Nicol to challenge Curbishley

Alan Curbishley will pit his wits against Steve Nicol in the Major League Soccer All-Star Game after the former Liverpool midfielder was handed coaching duties for the prestigious fixture.

Nicol won the right to lead the MLS representative side against Curbishley's West Ham United at Toronto's BMO Field on Thursday 24 July because his New England Revolution were the league's most dominant side in the first half of the season. As head coach of the MLS All-Star team, Nicol will select five players and his coaching and training staff. If players selected for the All-Star First XI, likely to include David Beckham, are unavailable due to international duty, injury or other commitments, Nicol may decide on replacements.

The 46-year-old Scot previously led the MLS All-Stars to a 2-0 victory against Celtic last summer and has been in charge of the New England Revolution since November 2002. During an illustrious playing career in England, he played 467 times for Liverpool and scored 46 goals. He won four league titles, three FA Cup winners' medals and the 1984 European Cup. He was also capped 27 times by his country and appeared at the 1986 World Cup.

The MLS All-Star First XI will be announced on 10 July. The First XI are determined by online fan balloting comprising 25 per cent of the total vote, with MLS coaches and general managers (25 per cent), media (25 per cent) and players (25 per cent) accounting for the remainder. On 15 July, Nicol and his staff will select five All-Stars who will join two league commissioner's selections to complete the MLS 18-man squad.