Football: Platt takes charge at Forest

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The Independent Online
HE MAY have been a failure in Italy, but David Platt yesterday made his first foray into British management when he was named as the new manager of Nottingham Forest.

The former England captain, who had an unsuccessful short period at Sampdoria either side of last Christmas, has signed a three-year contract to take over from Ron Atkinson, who retired at the end of last season.

"I have always felt that life is all about seeing the right opportunity and then giving everything to make sure that it works," said Platt, who will have pounds 16m to spend to make sure it does work. "I am certain that there is no better job in the land at present than being manager of Nottingham Forest."

Forest plumped for the 33-year-old former Aston Villa and Arsenal midfielder after failing to land Martin O'Neill and Glenn Hoddle. After retiring from playing last summer, he assisted the Football Association's technical director, Howard Wilkinson, by coaching the England Under-18 and Under- 19 teams, along with the spell at Sampdoria.

Lazio, meanwhile, say they are happy to wait for Nicolas Anelka. The French striker has stated that he might leave Arsenal for Rome, but the Gunners are reluctant to let him go.

Lazio's official agent, Vicenzo Morabito, said: "They [Arsenal] are going to speak to the player and, depending on that, we will receive a definite answer. We are happy to wait. We want to keep the correct lines with Arsenal Football Club."

Leeds have made a pounds 4m offer for Sunderland's transfer-listed striker, Michael Bridges. If the England Under-21 international signs, they may part with Dutchman Clyde Wijnhard. Neighbours Bradford City are preparing a pounds 2.5m offer for Ipswich midfielder Matt Holland.

Celtic are in talks with Sheffield United's French centre half Olivier Tebily. A pounds 1m fee has been agreed.

The Hibernian manager Alex McLeish has agreed a new three-year deal. Across Edinburgh, Hearts are to sign French central defender Fabien Leclerq from Lille on a free transfer.

The League Managers' Association has reacted angrily to the dismissal of Tony Pulis. The Gillingham manager was sacked for alleged gross misconduct by Gills' chairman Paul Scally on Wednesday, but the LMA said in a statement: "The news was given to Mr Pulis in a letter which alludes to misconduct without substantiation of any kind. Both Tony Pulis and his representatives admit to being baffled by this allegation and are... seeking clarification."

A deal, thought to be for the next six years, has been struck between the Welsh Rugby Union and the FA of Wales for all Welsh football internationals to be played at the new Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

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