What today’s papers are saying: Sunday, March 23, 2013.
THE OBSERVER: Steven Gerrard has urged his England team-mates to “take responsibility” and maintain their discipline as they focus on the daunting prospect of Tuesday’s trip to Montenegro, with the squad braced for a hostile occasion against the Group H leaders in Podgorica. Also: McLaren’s team leader, Martin Whitmarsh, has admitted responsibility for going into the new Formula One season with an uncompetitive car...Northern Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Fabio Capello’s Russia side was postponed for the second time within 24 hours as freezing weather conditions wreaked havoc with the sporting calendar.
THE SUN SUNDAY: Steven Gerrard last night refused to condemn England fans for barracking stay-away defender Rio Ferdinand. Also: Jose Mourinho has dropped a huge hint about a sensational summer return to Chelsea.
SUNDAY MIRROR: Chelsea are locked in a contract row over teenager Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Also: Steven Gerrard claims England fans have the right to sing what they want about Rio Ferdinand.
DAILY STAR SUNDAY: Steven Gerrard last night defended the right of the England fans to demonstrate their feelings about Rio Ferdinand. Also: David Beckham went from role model to fall guy yesterday when he landed on his Beck-side during a football demonstration...Michael Owen last night sensationally accused old club Newcastle of lying...Man United have started the search of Rio Ferdinand’s successor, with Porto’s £20m-rated central defender Eliaquim Mangala, 22, emerging as a top target...Chelsea hope they will finally get their man when they launch a £25million summer swoop for Everton’s attacking midfielder Marouane Fellaini, 25.
SUNDAY EXPRESS: Skipper Steven Gerrard has backed the travelling England fans who slated Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand for his no-show in San Marino. Also: Michael Owen has accused former club Newcastle of lying about offering him a new deal in 2009...Everton boss David Moyes is being lined up for a summer switch to big spenders Sunderland.
MAIL ON SUNDAY: England captain Steven Gerrard has warned Wayne Rooney not to lose his head again in the cauldron of Montenegro, with England’s World Cup hopes resting in the balance on Tuesday night. Also: Sky Sports have confirmed that they are in talks with former England captain Andrew Strauss over him joining their stellar commentary team for this summer’s Ashes series.
THE SUNDAY TIMES: This year’s Lions captain may sit on the sidelines for the three Tests against Australia, ending the age-old tradition of leading his men into the toughest battles. Also: Roy Hodgson has railed against the “disrespectful” treatment of England centre-backs Joleon Lescott and Chris Smalling, saying they have been belittled by continual debate over Rio Ferdinand’s withdrawal from his squad and lamentations that John Terry has retired...A US multimillionaire has agreed a deal to purchase a half share of Coventry City’s stadium with a view to buying the League One club out of an impending administration.
THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH: Steven Gerrard has defended the right of England fans to abuse Rio Ferdinand over his withdrawal from the squad last week. Also: Roy Hodgson reaches the first defining point of his time as England manager on Tuesday evening in the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica.
INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY: Roy Hodgson is poised to make up to six changes to the England team that beat San Marino 8-0 on Friday night for the World Cup Group H qualifier against Montenegro on Tuesday that the national team cannot afford to lose. Also: After a quiet night in San Marino enlivened only by his fifth goal in four England games this season, Wayne Rooney will become the centre of attention again as he takes the field on Tuesday for a serious football match against Montenegro.
THE PEOPLE: Harry Redknapp will be asked to lead West Ham towards the Olympic Stadium if they part company with Sam Allardyce. Also: Steven Gerrard last night refused to condemn England supporters over their venomous attacks on the absent Rio Ferdinand in San Marino.