Bits And Bobs

Last updated : 22 August 2007 By Editor

* Darren Fletcher:

"It's a great honour to captain your country. I've done it before and it's nice to do it again.

"You've got to lead the team and someone has to be captain but I look around the team that will be playing tomorrow night and I see that there will be more than one captain on the pitch.

"That's what you want. You want as many leaders as possible on the pitch. Obviously I include myself in that and we've got others on the pitch who are going to make my job easier as well.

"I take a bit out of every captain I've played under. I've played under some great captains at Manchester United and for Scotland. Barry [Ferguson] is a great leader.

"But each captain has to be an individual, you can't go out there and copy somebody else because you are not that somebody else.

"You have to take the best bits from other captains and try to add them to your own natural leadership qualities."

* Daily Mail:

Newcastle were today bracing themselves for an approach for striker Obafemi Martins as speculation mounted that Manchester United could seek cover for Wayne Rooney.

The 22-year-old is one of a number of frontmen to be linked with the Premier League champions, who have taken just two points from their first three games.

* The Times:

Tottenham Hotspur attempted to paper over the cracks of their disintegrating relationship with Martin Jol last night, at the same time agreeing a compensation package worth up to £4 million should they terminate his contract. The revelation suggests that the manager's position remains virtually untenable after he became embroiled in a battle with Daniel Levy, the chairman, and Damien Comolli, the sporting director.

Statements issued after Jol met the board yesterday hinted that an uneasy truce had been agreed, but the fact that the club's accountants have approved severance terms for the Dutchman, who has two years left on his contract, will do nothing to dampen speculation regarding his future.

Tottenham are thought to be in talks with several candidates. Mark Hughes, the Blackburn Rovers manager, has emerged as a surprise option after negotiations with Juande Ramos, the highly regarded Seville coach, came to nothing. The Spanish club insisted yesterday that Ramos would see out the last year of his contract.

Even by the turbulent standards of Tottenham, who have had four permanent managers in little more than six years, the latest episode is chaotic. They held talks with Ramos on Friday, but the Seville coach believes that he may be in a stronger position to accept a job at a top club at the end of the season should his team progress to the latter stages of the Champions League.

Ramos has an uncomfortable relationship with Ramón Rodríguez, the Seville sporting director, and would be walking into a similar situation at White Hart Lane, where the present plight has been triggered, in part, by the club's support for Comolli above Jol.

The Times understands that Jol and Comolli have disagreed about several signings, including that of Mido last summer. Jol wanted to recruit the striker, who has since left for Middles-brough, against Comolli's wishes.

Even Jol's fiercest critics have been left perplexed by the timing of a likely managerial change. An online petition in his defence had gained nearly 3,200 signatures last night.

* More from the Daily Mail:

Portsmouth will hold talks with Nicolas Anelka's representatives today as they look to close a £12million deal for the France striker.

West Ham and Manchester United are monitoring his situation but have other priorities while Everton also made an enquiry, as their move for Middlesbrough's Yakubu stalled on Monday, but were put off by the wages.