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PLAY IT SHORT: Mourinho forcing Man Utd into Falcao bid; Carra must play on; No bigger raw talent than N'Diaye; Mesca can fulfil potential at Fulham

WIGAN'S AMAZING JOURNEYWigan Athletic thoroughly deserved their FA Cup semifinal victory over Millwall. The Latics were simply a class above and the Dave Whelan era continues to break new ground. A clear sign of the amazing strides the club has made was the players running around in red shirts at Wembley. Wigan's original kit was actually red. But it became white because the dye in the red shirts faded and at the time the club could not afford a new kit!

REDKNAPP MORE LIKELY TO GO THAN HIS MILLIONAIRE FLOPSQPR are now down and facing massive changes in the summer. Tony Fernandes will stick around, but it's difficult to see Harry Redknapp also going down after his attack on his squad following defeat at Everton. Redknapp questioned their character, even their talent and confessed it will be a struggle to get their £100,000-a-week flops off the books. But with Fernandes and Lakshmi Mittal committed to next season, QPR do have the financial means to handle 12 months outside the Premier League. Which suggests it is more likely Redknapp will have to move on rather than QPR's over-paid flops. The backroom will also be cleaned out, leaving Fernandes and his advisors with a third rebuilding project of their coaching structure in just over 12 months.

MESCA GOOD NEWS FOR FULHAM FANSGreat news from Fulham last week over Mesca's new contract. His future appeared in serious doubt when he suffered a knee injury at the start of the season. It was a heartbreaker for Mesca's supporters, including manager Martin Jol, who was bursting with pride over the teen's preseason form having rescued him from the scrapheap after a release from Chelsea. Now having fully recovered, the 19 year-old has penned a new three-year deal and is being included in Jol's matchday squads. Cottagers fans are sure to get a glimpse of this exciting attacking talent before the season concludes.

N'DIAYE'S PURE RAW TALENTIs there a bigger raw talent - with the emphasis on the raw - in the Premier League than Alfred N'Diaye? After arriving in January from Bursaspor, he's been thrown in at the deep by Sunderland, asked to keep a midfield together fighting against relegation. Over the 90 minutes, the talent of N'Diaye shines through, but so does his lack of genuine football know-how. At one stage during the derby win at Newcastle United, he produced a 'Moussa Sissoko moment', using his quick feet to avoid two Toon tacklers, feeding a teammate before getting the ball back and stinging Rob Elliot's palms with an angled shot. It was off-your-seat stuff, before moments later he coughed up possession with a ridiculous stab using the outside of his foot. Paolo di Canio has started both his games in charge with N'Diaye. Certainly the raw materials are there and it will be exciting to track whether Di Canio can help the 23 year-old reach his potential.

MOURINHO BEHIND FERGIE'S FALCAO BIDIs Jose Mourinho behind Manchester United's move for Radamel Falcao? United boss Sir Alex Ferguson hinted last week he expected the Real Madrid coach to return to Chelsea and will be well aware of their interest in the Atletico Madrid striker. The chance to boost United's attack and hurt Mourinho's Chelsea plans in the same motion will be welcomed by Ferguson. The Scot still regrets losing out to Mourinho when Chelsea signed John Obi Mikel and Michael Essien, who both spent time at United as teenagers, and the downpayment made to Atletico does suggest he is determined not to let lightening strike twice. But there's still some twists and turns to come in this transfer saga as Falcao has had personal terms struck with Chelsea since before Christmas.

CARRAGHER MUST PLAY ONWho can persuade Jamie Carragher to shelve his retirement plans? Brendan Rodgers admits he wants the veteran to play on. The Reds manager included Martin Skrtel and Sebastian Coates in his squad for the stalemate with Reading, but went with Carra from the start and again wasn't let down. On this form, it's crazy for the veteran to be stepping down.

WHAT ENGLAND KEEPER CRISIS?So is England still suffering a goalkeeper crisis? Alex McCarthy's incredible performance for Reading in their draw with Liverpool has pundits rightly tipping him for full England honours. But there's also Jack Butland, owned by Stoke City and on-loan at Birmingham City, who is of the same age. And there's the outright No1 Joe Hart, the Manchester City goalkeeper, who won't turn 26 until next week. To turn opinion on its head, has England ever had a better group of young shot-stoppers in recent times?

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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