John Terry will feature in Chelsea’s Champions League encounters while he serves a three-match ban in domestic competitions, Anton Ferdinand’s refusal to don the Anti-Racism t-shirt will not punish him, says his manager. Northumbria Police begin investigation into an alleged racist abuse at the Sunderland-Newcastle game. And finally, Brendan Rodgers insists there is still a long way to go for Raheem Sterling before he marks himself as one of the legends at Liverpool.
Terry Will Start in Champions League Encounter
Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo has confirmed that his captain, John Terry will start in Champions League despite his domestic three-match ban following the racism row with QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.
Terry was absent in Chelsea’s scintillating away win at the White Hart Lane this weekend but Di Matteo has stated that he doesn’t intend to keep the defender on the bench through the duration of his ban and instead wants to field him as much as possible in the Europe competition.
“No. It has been a delicate issue and we are going to continue working with the authorities to eradicate discrimination.” – Di Matteo, when questioned on precluding John Terry from all competitions for the entire duration of his ban.
David Luiz and Gary Cahill were in charge of defense in the absence of Terry on Saturday, with Cahill also scoring a fantastic volley in his first London Derby. David Luiz carries a fair amount of Champions League experience and hence, Gary Cahill could be the man giving way to Chelsea’s captain when the Blues face Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday night.
Mark Hughes Won’t Punish Anton Ferdinand
The Ferdinand brothers refused to wear the Kick It Out t-shirts directed towards the eradication of racism from football, prior to their respective games this weekend. While Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson expressed his displeasure at the defender’s opposition to wear the t-shirt, QPR manager Mark Hughes has decided against punishing Anton Ferdinand or any of his other players for not supporting the campaign by wearing the t-shirt.
“I said on Friday that the players would be wearing it in support of the PFA and that every player should adhere to it. And he goes and lets us down. We will deal with it, don’t worry.” – Sir Alex Ferguson, on Rio’s refusal to wear the t-shirt
“Everybody will have their own view on that. Some will say they are doing enough, some will say they aren’t doing enough.” – Mark Hughes
Several of Anton Ferdinand’s teammates also refused to wear the t-shirt – Cisse, Onuoha, Hoilett, Faurlin and Wright-Phillips. Also, Victor Anichebe from Everton, who were QPR’s rivals last weekend, also declined wearing the t-shirt, stating that the issue is far more social and doesn’t just encompass the realm of football.
“Are we really kicking it out? There’s a situation that’s just happened. I believe in kicking racism out of everything, not just football – kick it out of society.” – Anichebe
Investigation Begins in Wear-Tyne Derby after Racist Claims
It is reported that a small section of the crowd attending the Sunderland-Newcastle United derby were engaged in hurling racial abuses during the game and the Northumbria Police has now begun investigation in this matter.
“There was one report of racist language having been used by a supporter in one area of the stadium – enquiries into this report are ongoing.” – A Northumbria spokesman
Also, fans were heard singing chants of wishing Steven Taylor was dead as the game progressed. This is primarily due to the jibe taken by Taylor at Sunderland’s quality of squad a day prior to the game. Taylor, amongst other things, mentioned that no Sunderland player from the present squad is fit enough to make it to Newcastle’s first team and that the Magpies possessed a far better side than the Black Cats on paper and pitch.
“I would rather collect stamps than stick on that shirt!” – Steven Taylor, when asked whether he would ever consider playing for Sunderland
After the match, Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill also expressed his disappointment at the fans’ behaviour but agreed every player was entitled to his opinion and there is nothing he could do to change things on the pitch.
Steven Taylor has been a hated figure amongst Sunderland fans ever since 2009, when he went down far too easily at a challenge coming from Steed Malbranque. Shola Ameobi converted the penalty that day and Taylor was an antagonist for fans of the Black Cats.
Rodgers Will Continue Nurturing Sterling
Raheem Sterling became the second youngest player in Liverpool history to score in the League, standing behind Michael Owen. While the 17 year-old is elated at this debut goal for the Reds, his manager refuses to build castles in the air at the moment.
“We want to have him here as a legend for many years. We don’t want him at 17 years of age getting carried away with all the adulation and then at 21 he’s washed up and everyone wants him out.” – Brendan Rodgers on Raheem Sterling
Rodgers has been bold in promoting Academy youngsters to the first team in a season where Liverpool are starting to awake as a work-in-progress. The likes of Suso, Wisdom and Sterling are now seen regularly, either on the starting lineup or on the substitutes’ bench. Amongst the lot that has given Liverpool the youngest average age in the Premier League, Sterling has been putting in eye-catching displays right from the time he was given the nod to start against Arsenal.
While the focus at one end is to definitely keep the youngster at the club for many years to come, it is now Rodgers’ duty to ensure Sterling grows from strength to strength in a first team comprising of quite a few new faces playing with each other in a style that is fairly new to them.