English League 2

Mlilers get royal approval seal

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Tue, 12 Mar 2013 15:50:00

Neymar has revealed that Santos have offered him a new contract in a bid to ward off interest in him from Europe.

The Brazilian star has been linked with Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester City and Chelsea, among others, but his current club do not think that his departure is definite.

"Santos have now offered us a deal for him to renew his contract, but we will have to wait and talk to them," Neymar's father and agent explained at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Brazil.

While speculation continues unabated about a move to Europe, Neymar intends to see out his current deal, at least, with Santos.

His father, also called Neymar, said: "It is very difficult to see him leaving before 2013 although we will have to think about what is best for him."

The former England goalkeeper made 19 appearances for the League One club since arriving from Bristol City in September last year.

The 42-year-old, who played his last game for the Cherries in a 3-1 defeat at Walsall in mid-January, has found it difficult to force his way back into manager Eddie Howe's first-team plans.

James started out at Watford in 1988 and during a career spanning 25 years played for Liverpool, Aston Villa, West Ham, Manchester City and Portsmouth.

He made his debut for England in a friendly against Mexico in 1997 and won a total of 53 caps for his country.

James, awarded an MBE in 2012, was recently linked with a move to Iceland club IBV.

Ginczek is currently on-loan at St Pauli in the German Second Division from German champions Dortmund.

The German Under-21 international striker has impressed with 12 goals in Bundesliga Zwei and his form has caught the attention of a number of clubs - one of which is reportedly West Ham.

21-year-old Ginczek, who has also spent time on loan at Bochum, is yet to play for Borussia's first team and his agent Bjorn Etzel confirmed that his future was not decided.

"Dortmund don't know what they want to do yet," he told Sky Sports.

"We will wait until later in March or even April, and then Dortmund will decide what will happen."

On West Ham's interest, Etzel said: "I only really know what I have read and seen in the press about West Ham watching him - I was at the last game too, but I did not speak to them or see them."

As most of the debate around Sir Alex Ferguson's team selection for last week's controversial Champions League defeat by Real Madrid centred around Wayne Rooney's omission, what a significant day it was for Welbeck was overlooked.

United's goalscorer in the first leg, and preferred ahead of England's talisman in the second, Welbeck has made giant strides over the past month, proving that not all his best performances have been reserved for the international stage.

Yet Robson accepts the 22-year-old still has work to do.

After all, that header in the Bernabeu remains one of only two goals for Welbeck this season.

That is fewer than Rafael, Jonny Evans and Patrice Evra, let alone top-scorer Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez and Rooney, the latter two heading for the 20-goal barrier their Dutch team-mate has long since crashed through.

And that is the area Robson believes Welbeck must improve if present progress is to continue.

Speaking at the launch of the 'Legends are Back' game between Manchester United and Real Madrid, which will take place at Old Trafford on June 2, Robson said: "A few of the younger lads have progressed really well this season.

"But it was a measure of how well Danny has come on that the boss put him in the team ahead of Wayne Rooney last week.

"That was such a big decision but Danny has all the attributes you need, apart from being a natural finisher.

"The good thing about it is that is an area you can work on and improve. And I know Danny will do that because he is a keen lad with such a great mentality towards the game."

As England's top scorer in 2012 and one of five players nominated for Three Lions' player of the year, Welbeck, to an extent, left Rooney in the shade last year.

Not in terms of personality, though.

As the foremost player of his generation, Rooney has been the centre of attention, for good and bad, for over a decade now.

So Robson was not in the least bit surprised that there should be so much talk about the 27-year-old being left out by Ferguson last week, nor that the extension of that chatter should focus on whether Rooney had a future at Old Trafford.

Yet Robson claimed Ferguson had previous form for the kind of marking job the Scot asked Welbeck to do on Xabi Alonso last week, for he got Brian McClair to carry out a very similar task on Ronald Koeman in the 1991 Cup Winners' Cup triumph over Barcelona in Rotterdam.

"The boss had not spoken about it at all until the team talk before the game, when he told Brian what he wanted," said Robson.

"He was our centre-forward, but he had to do it.

"We went on to win the game and the boss was proved correct.

"It was the same with Danny. It was a tactical decision, that is all. At big clubs they happen all the time and players have to abide by them.

"I realise the suggestion afterwards is that the boss has run out of patience with Wayne but I don't think that is the case at all.

"Purely and simply, he was trying to find the best way of getting into the next round and, but for one decision by the referee, I am sure it would have worked."

Prince Edward, the Queen's cousin, was given a guided tour of the Millers' new home by honorary ambassador Howard Webb and chairman Tony Stewart before he unveiled a commemorative plaque.

Stewart, who funded much of the ?20million project himself, revelled in the royal's visit.

"Rotherham United Football Club were visited by the Duke of Kent who looked and listened whilst being shown around the stadium by a host of people connected with the events here.

"He showed a great interest as he was told about the activities that take place here in the heart of Rotherham, and over the time he was here, he got the message that this is more than a football stadium.

"This is a venue to benefit all the areas of Rotherham, young and old, this is a stadium for the people."

The Millers moved into the 12,000-seater stadium in the summer after spending four years at Sheffield's doomed Don Valley Stadium following their move from Millmoor.

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