Gallas stays silent over Chelsea exit as Milan wait in the wings

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The Independent Football

The Chelsea defender William Gallas has refused to become embroiled in a public examination of his future plans by insisting that he is only concentrating on France's World Cup hopes.

Milan are ready to offer the defender an exit route from Stamford Bridge after talks between the 28-year-old and the Premiership champions appeared to have stalled. Gallas has a year left on his contract, but has made no secret of the fact he wants to leave.

The former Marseilles player, preparing for his country's World Cup opener against Switzerland in Germany today, said yesterday: "For the moment, I don't care about Chelsea. In my head, it is clear, I only think about the French squad."

The sports psychologist Bill Beswick, who was initially recruited by Steve McClaren as his assistant at Middlesbrough, is to leave as the club's new manager Gareth Southgate finalises his coaching team. However, there will be places in the new set-up for Steve Round, Steve Harrison, Paul Barron and Malcolm Crosby, while the experienced defender Colin Cooper could also have a role to play.

McClaren sprang a surprise when he employed former England basketball coach Beswick as his No 2, retaining his services as a consultant sports psychologist after reshuffling his staff.

"One of the reasons why I felt I could take the job at this time was that I knew I would have people like Steve Round, Steve Harrison and Malcolm Crosby as my support staff," Southgate said.

"Their experience will be invaluable to me. I've been in football for 19 years, but there are areas where I will need their help, guidance and advice."

Beswick, who had previously worked with the England coach-elect at both Derby and Manchester United, was credited with helping him develop his approach to management.

Notts County have appointed Steve Thompson as their new manager on a three-year deal. Thompson, who was assistant manager at Meadow Lane under Colin Murphy between June 1995 and December 1996, succeeds Gudjon Thordarson, who left last month.

Thompson's last managerial post was at Cambridge United and has also had spells at Lincoln, Southend and Sheffield United.

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