Football: Robson back in England set-up

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The Independent Online
BOBBY ROBSON, who guided England to the World Cup semi-finals nine years ago, will shortly be bringing his vast coaching experience to bear on the present national set-up. The 66-year-old is to become a mentor to the next generation of England coaches.

He will assist six new Football Association coaches on a part-time basis in running the junior and youth sides. The six, Peter Beardsley, Peter Reid, Stuart Pearce, Clive Allen, Nigel Spackman and Nigel Pearson, will work with the FA technical director, Howard Wilkinson, and the other full- time members of the Lancaster Gate coaching staffs.

Robson's offer to help his country was readily accepted by the FA, whose spokesman, Adrian Bevington, said: "Bobby has worked with Howard Wilkinson in the England set-up many years ago when Ron Greenwood was manager and Howard realises and admires the qualities Bobby can bring."

A player who hopes to appear regularly for England in future, Sunderland's Michael Bridges, has failed to agree terms with Tottenham, leaving Leeds as favourites to sign him.

Leeds' chairman, Peter Ridsdale, said his club had already tabled a new offer for the Under-21 international striker and would do all they could to sign him. "I didn't know that Tottenham had pulled out of the deal," Ridsdale said. "If they have, I will make sure that David O'Leary or I contact Sunderland and remind them that we have put a bid in for him. We have made it absolutely clear that we would like to sign the player."

Sunderland, who expressed surprise that Bridges had not been able to agree a deal with Spurs, now say they would be happy for him to stay. Bridges, Lee Clark, who has joined First Division Fulham, and Allan Johnston were transfer-listed by the Wearsiders 10 days ago.

Leeds are also hoping to agree personal terms with Michael Duberry early next week, having settled on a fee for the Chelsea defender of pounds 4.5m, rising on appearances to pounds 5m.

Sheffield Wednesday have completed the pounds 5m double signing of the strikers Gilles de Bilde, from PSV Eindhoven, and Gerald Sibon, from Ajax. Both have agreed four-year contracts.

Celtic have completed the signing of Eyal Berkovic, their record buy from West Ham for pounds 5.75m, but await the necessary changes in the Israeli's work permit. They have also signed the midfielder Bobby Petta on a free transfer from Ipswich, of the First Division.

Mexico's Raul Lara and Paulo Cesar Chavez have been provisionally suspended for the rest of the Copa America after failing a doping test. The South American football confederation said the midfielder Lara tested positive for testosterone and the striker Chavez for nandrolone after the 2-1 defeat by Brazil on 3 July. Longer bans could be imposed later.

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