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England Fever Is Back, At Last

David McCourt welcomes the return to tradition

Written by . Published on June 20th 2012.


England Fever Is Back, At Last

ALL ABOARD.

The England bandwagon has finally rolled into town.

I was worried it wasn’t going to arrive for a while. With all the pre-tournament talk downplaying England’s chances, the country, for once, appeared to be engulfed by an overwhelming sense of levelheadedness.

“Can England go all the way? Probably not.”

Yet, while only professional England horn tooters (that pie band are recreational), like our man Alan Shearer, were calling for optimism weeks ago, Roy’s boys weren’t about to let the face paint of the little-Englander go unsmudged.

Last night’s 1-0 win over Ukraine saw the mask of low expectation slip from the face of even the most cynical England fan, as Rooney’s second half header set up a quarter-final meeting with Italy.

It would appear, remarkably, that all it takes to win a group at Euro 2012 is a Scott Parker shaped sack of bones and flesh – hurling itself in front of everything hit from within 20 yards – a haircut, and a little help from the 5th or 6th official.

Meanwhile as Zlatan Ibrahimovich, doing what he always does when English eyes are elsewhere, swept home a superb acrobatic effort to give Sweden a 2-0 win over France, the prospect of having to face World and European Champions, Spain, faded.

Zlatan-Ibrahimovic-008Ibracadabra - Zlatan's Volly vs France at Euro 2012

Can England go all the way? Probably not. But at least the familiar cycle of optimism and hope followed swiftly by abject disappointment is upon us at last.

England face Italy in the quarter-final of Euro 2012 on Sunday at 7.45pm.

City snapper Nigel De Jong insists he wants to stay at the Premier League Champions, despite negotiations of a contract extension having reportedly broken down.

De Jong, who was out of favour for spells last season, told Nu Sport that he understands the need for squad rotation, and is happy to stay.

He said: "It's part of the job I occasionally warm the bench. I prefer to play but it's all about the team and we won the title, so it was worth it.”

United’s Da Silva twins could be split up for the first time in their careers, as Rafael is reportedly close to signing a new contract, and Fabio is about to be sent to QPR on loan.

Rafael, who has made 27 more appearances for United than his brother, Fabio, looks set to extend his stay until 2016, whilst Sir Alex Ferguson believes that Fabio will benefit from gaining first-team football away from Old Trafford next season.

Oldham Athletic have signed teenage striker Daniel Taylor after his release from Newcastle United.

The 19-year old signed a one-year deal with the Latics after finishing top scorer for Newcastle’s reserves last year.

As speculation regarding Chris Taylor's future builds at Boundary Park, is Paul Dickov masterminding an elaborate plan to replace his departing striker without anybody noticing? It could prove to be a shrewd move should he pull it off.

Chris-Taylor_2740987Chris Taylor, of Oldham Athletic

0,,10278~9909144,00Daniel Taylor, now of Oldham Athletic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally Bury defender Andrai Jones has signed a new two-year deal at Gigg Lane.

The 20-year-old, who made his first-team debut at The Shakers last season, will be looking to establish himself as a regular starter in League One in the coming campaign.

You can follow David on Twitter @DavidPMcCourt

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