Chelsea's Romelu Lukaku praises Everton and their "beautiful football" after joining on loan

Romelu Lukaku reckons Everton’s “beautiful football” can get him on Belgium’s plane to Brazil for next summer’s World Cup.

The Chelsea striker only learned of a potential loan move to Goodison Park at 7pm on Monday.

But, after talking to his Stamford Bridge boss Jose Mourinho – and manager Roberto Martinez and Kevin Mirallas, a Belgium team-mate, at end – Lukaku to play regular football in a World Cup year.

“For my development and with the World Cup coming up at the end of the season, I cannot afford to stay on the bench,” said the 20-year-old. “At Everton, I can continue my progress in a club that likes to play beautiful football."

Lukaku, currently on World Cup qualifying duty with his homeland in preparation of Friday’s away game against Scotland, added: “I got a phone call at about 7pm on Monday to tell me that I could go to Everton.

“We were signing balls and T-shirts. I said to the coach that I had something urgent and I went up to my room.

“I wanted to think and talk to my parents. I wanted to know certain things before I agreed. When you are on loan, you have to know that you are really going to play.

“Then I received a call from Roberto Martinez and he reassured me and said lots of nice things. And Kevin Mirallas was in my room with me almost the whole time. He told me how things worked at Everton and he encouraged me to come.”

Belgium top European Group A with three games to go, a point ahead of Croatia, and look certain to finish as at least runners’-up

Lukaku, who spent last season on loan at West Brom, missed the decisive penalty in on Friday night.

Three days later, his career took another twist as loaned him to the Merseyside ones.

“I thought I would stay at Chelsea, but I was only 90 per cent sure,” said the striker, a £17million signing from Anderlecht in 2011.

“I had some doubts about the game time I would get. At my age, I absolutely have to play. had nothing to do with it. 

“Jose Mourinho called me and he was clear with me. It is better like that. I like it when a coach is honest.

“He is the best coach I have had. He wanted to make me better and did it with a firm hand. Together, we agreed that a loan was the best solution.

“Other clubs were interested. For Malaga, I was not allowed to go outside England. West Bromwich Albion was also there but I didn’t want to choose the easy option.

“We must face challenges and mine will be at Everton. “


Greg Dyke famously saved TV-am, but it'll need more than Roland Rat to save English football – Martin Lipton


Greg Dyke insisted he was not “declaring war” on the Premier League.

Indeed, by admitting his own role as the Dr Frankenstein who helped create the monster whose very success threatens the status of the national team, the new FA chairman offered an olive branch.

Yet while Dyke’s to prevent English football falling into the abyss was absolutely right, agreeing on a cure will be far, far tougher.

Three decades ago, of course, Dyke, saved breakfast television station TV-am.

But it will take more than Roland Rat to save English football; more than a puppet to make the clubs put the national interest in front of self-interest.

Speaking at the launch of Vauxhall’s new four-year deal to back the England team, Dyke’s “state of the footballing nation” address pulled no punches.

Former BBC director general Dyke reeled off a series of “alarming” statistics to underline the scale of the issue:

When the Premier League was formed, in 1992, English players made up 69 per cent of starting line-ups. Last season, that was down to 32 per cent.

Only 35 English players under 21 made an appearance in the Premier League last term.

Despite a record summer transfer spend of £630million, less than a quarter of the players signed during the transfer window were English.

Griffiths Photographers 

England has barely 1100 “A” standard coaches, compared to 12,720 in Spain and 5,500 in Germany.

At “Pro Licence” level, the 203 coaches pales into insignificance set against Spain’s 2,140.

Dyke recalled: “I was the host of the original dinner when the five clubs decided to break away and set up The FA Premier League in the early 1990s.

“No-one could have predicted the League would be such a massive success and become the most successful league in the world.

“At that famous dinner, the participants genuinely thought a strong Premier League attracting the best players from around the world would help create a stronger England team. The FA said it was the main reason they sanctioned the breakaway league.

“What none of us at that dinner could have foreseen was that, 20 years later, we would end up with a league largely owned by foreign owners, managed by foreign managers and played by foreign players.

“As a result, it could be argued that the England set-up has been weakened, rather than strengthened, by the creation of the Premier League.

“Often the toughest challenge is implementing ideas for change, particularly when the tanker needs turning.


“And English football, I think, is a tanker which needs turning.”

Dyke’s maiden address was, for all his attempts to deny it – and his lauding of the Premier League’s Elite Player Performance Plan – both inflammatory and explosive.

Even though new Premier League chairman Anthony Fry agreed to join the investigative commission which will start work by the end of the month, the clubs are unlikely to give ground.

League sources insist the idea of quotas is a dead duck because of European Law, while already the swift timetable envisaged by Dyke – with a report, which he wants to be binding on all parties early next year – was being described as “tight”.

The clubs will not be bounced into agreeing with the terms of reference – likely to be set before them next Thursday – and Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has already dismissed Dyke’s primary argument that more England players are essential.

Last month, pressed over the issue, Scudamore said: “We go through this data far too much. Whether it is 37%, 42%, 51%, it doesn’t make any difference.

“Numbers is always the debate, but it’s the wrong debate.

“Going from 200 to 300 – what is the point? We are not interested in the 200th or 300th best player qualified to play for England, just how good they are.”

A divide which, it seems, Dyke will find hard to bridge.


As he conceded: “It is crucial that English football finds a solution without undermining the undoubted success of the Premier League.

“We don’t want to kill the golden goose in the search of the golden egg but we do have to do something if the English team is to prosper in the future.

“If not we will be letting down generations of English kids, letting down the England fans who turn up in their thousands at Wembley or watch the England team in their millions on television.

“They want . I believe my job, as chairman of the FA, is to ensure that the structures are in place to give future England teams the best possible chance of achieving success, That is what I intend to do.”

The road to Hell, though, is paved with good intentions.

And Dyke’s invocation of Dante’s Inferno may not be enough to bring the clubs on board.

It is a huge challenge.

At least he has not ducked it.

Aston Villa transfer news: Libor Kozak targets goalscoring impact – and hopes to make Christian Benteke even better

Neville Williams

New Aston Villa striker Libor Kozak believes he can help make Christian Benteke even better.

The 6ft 4in Czech , and bossPaul Lambert wants him to take the burden off goal-scoring sensation Benteke, who has four goals already this term.

Belgian hitman Benteke has scored 22 times in 37 Premier League appearances since arriving from Genk a year ago.

Kozak has been very impressed with Benteke and is looking forward to partnering him.

Kozak said: "Benteke is a strong player. He scored many goals last year and I think the team is strong.

"I hope that I can play well for them and score goals. I think I can help Aston Villa in games.

"I am ready for a new step in my career and hope it is a good step for me and Aston Villa."


Chelsea transfer news: Watford and Wigan set to do battle for loan signing of Chelsea starlet Nathaniel Chalobah

The FA

Chelsea’s England starlet Nathaniel Chalobah is the subject of a transfer tussle between promotion rivals Watford and Wigan.

Under-21 star Chalobah missed out on Premier League loans to Sunderland and Crystal Palace and

Watford want Chalobah back for a season after he matured in Gianfranco Zola’s ranks during their last promotion chase.

However the Hornets are not willing to match his new £35,000-a-week wages – given to Chalobah after his exploits.

Now Wigan, who have cash from selling James McCarthy to Everton, have also tried for Chalobah and are willing to pay the salary in full.

London boy Chalobah may have a say in the decision and is swaying towards Watford, but Owen Coyle is keen to have him to fill a hole in his squad.

Coyle beat Watford and Middlesbrough to land Nick Powell from Manchester United and hopes his new-found financial power will help.

English football must change or die warns Greg Dyke of the FA in landmark speech

Jan Kruger – The FA

New FA chairman Greg Dyke has issued a stark warning that England faces becoming a minor footballing nation unless there is radical change.

which put the onus on the Premier League and the leading clubs to show their ­commitment to the national cause, Dyke spelled out his fears – and expectations.

He s.

That would come after a run to the semi-finals of the ­European Championship in 2020.

Dyke insisted he was not “going to war” with the Premier League, but by pointing out that the number of English players starting for top flight clubs was at an all-time low, he laid bare the problem.

“English football needs a strong England team,” he said. “Success in the Champions League with teams largely, but not ­exclusively, made up of foreign players is all well and good but it is not a replacement for a successful national team.

“We already have a very small talent pool and it’s getting smaller. In the future it’s quite possible we won’t have enough players qualified to play for England who are playing regularly at the highest level in this country or elsewhere in the world.


“As a result, it could well mean England’s teams are unable to compete seriously on the world stage.

“We have to do something.

“If not, it’s hard to see England even ­challenging for the World Cup or the European Championship in the years ahead, let alone meeting the targets I’ve set.”

He announced the setting up of a commission, including the Premier League, Football League and Professional Footballers’ Association, to report on bringing through more home-grown players, foreign quotas, stricter work-permit criteria, the loan system and a winter break.

How other major nations changed

FRANCE French football went through a 1970s crisis at club and international level, prompting the French Football Federation to set up Clairefontaine near Paris as one of 11 national centres.

By the 1990s, the clubs were sending their best young talent to Clairefontaine during the week for education and training, before they were allowed home to play at weekends.

The weakness of French clubs allowed the Federation to focus on the national team. After the years of failure, France 98 sparked a golden era of success led by Clairefontaine graduates such as Thierry Henry, William Gallas and Nicolas Anelka.

GERMANY Shocked by the disastrous Euro 2000 campaign (a draw with Romania and defeats by England and Portugal), the DFB (German FA), backed by the clubs who recognised the importance of the national side, went for an overhaul of coaching at all levels.

Some 366 youth training centres were built for 11 to 14-year-olds, with referees ordered to inform the DFB of any young prospects and even the national schoolboy side assigned a dedicated psychologist. The results: Mesut Ozil, Toni Kroos, Manuel Neuer, Thomas Mueller, Mario Goetze, Marco Reus.

SPAIN Once England’s biggest rivals for the title as Europe’s great under-achievers, all changed after the 2003 opening of the Ciudad del Futbol at Las Rozas on the outskirts of Madrid, a magnificent footballing university.

It was, though, the tika-taka style of play developed at Barcelona, coupled with the scale of Real Madrid’s scouting policy, that allowed first Luis Aragones and then Vicente del Bosque to hone arguably the finest and most dominant side international football has ever known.

The bitter rivalries between the two clubs were forgotten when the red shirts went on. Result? Xavi, Iniesta, Cazorla, Mata, Fabregas. Take your pick.

Arsenal news: Arsene Wenger turns attentions to new contracts for Bacary Sagna, Per Mertesacker and Tomas Rosicky

Robertus Pudyanto

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will make a new contracts his next priority after on transfer deadline day.

Frenchdefender Bacary Sagna, 30, is into the final year of his contract and boss Wenger is hoping he will stay talks despite having stalled last season.

Per Mertesacker, 28, who helped convince Germany team-mate Ozil to move to Arsenal, is into the finaltwo years of his contract.

Creative midfielder Tomas Rosicky, 32, is in the final year of his contract and has already admitted that his ambition isto prove this season that he is worth a new deal.

Sagna, who has filled in at centre-back in recent matches, has offers from France and the Middle East, but Arsenal are hoping to sign him up before he becomes a free agent.

Mertesacker has also been in good form and his influence in the dressing room is another reason Wenger rates him so highly. was also highly influential in persuading the German midfielder to leave Real Madrid to join Arsenal.

Rosicky has also enjoyed an impressive start to the campaign and Wenger is keen to begin talks and ensure the experienced trio stay at the Emirates.

Arsenal news: Aaron Ramsey is in the form of his life, says Wales coach Chris Coleman ahead of World Cup qualifiers


Wales coach Chris Coleman has saluted Arsenal ace Aaron Ramsey, claiming that the midfielder is in the best form of his career.

After recovering from a horrific leg break sustained against Stoke in February 2010, Ramsey has finally nailed a regular starting place at the Emirates this season.

The 22-year-old scored three times against Fenerbahce to help the Gunners reach the Champions League group stages, as well as delivering impressive displays in the wins over Fulham and Tottenham.

Coleman, who will look to Ramsey for inspiration as Gareth Bale is expected to start on the bench in Wales’ World Cup qualifier at Macedonia on Friday, said: “Aaron has been superb for Arsenal this season. All that has happened is he’s taken time and games to get stronger and get that fluidity back in his play.

“I had serious injuries myself as a player. People talk about the physical part, which is important as you have to get the agility, but mentally it is tough. It’s hard.

“The best way to get through it is to keep playing lots of games and get back in the first team. It’s been stop-start at Arsenal because he is surrounded by good players and he hasn’t always been first-choice.

“It’s taken him time, but you have to look at him during pre-season and the start of the season and take your hat off to him. He’s got himself back in that position where he’s playing the football we all thought he was capable of.

“He’s been outstanding. He’s got a spring in his step and is confident. He’s doing things at both ends of the pitch. He’s defending well, his positional play is much better and he’s linking the play up in the last third. Even before he had the injury, this is his best form.”

Mike Hewitt 

Coleman reckons Ramsey’s stunning start to the season even means Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will find it difficult to leave out the Welshman despite

If Wenger feels the same way, that would put question marks over England’s Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky.

Coleman added: “All he has to do is keep doing what he has been doing. Ozil is a great player, but if Aaron keeps playing like he is, then I don’t think it will be Aaron Ramsey losing his place.

“I’m not the Arsenal manager and it’s not up to me. It’s up to Arsene Wenger and he’s a quality manager. But if Aaron keeps doing what he has been doing then I can’t see him losing his place.”

Ramsey returns for Wales in Skopje after a two-game absence, having not played for his country since producing a man-of-the-performance in Wales’ 2-1 victory in Scotland.

The ex-Cardiff ace enjoyed a bittersweet night at Hampden Park in March, scoring a second-half penalty before receiving a last-minute red card.

Coleman said: “I’m looking forward to having him. He was outstanding at Hampden Park. He ran the game.

“Unfortunately, he then got sent off in the last minute. We’ve not had him since, but it’s nice to have him back.”