Saturday media watch [30.05.14]: Midfielder link/Vlaar upbeat
Express & Star: Ron Vlaar today insisted football cannot ignore Brazil's World Cup problems - but backed the country to come through. Seven workers have died helping to build stadia for the summer tournament. But with 12 days to go before Brazil face Croatia to open the tournament, the country is prepared and Villa's Vlaar believes it will succeed. "You can't close your eyes to the things which have happened but as soon as the tournament starts and the whistle goes it's going to be a great experience for everyone," said Vlaar, who is expected to be named in the Netherlands' squad. "It's in Brazil so that's really special, it's a real big football country and they have so many good players."
Birmingham Mail: Sunderland's Jack Colback has emerged as a free transfer target for Aston Villa, according to sources in the north east. The midfielder is out of contract this summer and is expected to leave the Stadium of Light despite being offered a new deal. The 24-year-old Black Cats academy graduate is being tracked by a host of Premier League clubs, believed to include Villa. But the uncertainty at the club and Colback's increased personal terms could see the claret and blues lose out to one of their top-flight rivals, with West Ham reportedly ready to offer him a lucrative deal. Colback is understand to be on modest wages in Premier League terms but his likely availability on a Bosman will enable him to up his demands.
Sky Sports: Shay Given admits he would be willing to leave his coaching duties at Aston Villa if offered a playing role elsewhere. The veteran goalkeeper has been offered the opportunity to combine his role as back-up to Brad Guzan with a training ground post at Villa Park. Given is, however, not prepared to hang up his gloves just yet and focus purely on events away from the field. He acknowledges that he is unlikely to find the opportunities he craves at Villa, having fallen out of favour and taken in a loan spell at Middlesbrough in 2013-14, and has opened the door to any club willing to 'take a punt' on his services.
Best of the Rest
BBC Sport: Liverpool have made a final offer of £25m for Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana. The Reds want to complete the deal swiftly or they will consider moving on to alternative transfer targets.
Sky Sports: Leeds have announced that they have parted company with manager Brian McDermott by mutual consent. The former Reading boss took charge at Leeds in April 2013, signing a three-year contract, but his future at Elland Road has looked increasingly uncertain since Massimo Cellino's takeover of the West Yorkshire club earlier this year.
BBC Sport: England captain Steven Gerrard is confident the team will peak for their World Cup opener against Italy on June 14 after a workmanlike win over Peru. A fine strike from Daniel Sturridge was followed by goals from Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka as England ran out 3-0 victors in their final home friendly.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.
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