Giggs: Band of brothers will grow

Kyle De Silva is hoping he can impress Ian Holloway during his

spell at Barnet on loan from Crystal Palace.

The teenage midfielder has not featured for Palace since

Holloway took charge at Selhurst Park but is hoping first-team

action for the Bees between now and the end of the campaign can

improve his prospects with the npower Championship club.

De Silva must first help move Edgar Davids’ side away from the

relegation places, a challenge he is relishing.

He told Barnet’s official website: “It is very hard to break in

and make an impression when the team are flying. Hopefully I can do

that whilst on loan.

“It will be great to get some first-team action and I am really

looking forward to making an impact at Barnet.

“The team have picked up some good results lately so hopefully I

can help keep that up. I am very grateful I have been given the

opportunity to come here.”

And Hendrie feels prosperous times could lie ahead if they stick

with Paul Lambert – as long as a few more experienced players are

added to the squad.

With eight Barclays Premier League fixtures left to play this

term Villa are 17th in the table, three points clear of 18th-placed

Wigan, who have a game in hand.

It has been a largely disappointing campaign for the midlands

outfit following Lambert’s appointment as manager last summer, but

back-to-back wins over fellow strugglers Reading and QPR in the

past two matches have boosted hopes – including those of Hendrie –

that it will not end in relegation.

The 35-year-old, who made his Villa debut in 1995 and left the

club in 2007, said: “They have done superbly in the last two games.

Now it is about keeping that momentum running.

“They still have to play the likes of Liverpool and Manchester

United, where they will need to dig deep.

“Even if they are just getting draws along the way, if they can

keep that unbeaten run going, I do fancy them to stay up.”

Villa’s team this season has not had a great deal of Premier

League experience within it and has featured lots of players in

their early 20s.

Hendrie, who came through the club’s youth ranks, sees plenty to

be encouraged by in the efforts of those players and views Lambert

as the right man to lead Villa forward.

But thinking back to the kind of team-mates he had when he first

came into the side, Hendrie does believe some older heads need to

be introduced to the mix.

Hendrie said: “There are a lot of clubs chopping and changing

managers, but (Villa chairman) Randy Lerner has stuck with him

(Lambert), he knows he has got the youth there and I think it is

just about making sure they stay up this year and then maybe

getting a few experienced heads in, and I don’t think there will be

a problem there.

“This season it is vital that they stay up and then I would

definitely still have him as manager.

“No disrespect to the young lads, but I think you do need a few

older, more experienced players that have played in the Premier

League and know how to win games.

“It is all a learning curve. When I was playing you had the

likes of Steve Staunton, Ugo Ehiogu, Dwight Yorke.

“When you were 2-0 up in games, they would help reshape you,

whereas when you are young you want to just keep going, running and

chasing about.”

Much has happened to Hendrie since the early days of his career,

not least in financial terms.

Life as a well-paid top-flight footballer allowed him to build

up a significant property portfolio, but he encountered problems

and in January 2012 was declared bankrupt.

By that stage he had also made a considerable descent down the

football ladder and was playing at non-league level.

The decline in his fortunes led to him attempting to take his

own life.

“I wasn’t thinking straight – I was just thinking it was

probably the only way I could possibly finish it all,” Hendrie

said.

“I’m not proud of attempting it, but it had just got to that

stage where I felt like I had let everyone down.

“But if it hadn’t been for the decisions I made, and if I had

got the right advice, I wouldn’t have been in that situation.”

Hendrie feels the management of players’ money is a major

problem, and regards the kind of work done by Birmingham-based

charity Xpro – which provides support in various ways for former

professional footballers, including an initiative announced last

week to help reunite them with their unclaimed pensions – as

vital.

Looking to the future, the one-time England international,

currently playing for Blue Square Premier side Tamworth, hopes to

make a difference himself in his role as the director of

FootieBugs, a football-based activity scheme for children aged

three to nine.

“This scheme I am doing covers a lot of areas, and I want to put

all my time and effort into it,” Hendrie said.

“I am finishing with Tamworth at the end of the season, and this

is going to be my key thing for the rest of my life – I want to

help young kids and get the point across about football, life

skills, everything.”

Welsh aspirations of securing a place at the 2014 World Cup were

effectively ended by the 2-1 defeat to Croatia in Swansea, a result

which leaves manager Coleman’s side 10 points off the pace in Group

A with only 12 up for grabs.

Wales have paid the price for a poor start to the campaign,

having lost three of their first four games and, as with their Euro

2012 campaign, an improvement in form has come too late.

Coleman, whose current contract runs up to the 2014 finals in

Brazil, recently admitted it had taken the 6-1 mauling in Serbia

last September for him to come to terms with the task of succeeding

Gary Speed following the death of his close friend.

Coleman had been loath to put his own stamp on the Wales set-up

after vowing to continue Speed’s legacy, but decided he had to

start doing things his way to make the most of his time in the

job.

Since then results and performances have improved, and the

first-half performance against Croatia was the best of his reign to

date.

Skipper Williams believes the recent upward trend means the

Football Association of Wales should hand Coleman an extension to

his contract, and says Wales are now producing the sort of form

they showed towards the end of Speed’s time in charge.

Williams said: “We definitely want him to stay, obviously I’ve

been saying for a long time that he is doing a great job.

“He came in and took the job in unbelievably tough

circumstances, but I think you can see it’s getting back to where

it was under Gary Speed.

“The last two camps with him have been brilliant, I think that’s

really pleasing and it would be stupid to change the manager, no

one would say they want to see a change.”

Swansea defender Williams, who Coleman installed as captain in

October, believes a positive energy has been restored to Welsh

football despite Tuesday’s defeat.

And he has demanded a strong finish to the current campaign, in

order to give Wales the best chance of reaching an expended Euro

2016.

Williams said: “Getting to Rio is probably over for us now, but

third place is achievable and we’ve seen enough campaigns when we

have finished lower than we’ve needed to and then paid for it in

the next qualifier.

“It is important. We have a feelgood factor around the place on

the back of the win over Scotland, we are all happy and confident

and enjoy ourselves here; we want to finish the group

strongly.”

Wales had held a half-time through a Gareth Bale penalty in

Swansea, before Dejan Lovren and Eduardo stole the points for

Croatia.

But Wales should have been further ahead at the interval after

Bale, in red-hot form for club and country, spooned a shot over the

bar when clean through on goal.

It ultimately proved costly for the home side.

“It was an important moment, you can’t say it was his fault or

anything like that, but you’d bet your house on him to score and he

put it over,” said Williams, who will face Bale when Tottenham

visit Swansea on Saturday.

“He’s only human and he missed that. We didn’t really create

many more clear-cut chances after that, and it would have been

better to go into the break two up.”

Following defeat at Aston Villa before the international break,

QPR stand seven points adrift of safety heading into the final

eight games.

That deficit could be widened further by the time Harry

Redknapp’s men tackle west London rivals Fulham at Craven Cottage

on Easter Monday.

However, Jordan insists that with the likes of Bobby Zamora and

?8million French forward Loic Remy, the Hoops – with seven goals in

their past three matches – have what it takes to pull off what

would be a remarkable escape.

“We have the players now that are capable of taking the game to

the opposition,” former Scotland star Jordan told the club

website.

“Bobby is back fit, Remy is back in – we have a depth there now

that we didn’t have (before).

“When we arrived here we could only really play in a certain

way, but that has changed now.

“We had to defend and play on the break, whereas now we can take

the game to the opposition when it is needed.

“Performance-wise, we are improving all the time and there is a

belief in the camp, because we are playing well.

“The performance (at Aston Villa) last week was excellent. Going

forward that was the best we have played since we have got

here.

“There are eight games ahead of us and there are games we think

we can win.

“Harry has been in circumstances like this before and I have

worked with him during those. Harry’s teams have achieved what we

are asking these players to go and achieve in these last eight

games for QPR.

“The possibilities (of survival) are there – we have just got to

make sure we don’t create our own problems.

“If we can play the way that we have played recently we will

score goals, we have just got to make sure those goals win us

games.”

QPR had plenty of the first-team squad away on World Cup

qualifying duty, including defender Tal Ben Haim who played in

Israel’s 2-0 win over Northern Ireland in Belfast last night.

Redknapp, meanwhile, watched goalkeeper Julio Cesar play for

Brazil in their international friendly draw with Russia at Stamford

Bridge on Monday evening.

QPR defender Fabio da Silva maintains the squad are focused on

delivering the required performance at Craven Cottage to kick-start

their survival bid.

Speaking to QPR Player, the 22-year-old on-loan Manchester

United full-back said: “We have played well in the last few games,

but the result against Aston Villa did not come.

“Now, though, we have to forget those results, they are history,

and focus on the next one which is the most important.

“It (survival) is hard, but not impossible, we have to go from

game to game.

“We must not think about the five games we have to win, we just

have to get the three points in the next one, then look to the game

after that.

“We 100 per cent believe we can stay in the Premier League.”

Oakley, along with Liam Sercombe, Alan Gow and Tommy Doherty, is

currently sidelined, with none of that quartet close to a

return.

The Grecians have had to make do with virtually a whole midfield

missing, although the loan acquisitions of Lawson D’Ath from

Reading and Brighton’s Anton Rodgers have boosted the ranks.

The former Leicester man’s absence has been a huge blow for Paul

Tisdale’s side but he believes his side are well equipped to

prevail in the face of adversity.

“It’s our whole midfield and a hell of a thing for the club to

overcome really,” he told the Western Morning News. “It’s four

strong players in the team and all with long injuries.

“You can get by if you miss them for a few weeks but Alan has

been out for a while now, Tommy is still a few weeks away and Liam

is out for the whole season with me.

“It is unfortunate, but the team reacted well against Bradford.

Hopefully we can just keep the momentum going.”

After signing a one-year contract extension with Manchester

United, Giggs will join that exclusive band next season.

So far, taking out the 10 goalkeepers who have done it, there

are only two members, Gordon Strachan and Giggs’ former Red Devils

team-mate Teddy Sheringham.

Indeed, such are the fitness levels Giggs has managed to

maintain throughout the latter stages of his career, no-one would

be that surprised if he went on to fulfil the assessment Sir Alex

Ferguson made yesterday by completing two more campaigns with the

Old Trafford outfit.

However, the veteran Welshman believes advances in sports

science make it easier for players to prolong their careers if they

retain the desire to do it.

“There are two ways of looking at it,” Giggs told MUTV.

“Players are getting a lot of money now. Do they want to play on

to their late 30s?

“But there is the other side. With the involvement of sports

science, players looking after themselves more – and the facilities

are so much better.

“So if they want to, and if they have the desire, players can go

on a lot longer than they used to.”

His recent appearance against Real Madrid was Giggs’ 1000th in

senior football.

As the 39-year-old won 64 caps for Wales and also represented

the Team GB at the Olympics on four occasions, he still has some

work to do before he reaches four figures for United alone.

Yet even reaching his present mark seemed fanciful when he made

his debut against Everton in 1991.

“As you enter your 30s, you are just trying to play for as long

as you can and get as much out of the game as you can,” he

said.

“Luckily, I have managed to stay injury free and also had the

continuity of the manager.

“I have looked after myself as well, but no-one could envisage

getting to 1000 games.”

The chances are Giggs will play in one, but not both, of

United’s two fixtures in 48 hours over the Easter weekend.

That he has not been away on international duty lends itself

more to the belief he will be involved in Saturday’s Premier League

scrap at Sunderland, when the Red Devils, briefly, will look to

open up an 18-point lead on Manchester City, rather than Monday’s

FA Cup quarter-final replay at Chelsea.

Giggs admits having two games in such close proximity is

unusual.

However, with Chelsea retaining an interest in the Europa

League, the alternatives were not immediately obvious.

“It is strange to have two important games in such a short space

of time,” he said.

“But I guess it was a question of trying to fit it in.

“The squad is looking good at the minute and hopefully after the

international break everyone will have a fully fit squad and we

will be able to handle two games in 48 hours.”