The following is a roundup of soccer stories from U.K. newspapers, with clickable Internet links.
The Football Association of Ireland will approach Martin O’Neill in the next 48 hours to become manager of the Republic of Ireland, the Daily Mail reported.
O’Neill, 61, is the FAI’s choice to replace Giovanni Trapattoni, whose five-year tenure as national team coach was ended by “mutual consent” yesterday, the Telegraph added.
Former Ireland coach Mick McCarthy, Roy Keane, Brian McDermott and Chris Hughton were also identified as potential candidates for the job by FAI Chief Executive Officer John Delaney, the Independent reported.
Barcelona Targets Mata
Barcelona will try to bring midfielder Juan Mata back to Spain if his role at Chelsea does not change between now and January, the Daily Express reported.
Barca identified Mata as a potential long-term replacement for Alexis Sanchez or Cesc Fabregas, the newspaper said. Barca would face opposition from Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, who holds a grudge against the club and would go out of his way to prevent any move, the Express added.
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is yet to resume full training as he bids to return from a head injury before the Sept. 22 game against Manchester City, the Daily Mail reported.
Rooney is a 50-50 chance of playing in the derby as he recovers from a cut to his head sustained during an accidental training clash with teammate Phil Jones, the Mail added.
Jones Wants Apology
Jones demanded a written apology from Stuart Pearce after the former England Under-21 team manager said the defender wasn’t committed to playing in this year’s European Under-21 Championship, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Pearce, who was fired by the Football Association in June after England lost all three matches at the tournament, said Jones, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere had no desire to return to the team after they went “through the golden ivory towers of the seniors,” the Telegraph added.
Editor: Alex Duff