Carter recalls SA violence
MANCHESTER — Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero believes he will be fit for Saturday’s clash against Liverpool.
Aguero has been out since early October with a hamstring injury sustained while playing for Argentina.
“I don’t think I’m too far away now,” Aguero told City’s website. “Physically, I feel good and I’ve kept as fit as I can during my layoff.
“I still need to work hard for another week and if not this week, then maybe next, I hope to start training with the rest of the lads and so my target is Liverpool.”
Premier League leaders City take on Liverpool on 21 November and are away to Juventus in the Champions League next week.
Aguero scored a club record five goals in a 6-1 win over Newcastle United in his last City appearance.
“I’ll take things slowly and not rush into anything, but I’m not far away,” he said.
Aguero also says he has been encouraged by the early signs of his partnership with attacking midfielder Kevin De Bruyne and hopes they can form a strikeforce that will drive the side on to trophy-winning success.
De Bruyne has made an impressive start to his Manchester City career since he joined from VFL Wolfsburg in the close season, bagging seven goals in 14 appearances.
The first hint of a promising alliance between the Belgian and Aguero came on October 3, when City demolished Newcastle United 6-1 with the Argentine scoring five, two of them assisted by De Bruyne, who scored one himself.
“I’m really happy because I think the club did a great piece of business bringing Kevin in and you are always happy when a quality player arrives and he is certainly that,” Aguero told club’s website.
“The few chances I’ve had to play along- side him have been encouraging because we started to get an understanding of how each other plays.
“As I say, he is a great player and it’s really important he settles in and shows us what he can do and he’s also a great lad off the field as well so I’m looking forward to playing alongside him again,” he added.
Nicolas Otamendi had a shaky start to his City career but has since found his feet and produced a man-of-the-match display against bitter rivals Manchester United on October 25, one of an improved level of performance praised by his compatriot Aguero.
“Nico is a good player who will help our team and the more Argentinians the better as far as I’m concerned,” Aguero said.
“We need a big squad because we’ve got lots of games and many competitions we’re trying to win and all the players we’ve brought in over the summer have made us stronger.”
Meanwhile, Liverpool midfielder James Milner has set his sights on returning to action in time for Saturday’s clash away at former club Manchester City.
Milner withdrew from the England squad for the two friendlies against Spain and France after picking up a hamstring injury in Liverpool’s Europa League win over Rubin Kazan two weeks ago.
The 29-year-old missed Liverpool’s 2-1 Premier League defeat by Crystal Palace on 8 November, their first loss under manager Juergen Klopp.
“It’s always disappointing to miss any games — and obviously missing last weekend and the England games is disappointing,” Milner told the club’s website.
“It shouldn’t be too long and hopefully I’ll be back for the next game (against City).
“You never like to put a timeframe on it because it’s a hamstring and they’re always difficult and a bit unpredictable, but hopefully I’ll be alright,” he added.
Liverpool sit 10th in the table after 12 games, nine points adrift of league leaders Manchester City.
Full weekend fixtures Nov 21: Watford v Manchester United, Everton v Aston Villa, Swansea v Bournemouth, Newcastle v Leicester, Southampton v Stoke, Chelsea v Norwich, West Brom v Arsenal, Manchester City v Liverpool.
Tottenham v West Ham.
Nov 23: Crystal Palace v Sunderland.
— Reuters CAPE TOWN — All Black flyhalf Dan Carter (pictured) has recalled a night of violence in South Africa in 2002 when he played for the New Zealand Under-21 team.
In his new autobiography, Dan Carter — My Story, Carter details a savage beating several of his team-mates suffered from bouncers at a Johannesburg nightclub.
Carter and team-mates headed to a bar several hours after they had beaten Wales in the Junior World Cup third-fourth place playoff.
The majority of the team wore team-issue polos — which Carter described as “our armour”.
But after several hours drinking at what Carter recalled as a “dodgy club”, the team’s choice of clothing saw them being targeted for a level of brutality which the star flyhalf never experienced during his 12 years of Test rugby.
“Out of the blue, a voice boomed out over the club’s sound system: ‘Could all the New Zealanders please leave the premises immediately’,” Carter wrote.
Initially the New Zealand team thought the announcement was a joke, but then realised the seriousness of the situation once it was repeated.
Scuffles started breaking out once the team left the venue.
Shocked at what was unfolding, Carter and fellow future All Black star Luke Mcalister fled the venue and the pending violence.
“We didn’t know it yet, but that one random, somewhat selfish decision might have ended up saving lives,” he wrote.
“As soon as we left things exploded. Players started brawling with the bouncers. But what sent the whole scene over the edge was when reinforcements arrived not long after. “We never imagined that our team-mates - big, strong athletes in great condition - couldn’t handle themselves against a few security guys. We didn’t know it yet, but that one random, somewhat selfish decision might have ended up saving our lives.
“As soon as we left, things exploded, players started brawling with the bouncers... (and) reinforcements arrived not long after. It became a scene of extreme violence, and guys were getting seriously beaten up. Sam Tuitupou laid a couple of guys out, before being overrun.
“Then gunshots rang out... our team retreated to the vans. Sam had been pistolwhipped, Jason Shoemark had copped a hell of a beating. As the vans tried to leave, the windows were smashed in — our guys were jumping fences, just running for their lives.”
— News24 AMSTERDAM — Legendary club figure Johan Cruyff (pictured) is to stop working as an advisor to Ajax Amsterdam as a power struggle over the approach to the game continues to rumble at the club.
Cruyff says his vision to improve Ajax’s youth structure is no longer being implemented and wants his name and any connection removed from a playing and development philosophy he has led for years.
It follows last week’s removal of former Dutch international Wim Jonk as head of youth development at Ajax.
Renovating the club’s academy had been at the heart of plans Cruyff laid out for the former European champions with the Dutchman using his weekly newspaper column to announce his decision to step down and to criticise Ajax directors.
The 68-year-old Cruyff, who is being treated for cancer, won eight league titles and three European Cups with Ajax from 1964-73 on the way to becoming one of the most recognisable players from the Netherlands.
He also managed Ajax from 1985-88, winning the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1987 and implementing an innovative playing system that has been the hallmark of Ajax teams since. — Reuters
City slicker Sergio Arguero hassles Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren in this file photo.