Premier League

Moyes expected to win in style

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Mon, 03 Jun 2013 15:55:00

New Wolves head coach Kenny Jackett is relishing what he admits is the biggest challenge of his managerial career as he aims to restore pride at Molineux.

Jackett was appointed by the Black Country club on Friday before being unveiled to the press on Monday morning - when he was jokingly referred to by chief executive Jez Moxey as Wanderers' 'Special One' on the same day as Jose Mourinho's inevitable return to Chelsea was confirmed.

Wolves' fifth different manager in the space of 16 disastrous months has immediately set his sights on promotion from npower League One at the first attempt next term, with the troubled outfit in the third tier for the first time since 1989 following back-to-back relegations.

Jackett certainly has the credentials having started Swansea's renaissance by leading them to promotion from League Two in 2005, before guiding Millwall to the Championship in 2010 and keeping them there for three seasons while also reaching an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley last term.

But the 51-year-old, who admits he did not envisage being back in management so soon having left his six-year post at Millwall four weeks ago in search of a fresh challenge, knows he will need to draw on all his experience at Wolves.

"When I went in to Swansea they were halfway down League Two and still playing at the old Vetch Field, I spent three years there and I'm proud to say, in an incredible decade, that I played my part in the development of that club," said Jackett. "And again, like at Millwall, felt that I left it in a better place than when I found it.

"This is the biggest challenge, there is no doubt about that. The size of this club, I feel the potential it has knows no bounds if we can get it going positively. They've obviously had troubles in recent seasons and for all of us there's a lot to sort out but it's a challenge I'm relishing.

"In terms of the size of the club, on a personal level it's a fantastic opportunity for me, the biggest one I've received and I'm looking forward to that."

Jackett, who has been appointed on a 12-month rolling contract and arrives without his own backroom staff, added: "There'll be 46 cup finals next season, Wolves in this division will be a real big game for everybody. Having said that, we should embrace that, it's something we shouldn't be frightened of.

"There is no doubt about it - our aim and our approach this year is to get promotion. Is that going to be easy? No. Does there need to be some adjustment? Of course."

The 20-year-old striker moved to the north east two years ago but has only shown flashes of the ability that persuaded the Black Cats to fork out ?8million.

Struggling to fight his way into former manager Martin O'Neill's plans, Wickham was loaned to Sheffield Wednesday but became a regular in Di Canio's Sunderland side upon his return.

That, though, has not stopped the volatile Black Cats boss taking a swipe at the striker.

Di Canio compared Wickham to a "Playboy model" and said he needs a slap in the face to reach his full potential - comments the striker laughed off today.

"I don't know (what to make of it)," he said. "I just saw it. It is just down to me to take on what I see in the papers.

"I don't really read the papers anyway but I am fine, I will get my head down, keep working and show him what I can do when I get back.

"Our relationship is fine. He has had words on the training pitch and helped me along.

"He said he will help me improve as a player so for me there is nothing but positive vibes from him.

"I can't wait to get back to Sunderland and just work hard again.

"I have played the two games that I have been fit for and come on for the other halves.

"I feel strong, I feel confident in the manager and that I will get a chance. Hopefully if I do get a chance, I will take it."

Wickham is currently away with the England Under-21 squad in Israel, where the European Championships get underway on Wednesday.

The Young Lions face Italy in their first Group A match, before taking on Norway and hosts Israel.

"All the boys are really looking forward to what is to come," Wickham said.

"We had a week in Turkey, which prepared us physically for the weather and the demands of the heat, the pitch and the surface.

"The vibe in the camp is good and we are all looking forward to Wednesday night.

"I don't think the belief has ever been stronger. Walking around the camp and at dinner - you can feel it everywhere you go.

"We've had the coaching staff and everyone drumming into us how the important tournament is.

"I don't think anyone has got any doubts in the team that we can't do well."

There are, though, doubts about the fitness of star man Wilfried Zaha.

The 20-year-old Manchester United attacker is struggling with an ankle complaint and failed to complete training in Netanya this morning.

"Obviously he is going to be on a massive high for what he has achieved," Wickham added.

"He has done really, really well and coming in he can only make the team stronger.

"But I think we've got strength in numbers in every position and on our day we can go and beat anybody."

Hodgson and his squad spent most of the week batting away criticism from outside the camp.

England's second-highest scorer of all time, Gary Lineker, proclaimed that Hodgson had taken the national team back to the "dark ages" by deploying a flat 4-4-2 formation against the Republic of Ireland while former England captain Rio Ferdinand suggested a youth coaching revamp was necessary after what he claims has been an inconsistent decade for the national side.

For 45 minutes Brazil battered England in the Maracana last night, but they did not submit and they would have come away with an historic win had it not been for Paulinho's 82nd-minute strike, which meant the game ended 2-2.

A Montenegro win over Ukraine on Friday night will send the Balkan nation five points ahead of England at the top of Group H, but on the back of two encouraging performances against the five-time world champions in the last four months, Hodgson is confident that his squad will be back in Brazil next summer.

"When you can win at home and draw away against one of the world's top teams, one of the clear favourites for the World Cup, that has to give us confidence going into those autumn games, making it a better proposition for us in terms of (qualification)," the England manager said.

"We can feel confident that we have the wherewithal to win those (four remaining qualifying) matches and get here next year.

"We are all so desperate to get to the World Cup. Nothing we have done or seen has diminished our desire in that respect."

A year has now passed since Hodgson was parachuted into his position just before the start of Euro 2012.

The former Liverpool manager has only tasted defeat twice during that period, but given the number of draws (six) he has experienced during his 17-match reign, Hodgson acknowledges that his team are very much a "work in progress".

But with Jack Wilshere, Steven Gerrard and the likes of Tom Cleverley, Kyle Walker and Daniel Sturridge to come back from injury, there is plenty of reason for optimism.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Wayne Rooney both scored wonder goals against Luiz Felipe Scolari's side last night and Frank Lampard, who has been in and around the England squad for the last 14 years, is in a confident mood about the squad's future.

"I think we are in good shape," said the Chelsea midfielder, who captained England at the Maracana.

"I feel confident. It's up to us where we go from here now. We need to keep improving.

"We keep talking about the youngsters, they are pivotal in us moving forward.

"I think we are moving forward but it's up to us now to go and show it. We keep talking about it but we need to go and show it next year."

After taking flak from Lineker in midweek over his tactics against the Irish, Hodgson showed initiative last night by deploying Phil Jones to counter the threat of Neymar.

The England manager then switched the momentum of the game after Fred's opener by introducing Oxlade-Chamberlain for Jones.

The 19-year-old, playing through the middle, struck a sweet equaliser past Julio Cesar following a tee-up by Rooney, who then added his name to the scoresheet with a deflected curling finish.

Oxlade-Chamberlain usually plays on either flank for Arsenal, but Hodgson was confident about playing the teenager in the centre of midfield following a discussion with Gunners manager Arsene Wenger over the suitability of the player in that role.

"I know from a conversation I had with Arsene that long term the centre of midfield will be a good position for him," Hodgson said.

"There is no doubt that his energy and his ability to turn on the ball helped us.

"He faces incredible competition in that position, but I think he will be quite happy to do the job wherever we can use him."

The Scot has the unenviable task of succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson, whose 26-year reign at Old Trafford was laden with silverware.

Moyes did not manage to win a trophy during 11 years at Everton - admittedly working with a fraction of the Red Devils' budget - but Van Nistelrooy said that would not be acceptable at his new club.

"Success at Manchester United? It doesn't matter which manager it is you need to compete on all fronts so that will be expected of him and I don't think that will be a surprise (to Moyes)," he said.

"I think everyone expects a league title, FA Cup, Champions League trophy and playing some good football.

"In that sense the pressure is full on but I think he knows what he is getting into.

"I don't know him personally but he looks like a guy who will handle that."

Moyes does not officially take charge until July 1 but has already been familiarising himself with the set up at the club.

Recruitment of his backroom staff has yet to be finalised but assistant manager Mike Phelan and goalkeeping coach Eric Steele have already been moved on.

More are expected to follow - coach Rene Meulensteen is virtually certain to depart despite being offered a role in charge of the youth set-up - as remnants of the Ferguson era are gradually whittled away.

However, former United defender Henning Berg does not believe Moyes will have any issues putting his own stamp on things and gaining the respect of the players.

"I don't think (exerting his authority) will be a problem," said the Norwegian, who had a brief spell in charge at Blackburn last season.

"The way he leads I am 100 per cent sure he will have the respect and authority any way.

"I am sure he is looking forward to the job. Everyone says it will be very difficult after Sir Alex Ferguson - and it will be - but it is a great opportunity to be honest.

"David Moyes has time to plan, he will know the league, know the people.

"He had his staff working well at Everton and he knows the guys he has been working with and that works.

"But I am 100 per cent certain it would have worked with Mike Phelan and Rene as well.

"But that is his decision and he wants to do what he feels is right for Manchester United to be the best they can be."

Berg also expects there to be changes to the playing staff as well.

"There need to be additions and of course there will be a few changes to the playing staff because Sir Alex Ferguson would have been doing that any way even after they won the league because you are looking to improve," he said.

"I think there will be additions and in central midfield, with Paul Scholes retiring, looks like where they will be looking to improve."

As well as identifying the right people to bring in Moyes has to deal with the thorny problem of Wayne Rooney, whom had a transfer request rejected last month according to Ferguson.

Van Nistelrooy believes the 27-year-old England international has to leave the club if he is not entirely committed.

"It is a matter of how he feels. If he feels he is committed to the club I think there is an opening," said the Dutchman.

"If he says there isn't I don't think there is a future for him but it is up to him.

"I think the fans would love him to stay but it depends on the commitment.

"If he is fully here everyone loves him but when he is not fully committed it is probably better to move on."

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