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Newcastle defender completes move to Roma

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, right, will be staying in Italy. Credit: PA

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa's loan move to Roma has been made permanent, Newcastle United have announced.

The French defender has been in the Italian capital since the start of the season and has now signed a long-term contract with the Serie A outfit, having played sufficient games to trigger a clause in the original deal that obliged Roma to sign him.

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Man City midfielder Toure impacted by lower quality Ivorians - Renard

Ivory Coast coach Herve Renard believes Yaya Toure has struggled to reach his best for his country due to the lesser quality of players around him.

Renard thinks Toure is aided by the standard of his Manchester City team-mates at club level, but the inferior nature of his international colleagues, means he has has to change his style at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Yaya Toure captains the Ivory Coast side. Credit: PA

"Ivory Coast is not Manchester City. The potential of players is not the same," said Ranard.

"At City, there are players who can defend very well and create at the same time. With us it is different, so we asked him to do a different job."

Renard has used Toure in a deeper position than he operates in for Manchester City.

"It's easy to work with players of his calibre because you can ask a lot of things of them if you explain to them what you need and why. It's easier with players of this calibre than with players who have not experienced much and think they already know everything," added Renard.

Man United keeper Valdes praised for inspirational team-talk

Manchester United under-21 coach Warren Joyce has hailed new goalkeeper Victor Valdes after he made his first appearance for the club on Monday night.

The former Barcelona man impressed on and off the pitch, by giving an inspirational team-talk.

Valdes explained the story of American Dick Hoyt, who has pushed his cerebal palsy-suffering son in marathons and endurance events for decades, to inspire his new colleagues ahead of their 2-1 win over Liverpool under-21s.

Victor Valdes joined Manchester United on a free. Credit: Pa

"The lads are in the room listening to this. It was unbelievable," Joyce explained.

"I was going to do something but Victor said 'Guardiola used to do this'.

"He's a very humble guy and a model professional."

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Scougall hoping for Sheffield United fan power

Sheffield United midfielder Stefan Scougall believes the Bramall Lane supporters can spur the Blades into the League Cup final.

The League One side are a goal down from the first leg, but are in confident mood ahead of the second leg.

Stefan Scougall is looking to cause an upset. Credit: PA

"There is nothing for us to fear and we are going to try to cause an upset - like what happened at the weekend (in the FA Cup fourth round) with Middlesbrough beating Manchester City and Bradford beating Chelsea.

"We have proved ourselves over the last year whenever we have played a team in a higher league that there is nothing to fear. We can go out and cause another upset.

"I think you will have around 30,000 Blades fans at Bramall Lane on Wednesday night, so I think that is going to help us and drive us on a little bit more."

Spurs boss gives backing to keeper Vorm after mistake

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino says he won't be dropping goalkeeper Michel Vorm for the League Cup semi-final, despite his error on Saturday.

The Dutch stopper let a weak Jeffrey Schlupp volley get beyond him in the last minute, giving Leicester a surprise win.

Michel Vorm is set to start again on Wednesday. Credit: PA

"This is football. He made a mistake. Every player can make a mistake, we have full confidence in him and must give him support," the Tottenham boss said.

"He made two big saves against Leicester. His attitude is fantastic and nothing has changed, in one action he conceded a goal."

Pochettino continued: "I think it should be normal to play Michel. All games are important, and (overall he) had a good performance (against Leicester)."

Blackpool try to end Lewis loan to avoid triggering clause

Joe Lewis has impressed at Blackpool. Credit: PA

Blackpool want to terminate the loan for first-choice goalkeeper Joe Lewis to avoid triggering a clause that means they will have to sign him permanently.

Lewis, who is currently on loan from Cardiff City, has been one of the Championship's bottom club's better performers this season, but was left out for the weekend's 7-2 defeat to Watford, and Blackpool have since asked the Welsh club to terminate the loan, report the Blackpool Gazette.

It is thought Blackpool will be obliged to sign the former Peterborough man for £40,000 if he plays 40 matches.

After being on the bench on Saturday, Lewis has not trained with the club, due to the limbo the current situation has left him in.

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