Robson gives Emerson vote of confidence

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Middlesbrough's patience with the errant Emerson continued to show little sign of wearing thin yesterday, with Bryan Robson turning what was expected to be a carpeting session with the Brazilian into an attack on the player's advisors.

Not only had Emerson been badly advised during his three unauthorised absences abroad in the last month, but the Boro manager intends playing the midfielder in the Premiership game at Liverpool on Saturday.

"Emerson has not had the right advice and I don't think he has handled the situation as well as he could have done," Robson said of the pounds 4m signing Boro believe has been attempting to force a transfer to Barcelona or Parma. "But footballers are only human. As a club, we will do our best to make Emerson and his wife happy in the area.

"I had a brief chat with him but we need to sit down with him and his wife to iron out any problems. The situation cannot be resolved today as there are a lot of factors involved."

Emerson, who has reportedly lost pounds 90,000 in stopped wages, returned to training after arriving back on Teesside on Sunday with his wife, Andrea.

"The session went well. Emerson needs more training to get into shape but has natural fitness," Robson said. "I will consider him for the weekend. I need to as we are running out of players through injuries."

Emerson went back to Brazil last month because Andrea was homesick, and he threatened to quit English football for good. He then indicated he would return to England once his wife's depression had eased.

He was as good as his word, and Andrea is understood to be ready to furnish medical records to prove she was ill if it helps her husband's cause.

The Middlesbrough chairman, Steve Gibson, and Robson have stressed that they are prepared to throw the book at the former Porto player if he does not see out his contract.

Paulo Futre, West Ham's Portuguese international, has been forced to retire after by a persistent knee injury. The Hammers signed the 30-year- old Futre on a free transfer from Milan in the summer in the knowledge he was unfit.

"My sports career is over," Futre, who has also played for Porto, Sporting Lisbon, Benfica and Atletico Madrid, said. "I said many years ago that I would never drag myself around the soccer field."

A suspect knee has not prevented Bobby Robson spending pounds 2.3m to bring Sporting Lisbon's Nigerian striker Emanuel Amunike to Barcelona. The club's doctors had twice advised against buying Amunike, who will cover for the injured Hristo Stoichkov.

John Scales, Tottenham's pounds 2.6m signing from Liverpool, may play 45 minutes for the reserves against Swansea tonight to see whether is is fit enough to make his full debut at Leeds United on Saturday. The central defender, who rejected Leeds at the last minute to join Spurs, has a slight groin strain.

Liverpool have signed the right-back Bjorn Tore Kvarme from Rosenborg Trondheim on a three-year contract worth pounds 250,000 a season. The 24-year- old defender was recommended by Kenny Dalglish.

Widzew Lodz, the Polish champions, are open to offers of around pounds 4m for Marek Citko, who scored Poland's goal in their 2-1 World Cup defeat by England at Wembley in October. Leeds have denied that they are interested.

Clive Walker is staying at Woking. The FA Cup giant-killers have blocked his move to their Conference rivals Rushden & Diamonds, who had offered the 39-year-old former Chelsea striker a lucrative two-and-a-half year contract and a coaching post.

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