Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Cantona: "U.S. will win the World Cup within 20 Years"

Eric Cantona believes the United States will win the World Cup within the next two decades.

In a fascinating interview with the New York Times, the Frenchman spoke of his optimism for the future of football in America.

When asked if he truly believed they could do it within 20 years, Cantona replied: "Yes. I am sure. I’m sure that before 20 years the U.S. will win the World Cup because players like Franz Beckenbauer and PelĂ© came here."

Speaking about his new role with the New York Cosmos, he also took time to pay tribute to his former manager.

"Ferguson is a kind of genius. He had so many different generations of players now. He’s 70 and works with players 18 years old but adapts himself to all generations."

The former United captain believes Fergie is the man holding the club together.

"All I will say is that I think Ferugson will stay as the manager, after that, there will be more problems. Today, he is like Gandhi on the game side."

Cantona was recently appointed Director of Soccer at the Cosmos. "It's a wonderful project," he said. "It's like a mixture between football and art."

MLS Blighty's feature on the New York Cosmos' rebirth will begin soon.

Philip Wright-Lewis

Monday, 14 February 2011

NYRB Transfer Rumours & The Other Rooney is Pranked

New York Red Bulls are being linked with numerous European stars as the season draws closer.

One player looking likely to become a Red Bull is Teemu Tainio, who played for Tottenham and Sunderland in the Premier League. He currently plays for Ajax, but is on trial with NYRB at the moment.

Hans Backe, the Red Bulls gaffer, has said he'd like to play the Finnish 31-year old as a right-back:

"I’ve seen him many, many times before. He’s very experienced player. Hopefully we can sign him. He’s normally been playing central midfield, a box-to-box midfield player. (But) we will use him to compete at the right fullback position."

The Red Bulls have also been linked with Bayern Munich forward, Miroslav Klose and Chelsea's Nicolas Anelka.

Backe has poured cold water on that though: "It's only rumours I can assure you. If we’re going to buy a player and a good one it would be in the central midfield. The most important thing is to have players in the midfield who can feed the strikers for the final chances."

The idea of Klose signing for an MLS club at this stage certainly does seem insane, but New York do still have one spare Designated Player slot for the wage cap exception.

In other NYRB news, while one Rooney spent this weekend scoring the goal of the season, the other one had a milkshake poured on his head by a team-mate. I know which one I'd rather see!

We've got some interesting stuff coming up in the next week or so, including:
- an interview with a member of the Chicago Fire staff
- a feature on the return of New York Cosmos
- a feature on Brits in the MLS

Thanks for reading and be sure to check back soon.

Philip Wright-Lewis

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Galaxy owners kept Becks from Spurs

L.A Galaxy's owners, Anschutz Entertainment Group, kept David Beckham from joining Tottenham on loan.

Tom Leiweke, the president of AEG, wants Beckham to play a full season with L.A.

"I am the one who made the decision about asking David to come back and play a full season of Major League Soccer because we haven't been able to do that, whether due to loans or injury."

"Our commitment has been, 'David, you need to be back here for the MLS season that begins in March'. It is because we asked for that commitment that the timeline with Tottenham meant it was very difficult for them to figure out a way to integrate David into the team."

Leiweke also said that Galaxy were to persue a "strategic partnership" with Spurs, potentially meaning Tottenham youngsters could be cutting their teeth in the US in the near future.

In other Beckham news, the former England captain recently won the hearts of the British tabloids by helping a stranded motorist on the morning school run.

Paul Young, 42, had his two kids in the car. They broke down at a junction in Hertfordshire, before Becks (pictured here, not looking at some cheerleaders) turned up to save the day.

Young said, "He asked if we were OK and I said. ‘Could you give us a push over to the side?’ which he duly did."

"Then he asked again if we were OK and as he walked away I said. ‘Thanks David, I love you’."

Good lad, Becks. Now how about going back to train with the people paying your copious wages, before you get run over by some besotted superfan on the motorway.

Philip Wright-Lewis

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Henry stays in NY, soon to be joined by Nico?

Newcastle United tried to tempt Thierry Henry to join the club on loan, on the January deadline day.

In what was the most exciting January deadline day in Premier League history, Liverpool's £35m swoop for Andy Carroll has left Newcastle with a big pair of boots to fill up front.

Henry, pictured here dancing around in his grundies, was seen as the ideal replacement.

A source close to the club told the Daily Express: "We had a real attempt to get Henry but the start of the MLS season worked against us.

Carroll’s eleventh-hour departure prevented us getting a regular signing to replace him. But we would like to find a quality replacement, given that we have to look at players outside regular club contracts."

The news comes as a relief to Red Bulls fans, as well as MLS fans in general, who are no doubt pretty frustrated with the Prem's attitude to loaning their stars in the off-season.

While I'm sure they liked seeing Landon Donovan succeed with Everton, Beckham's injury last year must have been a kick in the teeth.

Henry is currently training with Arsenal, but is due to return to the US for NYRB's pre-season tour in Mexico.

He might soon be joined by a former team-mate and compatriot too. The French newspaper L'equipe reports that Nicolas Anelka is considering a move to New York Red Bulls this summer. Now that Chelsea have signed Fernando Torres from the club he once called "the only English team for me", Nico has slipped down in the pecking order. He was recently pictured (right) proudly sporting a red sticker in the shape of a star, which his dentist gave him for being "a brave boy".

New York have released former Villa star Juan Pablo Angel, which frees up one of the three places on the "non-wage cap" list, so Anelka wouldn't have to worry about earning a measly tuppence.

The notion of a select few being allowed to earn over the wage cap definitely confuses me. Still, I'm sure the Red Bulls squad don't mind if it means getting to see Nico's sticker and Thierry's skuddy undies.

Philip Wright-Lewis

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Rapids avoiding the Big Smoke

Colorado Rapids have cancelled a proposed pre-season trip to London.

The Denver team were planning on getting some valuable pre-season games under their belt under the hospitality of Arsenal - their sister club.

Manager Gary Smith (below) told MLSsoccer.com: "At this point, it’s probably not going to take place,".

"Arsenal were very keen to accommodate us but, due to some planning problems and some issues internally, we’ve just not been able to get it nailed down quick enough. It’s tough to get games at short notice in England. We are looking at probably a West Coast trip to get two to three competitive games."

He did however suggest that the Rapids might play host to the Gunners during the Premier League off-season. "I would hope that we are one of the first stops if they are planning to make the trip. The altitude would be good for them. We would like to reciprocate and do some things for them as they have done for us."

The MLS runs at a different time to the EPL, with their season playing from March - November. This is why players like Landon Donovan and David Beckham have been loaned to European clubs around January in the past.

The difference in league schedules also makes it tough for MLS teams to come to England for pre-season tours, as our teams so often do in the US. As mentioned above for example, Arsenal are still playing in four competitions (EPL, Carling Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League) and would struggle to fit any time in for friendles.

It's a shame the US season clashes with the majority of European leagues' schedules. The fact it takes place at such a strange time (strange to an English fan, of course) could be partly to blame for why very little is known of the MLS in Britain.

Philip Wright-Lewis