The end of the last international break of the year, into the long winter that can break a team, or their manager, and little seems as engrossing as the reality that we are one Phillip Cocu sacking away from the launch of Wayne Rooney’s career in management. The big man is back, to recall the unforgettable first recorded usage of the phrase in an England camp when Rooney announced his belated arrival at the team’s German World Cup base in the summer of 2006. Thirteen years later at St George’s Park last week, Raheem Sterling asked a similar question rhetorically of Joe Gomez. You think you’re the big man? Back in the Black Forest 13 years ago, no one had to ask. It was Rooney and he was 20 at... … [Read more...] about England’s most celebrated players often fail as managers, or don’t even try – but Wayne Rooney has the aura of a man who will surprise us all
GARETH SOUTHGATE simply isn’t having Alan Hansen’s old chestnut that “you win nothing with kids”. After fielding England’s youngest starting line-up in 60 years for Thursday’s 7-0 trouncing of Montenegro, Southgate was adamant that his youth policy can bring glory at the Euro 2020 finals. The England boss pointed out that the triumphant French side and his own semi-finalists were two of the youngest squads at last year’s World Cup. And he believes his fresh-faced Lion cubs are capable of winning next summer, despite his consistent policy of axing England’s most experienced players over the past three years — including Wayne Rooney, Joe Hart, Theo Walcott and Kyle Walker. Southgate said: “Clearly, most teams that win championships have a certain level of experience with big matches. “I mean France won the World Cup with an average age of just over 25 last summer.“I think they were the second-youngest squad, or … [Read more...] about Southgate backs England’s young stars to end 54 years of hurt and WIN Euro 2020
Manchester United vs Chelsea, Premier League: live score updates "There is a line you know not to cross with Jose. You can have a normal conversation with him about what was on the television last night or what match you watched. But there is that line. And when you even think about crossing it, you get nervous.” John Terry’s account of Chelsea’s first season under Jose Mourinho in 2004-5 is notable for the sense of novelty around the new man in English football, the man who replaced the patriarchal gaffer figure once and for all. There is the story about Mourinho abandoning Claudio Ranieri’s punishing pre-season fitness regime for ball work at all times. There is another about his meeting... … [Read more...] about Has Jose Mourinho got the power at Man Utd to show Paul Pogba who’s boss?
Send for the cliche police, this was the ultimate game of two halves. Arsenal laid out their title credentials in the first 45 minutes – actually make that the first 10 minutes – then one interval and one sending-off later exposed their own defensive brittleness and allowed Newcastle to claim a seemingly impossible point. Arsenal went in at the interval four goals up and believing they could be champions, or at least Manchester United's closest challengers. They went in at the end with 10 men, two points dropped and a furious Arsène Wenger waiting to speak to the referee. "We were very unlucky with some decisions that went against us," the Arsenal manager said. "I could not argue with Abou Diaby's red card, but I believe Joey Barton should have been sent off for the original tackle. My opinion is not important, though. We panicked a little bit in the second half, we have dropped two points, but psychologically the damage is bigger. We have a very disappointed dressing … [Read more...] about Cheik Tioté completes remarkable Newcastle comeback against Arsenal
1) Van Dijk finally making his Liverpool bow If there is one message that Jürgen Klopp has to drum into his defenders before Friday night’s Merseyside derby, it is to resist the temptation to place their hands on any Everton attackers in their own area. Manage that and Liverpool should be capable of extinguishing the frustration of last month’s draw with Sam Allardyce’s side, when Dejan Lovren conceded a late penalty with a needless and clumsy push on Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Klopp turned on plenty of people after the game – even a member of Everton’s press team was in the firing line after Wayne Rooney’s penalty – but Lovren was the real culprit and it is telling that Liverpool have bolstered their defence by spending £75m on Virgil van Dijk. Having scored once in their past four matches, Everton could find goals even harder to come by if Van Dijk is ready to make his debut. Jacob Steinberg Klopp expects Coutinho to return against … [Read more...] about FA Cup third round: 10 things to look out for this weekend