Magpies pour misery on Pompey
Tue, 29 Jan 2013 23:27:00
Manager Arsene Wenger is adamant David Beckham signing for Arsenal is not on the agenda, despite confirming the England captain is training at their Hertfordshire base.
Beckham is currently without a club after leaving Los Angeles Galaxy at the end of the Major League Soccer season and has told Wenger he has not trained since.
The Frenchman is unsure of Beckham's state of fitness, but believes the 37-year-old would not have taken an extended break if he wanted to win a contract with the Gunners or any Premier League side.
"He told me that he doesn't look at all to be in shape," Wenger said. "Beckham is super-ambitious. If, in his mind, he wanted to play in the Premier League he would not have gone on holiday.
"He would have prepared and come in and tried to impress me. He told me he has done nothing at all."
It is still to be determined whether, and where, Beckham will continue his career.
Wenger declined to speculate on whether Beckham could still perform in England's top flight and insisted a permanent deal for the former Manchester United, Real Madrid, LA Galaxy and AC Milan midfielder is not under consideration.
"That is not on the agenda," Wenger said. "He asked to come here to get fit. (It's) purely for fitness. There's no speculation about signing or anything.
"Maybe in June he has plans to play somewhere."
Beckham called Wenger to request a third spell training at London Colney after previous stints in January 2008 and December 2010, which came before a lengthier spell with Tottenham in January 2011.
Former Gunners Thierry Henry and Sol Campbell have also returned to the club for training periods and Wenger believes Beckham sets a good example to his young squad.
"He's fantastic," Wenger added. "The young English players look at him and take his advice on board. His positive advice.
"This guy has a fantastic quality, has done the maximum of his career that you can do. Why? Because he loves football. After training he stays and plays."
Defoe sat out the 2-1 FA Cup fourth-round loss at Elland Road due to a pelvic muscle injury and with Emmanuel Adebayor, the only other recognised striker in the Spurs ranks, currently away with Togo at the African Nations Cup, Villas-Boas has limited options in attack.
But Villas-Boas said Defoe had undergone scans and had a plasma injection to allow him to be fit for the Barclays Premier League trip to Norwich on Wednesday night.
When asked about the extent of Defoe's injury, Villas-Boas said: "He felt some tightness. It was a Grade 1 injury to his obturator muscle which was treated immediately.
"We acknowledged that resting him for Leeds was almost compulsory so we let him out of the game and he has made an excellent recovery so he is back.
"In muscle injuries there is always a risk of it showing up again, but the medical department feel positive about it and the player is positive and he knows his body well."
Villas-Boas revealed Spurs are keen to use such innovations to the benefit of their players and ruled out the need for 30-year-old Defoe to need an operation and miss a large chunk of the season.
"We believe a lot in growth factor treatment and plasma platelet treatments," he said. "It is a technique that we have been using since the beginning of the season.
"It is not common but does happen from club to club. The player adhered to the treatment very, very well so we can move forward.
"You take out the blood from any part of the body and spin it around. The plasma comes to the top of the blood and you are able to inject it back into the body and that is the part of the blood that heals injuries. It accelerates the recovery process.
"The day he felt the injury was Friday and he had the injection thing. Now he is available for selection. That is the remarkable thing."
With both Defoe and Adebayor missing at Leeds, Villas-Boas could have been forgiven for jumping straight into the transfer market for another forward to bolster his attacking options.
Germany international Lewis Holtby has joined for ?1.5million after originally agreeing to a move to White Hart Lane in the summer when his contract at Schalke was due to expire.
Holtby's arrival could be the only signing Spurs make between now and the close of the window, despite the re-emergence of interest in Internacional striker Leandro Damiao and, although he acknowledges the danger of not adding to his squad, Villas-Boas is pleased to continue with Defoe and Adebayor.
"We've told you that there is a certain risk involved," he said. "The risk involved obviously took Jermain out of the game against Leeds. I've told you also that it's not impossible that the club and ourselves might think about the striker position.
"We've strengthened in some way our attacking options with Lewis Holtby, (although) obviously not a pure striker. We're still with two pure strikers and Clint Dempsey, who we believe can fulfil that position. At the moment, it's a risk that we took."
Holtby will go straight into the squad for the trip to Norwich, where Defoe is likely to return to a Spurs side who currently sit fourth in the table with a three-point gap back to Everton in fifth.
Hughes tapped in Yoann Arquin's pinpoint cross from the right after 81 minutes before Zoko nodded in Alan Sheehan's corner, which was badly fumbled by Pompey keeper Simon Eastwood, three minutes from time at Fratton Park.
Pompey - who have yet to secure a point in League One in 2013 - came agonisingly close to edging ahead after just two minutes when Jed Wallace's cross from the right wreaked havoc in the County penalty area.
Ashley Harris stabbed a shot towards goal, but Gary Liddle saved his side with a desperate clearance off the line.
County thought they had opened their account after 28 minutes, when Pompey defender Ricardo Rocha headed Jamal Campbell-Ryce's cross into his own net. But referee Gavin Ward ruled it out for a push.
Neither side looked capable of producing a telling touch in the final third, until the Magpies struck with a late double thanks to Hughes and Zoko.
County ended the game with 10 men after Neal Bishop was sent off following an off-the-ball altercation with Pompey skipper Johnny Ertl in the final minute.