Football: Liverpool showing interest in Steven

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The Independent Online
TREVOR STEVEN had more than England's immediate World Cup prospects in mind yesterday when he checked in with the remainder of Graham Taylor's squad to their Buckinghamshire headquarters. The Rangers midfielder has been alerted by interest from Liverpool who are understood to be willing to take him back to Merseyside.

Graeme Souness is keen to sign a proven wide player and has always admired Steven, taking him to Ibrox from Everton for pounds 1.5m four years ago. In 1991, Steven joined Marseille for pounds 5m only to return to Scotland for half that fee 12 months later.

Steven joined England's preparations for the vital qualifying tie in Rotterdam against the Netherlands next week as part of Taylor's chosen 22. Several were carrying injuries of various description and not all are expected to be around for the subsequent roll-call although the manager was heartened that the wounded had put themselves in the hands of the Football Association's medical staff.

'I am pleased all 22 have reported,' he said. 'This is an indication of both the clubs' and players' commitment to the England cause. Perhaps just as importantly all the players have responded in a very confident and determined mood for the task ahead.'

Of most concern are Les Ferdinand and Ian Wright, the twin strikers who made life unpleasant for Poland last month. Ferdinand has a hamstring strain which makes it more important that his Arsenal partner wins his own battle to shake off a knee injury. However, despite George Graham's contention that he is 'responding to treatment' and his attitude is 'fantastic' he still rates Wright's chances at only 50-50. However Tony Adams and Paul Merson have been passed fit after injury.

Paul McGrath is convinced he will be fit to turn out for the Republic of Ireland in their important fixture in Dublin against Spain and has told Jack Charlton he will play through the pain of a hamstring problem if necessary.

Maurice Johnston has now been given a free transfer by Everton in an attempt to stimulate interest from would-be buyers. Since going on the list at the start of the season the only proposal has come from Sunderland who wanted to take him on loan.

The Birmingham manager, Terry Cooper, has been reported to the FA for a verbal attack on the referee, Gerald Ashby, following the Coca-Cola Cup game at Aston Villa. Cardiff have been charged with misconduct by the FA of Wales following the terrace violence at their game at Fulham on 21 August. Gordon Strachan has knee ligament damage and is ruled out of Leeds United's plans for the next month.

Trevor Francis, the Sheffield Wednesday manager, has described Paul Warhurst's behaviour prior to the FA Cup final with Arsenal as 'disgraceful'. Francis told the club's annual meeting that the player he sold to Blackburn last month refused at first to play at Wembley in defence. Francis claimed that an agent then began spreading rumours that Warhurst was available for transfer because the pair had fallen out and said after that he 'was fighting a losing battle' to hold on to him.

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