Mid-Day Ticker: Amalfitano earns France call-up, Giggs nears milestone and more

Amalfitano (Getty Images)

By THOMAS FLOYD

It would appear Morgan Amalfitano has caught Laurent Blanc's attention at the most opportune of times.

Blanc called up the 26-year-old Olympique Marseille midfielder for the first time Thursday, naming him to France's roster ahead of a friendly Wednesday against Germany in Bremen. Amalfitano has enjoyed a stellar run of form for Marseille since arriving from Lorient this past summer and could position himself to claim a late spot on France's Euro 2012 squad.

Another surprise selection was injury-plagued Tottenham Hotspur striker Louis Saha. Acquired from Everton during the winter transfer window, Saha has made just two league appearances for Tottenham but did record a brace in a 5-0 win over Newcastle earlier this month. The absence of injured Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema likely paved the way for Saha's inclusion.

Here are some more stories to keep your Thursday rolling:

GIGGS BRACED FOR 900TH APPEARANCE

Should Ryan Giggs see the pitch for Manchester United this afternoon in the second leg of their Europa League clash with Ajax, it will mark the 900th appearance for the 38-year-old midfielder. As far as manager Alex Ferguson is concerned, no Premier League player will ever rival Giggs' accomplishments.

"It is my personal view, and not everyone will agree with me because we all have our favourites, that even if you take away the longevity, being in the Premier League for as long as he has, achieving what he has — no other player will do it," Ferguson said. "His use of the ball has got better with age. Changing his position to play in a more central area has given a different aspect to his game.

SMITH TURNS DOWN WOLVES

With Wolves sitting just inside the relegation zone 10 days after the firing of manager Mick McCarthy, the Premier League club is in desperate need of a savior this season. But it's not going to be former Ranger boss Walter Smith.

The 63-year-old, who left Rangers at the end of last season, has reportedly turned down an offer to take over Wolves. It had been reported Smith did not want to take the job full time but that he had considered managing the team for the rest of this campaign.

CAMERON ADDRESSES RACISM PROBLEMS

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday commended his nation's campaign to eradicate racism from soccer but said there is still work to be done, noting the country needs "to act quickly to make sure those problems do not creep back in."

Cameron, speaking at an anti-discrimination summit with soccer officials and former players, added, "If everyone plays their role, then we can easily crush and deal with this problem."

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Do you think Amalfitano and Saha deserve their France call-ups? Will another player ever match Giggs' club accomplishments? Who should Wolves look to hire as manager?

Share your thoughts below.

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5 Responses to Mid-Day Ticker: Amalfitano earns France call-up, Giggs nears milestone and more

  1. CSD says:

    Just from looking at the picture I am wondering, with the inclusion of Morgan Amalfitano are France going to start doing the Haka before every match. The arrow didn’t quite do the trick for the rugby team at the World Cup.

  2. Dinho says:

    France is bringing a really good squad (save Benzema). It will be interesting to see how France fare against Germany. What is Ben Arfa’s nationality? Isn’t he French? Dude is legit.

  3. Dinho says:

    Oh, and Giggs is a legend. SAF is right. With the way players get shopped around these days, no one will ever come close to his numbers.

  4. somedude says:

    he’s French and played with the National Team before but their attack is stacked with or without Ben Arfa

  5. pd says:

    EXCEPT Benzema? You are daft.

    and yes Hatem ben Arfa is french, father is Tunisian I think. He and Nasri have the potential of being a terrible twosome for les Bleues, but there is a criticism that he’s a bit undisciplined. I loved watching him when he player for Olympique Marseille.