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Gerrard discovers new tension in Mersey rivalry

Alex Ferguson predicts open Premier League title race

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes any one of six teams could win the Barclays Premier League this season.

Macheda delighted to be back at United

Federico Macheda is relieved to be back with Manchester United after a nightmare spell in Italy, and believes he can make the grade for Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

Leading article: Faster, higher, stronger – and more Celtic

And that's a fact, as football fans say when they want to brook no dissent. The words were used again yesterday by the president of the Welsh Football Association, Phil Pritchard, loudly protesting that the English FA did not speak for Wales. Unfortunately, international football authorities have decided that this is precisely what it does do – at least when it comes to selecting the home side for the football team in the 2012 Olympics. A Team GB will be chosen from the best of English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish players. No sooner had this been announced than ancient war-cries were issuing from Celtic throats. The non-English teams fear that, if judged a success, it might spell the end of separate home nations sides. The game's governing body, Fifa, denies this, but the Celts fear a dastardly plot by the Continentals.

Stuart Pearce bemoans tough European Under-21 draw

Stuart Pearce claimed England had been "lumped" with the worst possible draw after his side crashed out of the European Under-21 Championship with defeat to the Czech Republic last night.

United front beckons for burgeoning Welbeck

England Under-21 striker has backing of Ferguson as he seeks to break into Old Trafford forward line

Under-17s will fly the flag with Hope

Whatever the fate of the Under-21s tomorrow night, an England age-group team will still be in contention for honours as the Under-17s will be around 30 minutes into their World Cup campaign.

Five problems for Pearce to solve if England are to make progress

After two limp draws, the underperforming Under-21s must beat the Czech Republic on Sunday to avoid an embarrassing early exit. Steve Tongue in Herning asks where they can improve

Ukraine hold Pearce's toothless young Lions

Ukraine Under-21 0 England Under-21 0

Gibbs withdraws from England Under-21 squad

Stuart Pearce's dream of fielding the strongest possible England side at the European Under-21 Championships suffered yet another blow today when Kieran Gibbs pulled out of the squad.

Sturridge: Bolton loan spell made me

The loan system has its critics, notably for encouraging bigger clubs to buy up and keep more players than they need, but do not expect England's Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce to be among them. Of the 40 players he selected in his provisional squad for the forthcoming European Championships, more than a dozen were out on loan from Premier League clubs, gaining invaluable playing time and, in many cases, renewed self-belief.

Pearce's side see off Norway but sterner challenges lie ahead

England Under-21 2 Norway Under-21 0

Michael Owen signs new deal at Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson has sprung a major surprise by handing Michael Owen a one-year contract extension.

England are left feeling light up front

The domestic season is almost over but there is much football to be played – too much of it for many club managers. As well as the final European Championship game of the season against Switzerland on Saturday, England teams are preparing for the European Under-21 and Under-19 tournaments and the Under-17 World Cup in Mexico. Their respective coaches are having to come to terms with seemingly inevitable withdrawals.

Defoe's wrist injury compounds striker crisis for Capello

Fabio Capello's striker shortage for England's Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland a week on Saturday became more acute yesterday when Jermain Defoe became the latest player to pull out of the squad.

Jack Wilshere and Andy Carroll omitted from England Under-21 squad

Jack Wilshere and Andy Carroll were today controversially omitted from the England squad for next month's European Under-21 Championship finals.

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