Week in, week out

CRYING FOWLROBBIE Fowler's future in Australia could be in jeopardy after a bust-up with former Rangers and Scotland midfielder Ian Ferguson when he refused to play for North Queensland Fury in the weekend's A-League clash with Brisbane Roar.

The former England and Liverpool striker chose to sit out the game after he was told he would be starting on the bench for the first time this season.

Fowler has scored nine goals so far and Fury have often had to deny reports he is to return to England, but his refusal to play yesterday could put his A-League future in doubt.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Coach Ferguson refuted claims the 34-year-old has made his final appearance for the club but admitted he will be holding crisis talks with Fowler tomorrow.

"There's a couple of issues we have to sort out. Robbie's a great player, he's an experienced player, he's a player that we want to keep at the club," he said. "At the end of the day I felt it was obviously a decision I had to make, I wanted Robbie to go on the bench and he refused to go on the bench.

"We'll go over it on Monday, we'll have a serious talk and see what it takes."

Fowler still has one year to run on his contract with the Fury but admitted last week that his wife has struggled to settle in Australia, adding further fuel to reports he could be seeking a move back to England.

"The kids are very adaptable to where they are, but I think my wife still needs a bit of convincing," he said. "It's not like back at home where there's more stuff to do and more families that we know, so she's still adjusting."

GOLDEN BALLS

AN ITALIAN television channel has apologised for a prank in which a female presenter attempted to grab David Beckham between the legs.

The AC Milan midfielder was visibly angered when Elena Di Cioccio, who fronts the popular show Le Iene (The Hyenas) on Italia Uno, made her move while the football player was being interviewed by another person. Security immediately hustled the 34-year-old Beckham into a nearby hotel.

Beckham played in last night's defeat by Inter Milan which led Fulham boss Roy Hodgson to comment: "Beckham was very quiet out there. He wasn't his normal, energetic self. I think he must have been carrying that injury from midweek."

Beckham's spokesman Simon Oliveira says he has "no issue with it. It did surprise him at the time, but David saw it for what it was – harmless fun."

NADAL FED UP WITH GAME

THERE are times, Rafael Nadal admits, when he'd rather be like Roger Federer.

But only on his Playstation.

While Nadal says he is very happy with his performance so far at the Australian Open this year, in the Playstation world he'd rather be Federer.

Nadal said his own avatar on the Playstation game just didn't have the winning moves. In the game, says Nadal, "I am only the defensive guy, two metres behind the line . . . I don't run. Better to choose another player."