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PLAY IT SHORT: Evra deserves better; Snubbed Chelsea strikers baffled; Kinnear today's Tino for Toon; World wants piece of Arsenal whiz Zelalem

SPARE A THOUGHT FOR EVRA. AT LEAST WAZZA KNOWS HE'S WANTEDWayne Rooney will get all the press this morning. But spare a thought for his Manchester United teammate Patrice Evra. Unlike Rooney, who is wanted by both United and Chelsea, Evra has been left wondering what's he'd done wrong with David Moyes chasing Everton left-back Leighton Baines. But the Frenchman put those doubts to one side last night to produce as good a performance as any player on the Old Trafford pitch. Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager, confessed afterwards he'd actually gone with Kevin de Bruyne ahead of Juan Mata to negate Evra's charges forward. If the 'wanted' Rooney is deserving great praise for his professionalism last night, then what about the Frenchman?

DOES MOURINHO TRUST HIS STRIKERS IN THE CRUNCH?Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho talked up his three senior strikers in the lead up to last night's stalemate at Manchester United. Demba Ba, Fernando Torres and Romelu Lukaku, "I want to keep them all," he declared as he explained his managing of the trio for the first two games of the season. But what will they be thinking now after he went without a striker at Old Trafford? They must be gutted - especially with a contract on the table for Anzhi superstar Samuel Eto'o and Wayne Rooney to be subject of a new bid today. In the post-match, Mourinho insisted he would sign a new striker, whether Rooney joined or not. It was his first real test and Mourinho decided his current striker options weren't good enough for the occasion. Torres, Ba and Lukaku must be wondering where they stand.

ZELALEM ARSENAL CALL WELL DESERVEDSo was Gedion Zelalem on the Arsenal bench by default or because of ability? You fancy the latter when listening to what those at London Colney think of the 16 year-old midfielder. The longer serving coaching staff rate Zelalem ahead of Cesc Fabregas at the same age and were fully behind manager Arsene Wenger's decision to take him on tour to the Far East in preseason. It can be levelled at Wenger that he needed to call up Zelalem having been caught short of senior options after a summer where the departures have far outnumbered the arrivals. But any chance to accelerate Zelalem's development should be embraced by Gunners fans as, according to coaches from London to Washington, this is a nailed on future star. While German-born, Zelalem has an Ethiopian background and learned his football in Washington's suburbs. And he's now being educated in England, having received his GCSE's this month. The US, Germany or even England, the world will soon all want a piece of Gedion Zelalem.

IS BALE LEAVING THE BETTER SQUAD?God forbid, but if Cristiano Ronaldo was to suffer a serious injury at Real Madrid, would Tottenham star Gareth Bale still be leaving for the stronger squad? Certainly, the decision of Spurs powerbrokers Joe Lewis and Daniel Levy to push the boat out has the squad appearing it's strongest in modern memory. Etienne Capoue, Paulinho, Roberto Soldado and Nacer Chadli, with Erik Lamela and possibly Christian Eriksen to come, Bale couldn't accuse Spurs of failing to match his ambition. And should Ronaldo leave Real in the next 12 months, Bale's decision will be looking like a pig in a poke.

STURRIDGE NOW FULFILLING POTENTIAL AT LIVERPOOLThis is what Danny Sturridge has been screaming out for since quitting Manchester City for Chelsea. In the absence of Luis Suarez, he is thriving on the responsibility of being the main man at Liverpool. Two goals in the opening two games, not yet fully match fit, Sturridge is repaying the faith Reds boss Brendan Rodgers showed in taking him from Chelsea. There were plenty from the old Boot Room lining up to take a shot at Rodgers for shelling out for Sturridge. But at still 23, the £12 million Liverpool committed now looks a snip. This is the player Sturridge's fans always believed we'd see once he was given the chance of regular first team football. He just needed miles in the legs. He now has that and not only Liverpool, but also England, are sure to benefit in the next 12 months.

KINNEAR APPOINTMENT MATCHES TINO FOR TOONJoe Kinnear's appointment as director of football is looking a complete DISASTER at Newcastle United. It's simply baffling how Toon owner Mike Ashley could breakup a successful transfer round table of Alan Pardew, Graham Carr and Derek Llambias to bring in Kinnear. With his resignation, Llambias took with him five years of experience working at the pointy end of the European transfer market. Now Newcastle are starting again and Kinnear is being found out time and again. Not since Kevin Keegan signed Tino Asprilla have we seen a club implode from such horrendously self-inflicted errors.

DYNAMIC CAMPBELL AN ENGLAND BOLTERThe performance of Fraizer Campbell in Cardiff City's shock victory over Manchester City was all the more remarkable when you consider his persistent knee problems. Not only with the two goals, Campbell was the most decisive player on the pitch, full of pace and courage, a triumph for his determination to overcome multiple knee injuries. Time and again he burned off City markers to test Joe Hart in the visitors' goal. And then there were his two headers, throwing himself against the tide in a fashion Andy Carroll would be proud of. Malky Mackay mentioned England when discussing Campbell in the aftermath and on Saturday's performance, he must be regarded as a genuine option for Roy Hodgson.

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Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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