Rooney not Ferguson's problem
Sat, 18 May 2013 07:50:00
Nicola Cortese will remain in his role as Southampton's executive chairman after his plans for the future were signed off by the club's owners.
Cortese was understood to be considering his position at St Mary's over differences with the trust that runs the club, and manager Mauricio Pochettino said on Friday that he would follow him if he decided to leave.
But the Italian met with owner Katharina Liebherr on Friday and plans for the club's continued development in the Premier League were agreed, prompting a statement on the club's official website.
Cortese said: "We are now in a position to move forward with our ambitious plans for the club and I would like to thank Katharina for the very helpful manner in which she approached our talks about long term strategy. I am pleased that this matter is now resolved.
"We can now focus 100 per cent on our preparations for next season.
"We have tremendous momentum now at the club and we are looking forward with great confidence to an exciting and successful campaign next season.
"The last few days have shown me the unity that we now have across the club in the players, the manager, the staff and the chairmanship which normally takes years to achieve.
"I have always believed that to create this unity would make us a very strong club and it is a unity of which I am unashamedly proud."
The 19-year-old former Celtic trainee has cut an impressive, composed figure since making a shock debut in last weekend's Edinburgh derby win over Hearts.
With James McPake and Tim Clancy facing a race to recover from injury, Forster will be in contention to start the Hampden showpiece against the Hoops next Sunday.
Aside from the obvious desire to become a club legend by helping to end a 111-year hoodoo, the Gorgie-born centre-back would draw some added satisfaction from defeating the Glasgow giants.
"At Celtic, I had a discussion with the head of youth and he said at that time it was unlikely that I'd get a pro contract. That was three years ago," said the promising defender.
"Whenever you're released by a club and play them again, there's always an edge. That will always be there.
"Hopefully I will give the manager here a headache for the final by continuing to perform well on the pitch and in training.
"There's an extra incentive for me every time I play against Celtic now."
Forster has bounced back impressively from his Parkhead disappointment in recent years, and describes joining Hibs as the "best thing I've ever done".
He continued: "It is hard to sum up what the last couple of weeks have been like. It's happened so fast, like a whirlwind.
"If you'd asked me a couple of months ago if I'd be in this position, I'd have said 'no way'. To make my debut at Tynecastle in the derby was unbelievable.
"It justifies my decision to come here after leaving Celtic, 100 per cent. It wasn't going to work out for me there and joining Hibs is the best thing I've ever done.
"Hibs are renowned for bringing youth players through and that's been proved.
"It would be a dream come true for me to play against Celtic's first team and win. I'd be lying if I said I haven't thought about running out against them at Hampden in a Scottish Cup final."
Mancini was relieved of his duties a year to the day since he guided City to last season's Premier League title.
The club's owners spoke of a desire for a more "holistic approach" but Ferguson believes it was the wrong decision.
"It is quite amazing," said the Manchester United manager, who retires after Sunday's game at West Brom.
"He has won the FA Cup, been in the final, second in the league and won the league and it's not good enough?
"I was surprised, but actually no, you can't say you are surprised not with some owners today. You can't be surprised, but I still don't think it was right.
"I was with the chief executive of Liverpool at our reserve game the other night and he told me that Brendan Rodgers, who has not been in the job a year, is the 30th longest-serving manager in the country. That's incredible."
The Arsenal midfielder's tribute was in start contrast to former England winger Chris Waddle's dismissal of Beckham as not even being in the top 1,000 Premier League players.
But Wilshere says Beckham, who will retire at the end of the season and plays his last home game for Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday, as the perfect role model for any young midfielder.
Wilshere - who trained alongside Beckham before he joined PSG - admits he has always looked up to him.
"For me, he is the biggest English footballer there has ever been - both on and off the pitch," he told Arsenal Player.
"Sometimes people forget what he did on the pitch, he was a great player and he showed that for many years. For any young English midfielder, and for me growing up, he was the perfect role model.
"You can just watch him and learn - not just the way he plays but from his attitude as well, his professionalism and his love for the game. That rubs off on everyone."
Waddle struck a controversial note among the tributes to Beckham however.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live: "You can go down a list of footballers since the Premier League and I don't think David Beckham would probably be in the first 1,000.
"I would say he has been a good player, I wouldn't put him down as a great."
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson believes Beckham's "unbelievable stamina" had given him such longevity but said it was the right time to retire.
Ferguson said: "He's won the league again with PSG and he is exactly the same as myself in that he'll have plenty of things to do.
"Fashion will be his role I would imagine, but he's a young man and he'll certainly have plenty of things to do."
Ferguson added: "He is an amazing person and when it comes to longevity and reinventing himself - David has been absolutely incredible.
"When he went to America there wasn't a person in this place who thought he would really have a career.
"Yet he still went on and played for his country and for Milan and PSG in European ties.
"The one thing he always had was unbelievable stamina.
"He could run all day and that has allowed him to stay in the game and play for his country into his mid-30s."
Rooney has asked to leave United this summer even though he still has two years on his contract remaining.
Ferguson revealed last week the request had been turned down, and, along with Gary Neville, advised the England forward to get away during the summer, get his head sorted out and return refreshed.
The matter is not quite so simple, as United will not want to allow the 27-year-old to drift beyond the summer without some kind of clear vision of his future.
However, as Ferguson acknowledged, it is not his problem any more.
"I'm no longer interested in that," said the Scot.
"Quite rightly, David is going to deal with it. I am happy with that."
United look set, however, to confirm the future of defender Rio Ferdinand early next week.
It is understood negotiations over a new deal are at an advanced stage and provided there are no unforeseen hitches, an official announcement will be made.
Before then United travel to West Brom for Ferguson's 1500th and final game in charge of United, bringing an end to a quite amazing career in which he has won a staggering 13 Premier League titles.
Now it falls to Moyes to carry on that winning tradition, with Ferguson certain the club's expanding commercial operation will not get in the way.
"The priority is the football team," he said.
"Without the football team they wouldn't have all the sponsorships.
"Everyone knows that here."
Ferguson will act as Moyes' guide in that regard and there are plenty of others at the club with vast experience who can help smooth the new man's transition.
Some aspects of life in the mighty Old Trafford machine Moyes can only experience for himself.
Touring the Far East this summer will be an interesting experience for a start.
"David will soon realise the enormity of this club," said Ferguson.
"Although I think he does already, he has to fit into the global brand and number of sponsors we've got.
"I don't think that is an issue. He's got a good squad of players and he'll want to add to that himself.
"I've spoken to David a few times. He will have his own ideas and I would imagine he will want to come in quite soon and speak to staff."