THAT WAS THE WEEKEND THAT WAS

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Rumours...

fact and fiction from the Sunday papers

The future of Middlesbrough's controversial Italian Fabrizio Ravanelli looks likely to be settled soon according to the Mail on Sunday, who quote the Italy coach, Cesare Maldini, on the subject. "Ravanelli's destiny will be decided in the next few days. Everton and Borussia Dortmund are interested," he says. However, the paper reckons Dortmund consider Boro's asking price too high... the People, meanwhile, believes Bryan Robson is lining up a move for Milan's pounds 3m-rated Swedish striker Andreas Andersson and may agree to a player-plus-cash deal to send Ravanelli to San Siro... the same paper suggests two more Italians may be headed for these shores with Juventus striker Michele Padovano apparently keen to link up with "old pal" Attilio Lombardo at Crystal Palace, and Coventry are planning a pounds 1m offer for Parma's Alessandro Melli... the Mirror claims Sunderland have joined Everton in pursuit of Manchester City's unsettled German Uwe Rosler... Savo Milosevic has told Aston Villa he will quit by Christmas if he does not regain his first-team place (People)... Tottenham are poised for a pounds 5m swoop for Fiorentina's Portuguese midfield playmaker Rui Costa (News of the World).

Missing person

Per Pedersen

(Blackburn Rovers)

"The more I play, the more I'll become used to the pace of the Premiership," Per Pedersen declared enthusiastically in March as he sought to establish an effective partnership with Kevin Gallacher in Blackburn's front line in the absence of an injured Chris Sutton. Sadly, the Dane's chances of doing that seem likely to be rare now that Sutton is back and setting the pace in the Premiership goalscoring stakes. Pedersen was signed for pounds 2.5m from Odense by caretaker manager Tony Parkes, but scored only one goal in 11 first-team appearances, failing to finish in any of his six starts.

Watch out for...

Robbie Keane (Wolves)

Accustomed to buying in talent since Sir Jack Hayward launched his quest for the Premiership, Wolves have been delighted to find an ace within their own pack in the shape of 17-year-old Keane, still officially a trainee professional at Molineux. The young Dubliner scored twice on his League debut and picked up two more goals against Bury last month, his form persuading manager Mark McGhee to drop his interest in Aston Villa's Sasa Curcic.

THE ELEVEN

Eleven players whose England careers are probably behind them

Dennis Wise (Chelsea)

John Salako (Coventry)

Mark Wright (Liverpool)

Paul Merson (Middlesbrough)

Des Walker (Sheffield Wed)

Matt Le Tissier (Southampton)

Geoff Thomas (Nottm Forest)

Neil Ruddock (Liverpool)

Lee Sharpe (Leeds Utd)

Peter Beardsley (Bolton)

Kevin Richardson (Coventry)

Family

tree

Bryan Robson's sciatica might have brought the 40-year-old Middlesbrough manager's serious playing career to an end sooner than he would have liked, but the family name is still well represented on the football fields of the north-east.

In fact, it is represented at the double on Tyneside, where both of Bryan's younger footballing brothers are currently plying their trade in the GM Vauxhall Conference with Gateshead.

Club captain Gary, now 32, is the better known of the two brothers, having made more than 300 Football League appearances with West Bromwich Albion and Bradford City before being released by the Yorkshire club in December 1995.

He has now been joined by 34-year-old Justin, a member of Gateshead's 1983 Northern Premier League championship side who is in his second spell with the club. Justin was on Newcastle United's books as a young professional, but has spent mush of his career on the non-League circuit, with Blue Star, Durham City, North Shields and Bridlington among his former clubs.

Good boys

THE FIRST DIVISION'S

LEADING SCORERS

Pierre Van Hooijdonk

(Nottm Forest)

Jan Age Fjortoft

(Sheff Utd)

Robbie Keane

(Wolves)

Paul Devlin

(Birmingham)

Chris Hay

(Swindon)

Matthias Svensson

(Portsmouth)

and bad boys

THE SEASON'S RED AND YELLOW CARDS

1 Oxford Utd

Eight different players booked

2 Reading

Three cautions so far for James Lambert

3 Charlton

Mark Kinsella booked twice

4= Norwich City

Port Vale

MISTAKEN

IDENTITY

Given that his only previous appearance for his country was for ill-starred former England manager Graham Taylor on a fateful night in San Marino, the recalled Blackburn winger might be an appropriate choice to take the place of Casualty actor Kerrigan if things do not work out under Glenn Hoddle.

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