21 May 2008

Coyne Joins Squad

Colchester and former Luton centre-half Chris Coyne has seized upon an invitation to train with the national team in the build-up to the match against Ghana.

Coyne was sold to Colchester for £350,000 during the season, having made a final appearance for Luton in a 1-1 FA Cup tie with Liverpool (Luton's goal coming courtesy of an John Arne Riise own goal, funnily enough). His signing couldn't save Colchester from the drop, however. With League One awaiting him next season, this current opportunity may represent the one and only chance Coyne gets to impress the national staff.

With our stocks a bit slim at the back, surely he's worth consideration. Conversely, if Matthew Spiranovic is ready to commence his national career, a turn to youth will be a more than welcome boost to our perennially aged backline.

20 May 2008

Wilkshire and McClaren Reunited?

While Luke Wilkshire's FC Twente have qualified for the Champions League next season they'll need a new manager to usher them through the tournament with current boss Fred Rutten heading to Schalke.

Steve McClaren has been mooted as the possible replacement.

Wilkshire has already served under McClaren's stewardship at Middlesbrough (as have Mark Schwarzer, Mark Viduka and Tony Vidmar, of course). I don't know if he'd be thrilled about a reunification with his old gaffer. For one, McClaren was happy to sell Wilkshire to Bristol City in 2003 having given him only a couple of dozen matches in all senior competitions to prove himself. (He's now played about the same number of matches for Australia, including a few in the World Cup.)

Wilkshire's career was probably stifled a bit in the lower English divisions. I wonder if his sometimes over zealous lunges (against Holland and Giovanni van Bronckhorst in particular in the warm-up match for the 2006 World Cup, for instance) emerged as a result of too much action in League One. (It could be more a case of 'big game' syndrome, though. Of his two red cards in English football, one came against Arsenal in a league match while playing for Middlesbrough. Wilkshire received two yellows, the second for a challenge on Robert Pires. The victim of the first? None other than van Bronckhorst.)

15 May 2008

Garcia or Carle Bound for the EPL

Either Richard Garcia or Nick Carle will feature in the English Premier League next season--so long as they remain with their current clubs--after both Garcia's Hull and Carle's Bristol City qualified for the Championship play-off final.

Garcia has already had a taste of the EPL a few years ago with West Ham and looks to be a possibility inclusion for national team duty in the near future. He scored and set up another goal in Hull's 4-1 home victory over Watford.

Meanwhile, Mile Sterjovski will of course find himself playing in the Championship next year following Derby's relegation. Adrian Leijer may have found more match time for Fulham had they gone down, but they managed to stay up so it will be interesting to see how his career progresses next year. Either he'll continue plugging away in the reserves, get loaned out, or have an opportunity to step up.