Premier League

Cisse set for sponsor talks

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Sat, 08 Jun 2013 16:09:00

Davide Somma will not be offered a new deal at Leeds United, but will be allowed to complete his latest rehabilitation programme.

The South African striker is currently nursing his way back to fitness from a third knee operation.

Regular spells on the sidelines have blighted his time at Elland Road, with the last two campaigns bringing only a handful of appearances.

Leeds manager Brian McDermott concedes that there are no plans to put fresh terms to the 28-year-old, but hopes he can put his injury troubles behind him as he looks to take his career in a different direction.

He told the Yorkshire Evening Post: "He's a great guy who's been really unlucky. I spoke to Harvey (Sharman, United's head physio) and we agreed that we wanted to do the right thing by him.

"We'll look after him, try to get him fit and if something comes up for him elsewhere, we'll try to make sure that nothing stops him taking up the opportunity."

On the chances of Somma earning an extended stay, McDermott added: "I think realistically that's not going to happen. You never say never in football, but that's not necessarily how we were thinking.

"At the moment he just needs to concentrate on getting fit and over all the injuries. You feel for him."

Against massive odds, Robert Snodgrass' first-half goal gave Gordon Strachan's makeshift side their first Group A victory after seven attempts.

Although there is no chance of the Scots making next summer's finals in Brazil, the triumph ensured they will be in pot four for the draw for the next European Championship which, in theory, should help the chances of reaching the finals of a major tournament for the first time since Brown led Scotland to the 1998 World Cup in France.

The former Motherwell and Aberdeen manager is aware of the importance of seeding position but insists the rare away competitive win - the first since beating Liechtenstein in October 2011 - will give more to football in Scotland.

"Probably the most pleasing thing emerging from last night is that we are not in the bottom pot," he told Press Association Sport.

"That would have made it more difficult to qualify for the next tournament.

"It should be easier with 24 teams qualifying. There are 53 countries so just about half qualify, and surely you must think that Scotland will be in the top half of Europe.

"Scotland showed a capability that they could compete with the best.

"I think it was an exceptional result and performance. I think they were first class. Everything from last night is positive.

"I don't think anyone can appreciate the spin-off from that result - it will be enormous - not just the result, but in terms of replica kit sales, attitude towards the game here, coaching courses and recruitment, players wanting to play in Scotland.

"In every way, the game benefits."

Brown, now a non-executive director at Aberdeen, reckons Strachan will have a dilemma for the challenge match against England at Wembley on August 14 when many of his top players such as Gary Caldwell, Scott Brown, James Forrest and Steven Fletcher could be back.

"I said in the past that Scotland need their strongest team to compete but they proved last night that they don't need their strongest team," he said.

"Gordon has a problem for the next game against England and it is the most pleasant problem any manager can have - do you change a winning team?

"It will be interesting to see when we play England at Wembley whether he says to that team 'on you go and do it again'."

Brown, Scotland boss between 1993 and 2001, was speaking at Hampden Park where he was helping publicise an Alzheimer Scotland event, in which over 5,000 'memory jogging' quilts were laid over the pitch.

A keen supporter of the initiative, he related the theme of the afternoon to the win in Zagreb, saying: "The idea of these quilts is that they are memory triggers, and that game last night will be a memory trigger for Scotland.

"When Scotland ever play a hard away game they can remember what happened in Zagreb.

"They used to use (the memory of) when we beat England at Wembley in a competitive game (in 1999).

"I think at the moment Croatia are ranked at least as high as England were at the time, therefore to relate it to this event, they should make a quilt of Snodgrass' goal and, any time you see that, you remember."

The Senegalese striker is a practicing Muslim and has protested to club officials on religious and ethical grounds about the pay-day loan company's deal which will see their name printed on the team's shirts next season.

Under Sharia law, Muslims must not benefit from either lending money or receiving money from another person - meaning that interest is prohibited. Interest is not paid on Islamic bank accounts or added to mortgages.

Cisse is believed to be on holiday currently and it is understood the Magpies will seek to sit down and find a solution to the issue when he returns.

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