Advertisement Wenger has been keeping busy on punditry duty and worked with Jose Mourinho – also linked with the Newcastle job – during the Champions League final (Picture: beIN SPORTS)Asked about the Newcastle speculation, and whether he is close to a return to management, Wenger told France24: ‘Not in the near future, no. I’m still not ready to go back.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENT‘I thought yes but I don’t think at the moment I will come back. I’m more open now than a year ago to talk about that but I cannot tell you that in the next two or three days I will go into management again.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man City‘I took a little bit of distance and I enjoyed it. I worked for 35 years without any interruptions, so I think I deserved a little rest.’Wenger has previously suggested he would not be prepared to return to the Premier League given his 22-year allegiance to Arsenal, but that stance appears to have changed slightly. Comment Metro Sport ReporterThursday 27 Jun 2019 11:55 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link400Shares ‘Why not?’ Wenger has surprisingly opened the door to taking over at a Premier League club despite his ties to Arsenal (Picture: Getty)Asked his preferred destination, he continued: ‘Well I would prefer to try another country, although my preferred time was in England because the Premier League is the place to be at the moment.‘But for me it is very difficult because I was for so long at the same club. But why not? I still need a bit of time to pass and then maybe make the decision.’More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenal Arsene Wenger plays down Newcastle United rumours but opens door to Premier League return Advertisement The former Arsenal boss is still not quite ready to return to management (Picture: Getty)Arsene Wenger has distanced himself from the Newcastle United job and says he is still not ready to return to management just yet – though could consider a Premier League job in the future.It is over a year since the Frenchman left Arsenal and he has been linked with a host of jobs ever since, from national team roles to sporting director positions and even a return to Japan.Most recently, Wenger’s name has been mooted as a potential successor to Rafa Benitez at St James’ Park, but the 69-year-old says he wants to enjoy his rest for a little while longer.
Fulham head coach Rene Meulensteen will return to Old Trafford on Sunday looking to play the attacking football he has been told to keep faith in by Sir Alex Ferguson. “We have to pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and that is what we have done in the last couple of days and making sure we are in the best possible way to travel to Old Trafford on Sunday.” Despite their current troubles, Meulensteen insists he still has the full backing of club owner Shahid Khan, who he talks to on a regular basis. “We keep in good dialogue,” he said of his relationship with Khan. “He gives me his full support and we make sure we remain focused and optimistic, there are still a lot of games and points to play for and that is what I intend to do. “I’m fully aware we need to get results.” January signings Johnny Heitinga and club-record acquisition Kostas Mitroglou could both make their Fulham debuts, while fellow new recruit Lewis Holtby is likely to come back into the side. The Tottenham loanee was ineligible for the FA Cup defeat but Meulensteen has been very impressed with the Germany midfielder’s effect on his squad. “He is an absolutely class player,” he added. “He has lifted the whole place with his energy, he has such a bright personality and breathes his football. He has a great knowledge of the game and he has just been a very positive factor coming in.” Meulensteen worked closely with the Scot during the latter years of his time at Manchester United but departed in the summer when David Moyes was appointed as the Red Devils’ new manager. Since then Meulensteen has had a short, ill-fated spell in charge of Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala before being brought in by then-Fulham boss Martin Jol to help turn the Cottagers’ season around. He soon replaced Jol as manager at Craven Cottage and will go back to United with Ferguson’s backing. When asked how helpful it was to have Ferguson on the end of the phone, Meulensteen replied: “Very. Sir Alex Ferguson knows what I’m capable of. “He is the first man to reassure me and say ‘stick to your beliefs, you are capable of doing it’, and that is what I’m doing. “We will speak to each other about different things. We will chit-chat about other things, he has asked me but there is nothing in particular.” Fulham sit bottom of the Barclays Premier League, four points from safety and go into the clash at Old Trafford having lost 1-0 at home to Sky Bet League One side Sheffield United in their FA Cup fourth-round replay on Tuesday night. Meulensteen feels his players have shown the desire to bounce back from the defeat and start to move towards safety. “We all realise that it was not a good performance,” he said. “It is not the first time a Premier League side has stumbled over a Championship, League One or League Two team, that is what the FA Cup is for and where the charm comes from. Press Association
MILWAUKEE — On a windswept pitch by the shoreline of Lake Michigan, a weekend tradition endures. With the lower east side nestled on the bluff above showing signs of life and the wings of the Calatrava monument unfurled in the distance, a group of some of Wisconsin’s most embattled and unheralded athletes meets every Saturday for what always promises to be a gritty fight over this piece lakefront real estate.It’s spring at McKinley Marina, and rugby season is in full swing.Despite the sport’s widespread popularity overseas, it remains a curious spectacle to even the most rabid American sports enthusiasts. Yet, for the hundreds of Wisconsinites who take up the charge of carrying on the rugby legacy, the game constitutes a passion becoming more prevalent by the year. From Milwaukee to the north woods, fierce matches abound on pitches just like the one at McKinley Marina.“Wisconsin rugby is a cult-like fraternity, with membership earned with blood and sweat,” UW-Parkside inside center Todd Streeter explained. “Throughout the years, I’ve made friends with players from literally every other UW campus. The camaraderie is unparalleled.”This year marks the 20th anniversary of Milwaukee RFC’s landmark national title run and the scene in Wisconsin couldn’t be more vibrant. With programs sprouting up in campuses across the state, the local clubs of elder ruggers find a bevy of collegiate squads to square off against during the spring months. Under the framework of the Wisconsin Rugby Football Union, league members test their mettle against a wealth of in-state opponents in preparation for their respective regional and national tournaments in the fall.But as any center or flyhalf will promptly make clear, the spring represents more than just an exhibition season. Jockeying for honor and the chance to improve, the college teams relish the opportunity to weigh in against their more seasoned counterparts.“When going up against teams that have players that have been playing for as long as many of those guys have, you really get to see what experience and knowledge brings to the game,” UW-Madison fullback Ryan Meyer said. “If you don’t take your game to the same level, you can’t compete with teams like that, so it forces us to both learn and play a better game of rugby.”The Wisconsin rugby community is already enjoying a noteworthy year after the Wisconsin men’s select side team emerged from the regional pack as Midwest LAU Champions. Compiled as an all-star team of Wisconsin collegiate players, the squad rolled past Minnesota in the finals behind the stellar play of UW-Madison scrumhalf Dave Scheid.Scheid opened up an early scoring opportunity by forcing a Minnesota forward into a bad pass as Wisconsin captured a 7-5 advantage. Later in the game, the junior scrumhalf broke loose to try to ice the match, which Wisconsin won by a final score of 21-12. The title was the first claimed by a Wisconsin select side team in more than a decade.The spring action continues this weekend as Dairy State ruggers converge on the western suburb of Hartland for the Milwaukee Cup, an annual tournament of Wisconsin collegiate rugby teams vying for bragging rights within the community. In addition to the usual suspects hunting the coveted title, the event provides an opportunity for newcomers to make their mark.In a game of fast breaks — where a squad’s fortune can change as quickly as the Garryowen falls — the chance to shine exists for any prospective Cinderella unafraid to lose a slipper in the mud.“This tournament helps any team to make a name for themselves,” Milwaukee School of Engineering flanker Matt Dictus said. “If a team can go into this tournament and completely dominate every other team, that fact will stick around in the fall.”In the wake of a regional Final Four appearance last fall, the University of Wisconsin RFC will look to defend its Milwaukee Cup title for the second-straight year. The Badgers opened their spring with a win over Midwestern rival Iowa State before dropping a pair to the Chicago Lions and Milwaukee RFC. Of particular interest to the cardinal and white will be the crew hailing from UW-Stevens Point, a squad hungering for vengeance after the Badgers knocked them off in the regional Elite Eight last October.“It was a very physical, hard-fought game,” Meyer said of the Badgers’ quarterfinal victory. “The last act of the game was getting a turnover, making a fast break and us scoring to win the game at the final whistle. It was amazing.”“[The rivalry] is pretty nasty,” UW-Madison flyhalf Adam Kuen added. “I think it probably meant more that we beat them than beating another team, just because the rivalry has been going on, I mean, since I’ve been playing.”With rivalries burgeoning and hungry newcomers hankering to leave an impression, this year’s Milwaukee Cup promises a Saturday of intense competition.