DJ ROONEY SPLITS THE CRITICSWayne Rooney's Spotify World Cup playlist has provoked a variety of reactions after he shared his picks online. The presence of Ed Sheeran and Stereophonics (his favourite band) does not come as much of a surprise, but choices by Mumford & Sons, Jake Bugg and Bill Withers have raised eyebrows. It's a "a chilled out selection" says the Daily Mirror, while Metro wonders what the number of downbeat numbers says about England's chances. Tom Thorogood of The Sun says the mix "isn't as bad as I feared", but website Who Ate All The Pies dismisses it as "naff" and sniffs that it is "just about as dismal as you’d imagine".
SCHOLES WANTS ENGLAND TO PLAY LIKE LIVERPOOLThe World Cup can to funny things to people. Take Manchester United legend Paul Scholes, who has urged England boss Roy Hodgson to pick five, yes five, Liverpool players in the team to take on Italy on 14 June. "It would be refreshing for England to adopt Liverpool’s attacking mentality in Brazil," says Scholes in his Paddy Power blog. "Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling can offer a huge goal threat playing together for England," he explains. With Glen Johnson at right back and Jordan Henderson in midfield the Anfield contingent in his team reaches five.
NO7 WILSHERE GETS BOOTS RESTITCHEDOne player who doesn't make Scholes's England side is Jack Wilshere, even though he sought out the United legend's advice on how to improve. But the snub has not daunted Wilshere, who is looking forward to donning the England number seven shirt, made famous by the likes of Alan Ball in 1966, before it was worn by Kevin Keegan, Bryan Robson and made iconic by David Beckham. The only problem, he told the Daily Telegraph, is that he has to get his boots restitched, as they are currently emblazoned with his Arsenal squad number - ten.
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BRAZIL BACK THE BRAZUCABrazil's world cup squad got their first taste of the new Brazuca ball on Wednesday, and goalkeeper Julio Cesar has dispelled any doubts over its performance. Adidas's last effort, the Jabulani used at the 2010 tournament, was "much-maligned" says the Daily Mail, but after two-and-a-half years of development the German sports giant have finally cracked it. "The ball is a good one", said the QPR shot-stopper, who spent last season on loan in Canda, "and I think the outfield players are going to like it too".
RONALDO TIPS ENGLAND TO DO WELL Brazilian striking legend Ronaldo disagrees with Goldman Sachs and Steven Hawking, and believes that England do have a chance of winning the World Cup. Written off by economists and physicists, Roy Hodgson's men "should definitely be considered" says Ronaldo, "they can surprise us". He also tips England's group-stage rivals Uruguay, which is bad news for Italy, but concludes "Brazil, Germany, Argentina and Spain are the strongest". Ronaldo also predicts that veteran German striker Miroslav Klose could steal his crown as the World Cup top scorer. The 35-year-old needs two goals to overtake Ronaldo.
NIGERIA KEEPER'S UNFORTUNATE HOWLER Nigeria's World Cup warm-up game against Scotland on Wednesday was dogged by rumours of match-fixing, prompting an investigation by the National Crime Agency. After a build-up like that it was unfortunate that Nigerian keeper Austin Ejide then scored a bizarre own goal, appearing to throw a Scotland cross into his own net. Luckily for him the 'goal' was ruled out and while there is no suggestion that his actions were deliberate his handling skills must be a cause for concern to coach Stephen Keshi.
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