players in the world go elsewhere. The best coaches in Italy emigrate. The stadiums around the country are falling apart. The lingering problems affecting Italy's domestic league might just be the reason for the country's failure to qualify for next year's World Cup. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)
FILE - In this Thursday, June 28, 2012 filer, Italy's Mario Balotelli celebrates his second goal during the Euro 2012 soccer championship semifinal match between Germany and Italy in Warsaw, Poland. The best players in the world go elsewhere. The best coaches in Italy emigrate. The stadiums around the country are falling apart. The lingering problems affecting Italy's domestic league might just be the reason for the country's failure to qualify for next year's World Cup. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)
FILE - In this Thursday, June 28, 2012 filer, Italy&#39;s Mario Balotelli celebrates his second goal during the Euro 2012 soccer championship semifinal match between Germany and Italy in Warsaw, Poland. The best players in the world go elsewhere. The best coaches in Italy emigrate. The stadiums around the country are falling apart. The lingering problems affecting Italy&#39;s domestic league might just be the reason for the country&#39;s failure to qualify for next year&#39;s World Cup. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File )
FILE - In this Thursday, June 28, 2012 filer, Italy's Mario Balotelli celebrates his second goal during the Euro 2012 soccer championship semifinal match between Germany and Italy in Warsaw, Poland. The best players in the world go elsewhere. The best coaches in Italy emigrate. The stadiums around the country are falling apart. The lingering problems affecting Italy's domestic league might just be the reason for the country's failure to qualify for next year's World Cup. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File )
FILE - In this Thursday, June 28, 2012 filer, Italy's Mario Balotelli celebrates his second goal during the Euro 2012 soccer championship semifinal match between Germany and Italy in Warsaw, Poland. The best players in the world go elsewhere. The best coaches in Italy emigrate. The stadiums around the country are falling apart. The lingering problems affecting Italy's domestic league might just be the reason for the country's failure to qualify for next year's World Cup. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File )
Sean St Ledger has scored for Ireland in a major tournament, played alongside Kaka and even been linked romantically with Taylor Swift, but he sounds almost giddy with excitement as he talks about making his debut for Solihull Moors on Sunday. “I know what some people will say,” explains the 32 year-old. “They’ll go: ‘It’s only Solihull and they’re in the Conference - what are you doing dropping down to their level?’ “But that doesn’t matter to me. This is such a personal achievement, signing for someone again. I’ve missed football so much.” It is over two years since St Ledger last played a competitive game, scoring an own-goal in Colorado Rapids’ 4-1 loss at Portland Timbers in October 2015. Since then a debilitating knee injury led specialists to recommend retirement. St Ledger refused to listen, ploughing his own money into private treatment and rehabilitation. He has lived like a professional despite not having a club, training alone in a bid to salvage his career. He signed a short-term deal with Solihull, his local team, on Monday, and Sunday’s FA Cup first-round tie at Wycombe will in some ways mean as much to him as scoring for the Republic of Ireland against Croatia at Euro 2012. BREAKING | #SMFC sign experienced defender @seanstledger12 on short-term contract until January. https://t.co/CJ1zSGfkEFpic.twitter.com/MZFnN35SAR— Solihull Moors FC (@SolihullMoors) October 30, 2017 “I just thought: ‘I want to play again’,” he says. “I want to get back to as high a level as possible but I’ve proved to myself I could get back from the injury. “Have there been times when I’ve wondered if this is all worth it? One hundred per cent. There have been times when my knee has swollen for no reason and I think it’s best that I move on and accept it. But I’ve always felt that when things have gone against me I have dug in and been quite dedicated. “There have been low times when I’ve said to my girlfriend that I don’t actually know what to do. You do get lonely. Most of my friends are in football. They ask what I’m up to and I’ll say I’m just doing rehab. I’ve missed the day to day, hanging out with the lads. You miss that when you come out of football for such a long period.” The enforced absence has also made St Ledger realise he hadn’t made the most of his time at Preston and Leicester, where he won the Championship. Sean St Ledger (left) during his Leicester days Credit: GETTY IMAGES “There were times I wasn’t as professional as I should have been,” he adds. “I took being a footballer for granted. When I left Leicester [in 2014] I thought I would get a club quite easily. I wasn’t that old, had a heap of experience. I went to Ipswich on loan but I struggled to get a club that season. That was when it started to really hit home that I had started to mess around during the three years at Leicester when I had a great opportunity. “If I had known they were going to win the Premier League I probably wouldn’t have messed around as much as I did!” Instead he went to America and signed for Orlando City, spending a year playing with former World Player of the Year Kaka. “Never in my wildest dreams could I have thought I would play with someone like Kaka,” he says. “He was unbelievable, the humblest guy considering what he has won in the game. I used to walk in a quarter of an hour before training and he’d have been in the gym with his personal trainer already. His quality was unbelievable.” St Ledger: &quot;#SMFC is a good place for me.&quot; Read @seanstledger12&#39;s first interview after joining The Moors. https://t.co/NBNbUSmikp. pic.twitter.com/xWshpetoY4— Solihull Moors FC (@SolihullMoors) October 30, 2017 There was also a rumour linking St Ledger with Swift after they were photographed together - “right place at the right time, but not true” he says - before he moved on to Colorado and then back to England, where he has been trying to find a club. He did so this week and he has had a swift reintroduction to the mad world of football. Less than 24 hours after he signed for Solihull the club’s manager, Richard Money, quit after just 28 days in charge. “I’ve never come across anything like it,” laughs St Ledger. “I’m in a Whatsapp group with the lads and one of the boys asked if anyone knew what was going on. Then someone else posted the club’s tweet saying he’d resigned. It’s crazy - I still don’t know the reasons why he left. “I’ve been getting messages on Twitter asking if it was my fault and what I’d done - but I can promise I’ve not done anything wrong!” This is one opportunity St Ledger is going to make the most of.
Sean St Ledger interview: Playing with Kaka, Taylor Swift rumours... but running out for Solihull in FA Cup now tops the lot
Sean St Ledger has scored for Ireland in a major tournament, played alongside Kaka and even been linked romantically with Taylor Swift, but he sounds almost giddy with excitement as he talks about making his debut for Solihull Moors on Sunday. “I know what some people will say,” explains the 32 year-old. “They’ll go: ‘It’s only Solihull and they’re in the Conference - what are you doing dropping down to their level?’ “But that doesn’t matter to me. This is such a personal achievement, signing for someone again. I’ve missed football so much.” It is over two years since St Ledger last played a competitive game, scoring an own-goal in Colorado Rapids’ 4-1 loss at Portland Timbers in October 2015. Since then a debilitating knee injury led specialists to recommend retirement. St Ledger refused to listen, ploughing his own money into private treatment and rehabilitation. He has lived like a professional despite not having a club, training alone in a bid to salvage his career. He signed a short-term deal with Solihull, his local team, on Monday, and Sunday’s FA Cup first-round tie at Wycombe will in some ways mean as much to him as scoring for the Republic of Ireland against Croatia at Euro 2012. BREAKING | #SMFC sign experienced defender @seanstledger12 on short-term contract until January. https://t.co/CJ1zSGfkEFpic.twitter.com/MZFnN35SAR— Solihull Moors FC (@SolihullMoors) October 30, 2017 “I just thought: ‘I want to play again’,” he says. “I want to get back to as high a level as possible but I’ve proved to myself I could get back from the injury. “Have there been times when I’ve wondered if this is all worth it? One hundred per cent. There have been times when my knee has swollen for no reason and I think it’s best that I move on and accept it. But I’ve always felt that when things have gone against me I have dug in and been quite dedicated. “There have been low times when I’ve said to my girlfriend that I don’t actually know what to do. You do get lonely. Most of my friends are in football. They ask what I’m up to and I’ll say I’m just doing rehab. I’ve missed the day to day, hanging out with the lads. You miss that when you come out of football for such a long period.” The enforced absence has also made St Ledger realise he hadn’t made the most of his time at Preston and Leicester, where he won the Championship. Sean St Ledger (left) during his Leicester days Credit: GETTY IMAGES “There were times I wasn’t as professional as I should have been,” he adds. “I took being a footballer for granted. When I left Leicester [in 2014] I thought I would get a club quite easily. I wasn’t that old, had a heap of experience. I went to Ipswich on loan but I struggled to get a club that season. That was when it started to really hit home that I had started to mess around during the three years at Leicester when I had a great opportunity. “If I had known they were going to win the Premier League I probably wouldn’t have messed around as much as I did!” Instead he went to America and signed for Orlando City, spending a year playing with former World Player of the Year Kaka. “Never in my wildest dreams could I have thought I would play with someone like Kaka,” he says. “He was unbelievable, the humblest guy considering what he has won in the game. I used to walk in a quarter of an hour before training and he’d have been in the gym with his personal trainer already. His quality was unbelievable.” St Ledger: "#SMFC is a good place for me." Read @seanstledger12's first interview after joining The Moors. https://t.co/NBNbUSmikp. pic.twitter.com/xWshpetoY4— Solihull Moors FC (@SolihullMoors) October 30, 2017 There was also a rumour linking St Ledger with Swift after they were photographed together - “right place at the right time, but not true” he says - before he moved on to Colorado and then back to England, where he has been trying to find a club. He did so this week and he has had a swift reintroduction to the mad world of football. Less than 24 hours after he signed for Solihull the club’s manager, Richard Money, quit after just 28 days in charge. “I’ve never come across anything like it,” laughs St Ledger. “I’m in a Whatsapp group with the lads and one of the boys asked if anyone knew what was going on. Then someone else posted the club’s tweet saying he’d resigned. It’s crazy - I still don’t know the reasons why he left. “I’ve been getting messages on Twitter asking if it was my fault and what I’d done - but I can promise I’ve not done anything wrong!” This is one opportunity St Ledger is going to make the most of.
Sean St Ledger has scored for Ireland in a major tournament, played alongside Kaka and even been linked romantically with Taylor Swift, but he sounds almost giddy with excitement as he talks about making his debut for Solihull Moors on Sunday. “I know what some people will say,” explains the 32 year-old. “They’ll go: ‘It’s only Solihull and they’re in the Conference - what are you doing dropping down to their level?’ “But that doesn’t matter to me. This is such a personal achievement, signing for someone again. I’ve missed football so much.” It is over two years since St Ledger last played a competitive game, scoring an own-goal in Colorado Rapids’ 4-1 loss at Portland Timbers in October 2015. Since then a debilitating knee injury led specialists to recommend retirement. St Ledger refused to listen, ploughing his own money into private treatment and rehabilitation. He has lived like a professional despite not having a club, training alone in a bid to salvage his career. He signed a short-term deal with Solihull, his local team, on Monday, and Sunday’s FA Cup first-round tie at Wycombe will in some ways mean as much to him as scoring for the Republic of Ireland against Croatia at Euro 2012. BREAKING | #SMFC sign experienced defender @seanstledger12 on short-term contract until January. https://t.co/CJ1zSGfkEFpic.twitter.com/MZFnN35SAR— Solihull Moors FC (@SolihullMoors) October 30, 2017 “I just thought: ‘I want to play again’,” he says. “I want to get back to as high a level as possible but I’ve proved to myself I could get back from the injury. “Have there been times when I’ve wondered if this is all worth it? One hundred per cent. There have been times when my knee has swollen for no reason and I think it’s best that I move on and accept it. But I’ve always felt that when things have gone against me I have dug in and been quite dedicated. “There have been low times when I’ve said to my girlfriend that I don’t actually know what to do. You do get lonely. Most of my friends are in football. They ask what I’m up to and I’ll say I’m just doing rehab. I’ve missed the day to day, hanging out with the lads. You miss that when you come out of football for such a long period.” The enforced absence has also made St Ledger realise he hadn’t made the most of his time at Preston and Leicester, where he won the Championship. Sean St Ledger (left) during his Leicester days Credit: GETTY IMAGES “There were times I wasn’t as professional as I should have been,” he adds. “I took being a footballer for granted. When I left Leicester [in 2014] I thought I would get a club quite easily. I wasn’t that old, had a heap of experience. I went to Ipswich on loan but I struggled to get a club that season. That was when it started to really hit home that I had started to mess around during the three years at Leicester when I had a great opportunity. “If I had known they were going to win the Premier League I probably wouldn’t have messed around as much as I did!” Instead he went to America and signed for Orlando City, spending a year playing with former World Player of the Year Kaka. “Never in my wildest dreams could I have thought I would play with someone like Kaka,” he says. “He was unbelievable, the humblest guy considering what he has won in the game. I used to walk in a quarter of an hour before training and he’d have been in the gym with his personal trainer already. His quality was unbelievable.” St Ledger: &quot;#SMFC is a good place for me.&quot; Read @seanstledger12&#39;s first interview after joining The Moors. https://t.co/NBNbUSmikp. pic.twitter.com/xWshpetoY4— Solihull Moors FC (@SolihullMoors) October 30, 2017 There was also a rumour linking St Ledger with Swift after they were photographed together - “right place at the right time, but not true” he says - before he moved on to Colorado and then back to England, where he has been trying to find a club. He did so this week and he has had a swift reintroduction to the mad world of football. Less than 24 hours after he signed for Solihull the club’s manager, Richard Money, quit after just 28 days in charge. “I’ve never come across anything like it,” laughs St Ledger. “I’m in a Whatsapp group with the lads and one of the boys asked if anyone knew what was going on. Then someone else posted the club’s tweet saying he’d resigned. It’s crazy - I still don’t know the reasons why he left. “I’ve been getting messages on Twitter asking if it was my fault and what I’d done - but I can promise I’ve not done anything wrong!” This is one opportunity St Ledger is going to make the most of.
Sean St Ledger interview: Playing with Kaka, Taylor Swift rumours... but running out for Solihull in FA Cup now tops the lot
Sean St Ledger has scored for Ireland in a major tournament, played alongside Kaka and even been linked romantically with Taylor Swift, but he sounds almost giddy with excitement as he talks about making his debut for Solihull Moors on Sunday. “I know what some people will say,” explains the 32 year-old. “They’ll go: ‘It’s only Solihull and they’re in the Conference - what are you doing dropping down to their level?’ “But that doesn’t matter to me. This is such a personal achievement, signing for someone again. I’ve missed football so much.” It is over two years since St Ledger last played a competitive game, scoring an own-goal in Colorado Rapids’ 4-1 loss at Portland Timbers in October 2015. Since then a debilitating knee injury led specialists to recommend retirement. St Ledger refused to listen, ploughing his own money into private treatment and rehabilitation. He has lived like a professional despite not having a club, training alone in a bid to salvage his career. He signed a short-term deal with Solihull, his local team, on Monday, and Sunday’s FA Cup first-round tie at Wycombe will in some ways mean as much to him as scoring for the Republic of Ireland against Croatia at Euro 2012. BREAKING | #SMFC sign experienced defender @seanstledger12 on short-term contract until January. https://t.co/CJ1zSGfkEFpic.twitter.com/MZFnN35SAR— Solihull Moors FC (@SolihullMoors) October 30, 2017 “I just thought: ‘I want to play again’,” he says. “I want to get back to as high a level as possible but I’ve proved to myself I could get back from the injury. “Have there been times when I’ve wondered if this is all worth it? One hundred per cent. There have been times when my knee has swollen for no reason and I think it’s best that I move on and accept it. But I’ve always felt that when things have gone against me I have dug in and been quite dedicated. “There have been low times when I’ve said to my girlfriend that I don’t actually know what to do. You do get lonely. Most of my friends are in football. They ask what I’m up to and I’ll say I’m just doing rehab. I’ve missed the day to day, hanging out with the lads. You miss that when you come out of football for such a long period.” The enforced absence has also made St Ledger realise he hadn’t made the most of his time at Preston and Leicester, where he won the Championship. Sean St Ledger (left) during his Leicester days Credit: GETTY IMAGES “There were times I wasn’t as professional as I should have been,” he adds. “I took being a footballer for granted. When I left Leicester [in 2014] I thought I would get a club quite easily. I wasn’t that old, had a heap of experience. I went to Ipswich on loan but I struggled to get a club that season. That was when it started to really hit home that I had started to mess around during the three years at Leicester when I had a great opportunity. “If I had known they were going to win the Premier League I probably wouldn’t have messed around as much as I did!” Instead he went to America and signed for Orlando City, spending a year playing with former World Player of the Year Kaka. “Never in my wildest dreams could I have thought I would play with someone like Kaka,” he says. “He was unbelievable, the humblest guy considering what he has won in the game. I used to walk in a quarter of an hour before training and he’d have been in the gym with his personal trainer already. His quality was unbelievable.” St Ledger: "#SMFC is a good place for me." Read @seanstledger12's first interview after joining The Moors. https://t.co/NBNbUSmikp. pic.twitter.com/xWshpetoY4— Solihull Moors FC (@SolihullMoors) October 30, 2017 There was also a rumour linking St Ledger with Swift after they were photographed together - “right place at the right time, but not true” he says - before he moved on to Colorado and then back to England, where he has been trying to find a club. He did so this week and he has had a swift reintroduction to the mad world of football. Less than 24 hours after he signed for Solihull the club’s manager, Richard Money, quit after just 28 days in charge. “I’ve never come across anything like it,” laughs St Ledger. “I’m in a Whatsapp group with the lads and one of the boys asked if anyone knew what was going on. Then someone else posted the club’s tweet saying he’d resigned. It’s crazy - I still don’t know the reasons why he left. “I’ve been getting messages on Twitter asking if it was my fault and what I’d done - but I can promise I’ve not done anything wrong!” This is one opportunity St Ledger is going to make the most of.
29-year-old Nuri Sahin, pictured during a Euro 2012 match against Germany, announced he was leaving the Turkish squad &quot;to give way to a newer generation&quot; (AFP Photo/ODD ANDERSEN)
29-year-old Nuri Sahin, pictured during a Euro 2012 match against Germany, announced he was leaving the Turkish squad "to give way to a newer generation"
29-year-old Nuri Sahin, pictured during a Euro 2012 match against Germany, announced he was leaving the Turkish squad "to give way to a newer generation" (AFP Photo/ODD ANDERSEN)
29-year-old Nuri Sahin, pictured during a Euro 2012 match against Germany, announced he was leaving the Turkish squad &quot;to give way to a newer generation&quot;
29-year-old Nuri Sahin, pictured during a Euro 2012 match against Germany, announced he was leaving the Turkish squad "to give way to a newer generation"
29-year-old Nuri Sahin, pictured during a Euro 2012 match against Germany, announced he was leaving the Turkish squad "to give way to a newer generation"
29-year-old Nuri Sahin, pictured during a Euro 2012 match against Germany, announced he was leaving the Turkish squad &quot;to give way to a newer generation&quot;
29-year-old Nuri Sahin, pictured during a Euro 2012 match against Germany, announced he was leaving the Turkish squad "to give way to a newer generation"
29-year-old Nuri Sahin, pictured during a Euro 2012 match against Germany, announced he was leaving the Turkish squad "to give way to a newer generation"
FILE - In this June 22, 2012 file photo German Chancellor Angela Merkel celebrates during the Euro 2012 soccer championship quarterfinal match between Germany and Greece in Gdansk, Poland. Germany won 4-2. Merkel is favored to win a fourth term in Germany&#39;s Sept. 24, 2017 election. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer, file)
FILE - In this June 22, 2012 file photo German Chancellor Angela Merkel celebrates during the Euro 2012 soccer championship quarterfinal match between Germany and Greece in Gdansk, Poland. Germany won 4-2. Merkel is favored to win a fourth term in Germany's Sept. 24, 2017 election. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer, file)
FILE - In this June 22, 2012 file photo German Chancellor Angela Merkel celebrates during the Euro 2012 soccer championship quarterfinal match between Germany and Greece in Gdansk, Poland. Germany won 4-2. Merkel is favored to win a fourth term in Germany's Sept. 24, 2017 election. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer, file)
File photo of Bert Van Marwijk. Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Carl Recine
Portugal v Holland - UEFA EURO 2012 Group B
File photo of Bert Van Marwijk. Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Carl Recine
File photo of Bert Van Marwijk. Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Carl Recine
Portugal v Holland - UEFA EURO 2012 Group B
File photo of Bert Van Marwijk. Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Carl Recine
FILE - In this Sunday, June 24, 2012 file photo Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon clenches his fists after England&#39;s Wayne Rooney, on the ground, missed a chance during the Euro 2012 soccer championship quarterfinal match between England and Italy in Kiev, Ukraine. England striker Wayne Rooney announced his immediate retirement from international football on Wednesday Aug. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, File)
FILE - In this Sunday, June 24, 2012 file photo Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon clenches his fists after England's Wayne Rooney, on the ground, missed a chance during the Euro 2012 soccer championship quarterfinal match between England and Italy in Kiev, Ukraine. England striker Wayne Rooney announced his immediate retirement from international football on Wednesday Aug. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, File)
FILE - In this Sunday, June 24, 2012 file photo Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon clenches his fists after England's Wayne Rooney, on the ground, missed a chance during the Euro 2012 soccer championship quarterfinal match between England and Italy in Kiev, Ukraine. England striker Wayne Rooney announced his immediate retirement from international football on Wednesday Aug. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, File)
<p>Another red card for Wayne Rooney as he is sent off against Montenegro in a Euro 2012 qualifier. </p>
Another red card for Wayne Rooney as he is sent off against Montenegro in a Euro 2012 qualifier.

Another red card for Wayne Rooney as he is sent off against Montenegro in a Euro 2012 qualifier.

FILE - In this, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010 file photo, Italy&#39;s Gianpaolo Pazzini, during a press conference following a training session ahead of Tuesday&#39;s Euro 2012 soccer qualifier against Serbia, at the Coverciano sports center, near Florence, Italy. Pazzini who is now hired by Hellas Verona is preparing with his team for this weekend&#39;s opening of the Italian league season.(AP Photo/Lorenzo Galassi, File)
FILE - In this, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010 file photo, Italy's Gianpaolo Pazzini, during a press conference following a training session ahead of Tuesday's Euro 2012 soccer qualifier against Serbia, at the Coverciano sports center, near Florence, Italy. Pazzini who is now hired by Hellas Verona is preparing with his team for this weekend's opening of the Italian league season.(AP Photo/Lorenzo Galassi, File)
FILE - In this, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010 file photo, Italy's Gianpaolo Pazzini, during a press conference following a training session ahead of Tuesday's Euro 2012 soccer qualifier against Serbia, at the Coverciano sports center, near Florence, Italy. Pazzini who is now hired by Hellas Verona is preparing with his team for this weekend's opening of the Italian league season.(AP Photo/Lorenzo Galassi, File)
Spain retained the European Championship by beating Italy 4-0 in the final
On this Day: Spain win Euro 2012
Spain retained the European Championship by beating Italy 4-0 in the final
Spain retained the European Championship by beating Italy 4-0 in the final
On this Day: Spain win Euro 2012
Spain retained the European Championship by beating Italy 4-0 in the final
Spain retained the European Championship by beating Italy 4-0 in the final
On this Day: Spain win Euro 2012
Spain retained the European Championship by beating Italy 4-0 in the final
<p>… and highly… </p>
Euro 2012: England lose to Italy

… and highly…

<p>Ashley Young fires in his penalty against Italy… </p>
Euro 2012: England lose to Italy

Ashley Young fires in his penalty against Italy…

<p>Ashley Cole walks away after his spot kick is saved by Gianluigi Buffon </p>
Euro 2012: England lose to Italy

Ashley Cole walks away after his spot kick is saved by Gianluigi Buffon

<p>… leaving him to reflect on another England quarter-final exit </p>
Euro 2012: England lose to Italy

… leaving him to reflect on another England quarter-final exit

<p>… which Gianluigi Buffon saves… </p>
Euro 2012: England lose to Italy

… which Gianluigi Buffon saves…

<p>… and Cole begins the long walk back to the halfway line </p>
Euro 2012: England lose to Italy

… and Cole begins the long walk back to the halfway line

<p>Ashley Cole slides in to deliver his fateful spot-kick against Italy… </p>
Euro 2012: England lose to Italy

Ashley Cole slides in to deliver his fateful spot-kick against Italy…

<p>… which he hits firmly… </p>
Euro 2012: England lose to Italy

… which he hits firmly…

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