Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick has pulled out of the England squad for Wednesday’s friendly against Brazil, the Football Association has confirmed. A statement on the FA’s official website said Carrick is suffering from a hip injury and will not join Roy Hodgson’s squad ahead of the match at Wembley. Carrick is the second player to pull out of the squad after Tottenham announced striker Jermain Defoe will miss the fixture with an ankle problem. (The Express)
David Villa wants a £14million summer move to Arsenal. Barcelona insiders say the striker, 31, has set his heart on a switch to the Gunners after deciding to quit the Nou Camp. (The Sun)
Steven Gerrard has always dreamed of scoring a goal that influences a title race. At the Etihad Stadium yesterday, he might just have claimed one, only the beneficiaries were not Liverpool, of course, but Manchester United. (The Times)
Chelsea have started the process of negotiation with Jose Mourinho about his potential availability in the summer and his desire to return to Stamford Bridge. It is tentative at this stage but contact has been made and Roman Abramovich is interested in enticing the Real Madrid manager back to London. (Daily Mail)
International football management is not a country for young men, and at Wembley on Wednesday two old grizzlies will exchange a warm handshake before England and Brazil meet for the first time in four years. The 65-year-old Roy Hodgson attempts to become only the third England manager to beat the Brazilians in 23 meetings, but it is clear where the greater pressure lies. His opposite number, Luiz Felipe Scolari, 64, deemed a failure by Chelsea but still a hero in his native land, returns to London to begin a second period as coach of Brazil; he is expected, simply, to win the World Cup – again. (The Independent)
Italy blew this season’s RBS 6 Nations Championship wide open by recording a stunning victory over title favourites France at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Leicester prop Martin Castrogiovanni scored the decisive try of a thrilling encounter that saw Les Bleus’ Grand Slam hopes destroyed on the opening weekend. (The Mirror)
Paul Gascoigne’s agent, Terry Baker, believes the former England midfielder’s life is in danger after he started drinking again. (The Telegraph)
The Baltimore Ravens won this year’s Superbowl, beating the San Francisco 49ers 34-31.