Hodgson involved in 'monkey' joke storm: England manager Roy Hodgson has become embroiled in what the Daily Mirror labels a "bizarre row" over a space monkey joke and Andros Townsend. Hodgson used a gag at half-time during the Three Lions' crunch World Cup qualifier against Poland to illustrate that he wanted right-back Chris Smalling to play the ball more often to Townsend. However, the paper claims that "at one least one player was shocked", because he thought it carried racist undertones. Hodgson has since responded, making clear his view that it is nothing more than a horrible misunderstanding.
Paper Round's view: The identity of the player who was so offended by the gag remains a mystery but Townsend himself was not offended in any way, according to Hodgson. So the manager's frustration at this story - a non-story, really - is understandable, especially coming off the back of one of England's best nights in quite some time. It's good to see reaction from almost all quarters - including Townsend - defending the England manager.
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Januzaj will choose England: The Daily Mail claims in an exclusive that Adnan Januzaj will choose England as his international team if the FA can overcome the obstacle of the five-year residency rule. The Manchester United starlet has been in England for two years already, but would need to stay another three - making him 21 - before he could be considered eligible under the current rules. The Mail reports that "sources close to the Januzaj family" have confirmed the player would prefer to play for England, rather than the four other countries he could represent.
Paper Round's view: This exclusive comes on the same day the Mail runs a special two-page report on 'How Januzaj became Europe's hottest property', which includes interviews with various characters from the player's past such as Januzaj's old school sports teacher and a former coach from his time at a local club in Brussels. It doesn't take a great leap of faith to come to the conclusion that the paper's information has most likely come from these interviews - and therefore should not be taken as gospel by any stretch of the imagination.
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Sven set for return to England: The Daily Mirror reports that former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson is in the frame to become the next boss of struggling League One side Sheffield United. The paper claims that the Swede has been recommended to the Blades - and their new Arab shareholder in particular - by advisers.
Paper Round's view: Not meaning to sound too cynical, but if the club's owners can offer Sven the 'right deal', it would come as no surprise to see him back on these shores, even if he is currently bound to a contract with the Guangzhou R&F club in China. Whether he'd be a success in South Yorkshire is another matter entirely.
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England fans turned off travelling to Brazil: The Daily Telegraph reports that an England fans' group has predicted that supporter attendance in Brazil will be lower than in South Africa in 2010. Mark Perryman, the convenor of LondonEnglandFans, told the paper that travelling support for England has been in headlong decline since 2010 and despite ticket registrations for 2014 being high, he would be surprised if "much more than 5,000" make it to Brazil next summer.
Paper Round's view: As Perryman points out, declining attendances could have to do with Hodgson's feat of having lowered expectations around the national side. Not even the Poland match was sold out before the visiting team were given a vastly increased allocation. Either that, or it's just not fun watching England any more. Or it could have something to do with costs in these financially unstable times. Or most probably, a little bit of all of the above.
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