Sol Campbell has yet to make his Premier League return with Newcastle United, but he is already eyeing an England comeback. The former Tottenham and Arsenal centre-half hopes to play his first game as Newcastle's new captain as soon as the international break is over next week. If he plays well the 35-year-old veteran of three World Cups thinks he can force his way into Fabio Capello's England plans. "It doesn't matter where you are at with your age if you are fit, strong, physically there and you want it, then you have got the experience so I think there should be no problem really," he said.
Tony Pulis, the manager, admits he was loath to let Liam Lawrence leave the club this week, terming him one of his "favourites". Lawrence moved to Portsmouth as a makeweight in the deal that took Marc Wilson, the centre-back, to Stoke City. "Liam's been one of my favourites and one of my best-ever signings," Pulis said. "We weren't too keen on him leaving as he still has a bit left in the tank for us, but it was his decision. We would have still done the Wilson deal anyway." Wilson was one of four deadline day deals for the Potters, with Eidur Gudjohnsen and Jermaine Pennant also joining on loan while Salif Diao resigned.
Steve Bruce, the manager, reckons he has bought a ready-made Premier League star in the form of new striker Asamoah Gyan, and the man himself tends to agree. Gyan moved to the Stadium of Light from Rennes this week for a lofty fee of £13m, and he says he is ready for the hurly-burly of the English game. "The technical guys I have worked with always tell me my style of play suits the English Premier League," the 24-year-old striker, who scored three goals for the Black Stars as they reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup in South Africa, said. "I have been watching the Premier League, and I think I will be all right."
When Glenn Hoddle, the former manager, first signed Robbie Keane for Spurs back in 2002, he said the wandering striker had finally found his club for life. The relationship between Keane and the White Hart Lane club has been somewhat rocky in recent years, however. But Keane, the Republic of Ireland captain, will have an extended chance to return to the glory days after the club failed to offload him this week. He reportedly turned down approaches from Besiktas, the Turkish club, West Ham, Newcastle and Celtic, where he enjoyed a fruitful loan spell last season, to stay and compete for a place in Harry Redknapp's first team.
* Compiled by Paul Radley and Gary Meenaghan