Who will be the next Republic of Ireland manager?

Giovanni Trapattoni has left Republic of Ireland after getting beat 1-0 away to Austria leaving them in fourth place.

Trapattoni has been very successful throughout his career both as a player and a manager but it has seemed for a while now that he should go but he obviously felt that he could still turn it around and qualify for the World Cup in Brazil. He won 26 of his 64 games in charge and did get them to Euro 2012 and even though they did not perform that well it was still a decent achievement getting them to the tournament.

The squad is filled with some good players and they should have possibly done better in this qualifying phase, however one criticism aimed at Trapattoni is that he stuck with the same players for far too long. Defensively their best player by a long way is Seamus Coleman and he has started this season fantastically and the new man coming in needs to make sure he is on the pitch as often as possible. Midfield at this moment in time looking at the last squad is a little weak, they have a lot of players that are good but nothing more like Glenn Whelan. Up front they still are relying on Robbie Keane who they need to find a replacement soon because he is 33 and the MLS isn’t the most competitive.

Martin O’Neill is the favourite to take over and initially I was surprised because he is Northern Irish and he may not enjoy international management. Apart from his time at Sunderland he has mostly been successful and would get the best out of most of the players. He may be looking for a new job right now and if he can’t find a club job that he wants then this job could be perfect for him.

Another surprising name linked with the job early on is Mick McCarthy. He has already had the job once and even though he was successful he did have a few problems, for example his much publicised fall out with Roy Keane before the 2002 World Cup. He had a similar win percentage as Trapattoni as manager of Ireland, winning 29 of his 68 games so would he be the man they are looking for? Plus he probably wants to achieve promotion from the Championship again, this time with Ipswich Town although they haven’t got off to a brilliant start so he may be tempted away.

Third favourite for the position is Brian McDermott, another manager that has just recently been appointed by his club Leeds United so that may make it difficult for Ireland to tempt him away. He has only been in charge for 12 games but has only lost three of those so he definitely does have the ability after a largely successful spell at Reading. I personally do not think he will go for the Ireland job but if they did manage to convince him then I do think he would be a success.

Others linked with the job are Roy Keane, Stuart Pearce and Chris Hughton.

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Who will Michael Owen sign for?

Michael Owen has left Manchester United and will be looking for a new club this summer with many teams surely interested in his services.

Michael Owen wore the famous number 7 shirt at Manchester United

After bursting on the scene with Liverpool, he has been considered one of England’s greatest strikers with his fantastic movement and unrivalled finishing ability. Since leaving Liverpool he has had an indifferent career with his move to Real Madrid ending after only one season for one reason or another. He was still quite a consistent goal scorer in Spain with 13 goals in 36 league games which was quite impressive especially considering a lot of these appearances were from the bench. He left the Spanish giants for Newcastle United and his time there has been criticised a lot by the Geordie faithful as he seemed more interested in picking up his wages than actually helping the club. His commitment was often questioned and as soon as the club were relegated he was leaving and there was no chance of him sticking around. However, he did get 30 goals in 79 appearances which convinced Alex Ferguson to sign him up for three seasons. At Old Trafford, he was largely an unused substitute but he still contributed in particular the winning goal against Manchester City in the sixth minute of injury time.

He does not want to retire so he needs a new club but will anyone in the Premier League take him on or will he need to go back abroad? Stoke City are currently the favourites to sign him and that would be quite a signing for the team and would surely give the squad a much needed a lift after a disappointing end to the season. He would provide that little bit of extra quality that Stoke need to lift them into the European places and possibly a good cup run. Owen would simply just give them a different option as they wouldn’t be able to pump it straight up to him. In my opinion he would work  well alongside Peter Crouch with his movement and Crouch’s ability to win the ball in the air. He would definitely benefit from Matthew Etherington’s crosses and would score a lot of headers for the team.

His boyhood club Everton are also linked with him and that would be a really good move for both him and the club. He could start up a very good combination with Nikica Jelavic and they would grab a lot of goals between them. David Moyes would love two strikers that can score consistently which he hasn’t always had during his time at Everton. Owen, I think would enjoy playing for Everton because of their quality in the midfield with players like Darron Gibson, Marouane Fellaini and Leon Osman able to play killer through balls. The only problem is his wages, would he be prepared to drop them or would Everton have to break their wage structure to sign him?

However, it wouldn’t surprise me if he just went to the MLS and picked up a huge way packet every week. If he does go to America then it is basically because he knows he doesn’t have the quality to perform in the Premier League anymore or just simply he doesn’t want as much pressure on him. He is also 12/1 in some bookmakers to retire before the start of the season which also wouldn’t surprise me as at times he does seem more interested in his horses and will just concentrate on that.

It would be a sad end for a player that scored 40 international goals for England so I personally hope he does get another club in England even if it is just in the Championship just so he can prove to everyone once again that he needs to be feared. At the minute there are a lot of jokes about his injuries and the amount of time he spends on the bench but if he gets a chance in the box, nine times out of ten he will score.

David Beckham signs new contract for LA Galaxy

David Beckham has signed a new two year contract at LA Galaxy ending speculation  that he could be joining a European club.

Beckham has played 81 games for the American side scoring 12 goals and providing 28 assists. He went to America to raise the profile of the game over there and it is debatable whether his arrival has had an impact however one thing that has changed is that now players coming to the end of their careers are now looking for one last big pay cheque by going over there. The most notable being Thierry Henry and Robbie Keane but both of these have returned on loan to Premier League clubs, Henry rejoining Arsenal and Keane joining Aston Villa.

Also what is worth noting is that LA Galaxy have given Beckham permission to play for Great Britain in the Olympics if he is selected by Stuart Pearce as one of the three over age players. This must have clinched the deal for the former Manchester United midfielder as he had reportedly turned down a move to PSG because of family reasons which would suggest that Victoria and the rest of the family are very happy in LA.

However, the only negative he will see is that surely now he is staying with Galaxy he has almost certainly ruled out any chance of being selected for Euro 2012 but I have a suspicion that with all the work he put in to get the Olympics in London in 2012 he would prefer to be playing for Great Britain as Stuart Pearce has already said anyone going to the Euros won’t be selected.

Even though he is playing in a league that is well below the level he could still play at, he has made a good choice as he is trying to do good in the game by getting more people in America involved in the sport instead of it being behind American Football, Basketball, Baseball and possibly even Hockey. Only a small minority play soccer in American and if they could get more players involved they would produce some of the best players in the world just because of the sheer size of the country.

Back to the former England captain, it would have been good to have seen him back playing in the Premier League before he retired but that seems unlikely now. He did say he wouldn’t play for another club in England apart from Manchester United and he must have been thinking after watching Paul Scholes return and some bets (yes actual money) being placed on Phil Neville to return from Everton, that Sir Alex Ferguson may be tempted to pick up the phone and give him one final chance at Old Trafford.

It would not be surprising to have to call him Sir David Beckham in years to come as his services to football, charity and getting the Olympics to London have been nothing short of outstanding. He has always been a model professional and always wore the shirt of whichever team he was playing for with pride.

Finally can anyone remember a better moment in the last 20 years for England when he scored that penalty against Argentina in the 2002 World Cup? Because I can’t and for this moment alone he should be remembered as a fantastic player and captain for England.