John O’Shea will return to Bournemouth on Saturday eternally grateful for the day Sir Alex Ferguson sent him there to toughen him up for the glittering career ahead of him. Press Association O’Shea told SAFSee: “It was a crucial stage for me because I was playing reserve team football at Manchester United and the manager felt that the rough and tumble of Division Two at the time, League One now, would have been ideal for me. “I played a good few games under Mel Machin, who was the manager at Bournemouth and Sean O’Driscoll was the coach, the assistant manager at Liverpool now. “They wanted to play football the right way, but also they made me understand how important it was playing for points. Playing for a team’s survival in leagues like that was a crucial development stage for me, and also playing with good, experienced players too, learning my craft. It was a great experience.” Almost 16 years on, the now 34-year-old O’Shea will lock horns with the Cherries, who are playing top-flight football for the first time in their history, and he admits that was not a scenario he envisaged during his time at the club. He said: “Honestly if you had asked me at the time, no. Obviously teams can develop, but at that time in terms of the stadium, the facilities around the place, you obviously wouldn’t have said that was a Premier League facility. “But huge credit must go to the staff and the fans at the club at the time when they went through a couple of dodgy spells where it looked like they could have even folded. “But they dug deep and they got together, and obviously Eddie Howe came back at a crucial stage for them and they started to get on a roll, and investors saw it as a good opportunity too and they got on board and they were able to go from strength to strength. “It’s been an incredible turn-around in the space of time to be in the Premier League.” The then 18-year-old Manchester United defender was dispatched to Dean Court on a three-month loan deal in January 2000 at the start of a near 12-year spell at Old Trafford, which saw him win the Champions League, five league titles and both the FA Cup and League Cup, as he took an important step towards learning his trade. On Saturday, the now Sunderland captain will return to face his former club in the Barclays Premier League thankful for the lessons he learned during his time in Dorset.
After a dominant 5-0 blowout victory over Toledo last Friday evening, the University of Wisconsin women’s soccer team has moved onto the second round of the NCAA tournament and will be matching up against #1 seed South Carolina on Friday night.That game featured Grace Douglas’s first two goals of her season, as well as goals by Lauren Rice, Jordan McNeese, and Allie Winterfield. This was by far the Badgers most dominant performance of the season and one that has to have Wisconsin feeling good about their upset chances against South Carolina.Women’s soccer: Badgers dominate Hawkeyes in final road challengeThe University of Wisconsin women’s soccer team took down the University of Iowa 3-0 Saturday evening in what was the Read…They have now won 4 out of their past 5 games, with all of those victories being shutouts. The defense has been there all season for the Badgers, but only recently has the offense began to rise up. South Carolina is currently 16-2-1 on the season, including 8-0-1 at home, which is where this game will be played.Their only losses this year are against Wake Forest and Arkansas, which occurred in their first game of the SEC tournament. They are coming off a 3-0 victory over Alabama State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last week. They are led in scoring by Savannah McCaskill and Elexa Bahr with 7 and 8 goals, respectively.They have been impressive on both ends of the field this season and had no problem at all with SEC competition. They went 9-0-1 against the SEC and have pitched shutouts in 14 of their 19 games. This will be a tough challenge for the Badgers, who have had some struggles offensively this year.Women’s soccer: Northwestern hands Wisconsin surprising 2-0 lossThe University of Wisconsin women’s soccer team (10-4-2, 4-3-2 Big Ten) was unable to put up any points Sunday against Read…They will likely need to play a strong defensive game and keep South Carolina from scoring if they want a decent chance at the upset. Goaltender Caitlyn Clem has been a huge presence for the Badgers all year long and this would be the perfect chance for her to come up big for Wisconsin in their biggest game of the season.This 2nd round game will happen on Friday evening at 5 p.m. in Columbia, South Carolina in a game that will decide each team’ postseason fate. It will be available to watch on the SEC Network. Tune in to watch the Badgers attempt to upset top-ranked South Carolina in a must-win match-up.
Ghana have called up most of its key players for this month’s matches against Congo and England, Ghanasoccernet’s painstaking investigation has revealed.Key players like Sulley Muntari, Andre Ayew, Kwadwo Asamoah and John Mensah as well as Richard Kingson have been called.It is however not known whether Kevin Prince Boateng and Michael Essien will be part of the squad for the Black Stars clash with Congo in Brazzaville on 26 March and England three days later.Marseille key player Andre Ayew has confirmed receiving his invitation for the two games while Sunderland duo of Sulley Muntari and John Mensah have also confirmed their invitations.Italian side Udinese have confirmed receiving invitations for Kwadwo Asamoah and Agyemang Badu while Germany-based duo of Isaac Vorsah and Anthony Annan have been handed invites.Serbians giants Partizan Belgrade have confirmed that their feared Ghanaian striking duo of Prince Tagoe and Dominic Adiyiah have been invited for the game while Fulham John Pantsil is part of the squad. Portuguese newspaper Noticias have also reported that left-back David Addy has been invited for the two matches.Ukrainian side Dnipro have confirmed the invitation of Samuel Inkoom while Spanish club Granada says Jonathan Mensah will be released for the two matches.Bernard Kumordzi of Panionios of Greece has also received his official invitation as well as Getafe strong midfielder Derek Boateng.It is not known whether Michael Essien has been invited while Kevin Prince Boateng could not be reached for his confirmation.Players confirmed so far: Derek Boateng (Getafe, Spain), David Addy (Academica, Portugal), Samuel Inkoom (Dnipro, Ukraine), Prince Tagoe (Partizan, Serbia), Jonathan Mensah (Granada, Spain), Dominic Adiyiah (Partizan, Serbia), Dede Ayew (Marseille, France), Bernard Kumordzi (Panionios, Greece), Richard Kingson (Blackpool, Englang), John Mensah (Sunderland, England) Isaac Vorsah (Hoffenheim, Germany) John Pantsil (Fulham, England), Anthony Annan (Schalke, Germany), Kwadwo Asamoah (Udinese, Italy), Sulley Muntari (Sunderland, England), Agyemang Badu (Udinese, Italy).Source: Ghanasoccernet