Paper News and Gossip: United Eye Benteke, and Gabby Sorry for Tomlinson Tackle

Alex LivieFeatured ColumnistSeptember 9, 2013

Paper News and Gossip: United Eye Benteke, and Gabby Sorry for Tomlinson Tackle

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    The focus is on this week’s international action, with Frank Lampard eyeing a World Cup swansong.

    But there’s also a slice of transfer gossip involving Manchester United and there’s a boyband member in the wars.

    Read on for all this and more in Monday’s edition of the Paper News and Gossip Review.

Frank Lampard Eyes World Cup Swansong

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    Frank Lampard will collect his 100th England cap with an appearance against Ukraine on Tuesday, and the Chelsea midfielder has his sights set on a World Cup final hurrah in Brazil next summer, write the Guardian's Dominic Fifield and Daniel Taylor.

    Lampard's England debut came against Belgium in 1999, and he has been a mainstay of the national side for the majority of those 14 years.

    He has yet to taste success at a major championships, but fancies one final crack in Brazil before hanging up his international boots.

    Speaking in Fifield and Taylor's article, Lampard says: 

    Realistically, I think this will be my last year. I  would love us to get to Brazil because it would prolong the year, and it would be great for me to go out there. 

    I don't want to say 'I'll retire' because the minute I say that it's there waiting to happen, but younger players are coming through and, at 36, not too many play on at international level.

Kyle Walker Sorry for "Hippy Crack" Use

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    Kyle Walker has issued an apology, via the Daily Mail's Neil Ashton, after he was pictured inhaling "hippy crack".

    During a night out in his native Sheffield, Tottenham defender Walker was caught on camera taking the legal high nitrous oxide.

    Walker is on international duty with England at the present time and he issued a statement to apologise for his actions.

    I have now been made aware of the health risks associated with the practice and accept that my actions were of poor judgement.

    I hope this will in no way influence or encourage others into putting their own health at risk.

Christian Benteke on Manchester United's Radar

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    Manchester United may have come under fire for their summer transfer dealings, but manager Davd Moyes is looking ahead and has his sights trained on Christian Benteke—according to Alan Nixon of the Mirror.

    Nixon suggests Moyes is fearful of eventually losing Wayne Rooney and has earmarked Belgian forward Benteke as the power player to lead his attack.

    Despite having signed Marouane Fellaini, Nixon claims Moyes "knows his attack lacks the option of height and strength and may lose Wayne Rooney’s ‘muscle’ with his contract running out."

    Nixon says Moyes watched Benteke in action for Belgium against Scotland on Friday, and also claims the United boss eyed up Edinson Cavani but was put off by the cost. 

Gabriel Agbonlahor Sorry for Louis Tomlinson Tackle

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    Gabriel Agbonlahor plans to apologise to One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson after felling him during Stiliyan Petrov’s charity match, reports Metro’s Massimo Marioni.

    Agbonlahor left Tomlinson in a heap on the floor following a robust challenge during the match in Glasgow on Sunday.

    Tomlinson was forced to leave the field and was sick on the sidelines.

    Fans of One Direction and Tomlinson took to Twitter to vent their fury at Agbonlahor, who was the subject of death threats on the social networking site.

    The Aston Villa striker tapped Tomlinson on the head at the time and he confirmed following the game that he will seek out the boyband star to say sorry.

    "It was just one of those things," Agbonlahor was quoted as saying by Marioni. "I’ll apologise to Louis when we meet up with everybody else after the game."

Martin O'Neill in Frame to Replace Giovanni Trapattoni

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    Giovanni Trapattoni’s position as coach of Republic of Ireland is in some doubt following the loss to Sweden last Friday, and Martin O’Neill is the favourite to replace the Italian—according to Colin Young of the Mail.

    Trapattoni is contracted to Ireland until next June and Young claims the 74-year-old has no intention of walking out on the job.

    Ireland can still qualify for the World Cup finals, and face Austria on Tuesday, although their chances are slim as they face group leaders Germany away next month.

    Despite Trapattoni having no plans to walk away, Young suggests O’Neill—currently out of work following his exit from Sunderland in March—is the preferred option for the Football Association of Ireland.

Bits and Pieces: Di Canio's Fury, and Greg Dyke's England Miss

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    Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio was left incensed after news of a behind-closed-doors friendly was leaked.

    Di Canio, according to Alan Nixon’s piece in the Mirror, fielded his first team against an Under-21 side and saw his main team beaten 3-1.

    Football Association chairman Greg Dyke will not be in attendance at England’s World Cup qualifier with Ukraine on Tuesday, reports David Woods in the Daily Star.

    “Prior personal business commitments” have been cited as the reason for Dyke’s failure to make the trip to Ukraine.

    Porto central defender Eliaquim Mangala is a January transfer target for Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini, according to Paul Hetherington of the Daily Star.

    Mahamadou Diarra has been given a Premier League lifeline by Fulham boss Martin Jol, according to the Daily Express.

    Diarra was released by Fulham at the end of last season, but Jol has left one place open in his 25-man squad, and Diarra has been handed the chance to prove his fitness and take that place.