Serbia deny charges of racist chants during the U-21 match against England, AC Milan interested in signing want away Manchester United winger Nani while Arsenal face goalkeeper crisis.
Serbia FA Deny That Racist Chants Were Directed At England Players
Serbia FA has released a statement claiming that the U-21 match against England was played under an atmosphere that respected ‘fair-play spirit’ and has instead blamed Danny Rose of ’inappropriate, unsportsmanlike and vulgar manner’.
The U-21 European Championship play-off match between England and Serbia last night ended with disgraceful scenes on the pitch. Danny Rose and many other English players were subjected to monkey chants and racist taunts during the match. After the final whistle a brawl broke out between the players and coaching staff of both the teams. Danny Rose, who complained of being hit by stones from the crowd, kicked the ball into the stands in frustration. The Tottenham Hotspur left back, who is on loan to Sunderland, was shown his second yellow card even after the match has ended.
Martin Thomas, the goalkeeping coach, was headbutted by a member of Serbian coaching team and assistant head coach Steve Wigley was assaulted as ugly scenes unfolded. English goalkeeper Jack Butland had flares thrown at him by the crowd.
‘They started the monkey chanting straight away. I asked the lads if they could hear it and they said they could hear it. Halfway through the warm-up I went to ‘Wigs’ [Steve Wigley], the assistant manager, and told him what was happening. He said I had to try my best to get through it and they would deal with it straight away after the game.
‘Every time I went to get the ball for a throw-in, the fans started monkey chants. I was hit in the head by two stones thrown from the crowd. After 60 minutes, my mind wasn’t really on the game. I was so angry and it was so hard to concentrate. I could have cost the lads the game by making mistakes through not concentrating.’
‘We’d scored and after 90 minutes of racist abuse I just expressed my emotions when we scored. The next thing I know, the Serbian players have run over, surrounded me and they’re pushing me. I remember getting slapped twice and then I got ushered away. I’ve kicked the ball and he’s sent me off even though the game has finished by then.
‘As I walked off there was monkey chanting again. They have to be banned – I don’t understand how they can run from it.’ – Danny Rose said after the match.
English FA has submitted written complaints to UEFA regarding the incidents that unfolded during the match. UEFA has been urged to ban Serbia from international football from various sections. But in an interesting turn of events Serbian FA has released a statement on their site rubbishing all the racism claims. Although they have said that they will investigate into the assault charges brought against the players and coaching team, Serbian FA has blamed Danny Rose for his conduct.
‘FA of Serbia absolutely refuses and denies that there were any occurrences of racism before and during the match at the stadium in Krusevac. Making connection between the seen incident – a fight between members of the two teams – and racism has absolutely no ground and we consider it to be a total malevolence [sic].’
‘Unfortunately, after the fourth minute of the additional time and the victory goal scored by the guest team, unpleasant scenes were seen at the pitch. And while most of the English team players celebrated the score, their player No 3, Danny Rose, behaved in inappropriate, unsportsmanlike and vulgar manner towards the supporters on the stands at the stadium in Krusevac, and for that he was shown a red card.’ – Read a statement released by Serbian FA.
The ball is in UEFA’s court now and the governing body has started its probe, but can they punish Serbia severely and send out a strong statement?
Manchester United Winger Set For A Move To San Siro
Manchester United winger Nani is being eyed by Italian side AC Milan according to the Metro.
Nani has been in news for all the wrong reasons this season. Contract talks between the club and the player have stalled and a resolution looks unlikely. With only 18 months left in his current contract, United are reportedly looking to sell the Portuguese international in January. Nani’s relationship with Sir Alex has also broken down due to his poor performances on the pitch.
During the summer transfer window, United reportedly tried to sell the winger to Russian club Zenit, but Nani refused to negotiate a move. Zenit, according to reports, are looking to make another bid for Nani in the winter transfer window, but this time they will face competition from AC Milan.
Although Milan had interest in Nani during the summer, they were concerned about United’s valuation of the player. But in the winter transfer window United are expected to lower their initial price tag of £25million and this has encouraged Milan to make a move. The Italian side have made their worst start to their league campaign in 80 years. Nani will certainly provide them some of the flair that they seemed to have lost after the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to PSG this summer.
Arsenal’s Polish Duo Suffer Injury Setback
Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski have suffered setbacks in their bid to recover from injuries.
Szczesny and Fabianski have already missed most of this season due to injury. While Szczesny has made only two appearances this season, Fabianski is yet to find his name in the team sheet. Fabianski was set to be named on the bench this weekend in the match against Norwich, but the Polish goalkeeper has once again suffered from a ruptured ankle ligament which is expected to keep him out for at least three months.
Szczesny, who was expected to return soon, has now suffered a setback in his recovery and will miss out the action for three weeks. This off course means Vito Mannone’s place in the team is secured for at least another month. But for Wenger this is to worry about since Mannone is the only senior goal keeper left in the squad. Damien Martinez and James Shea are the other options that Wenger has to call upon from the youth team.