Roy Hodgson admitted that Christian Poulsen has struggled for form since joining Liverpool in the summer for £4.5 million, but argued that signing the Danish defensive-midfielder was not a mistake and that he would eventually improve. Poulsen has been left “devastated” by his poor start to life at Anfield, Hodgson told The Guardian, and accepts that he has played in games in front of an expectant Anfield and played poorly.
Hodgson offered words of encouragement for the midfielder who was jeered as he entered the fray against Wigan on Wednesday. “He was good against Wigan, his introduction secured the point at least because he was very good when he came on,” he said. “He can only keep working hard and when he gets his chance he has to get on with his job.”
Neuer to replace Reina.
Although New England Sports Ventures remain determined to keep Pepe Reina on Merseyside, the Spanish ‘keeper has warned that he will seek a transfer in the summer should performances on the pitch continue not to match his ambitions. In light of this, contingency plans have been made and some of Europe’s top young goalkeepers are being scouted.
Heading the list, according to the Daily Telegraph, are Manuel Neuer, currently of Schalke 04, and Ajax shot-stopper Maarten Stekelenburg. The Netherlands international is 28-years-old and his age does not bracket him in NESV’S stated policy of buying young players. This positions the £12 million-rated Neuer as the favourite to replace Reina should the Spaniard decide to depart.
Kelly in U21’s.
Martin Kelly has wrapped up a fantastic week of personal achievement with another call-up to the England Under-21 squad for the forthcoming clash with Germany’s counterparts. The call-up comes at the end of a week where he made his first Premier League start, looking solid in Liverpool’s 2-0 defeat of Chelsea, and followed that up by retaining his place for the trip to the DW Stadium.
He is not the only young Liverpool defender to earn international recognition. Promising Scotland centre-back Danny Wilson has been named in the Scotland squad for the first time. First team football has been difficult to hold down for the former Rangers man, who will hope that this boost to his fledgling international career will spur him on to greater things at Anfield.