Ferdinand declares himself fit for tilt at Germany

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The Independent Online

Rio Ferdinand, the West Ham defender, has declared himself fit for England's World Cup qualifier against Germany at Wembley on Saturday week.

Rio Ferdinand, the West Ham defender, has declared himself fit for England's World Cup qualifier against Germany at Wembley on Saturday week.

Ferdinand suffered a groin strain against Coventry last Saturday but is likely to come into the reckoning for the Hammers' Premiership fixture with Bradford at Upton Park on Saturday. "The injury does not feel anywhere near as bad as I thought. There is a little pain, but my mobility is back," he said.

"Playing for England is on my mind because of the shortage of players. I could be fit for the weekend if everything goes well." Ferdinand could win a place in Kevin Keegan's team against Germany, with Sol Campbell out with a bad back and Tony Adams struggling with an ankle injury.

Newcastle United have signed one of Portugal's most promising teenagers: the 18-year-old Pedro Dimas. The Magpies' manager Bobby Robson returned to former club, Porto, to snap up Dimas on a free transfer from under the noses of their domestic rivals Benfica and Sporting Lisbon.

The 6ft 1in left-sided player has played six times for his country's Under-18 side. Dimas can play anywhere down the left-hand side, an area where United are short of experienced performers. The club have been looking at the player for several months and early reports suggest that he could be more than capable of making the step up to first-team level.

Another teenage talent, Matthew Crowell, may cost his new employers Southampton more than £500,000 if he reaches his potential as a Premiership player. The Saints have been ordered by the Football League's appeals committee to pay an initial £100,000 and then up to £500,000 in compensation to Swansea City, after signing the 16-year-old from the Second Division club.

The £100,000 is due immediately and a subsequent £100,000 must be paid once Crowell has made 10, 20, 30 and then 40 first-team appearances.

If he leaves The Dell, Southampton must also send 20 per cent of his sell-on fee to Vetch Field, following yesterday's appeals hearing in Bristol.

The Blackburn Rovers defender Steve Harkness is signing for struggling Sheffield Wednesday as Rovers' manager, Graeme Souness, continues to restructure his squad. The left-back Harkness will join Paul Jewell's outfit on loan today and could make the switch permanently if he helps turn round their fortunes.

Harkness will come in for Andy Hinchcliffe, who will be allowed to leave Wednesday as the club seek to reduce their wage bill. Souness only signed Harkness from Benfica six months ago but now wants to make room in his squad to sign the Heart of Midlothian and Scotland left-back Gary Naysmith.

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