Sporting briefs

Essien: Chelsea’s injury-plagued midfielder Michael Essien has suffered another blow after hurting his right knee during pre-season training yesterday. The 28-year-old Ghana international will now be assessed by the club’s medical staff before any further prognosis.

Smalling: Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has agreed a new five-year deal, it was confirmed yesterday. “I am delighted Chris has signed a new contract,” club manager Alex Ferguson said. “Chris has been outstanding since joining us from Fulham last year.”

Coloccini: Argentinian defen-der Fabricio Coloccini has been named Newcastle’s new captain. The Magpies yesterday confirmed that the 29-year-old will succeed departed midfielder Kevin Nolan as skipper for the new Premier League season.

Jones: Schalke have confirmed midfielder Jermaine Jones will not be joining Blackburn on a permanent basis. Jones spent the second half of last season on loan at Ewood Park but will return to pre-season training with the Gelsenkirchen club later this month after playing in the Gold Cup.

A. Bilbao: Former Athletic Bilbao player Josu Urrutia has been elected as the club’s new president, clearing the way for Argentine Marcelo Bielsa to take over as coach. Urrutia had announced days earlier that an agreement had been reached with Bielsa that would see the latter handed the reins of the first team in the event of an election victory.


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