Sky Sports Today - 29 August
Breaking news, views and debate from the world of sport.
TODAY'S TOP STORIES
- Premier League team news and press conferences
- Tottenham to face Besiktas, Partizan Belgrade, Asteras
- Celtic drawn with Salzburg, Dinamo Zagreb, Astra
- Everton face Lille, Wolfsburg, Krasnodar
- Villa, Valencia in for Cleverley
- Live transfer updates
- Weekend fixtures
- What's on Sky Sports
- Listen to Sky Sports News Radio
- Next Leeds manager odds
- Tweet us @SkySportsNewsHQ using #SSNHQ
HALES BACKING FOR COOKLet's talk cricket ahead of Saturday's third ODI between England and India at Trent Bridge and new opener Alex Hales has backed Alastair Cook as the right man to open the batting alongside him and says the captain has the full support of the players. Former team-mate Graeme Swann has suggested it is time for Cook to quit England's one-day side, comparing the team’s current tactics to that of a "two-litre diesel in a Formula One race".
He’s been very confident throughout this series. I’ve only been with him for a short period of time but he is very confident. We got off to a pretty good start in that game with a 50 partnership. He is technically sound and I think he will show people he’s the right guy at the top of the order.Hales watches on as Cook attempts a reverse sweep in the nets
Angel Di Maria's move to Manchester is the big talking point on Transfer Weekly with Gaizka Mendieta and Garry Birtles discussing United's done deals, plus Ray Houghton rubbishes any talk of a move for Joe Allen to Old Trafford, Roberto Martinez lauds Samuel Eto'o and Andy Walker fears a Celtic exodus.
More from Louis van Gaal and the Manchester United boss wants to take things step-by-step as he hopes for a top four finish before challenging for the title again:
VAN GAAL DEFENDS SHAWManchester United boss Louis van Gaal has hit back at England manager Roy Hodgson's comments on the fitness of Luke Shaw, who he describes as being an "example" in the changing room:
He is not fit now because he is injured but Roy Hodgson cannot judge at this moment. Roy Hodgson cannot judge him because I have never seen him here at a training session. I think that he refers to the World Cup but I don't know. But now he is doing a great job.
BALOTELLI IMPRESSES RODGERSLiverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admits he has been impressed by the impact Mario Balotelli has made in training with the Reds this week. The 24-year-old Italy international is in contention to make his debut for Liverpool in Sunday's Barclays Premier League game at Tottenham following his move from AC Milan.
Mario is fine. He has settled in very well and has looked fantastic in training. He is a good lad. The focus is very much on his football and he has done very well. He is moving to Merseyside. He is engrossing himself into the club and the people, but more importantly into his football. I look forward to seeing that development over the coming years.Mario Balotelli, but not in Liverpool training
CAMBIASSO PINED FOR PREMIER LEAGUEEsteban Cambiasso's move to Leicester has the whiff of a certain football management game, but the decorated Argentina midfielder says his distinguished career would have been incomplete without time spent in the Premier League.Cambiasso won the Champions League during his time in Italy and was previously part of the famous Real Madrid squad featuring 'galacticos' Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo and David Beckham and has joined the Premier League new boys on a one-year deal after a decade with Inter.
In the past I've played in Spain and Italy, but for my career I need to play in the Premier League. When I knew I was Leicester's first choice, I called my brother and said I wanted to go there. I'm very happy. I've chosen to come here and I'm happy to stay here.
CHANGE TO SEEDING SYSTEMSSN's chief news reporter Bryan Swanson has an exclusive for us from Monaco, where he reports that UEFA is close to changing the seeding system for the group stages of the Champions League, whereby the top eight seeds will comprise of the defending champions along with, where appropriate, the seven domestic league winners of the top-ranked UEFA nations.UEFA president Michel Platini, and other top officials, hope the new rules will prevent defending league champions seeded lower than other teams from their country. Chelsea and Arsenal were both in pot one in this month's draw and seeded higher than Premier League holders Manchester City.The new rules would prevent top-ranked domestic champions from being drawn in the same group. Had the rules been introduced this season it would have meant Manchester City, PSG and Juventus were placed in pot one.
MOURINHO WANTS TORRES
Don't believe us? Here he is in video form...
JOSE WANTS TORRES STAYJose Mourinho says Fernando Torres is part of his plans at Chelsea and that the striker has not told him he wants to leave. Torres has been linked with several clubs over the summer, with AC Milan the latest to show an interest in the striker as a potential replacement for Mario Balotelli after his move to Liverpool.
What we have clear is that we need three strikers to face the season. He is one of them. I like him as a person. I like him as a player. If he wants to leave it is something he didn't say to me. At the moment he is our player, nothing more than that.
LVG IS NOT JUDGE DREDDLouis van Gaal hopes to have Marcos Rojo available soon after a delay to the Argentina defender's work permit following his £16m move from Sporting over a week ago. The 24-year-old is currently at the Argentine embassy in Madrid, but as Van Gaal told the pre-match news conference ahead of Manchester United's clash with Burnley, he is many things, but he is not the law.On Marcos Rojo's work permit: "It's only a matter of time. I'm manager of the biggest club in the world, but I can't change the law!" #mufcLouis van Gaal on Burnley clash: "It will be a fantastic atmosphere. They'll play with a lot of passion and long balls." #mufcMore on the match: "We have to fight against that. It shall be a very difficult game but we have to show we can play football." #mufcVan Gaal reiterates the need for patience: "I am confident I will succeed here but I need time. We are building up a new team." #mufc
DEILA: WE MUST MOVE ONTottenham, Everton and Celtic all discovered their opponents for the Europa League group stage earlier today and Celtic boss Ronny Deila believes his must put aside the disappointment of losing out to Maribor in the Champions League play-offs as soon as possible.The Scottish champions will face Salzburg, Dinamo Zagreb and Romanian side Astra in Europe's second-tier competition and he has urged his side to move on.
We are disappointed we didn't make the Champions League but we have to close this chapter for this year and remember the feeling we had. We have to work really hard, learn from our defeats and use that experience when we hopefully get in that situation again next year.
WOLVES V BLACKBURNWolves could give George Saville a debut after he joined from Chelsea. Tommy Rowe could make his first appearance in the squad after recovering from a broken toe he suffered during pre-season but winger Razak Boukari (hamstring) is out for a further three months.Blackburn may include defender Matt Kilgallon (back) in their squad as they bid to record a first clean sheet of the campaign. Rovers are still without full-back Tommy Spurr (groin) and summer signing Chris Brown (knee) though.
WIGAN V BIRMINGHAMJames McArthur's uncertain future may cause him to miss out for Wigan. Winger Shaun Maloney could return after a bout of illness but Ben Watson (broken leg), James McClean (ankle) and Chris McCann (knee) are all still sidelined.Neal Eardley (groin) is a doubt for Birmingham after limping out of Wednesday's Capital One Cup exit to Sunderland. Matt Green (knee) is still recovering while Gavin Gunning is a long-term absentee after a knee operation last week.
WATFORD V HUDDERSFIELDJoel Ekstrand returns to the Watford squad after completing a three-match ban following his red card against Norwich a fortnight ago. Fellow centre-back Craig Cathcart is back in training after a knee injury but is unlikely to feature just yet.Huddersfield caretaker boss Mark Lillis could be short of a specialist right-back as both skipper Lee Peltier and Tommy Smith are struggling with groin injuries. However, Nahki Wells (ankle) and Jonathan Hogg (calf) are hopeful of returns.
SHEFF WEDNESDAY V NOTTINGHAM FORESTSheffield Wednesday full-back Sam Hutchinson (back) faces another fitness test ahead of Nottingham Forest's visit, live on Sky Sports 1HD. Fellow midfielder Kieran Lee will play no part as he is still struggling with a groin injury, but new signing Hallam Hope could make his debut.Forest's Henri Lansbury and Jamaal Lascelles made their return from knee injuries during midweek and could feature. David Vaughan (hamstring) and Kelvin Wilson (calf) both played 90 minutes for Forest's development squad this week as they continued to step up their recovery from injury.
ROTHERHAM V BRENTFORDRotherham will welcome Richie Smallwood and Anthony Wordsworth back into the squad, but Paul Taylor is a doubt with a virus. All three were cup-tied for the Capital One Cup defeat at Swansea in midweek and, while Smallwood and Wordsworth should return to Steve Evans' starting XI, Taylor's condition will be monitored.Tony Craig returns to the Brentford squad after missing their midweek cup defeat against derby rivals Fulham through suspension. Scott Hogan made his Bees debut as a sub against the Cottagers, having recovered from an ankle injury, so he should be involved again.
NORWICH v BOURNEMOUTHNorwich will be without Martin Olsson due to a family bereavement. Javier Garrido (hamstring) and Gary O'Neil (leg) face fitness tests while Canaries boss Neil Adams has issued a positive update on recovering stars Gary Hooper (calf) and Jonny Howson (knee), stating on the club website: "They are on their feet and doing light running and jogging."Bournemouth will be without defender Elliott Ward after he went under the knife to correct a knee problem. Fellow defender Simon Francis (hamstring) is set to return to training having missed the last three games but Shaun MacDonald is ruled out with a thigh injury.