Saturday 19 August 2017

Van Persie gets Dutch all-clear Benayoun up for Blues challenge Mulgrew hungry to shine for Celts

Netherlands striker Robin van Persie has been given the green light to play in his country's semi-final clash against Uruguay on Tuesday.

Van Persie was taken to hospital yesterday for a scan on an arm injury.

Defender Joris Mathijsen was also taken to hospital with a knee problem, but he too has been cleared to play in the last-four showdown. "Neither scan on Van Persie or Mathijsen showed any serious damage," said a statement from the Dutch FA.

Netherlands knocked favourites Brazil out of the tournament on Friday with a comeback 2-1 win in Port Elizabeth in which Van Persie played 85 minutes.

Benayoun up for Blues challenge

Israel midfielder Yossi Benayoun cannot wait to get started on his Chelsea career after completing his move from Liverpool on Friday.

The 30-year-old became Carlo Ancelotti's first summer signing and will meet up with his Blues team-mates when he reports for pre-season training tomorrow.

"Everything looks lovely. It is a great training ground and you can see it is one of the best clubs in the world from the way the people here treat you," he said.

"I met a few of the staff and the players I know a little bit from playing. It is a good challenge for me and I am ready for it. There are a lot of good players, big players.

"For me it is the beginning and I have to work hard and prove I can bring something to this club. The only thing I can promise is I will work hard and do my best, and hopefully it will be good enough."

Mulgrew hungry to shine for Celts

Charlie Mulgrew has been given a second chance at Celtic after failing to make the grade under Gordon Strachan, but knows it will be just as tough this time round to pin down a first-team place. The 24-year-old left the Parkhead club for Wolves four years ago after his fledgling career came to a halt under Strachan.

He returned north of the border to Aberdeen in 2008 and, after impressing current Celtic boss Neil Lennon, was snapped up by the Northern Irishman on a three-year deal as a free agent. Mulgrew was joined at Parkhead on Friday by 29-year-old South Korea defender Cha Du-ri, who signed initially on a two-year deal, subject to a work permit.

"It's up to me to work hard, improve over pre-season and show I'm good enough to play here," Mulgrew said.

"I don't like to look back to the past. It's all about the future now. A club the size of this will always be tough."

Sunday Independent

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