Joe Cole names best player during England’s defeat to Italy

Chelsea star, Joe Cole, has named Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham as the best player during England’s Nations League 1-0 defeat to Italy on Friday.

Cole also labelled England’s performance against Italy as ‘unacceptable’, insisting Bellingham was the only player to offer some hope for the Three Lions.

Gareth Southgate’s side lost against Italy at San Siro following Giacomo Raspadori’s second-half goal.

“It is the same problem that surfaces a lot with England, we have to be braver,” Cole told Channel 4.

“These lads have got the ability, we have seen it week in, week out they are top drawer players. Puff your chest out, push your shoulders back and go and get on the ball in difficult positions.

Drive through the lines. Jude Bellingham, a 19-year-old, was our best player tonight and that’s unacceptable with the quality we have got because we have got the ability.”

England’s next Nations League tie is against Germany on Monday.

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Declan Rice makes promise after England’s 1-0 loss to Italy

England midfielder, Declan Rice, has promised that the Three Lions are going to be good going forward following their Nations League 1-0 defeat to Italy on Friday.

Rice also called for trust as Italy defeated England following Giacomo Raspadori’s second-half strike at San Siro.

The result against Italy condemned Gareth Southgate’s side to relegation to League B in the Nations League.

It also marked England’s longest run without a win in competitive matches since October 1992.

It is obviously disappointing. Every tournament we go into, we set out to win,” Rice told Channel 4 after the loss.

“In the Nations League, we have slipped below our standards, but I didn’t think it was all bad tonight.

“It is coming. It was a much better performance tonight than we saw in the summer.

It is not that we are not creating chances. I see it in training. There are goals for fun. Trust me, we are going to be good.”

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Southgate slams Erik ten Hag over Man United star

Southgate said he has not seen a player treated the way Maguire is being handled at Manchester United with the 29-year-old dropped from the United XI following the season-opening defeats to Brighton and Brentford.

United’s Dutch manager now prefers the combination summer signing Lisandro Martinez and Varane in his central defence.

The decision to drop the England star appears to be paying off as Man United have won their last four games on the spin, including victories over Liverpool and Arsenal.

And Southgate received some backlashes following the inclusion of Maguire in the England squad, with the 29-year-old starting Friday’s Nations League clash against Italy.

“But, for some reason there’s a big agenda with Harry Maguire and a big agenda against him,” Southgate told Channel 4.

“I’ve never known a player receive the sort of treatment that he has.

“He’s been a crucial part of us getting to a World Cup semi-final, he was named in the Team of the Tournament at the Euros.

“He knows what we think of him. He’s been, basically across that period, our most important defender.”

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Jack Grealish predicts country to win trophy in Qatar

Grealish said that the England national team have a chance to lift the World Cup this season because the Three Lions is filled with world-class players that play for big clubs.

The World Cup in Qatar is scheduled to be held between November 20 and December 18.

“Yeah, I genuinely think England can win the World Cup,” Grealish was quoted by Marca as saying.

I don’t want to put much pressure on the England team, but I genuinely do.

“We have world-class players all over the pitch playing for big clubs. We have a great captain and a great striker.

“So yeah, I think we have got a brilliant chance. I think it could possibly help the tournament’s during the season.”

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Nigerian football in turmoil as legal battle trails NFF elections

A Federal High Court in Abuja stopped the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), election that was scheduled to hold September 30 in Benin City, Edo State.

Justice Inyang Ekwo also ruled that all parties should maintain status quo and adjourned further proceedings until October 31.

The Professional Footballers Association of Nigeria (PFAN) had filed a suit against the federation over unequal representation of all the five statutory bodies making up the NFF in terms of voting rights and representation on the NFF Board, its Congress and substanding committees.

The claimants are Harrison Jalla, Victor Baribote, Austin Popo and PFAN, while the defendants are the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF boss, Amaju Pinnick and sports minister, Sunday Dare.

What looks obvious is that the election may no longer hold in Benin City, Edo State.

There are rumours that the venue may be moved to Abuja.

Journalist and Head of News at Nigeria Info FM, Ufuoma Egbamuno, is not surprised by the latest development.

Egbamuno : “Nothing surprises me anymore about Nigerian football and certainly, not this latest legal action against the NFF.

“It’s become a recurring decimal – one playbook that just gets dusted off the shelves and put to use.

The problem is that the major actors – NFF and those taking the legal action – are all doing whatever they are doing, not for the love or development of Nigerian football but for their selfish reasons.

“So, whatever pays their bills – even if it means throwing the spanner at scheduled elections – these elements will continue to play the script.

“The crux of the matter lies in the age long debate about whether football issues can be taken to regular courts vs sovereignty of the nation and why football cannot be bigger than the laws of the land.

And disagreements amongst stakeholders go back to more than a decade ago.

“It’s all shambles for want of a better word to explain it.”

Source: Dailypost

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You’re a real coach – Chelsea star hails Graham Potter

Kalidou Koulibaly, has hailed manager Graham Potter as a real coach.

Potter was recently appointed as Chelsea’s new manager.

The Englishman replaced Thomas Tuchel, who was sacked by Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly.

The new coach came with some good ideas. He’s a real coach. He did some good things with Brighton. Now he is a Chelsea manager,” Koulibaly told Le Quotidien.

“He has guidelines, expectations. It’s up to me to be patient, it’s up to me to show that I deserve to play, to show in training that the coach can trust me.

Compared to this, there will be no problem. We are also in the first weeks, it is normal for the coach to rely on players who are used to the emblem of Chelsea and who have been there for a very long time.

“When I will be at 100%, there will be no problem, I will play again.”

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Arteta warned over Nwaneri amid Messi, Ronaldo comparisons

Former Liverpool star, John Barnes, has sent a warning to Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta over midfielder Ethan Nwaneri amid comparisons to Paris Saint-Germain’s Lionel Messi and Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

Nwaneri became the youngest player in the English Premier League, EPL, history after making his debut for Arsenal in their victory over Brentford last Sunday.

The 15-year-old replaced Fabio Vieira in injury time after being included in Arteta’s squad against Brentford.

Nwaneri, who was born in March 2007, was called up for first-team training for the first time on Saturday.

But Barnes has now told Arteta to ‘leave Nwaneri alone’ and feels the youngster is not ‘going to go in the team and play every week’ like Messi and Ronaldo when they started.

“If you look at the future, the future looks bright for Arsenal in terms of a lot of the young players,” Barnes told BonusCodeBets.

Saka, you know, Martinelli, Odegaard. They have got a good, young team. But a 15-year-old being given his debut?

“You should leave him alone because, of course, Theo Walcott made his debut at 16 and this young boy coming in is not going to be anywhere near Arsenal’s first team, to be honest with you, when push comes to shove.

“It’s great for Arsenal to say we’ve got good young players coming through.

But all of a sudden, I don’t want people to then put so much pressure on this young boy because he made his debut to say he should be playing all the time.

“It’s great for him and great for Arsenal for the future.

“I’m not saying it’s a gimmick because he’s good enough to obviously be playing, but I don’t think it’s a situation whereby you’re looking at a Lionel Messi at 16 or Cristiano Ronaldo knowing that he’s going to go in the team and play every week.

So it’s good news at Arsenal pushing their youngsters through, but I don’t want to put pressure on this young boy and all of a sudden overemphasise that he should be playing this season or even next season.”

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I don’t see any super-dominating team – Wenger

Former Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger, has insisted that the Gunners should be considered as Premier League title contenders this season.

Wenger said that he could not see any super-dominating team like Arsenal so far this season.

Arsenal have made an excellent start to the new season with six wins from their opening seven games.

Mikel Arteta’s side currently leads the way in the Premier League as they are a point ahead of Manchester City and Tottenham.

“I would say that they have a good chance this season [to compete for the title] because I don’t see any super-dominating team,” Wenger told Sky Sports.

I believe that there’s a good opportunity this season to do it.

“Of course, it’s a little bit of a special season because you have a World Cup in the middle and you don’t know how much that will affect the performances of individuals and the teams. Overall, I believe there’s a good opportunity there this year.”

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Suarez names country that can win trophy

Nacional striker, Luis Suarez, has said Uruguay can win the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Le Celeste last reached the top four of the tournament at the 2010 edition in South Africa.

They lost 3-2 in the third-place playoff to Germany at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Suarez has now expressed confidence in the Uruguayan squad ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

“This is generated by Pajarito (Federico Valverde), Darwim (Nunez), Ronald (Araujo), and Rodri (Bentancur),” BeIN Sports quoted Suarez as saying.

“Players at the top level in Europe generate this. This is a prize for the work our country does. Uruguay will always try and compete at the World Cup at their maximum.

To try to go as far as possible and why not to be the champions ? Because we have players for this. Even though we know the difficulty that each game at a World Cup represents, we always have a real belief.”

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Iwobi, Dessers on target as Super Eagles hold Algeria in test game

The Super Eagles held Algeria’s home-based side to a 2-2 draw in a test game at the Mohamed Hamlaoui Stadium, Constantine on Friday night.

Watford goalkeeper Maduka Okoye was selected in goal ahead of Adeleye Adebayo and Francis Uzoho.

In defence, Ebube Duru made his first start for the team, while Raphael Onyedika was handed his debut in midfield.

Taiwo Awoniyi led the attack with Terem Moffi and Kelechi Iheanacho named among the substitutes.

Karim Aribi gave the Algerians the lead on 33 minutes.

The Super Eagles tried to fight back but still trailed after the break.

Substitute Alex Iwobi equalised for the Super Eagles after the break.

The home team took the lead again through Aribi but Cremonese forward, Cyriel Dessers leveled scores for the Super Eagles.

The Super Eagles will face Algeria’s main team in a friendly next week Tuesday at the Miloud Hadefi Stadium, Oran.

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I’m sorry – Paul Merson phones Man United star, apologises to him

Arsenal legend, Paul Merson has revealed he called Manchester United star, Harry Maguire to apologise to him after going ‘a bit too far’ in his criticism of the England international.

Maguire joined Manchester United in the summer of 2019 and became the most expensive defender in history after a £80m transfer.

When the deal to Old Trafford was completed, Merson expressed shock at the fee the Red Devils paid for the defender, calling it ‘ridiculous’.

Speaking to Sky Sports in 2019, Merson said: “£80m for Maguire is ridiculous at the highest level.”

Now Merson regrets his comments, revealing he called Maguire on phone to apologise after getting his contact from Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers.

“I don’t want to be right on that – I’d rather be wrong,” Merson told The Telegraph

“I want England to win the World Cup and Harry Maguire to get the winning goal.

“It was just my opinion. I rang up Brendan Rodgers and said, ‘Can you get me Harry Maguire’s number?’ I didn’t feel comfortable with myself.

“I needed to ring him and say, ‘I don’t agree with the £80m but I shouldn’t have said that and I’m sorry. I went a little bit too far.’

He couldn’t believe it. Probably thought it was a joke. I don’t think he has had a fair crack. He’s struggling and he’s playing on the left when he’s right-footed.”


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Maguire blames De Gea for his poor form

Manchester United captain, Harry Maguire is blaming goalkeeper, David De Gea’s lack of communication and his reluctance to come off his line for his (Maguire) poor form at Old Trafford for over the last 12 months.

Maguire has lost his place in Manchester United’s starting XI under Erik ten Hag, with the Dutchman opting to drop the England international after their loss against Brentford and Brighton.

With Maguire on the bench, the Red Devils have won all four league matches since Ten Hag’s preference to field new signing Lisandro Martinez alongside Raphael Varane.

The 29-year-old defender was heavily criticised by supporters last season, as the Red Devils’ captain bore the brunt of the frustrations of fans who watched their side finish 6th.

But ESPN says Maguire himself feels he has been let down by his team-mates and coaches, who have not played to his strength.

Maguire, according to the report, feels most ‘frustrated’ with goalkeeper De Gea.

The Spain’s number one goalkeeper has also been blamed for his inability to rush off his line and that, coupled with Maguire’s lack of pace, has given opponents plenty of room to play in behind United’s defence.

Added to that, the England international feels De Gea’s lack of communication has contributed to his poor form.

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