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The Malaysian Insider :: Sports

Chelsea take action against Cole over air rifle

Posted: 28 Feb 2011 07:04 PM PST

Chelsea's Ashley Cole reacts after he missed a penalty against Everton when the game went to penalties during their FA Cup match at Stamford Bridge in London on February 19, 2011. — Reuters pic

LONDON, March 1 — Chelsea have taken "proper action" against defender Ashley Cole after he accidentally shot an intern with a high-powered air rifle at their training ground, manager Carlo Ancelotti said yesterday.

Police have said they are investigating newspaper reports that Cole shot a 21-year-old man, who was hit by lead pellets fired from an air rifle at the ground in Cobham, southwest of London, last week.

Ancelotti, speaking before Chelsea host Premier League leaders Manchester United on Today, declined to say what action Chelsea had taken against the England international, but told reporters: "Obviously, we are not happy with what happened.

"But I have spoken with him. He was very disappointed with this, said sorry, made a mistake. It was an accident.

"We have taken proper action but tomorrow he will play.

"The mistake was that the gun was here in Cobham. We didn't know the gun was here."

Asked to whom Cole had apologised, Ancelotti replied: "First, he said sorry to the guy that was involved in this, second sorry to the team mates, third sorry to the club."

He said the club had not considered sacking the player, something that would probably have happened in any other job.

"He is our player, he always had very good behaviour here," he said. "Now, we have to move on. Who didn't make a mistake in his life?"

A Surrey police spokeswoman said earlier that while no direct allegation had been made, the matter had been brought to their attention through media reports.

"We will be contacting the club in due course to establish whether any criminal offence has been committed," she said.

Media reports said the 30-year-old defender had mistakenly shot the man using a .22 air rifle, the most powerful gun available without a licence in Britain.

One eyewitness was quoted as saying the victim had "bled profusely."

Club staff treated the man, identified as sports sciences student Tom Cowan who was on work placement with Chelsea, according to reports. He did not need hospital treatment. — Reuters



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Henry eager to help Red Bulls develop identity

Posted: 28 Feb 2011 03:52 PM PST

Major League football's New York Red Bulls Thierry Henry applauds the crowd before the start of a match against the Tottenham Hotspur at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey on July 22, 2010. — Reuters pic

FORT LAUDERDALE, March 1 —Thierry Henry is enjoying life in the United States, but the former France and Arsenal striker wants to see his New York Red Bulls team develop an identity around playing attractive football.

Henry, who joined the Red Bulls midway through last year's campaign, is eager to help his team perfect the art of short passing like the teams he played on at Arsenal and Barcelona did earlier in his career.

"I am a believer in passing the ball on the ground, I was lucky to be part of teams like that at Arsenal, with the French national team and with Monaco and at Barcelona," Henry told Reuters in a recent interview.

"I know you can win in other ways but I believe that is the way football should be played. Hopefully we can do the same thing, maybe not at the same level of Arsenal or Barca, but that is what we want to do."

Henry, Arsenal's all-time leading scorer, said his focus for the upcoming Major League football season will be to mentor his younger Red Bulls team mates as much as improving on the two goals he scored in 11 games with the team last year.

"Don't get me wrong, I still love scoring and I hate to lose but now I see myself more as making players play better," said Henry. "Sometimes you do what you have to do and you have to perform, that is still there. But in my mind I am thinking about making the guys around me play better."

Henry struggled to capture his full fitness and form last season, which he said was "too short" a time to make a full impact, but is eager to help give his team an identity that will be easily recognised around the North American league.

"It is quite important, whatever identity you want to have for your club, it is important to have one, to say the Red Bulls play this way," he said. "When you see Barca or Arsenal home or away they play the same way. That's what we want to do - we want to have a Red Bull way."

Henry made the switch to Major League Soccer in 2010 after three years in Spain with Barcelona and felt that not everyone in Europe sees the promise in the North American league.

"People were telling me not to expect too much from the league but I remember playing against Real Salt Lake, we didn't touch the ball much, they were passing the ball around, playing good football," said Henry. "Dallas, the (Los Angeles) Galaxy it is the same. They want to pass the ball and play good football."

But while some Europeans may not give Major League football much credit, Henry is comfortable with his decision and even says he is particularly relishing the frankness of discussions in the United States and the different attitude shown towards top athletes.

"I'm enjoying it. I am more than proud to be European. I love Europe, I love France but I have an American mentality and I don't know why," said Henry.

"The way I see things, the way I talk, I'm the kind of person who if I want to say something I will say it and sometimes in Europe that's not always what you need to do.

"There is also that thing where people know that you have worked hard to get something, people have respect for that here. You worked hard, good for you. Sometimes in Europe, there is a kind of jealousy you know." — Reuters


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