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Hayling United »
Church Road, Hayling, Hampshire
Adult Female
Horndean »
Five Heads Rd, Horndean, Hampshire
Adult Female
Isle Of Wight Dfa Rep Xi »
Adult Female
Moneyfields Ladies »
Adult Female
Portsmouth Command »
The Victory Stadium, Burnaby Road, Portsmouth
Adult Female
University Of Chichester Ladies »
College Lane, Chichester, Sussex
Adult Female
Widbrook United »
Bidbury Lane, Havant, Hampshire
Adult Female

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Football News

» FIFA 22 TOTW 19 predictions featuring Liverpool, Man United and Chelsea stars
The FIFA 22 Ultimate Team TOTW 19 (Team of the Week 19) squad could contain a host of Premier League players, with stars from Liverpool, Man United, Chelsea, Spurs and others set to potentially feature.
» Alexander Isak has already made his Arsenal feelings clear with 'best of friends' claim
Real Sociedad striker Alexander Isak has emerged as an alternative to Dusan Vlahovic with the Fiorentina rising star is unsure about a move to Arsenal in January
» 6 European clubs 'interested' in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as Arsenal plans on ice
The 32-year-old former Arsenal skipper is reportedly training away from the rest of his teammates as speculation over a potential Emirates exit continues to linger
» Britain's richest man Jim Ratcliffe 'interested' in offering Man Utd transfer solution
Manchester United are still looking to trim their squad in January and Britain's richest man and Man Utd fan Jim Ratcliffe could play a part in helping them do just that
» Emmanuel Adebayor slams Arsenal for "never learning" amid Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang row
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's Arsenal days appear numbered after a bitter fall out with Mikel Arteta and being sent home from AFCON, with Emmanuel Adebayor aware of what is it like to leave north London under a cloud
» Newcastle submit fresh Jesse Lingard bid and target four other January transfers
Newcastle United have completed the signings of Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood so far this month, with Eddie Howe keen on extra reinforcements in their battle against the drop
» Lionel Messi's PSG struggles outlined as theory for poor form emerges
Lionel Messi has scored just one goal in Ligue 1 for Paris Saint-Germain this season with a theory emerging of why he has struggled to hit the ground running in France
» Kevin Phillips finally gets first managerial job after Football League snubs
Former England striker Kevin Phillips began life in the dugout as South Shields boss with a 2-1 win at Warrington Town - and he is relishing the opportunity to show what he can do
» Newcastle 'to discuss personal terms' to make Mitchel Bakker third January transfer
The Bayer Leverkusen left back is getting closer to completing a switch to the Magpies as Eddie Howe remains focused on improving his squad before the transfer window shuts next week
» Arsenal switch attentions to Dominic Calvert-Lewin transfer as Dusan Vlahovic bid stalls
Arsenal had hoped to sign Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina as a replacement for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but with that deal dying the Gunners have turned their attention towards Dominic Calvert-Lewin
» Bruno Fernandes sets Man Utd trophy targets after admitting Premier League failure
Bruno Fernandes says Man Utd can silence critics with Champions League and FA Cup wins as they continue to battle for a top four place
» Barcelona respond to Ronald Araujo 'offer' amid Man Utd and Liverpool links
Both Manchester United and Liverpool have been linked with Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo - who has just 18 months remaining on his existing deal - in recent weeks
» Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang interferes with Mikel Arteta's masterplan for Dusan Vlahovic
If Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang stays at Arsenal until the end of the decision, it becomes a much more difficult prospect to reach an agreement with Dusan Vlahovic
» Erik ten Hag accused Man Utd of "mortal sin" as club make decision on next appointment
Erik ten Hag's impressive defensive record with Ajax has caught the eye, but for now, he remains in the frame alongside Mauricio Pochettino, Luis Enrique and Julen Lopetegui
» Julen Lopetegui's Man Utd blueprint - new formation and Cristiano Ronaldo role
Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui has emerged as one of the leading contenders to succeed Ralf Rangnick as Manchester United boss - his appointment would bring a boost for Cristiano Ronaldo
» AC Milan star Rafael Leao ordered to pay £13.8million to former club Sporting Lisbon
Rafael Leao must pay the sum to Sporting Lisbon or take his appeal to the Portuguese Supreme Court after an unsuccessful appeal regarding an alleged contract breach
» Liverpool and Man City 'hold transfer talks' with PSV forward Cody Gakpo
Dutch forward Cody Gakpo is on the verge of a new deal with PSV Eindhoven, but Premier League rivals Liverpool and Manchester City are reportedly waiting in the wings
» When is the Premier League winter break? Dates and return fixtures for top-flight clubs
Following the weekend’s latest round of fixtures, there will be no Premier League action for the next two weeks while the enforced winter break takes place
» Richard Arnold 'contacts' Gary Neville in bid to get Man Utd legends on side
Richard Arnold succeeds Ed Woodward - who failed to win the Premier League during his eight-and-a-half-year reign - as Manchester United's top operations executive next month
» Tottenham at risk of repeating Chelsea transfer mistake with AC Milan talks ongoing
Tottenham are set to be very busy in the final week of the January transfer window, with manager Antonio Conte desperate to strengthen his squad after the 2-0 defeat by Chelsea
» Jurgen Klopp set for five significant Liverpool boosts after international break
The Reds head into the mini winter break after beating Crystal Palace 3-1 at Selhurst Park, with the win moving them nine points behind Manchester City in the table
» Inside Oscar's five years in China as Barcelona launch bid for ex-Chelsea star
Former Chelsea star Oscar could be set to return to Europe as Spanish giants Barcelona plot a surprise swoop for the Brazilian star - who is the fifth-highest earner in football
» Man Utd draw up four-stage transfer plan and identify 'biggest problem' to solve
Manchester United have reportedly drawn-up a four-stage transfer plan for the summer after a difficult Premier League campaign, slipping 19 points behind Manchester City
» Arsenal eye Arthur transfer 'conclusion' as player's conduct adds to confusion
Arsenal have been in talks over a January transfer for Arthur Melo for nearly two weeks and they are reportedly stepping up their loan pursuit of the Juventus midfielder

Other sport news:

» Guinea v Gambia: Africa Cup of Nations last 16 – live!

6 min: Modou Barrow and Musa Barrow attempt to link up, another corner resulting from their efforts and Musa Barrow fires in a corner that is only just cleared.

4 min: The corner is cleared, but is pumped back in, where Bayo, leaning back as he strikes the ball, fires over. It’s noisy out there in Bafoussam.

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» Is the Premier League title race back on? – Football Weekly

Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, John Brewin and Troy Townsend after Manchester City drop their first points since October to leave Liverpool nine points behind with a game in hand

Rate, review, share on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Acast and Stitcher, and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.

On the podcast today; a not entirely convincing Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 3-1 to gain some ground on Manchester City at the top of the Premier League. The panel discuss potential offsides and a controversial penalty in that game.

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» Atlético revel in ‘madness’ of wildest win yet – but will it be a turning point? | Sid Lowe

Champions were 2-1 down to Valencia in the 90th minute yet somehow won. Will it help Diego Simeone find their identity?

“It’s life itself.” On Friday afternoon Diego Simeone said Atlético Madrid hadn’t been through anything like this in the years he had been there. That’s how bad things had got. The very next day they went through something they hadn’t experienced in the 118 years anyone had been there. That’s how good it got, how much they had needed this. “Madness,” Ángel Correa called it. “Incredible,” José María Giménez offered. It was “unbelievably beautiful,” Matheus Cunha said. It was also a timely reminder of who they are. At least, they hoped so.

“What did you feel?” Simeone was asked when it was over, everyone exhausted but alive again, the final whistle coming on 100.51 with Atlético having somehow beaten Valencia 3-2 at the Metropolitano, the club’s anthem belted out like an act of faith. “What did I feel? Pfff. That this place is wonderful where I am. And every time you see it getting away, ah, I want to reach out and grab it even tighter.” They certainly have to hold on to something, and maybe this was it. “There are nights that stay with you; this is one,” Simeone said.

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» Women’s Super League: talking points from the weekend’s action

Bizarre Manchester City goal angers Arsenal while Manchester United need reinforcements to maintain title challenge

The decision of the referee, Abigail Byrne, to allow play to continue after she diverted what the Arsenal manager, Jonas Eidevall, described as “one of the best passes of the game” out of the path of the intercepting run of Jordan Nobbs and into the feet of Manchester City forward Lauren Hemp was strange. Hemp went on a marauding run and delivered a cross for Khadija “Bunny” Shaw to tap in to give City the lead after 65 minutes. City had dominated but Arsenal were right to feel hard done by. True, the team in possession of the ball did not change by the official’s touch but the rules seem pretty clear: if the ball touches a match official, remains on the field of play and a team start a promising attack, then play must be restarted with a dropped ball. “The referees should be professional,” said Eidevall, “and should be given all the resources that they need to prepare and practice and work on fitness and that’s where we need to focus. Let’s raise the standard around refereeing and give them the help they need.” In the end Arsenal snatched an important point in the title race through Tobin Heath’s injury-time strike. SW

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» Milan face derby day of reckoning as Juve clash falls flat on shabby stage | Nicky Bandini

A shocking pitch, near-empty stadium and a cast full of understudies made for difficult viewing at San Siro

It was supposed to be one of those Sunday night spectacles that define a Serie A season. Milan, second in the table and needing a win to keep pace in the title race, up against Juventus, fifth and fighting for their Champions League lives. Two of the giants of Italian football squaring off at San Siro, the country’s grandest arena.

Juventus were yet to beat any of the teams ahead of them in the table – Milan, Inter, Napoli or Atalanta. But their manager, Massimiliano Allegri, had never lost in 18 career meetings with his Rossonero counterpart Stefano Pioli. This was an occasion for someone to rewrite the narratives. Instead, all the pens ran dry.

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» Hertha Berlin go missing in Bayern ordeal to complete week of ‘disgrace’ | Andy Brassell

Furious fans interrupted training after the cup defeat to Union Berlin in midweek and the pressure intensified on Sunday

“We have to make sure,” said Hertha Berlin head coach, Tayfun Korkut, “that we put this week behind us and focus on the coming games.”

A mere 109 seconds into Sunday’s game against Bayern Munich Corentin Tolisso had the ball in the Hertha net and was called for a marginal offside, and even before the midfielder eventually headed the opener it never felt like the home side were doing anything other than trying to contain the deluge in a paper cup, as Neil Finn might have said – but the coach meant more than just that.

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» Everton to hold talks with Vítor Pereira as manager search continues
  • Former Porto and Fenerbahce manager is out of work
  • Pereira was also under consideration in 2013 and 2019

Everton are due to hold talks with the former Fenerbahce and Porto manager Vítor Pereira on Monday as they continue their search for a permanent successor to Rafael Benítez.

Pereira is out of work and was under consideration by Everton in 2013 and then after Marco Silva’s departure in 2019. He said on the second occasion that he was committed to staying with Shanghai SIPG, whom he had led to the 2018 Chinese Super League title.

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» Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action

Spurs need to make some market moves, Shelvey finds perfect partner and Arsenal are struggling in front of goal

Antonio Conte forcing his available players into a rigid 4-4-2 formation was his way of making a point to the the Tottenham hierarchy. The Italian has not been particularly enamoured with what he found at the club when he arrived, spending plenty of time tinkering with his selections in the hope of finding the right mix. Tanguy Ndombele and Dele Alli have been given chances but failed to provide evidence they can be relied upon in the long term. There were issues all over the pitch at Stamford Bridge, implying that Spurs face a difficult final week of the window. A new right-back, central midfielder and a striker are necessities for a side devoid of ideas against the top sides in the division. Whether the club can move quickly enough to do everything Conte wants is another problem for the Italian and, as Internazionale found out last summer, if he is unhappy he is willing to go. Will Unwin

Match report: Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham

Match report: Leeds 0-1 Newcastle

Match report: Manchester United 1-0 West Ham

Match report: Everton 0-1 Aston Villa

Match report: Southampton 1-1 Manchester City

Match report: Crystal Palace 1-3 Liverpool

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» The rise of Reims shows youth is the future in Ligue 1 – but for how long?

Developing and selling academy players is a smart move but Ligue 1 should avoid becoming a feeder league for English clubs

By Adam White for Get French Football News

French academies have long sustained Ligue 1, both in terms of finances and football. The production line often follows a well rehearsed system, especially for smaller clubs. When a place in the first team opens up, clubs will look to their academy instead of wasting resources signing established professionals. Such is the depth of talent, the gap in quality between the two options is far smaller than the resources needed to facilitate them. Now, however, driven by financial concerns, that system is becoming more formalised and widespread. Ligue 1 has benefited greatly, but the league also needs to be careful in the long run.

Free from the spotlight and pressures of the Premier League, young players can develop quickly in France at clubs that are skilled and predisposed to nurturing burgeoning talent. Nicolas Pépé’s career shows the trajectory well: he moved from Angers to Lille for £16m and then from Lille to Arsenal for £72m, greatly rewarding two French clubs of different standings.

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» Police charge 19-year-old with assault and throwing item on to Everton pitch
  • Man released on bail and due in court on 28 February
  • Two men arrested after Chelsea’s Rüdiger hit by missiles

Merseyside police have charged a 19-year-old man with assault and throwing an item on to the pitch during Aston Villa’s win at Goodison Park on Saturday.

Roger Tweedle, of Cranehurst Road, Walton, Liverpool, has been released on conditional bail and will appear at South Sefton magistrates court on 28 February.

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» Men’s transfer window January 2022 – all deals from Europe’s top five leagues

All of January’s Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and Serie A deals and a club-by-club guide

Women’s transfer interactive: all the latest moves

The January transfer window is not normally where the big clubs, such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City, do most of their business, but there are times when reinforcements are needed.

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» Premier League postponements are a betrayal of a club’s younger players | Josh Gowling

Protecting your own interests is understandable but teams undermine academy-raised players by refusing to trust them

I have been given a simple mandate by my board at Hereford for the rest of this season: regardless of Covid-19 cases or injuries we must fulfil every fixture, even if I have to take five or six players out of the youth team. We have already had several games postponed and it does not help financially, so our priority is to get matches on with whoever is available.

The contrast with recent events in the Premier League is stark. Arsenal have come under particular scrutiny for their determination to call off the north London derby and, to be clear, it is obvious nobody has done anything outside the rules. Everybody wants to protect their own interests but, when you see injuries and other absences overriding Covid as the real grounds for postponement, it seems clear the regulations are not working.

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» Women’s transfer window January 2022 – all deals from Europe’s top five leagues

Latest deals and club-by-club guides for the WSL and leagues in Italy, France, Germany and Spain

There are more and more transfers in women’s football as more resources are put into the clubs, although the January window is usually quieter than the summer one. Still there are exciting title races to be had in the WSL, Division 1 Féminine, Frauen-Bundesliga while in Serie A Femminile Juventus are running away with the title, as are Barcelona in the Primera Iberdrola.

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» Sam Kerr breaks Philippines resistance as Matildas reach Asian Cup last eight
  • Australia 4-0 Philippines
  • Philippines coached by ex-Matildas manager Alen Stajcic

Australia have maintained their perfect start to the Women’s Asian Cup with a 4-0 win over the Philippines, securing safe passage to the quarter-finals in the process.

After being held goalless in the opening half, Sam Kerr’s sixth goal of the tournament and 55th in Australian colours finally broke the deadlock against a well-drilled Philippines coached by former Matildas manager Alen Stajcic.

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» ‘Naive’: Crystal Palace’s Vieira berates referee for Liverpool penalty call
  • Diogo Jota won vital spot kick after tangling with Vicente Guaita
  • ‘Took our hope away’: Vieira critical of Kevin Friend’s decision

A livid Patrick Vieira was unsparing in his criticism of the referee, Kevin Friend, and VAR after his Crystal Palace side were beaten 3-1 by Liverpool. Vieira said Friend had been “naive” in awarding a penalty to Diogo Jota late in the game, a decision that he said “took our hope away”.

At the time Palace were 2-1 down and pushing hard for an equaliser that would have changed the complexion of the title race. As it is Liverpool are now only nine points behind Manchester City with a game in hand.

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» Antonio Conte bemoans ‘incredible’ decision to chalk off Harry Kane goal
  • Spurs forward has strike disallowed in 2-0 defeat at Chelsea
  • ‘Maybe in Italy ... 50-50, but in England it was incredible’

Antonio Conte bemoaned the “incredible” decision to disallow Harry Kane’s first-half strike as his unbeaten league start as Tottenham manager came to an end against Chelsea, before admitting his former club are on “another level” to his present squad.

Kane appeared to have put the visitors into the lead at Stamford Bridge before the referee, Paul Tierney, adjudged the England captain had fouled Thiago Silva as the ball was played into his path. From there, second-half strikes from Hakim Ziyech and Silva inflicted a first league defeat on Conte at Spurs, as Chelsea ended their recent shaky form with what ultimately turned out to be a comfortable 2-0 victory.

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» Eidevall angry after referee’s deflection in Arsenal’s WSL draw with City

An injury-time strike from the US forward Tobin Heath salvaged a point against Manchester City at the Academy Stadium but there was controversy about the opening goal that led the Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall to call for greater support for WSL referees.

Eidevall was shown a yellow card in his second consecutive game, having also collected one during Arsenal’s midweek League Cup defeat to Manchester United, for protesting the heavy deflection off the referee that allowed winger Lauren Hemp to race free before sending in a low cross for Khadija Shaw to tap.

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» Milan draw with Juventus as De Jong scores late winner for Barcelona
  • Real Madrid battle back from 2-0 down to grab Elche draw
  • Tammy Abraham scores twice for Roma; Bayern Munich win

La Liga leaders Real Madrid fought back from two goals down at home to rescue a 2-2 draw against lowly Elche thanks to a last-gasp Éder Militão goal in stoppage time. Real wasted a golden opportunity to widen the gap at the top of the table after second-placed Sevilla stumbled at home with a draw against Celta Vigo on Saturday.

Real have 50 points from 22 games, four points ahead of Sevilla. Elche opened a two-goal lead with Lucas Boyé netting in the first half and Pere Milla scoring after the break. Luka Modric reduced the deficit with a penalty after 82 minutes and Vinícius Júnior found Militão inside the box in the 92nd minute and he headed the equaliser.

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» Disputed Fabinho penalty seals win as Liverpool quash Crystal Palace revival

For a while it felt as if Liverpool were about to let another Premier League title slip from their grasp at Selhurst Park. Jurgen Klopp’s exhausted side looked as if they were playing on fumes. Nine of them had played a gruelling League Cup semi-final against Arsenal on Thursday night.

Two nights’ sleep, some ice packs, some light training, and then back on the bus. Crystal Palace were 2-1 down but well on top. Chances came and went.

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» Rashford changes mood music and rises above frenzy of amateur analysis | Barney Ronay

The melancholia around the Manchester United forward’s dip in form always seemed overblown – footballers are people too

What’s eating Marcus Rashford? Here’s a thought: maybe nothing. Rashford was once again on the bench against West Ham. He stayed there for 62 minutes as United produced a performance that was energetically blank, frantically vague, noisily blunt.

Football loves its bold strokes howsoever, and Rashford did the most important thing in this game, scoring with almost the final kick, four yards out in front of an open goal, after a kind of three-man cavalry sprint from close to halfway ended with Edinson Cavani squaring the ball across the box for Rashford to tap it home and spark a kind of rolling delirium around the stands.

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» Wayne Rooney to Everton may not make sense but it sounds seductively real | Barney Ronay

He is in no way qualified but bringing Rooney back to Goodison Park would deliver the rush of authentic emotion we all crave

It was interesting this week to see the fascination on social media with close-up clips of the celebrations after Tottenham’s 3-2 win at Leicester.

This stuff is very popular right now. The digital eye has detected a hunger out there, a shared sweet spot for footage of unbound emotion, feelings-porn: players and fans lost in the moment, Antonio Conte baying and leaping and glowering like a bear startled by a hornets’ nest.

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» Dangerous game? Football clubs look to mine fans’ cash with crypto offerings

Digital tokens seen as new wealth stream as TV rights and sponsorship level off but not everyone is happy at the new signings

When FC Barcelona took to the pitch for the 2021 Spanish Super Cup final, the trophy wasn’t the only prize at stake.

Thousands of blaugrana fans were also keeping an eye on the market for FCB’s “fan token”, the club’s very own cryptocurrency. Socios, the web-based platform that pioneered fan tokens, had promised to “burn” 20,000 tokens for every goal Barcelona scored – and 40,000 if they lifted the cup.

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» Do footballers lose motivation after signing long-term contracts?

Do players relax once they have secured lucrative deals – and do they up their game when a new contract is on the line?

By John Nassoori for The Set Pieces

Arsenal or Tottenham fans may not welcome the comparison but, in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Dele Alli, both north London clubs have players whose contracts have received more attention than their on-field performances. Is there any basis to the charge that long-term deals lead to a loss in motivation, though?

To some extent, the assumption that a player’s contribution wanes as soon as the ink dries on a new agreement is rooted in the idea that performances peak before a contract extension. Aubameyang is a case in point: criticism over the three-year deal he signed in September 2020 is partly due to his failure to maintain the phenomenally high standards he set during the 2019-20 campaign, when he scored 29 goals in 44 games, including match-winning contributions in both the FA Cup semi-final and final.

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» A year of Thomas Tuchel: Chelsea remain a cup club in need of new culture

The manager has made mistakes but hierarchy should back him rather than perpetuate a volatile, indulgent setup

Thomas Tuchel seemed to have all the right answers a year ago. In fact, the only time he was unsure about how to respond was when Chelsea approached him about replacing Frank Lampard. After all, Tuchel had just experienced a bitter split with Paris Saint-Germain and the thought of going to Chelsea did not immediately appear to be the wisest move.

Questions had to be answered. What if Tuchel found life at Stamford Bridge just as draining as at PSG? Would he ever want to work at a top club again? Or would he decide that he no longer needed to handle star egos and demanding executives?

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» Up for the cups: Jürgen Klopp ends Liverpool’s wait for Wembley final | Andy Hunter

Liverpool manager’s commitment to domestic cups has been questioned but his delight at semi-final win was clear

To become a “true legend” at Liverpool, Pepijn Lijnders had claimed on the eve of the rearranged Carabao Cup semi-final, “you need to go for the national cups as well.” Jürgen Klopp’s assistant was not downplaying past glories but talking up the future of a Liverpool team that has evolved to the extent he expected it to punish Arsenal even without the cutting edge of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané. Lijnders was talking of Liverpool’s hunger too, and it appeared he had written the script.

A 2022 Carabao Cup winner’s medal will not define the Liverpool legacy of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Jordan Henderson or any other player who ended the club’s 30-year wait for a Premier League title and delivered a sixth European Cup to Anfield. But this Liverpool team should have more honours to its name. Six years without a Wembley appearance is too long for a squad of such talent. The desire to correct both flowed through a commanding victory at the Emirates Stadium where the experience in Klopp’s side toyed and tormented the youth of Arsenal. Their celebrations at Anfield a week ago did indeed prove premature.

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» 'Oh hello!': Clevedon Town player scores non-league goal of the season contender – video

Oli Babington from Clevedon Town scored a screamer in a game against Buckland Athletic, volleying his strike from a full 40 yards out on the touchline. This was the first goal of the game, with Clevedon Town winning 4-2

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» 'It's a football decision': Howe adamant Saudi trip is for players' benefit – video

Eddie Howe again declined to address Saudi Arabia’s dismal human rights record as he confirmed he would take his struggling Newcastle squad to the Gulf kingdom after Saturday’s game at Leeds. The political temperature has been raised significantly by human rights issues and the regime’s alleged involvement in the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Newcastle’s manager, whose side sit second bottom after winning only one game, said: 'It’s a football decision. We’re doing it for the benefit of the players in our fight to stay in the division and that’s my only thought. The facilities and everything around the trip are going to be first class and the players will be very well looked after.'

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» 'I didn't expect him to hug me': Rangnick on Ronaldo's reaction to substitution – video

Ralf Rangnick was forced to explain to Cristiano Ronaldo why he was substituted after the forward questioned his decision during Manchester United’s 3-1 win at Brentford.

'It was the right decision. Cristiano is a goalscorer but it was more important to be compact at this moment,' Rangnick said after the game. 'I have no issues whatsoever with Cristiano. I’ve been here six weeks and never had any issue with him – none whatsoever.'

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» Steven Caulker on representing Sierra Leone at Africa Cup of Nations – video

Former England international Steven Caulker has spoken about switching to represent his grandfather's country, Sierra Leone, at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

After a 26-year absence, Sierra Leone is back at Afcon and started the tournament with draws against reigning champions Algeria and Ivory Coast.

Caulker has returned to football after facing problems with alcohol and gambling. He is now doing charitable work in Sierra Leone alongside playing club football in Turkey. 

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» Jamshedpur FC's Greg Stewart scores spectacular, bending free-kick in ISL – video

The former Rangers and Birmingham City midfielder Greg Stewart scored from an unlikely angle in Jamshedpur FC's Boxing Day clash with Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League. He caught keeper Prabhsukhan Singh Gill off guard as he curled a free-kick into the top corner.

The game finished 1-1, leaving Jamshedpur in fourth place, in position for a place in the play-offs, halfway through the league season

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» 'We don't like it': Tuchel irritated by Romelu Lukaku interview – video

Romelu Lukaku has caused controversy with comments about his dissatisfaction with his role under Thomas Tuchel were released by Sky Italia on Thursday. The interview has irritated the Chelsea head coach, Tuchel, who said: 'We don’t like it,. It brings noise that we don’t need and it’s not helpful.'

Lukaku has no intention of leaving Chelsea despite saying he was 'not happy' with his situation at Stamford Bridge this season. The manager would not confirm whether Lukaku would face disciplinary action

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» Milan’s Stefano Pioli: ‘Having fun is fundamental … football is passion’

The coach steering the Rossoneri’s rejuvenation talks about getting the best out of young players and his mother’s critical eye

Stefano Pioli led Milan back to the promised land, guiding a team that used to define themselves by continental conquests to a first Champions League qualification in eight years, but even that could not save him from parental criticism. If the Rossoneri end this season without a trophy, his mother will be waiting to remind him, again, that he has won no major silverware in two decades of senior club management.

“Definitely. Yes, definitely,” he says, leaning in with an unapologetic grin. “And it’s right that she does. In every family there is the hard one and the soft one. My father was the softer one, my mum is the very tough one. That’s how it should be. That’s how you get the most out of someone.”

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» Record-breaker Sam Kerr out on her own after remarkable Matildas scoreline | Joey Lynch

The striker scored five in an 18-0 Asian Cup win over Indonesia to cement her status as a great of the Australian game

All things considered, the Matildas’ 18-0 destruction of Indonesia provided a somewhat anticlimactic stage for Sam Kerr to etch herself into the record books as the greatest goalscorer in Australian history.

When it comes to points of historical significance, there is generally a romantic desire for a scene you could slap an orchestral score on – circumstances that help contribute to the mythology surrounding the achievement.

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» Africa Cup of Nations: Pépé caps Ivory Coast win to send dismal Algeria home
  • Champions finish bottom of group, Equatorial Guinea second
  • Tunisia through despite loss to Gambia as Mali top Group F

Ivory Coast thumped Algeria 3-1 to send the defending champions crashing out of the Africa Cup of Nations finals following a disastrous Group E campaign.

Nicolas Pépé’s fine solo goal early in the second half put the game out of sight, the Arsenal winger advancing into the penalty area and curling the ball into the far corner with his left foot. The Elephants led 2-0 at half-time thanks to Franck Kessié’s opener and an Ibrahim Sangaré header from Serge Aurier’s free-kick.

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» David Squires on … the Matildas’ bid for continental supremacy at the Asian Cup

Our cartoonist looks forward to the tournament in India but wisely steers clear of the upcoming reunion with former boss Alen Stajcic

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» Cádiz cast off their anti-hero in yellow specs for uncertain future in La Liga | Sid Lowe

Álvaro Cervera, lauded by fans as the club’s greatest ever manager, has moved on with the club struggling for survival

Álvaro Cervera had the look. He also had the T-shirts, the slogan and even the sign, a symbol all of his own. Not for him a bat beamed across the sky but a pair of stylised yellow specs, like some sort of short-sighted superman. Which he kind of was and always will be now, even for those who accepted it was time to let go: a cult figure in Cádiz, city of carnival and comedy. This great counter-cultural anti-hero who changed them and let them change him too, if maybe not quite enough in the end. ‘Mr Glasses’, Salvi Sánchez called him.

Salvi knew what he had done, they all did. Born in the province, across the bay in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Salvi had been at Cádiz when Cervera turned up as an unknown and unlikely coach in April 2016 and he was still there when he left last week, sacked after six years and bidding farewell to appreciative applause. Back then, Cádiz were in the Second Division B, Spain’s 80-team, regionalised, third-to-seventh division, and on the edge of the abyss; by the time he had gone, they had been promoted twice and were a top-flight team, having returned at last in 2020.

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» Paco Gento, Real Madrid legend and six-time European Cup winner, dies aged 88
  • Winger won 12 league titles in long career at the Bernabéu
  • ‘His speed was terrifying … It was impossible to stop him’

When Paco Gento arrived in 1953, he thought Real Madrid were too big for him but that was nowhere near as big as he would make them. He joined a club that had not won the league in two decades, since before the civil war; by the time he retired 18 years later, it was the biggest, most successful in the world and he had set a record still unmatched half a century later and likely never to be beaten.

Nicknamed La Galerna, the Gale, after the wind that tore through the Cantabrian coast like he tore through defences, Gento died on Tuesday, aged 88. In a career spent almost entirely at Real Madrid he won 12 league titles and six European Cups. No footballer can match that; only two clubs have won more and one is the institution he helped transform, where he was the honorary president.

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» Cameroon top Africa Cup of Nations group despite draw with Cape Verde
  • Vincent Aboubakar scores for hosts in 1-1 draw
  • Burkina Faso also through after Ethiopia tie finishes 1-1

Cameroon gave up a second-half goal to the Cape Verde as they were held to a 1-1 draw on Monday but the hosts still finished top of Group A in the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Cameroon captain, Vincent Aboubakar, scored his fifth goal of the tournament to put his team ahead in the 39th minute before the half-time substitute Garry Rodrigues equalised in the 53rd minute.

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» Modric helps Real Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao to win Spanish Super Cup
  • Spanish Super Cup final: Real Madrid 2-0 Athletic Bilbao
  • Modric in first half, Karim Benzema doubles lead in second

“The plan? I don’t know ... to win,” Carlo Ancelotti had said, and that was what happened. Real Madrid have their first trophy of his second coming. It is a minor one, sure, taken from Spain to Saudi Arabia, but it seems unlikely to be the last. Not least because of the way they claimed the Super Cup: goals from Luka Modric and Karim Benzema inside the first hour were ultimately enough on a night where they had seemed to be easing their way to success, and then Thibaut Courtois appeared just at the moment when it looked like, actually, they might not.

The Belgian had just made a couple of saves from substitute Nico Serrano as Athletic Bilbao rebelled against a fate that seemed pre-written and looked for a lifeline in the final 15 minutes. They had been getting a little closer with every minute, “warming me up” as Courtois put it afterwards, and now it seemed they had it when Eder Militão blocked Raúl García’s header with his hand and was sent off. There were five minutes left and Athletic had a penalty. “If they had scored that we would have had seven or eight minutes of heart attacks,” the goalkeeper said.

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» European roundup: Inter drop points as Mourinho’s Roma end winless streak
  • Atalanta 0-0 Internazionale; Roma 1-0 Cagliari
  • Rennes thrash Bordeaux 6-0 in Ligue 1

Internazionale dropped points in Serie A for the first time in more than two months as Atalanta held the league leaders to an entertaining 0-0 draw on Sunday to end their eight-match winning run.

Atalanta’s goalkeeper Juan Musso produced a spectacular save in the first half, before his Inter counterpart Samir Handanovic responded with two crucial interventions of his own after the break.

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» Relegation fears will grow for Everton unless Moshiri learns from mistakes | Andy Hunter

Sacking of Rafael Benítez has given billionaire owner a clean slate to make structural changes but staying up is the priority

When announcing the departure of Marcel Brands as director of football on 5 December Everton revealed that: “a strategic review of the football structure will now take place which will inform the best model for the club to proceed with in the long-term.” A clean slate to implement the findings has materialised at a most inopportune moment but Farhad Moshiri must capitalise all the same.

As the threat of a relegation fight grows increasingly real at Goodison Park Everton find themselves lacking not only consensus among the hierarchy, a clear football plan and sufficient character within the dressing room. They also have no director of football following the exit of Brands, eight months after he signed a lucrative three-year contract, no head of recruitment and development nor a manager of scouting and operations after the previous incumbents, Gretar Steinsson and Dan Purdy respectively, decided to leave with the Dutchman.

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» ‘I was in shock; it was crazy’: Armando Shashoua on his journey from Spurs to Atlético Baleares

Former Harrow schoolboy has helped his third division side beat two La Liga teams in Spanish Cup and is all set to upset Valencia

The way Armando Shashoua remembers it, the story starts in an abandoned warehouse somewhere in Russia. When it is almost told, the former Tottenham midfielder asks a question of his own. The interview has just finished without inquiring about men such as John McDermott, Justin Cochrane, Matt Wells or Scott Parker, so he says something that says as much about him as it does about them, to which the answer can only be of course: “Is it OK if I talk about the coaches I’ve had, because they’ve been really important to my journey?”

At 21, it’s a journey which has a long way to go: next stop Sunday’s Copa del Rey last-16 tie against Valencia for Atlético Baleares, the Mallorcan side who are the only third-tier club left in the competition, who already knocked out two primera teams. It is also unusual, multinational. Shashoua has Egyptian, American, Venezuelan and Spanish heritage, was born in London, and attended one of the most English institutions of all, a former boarder at Harrow like Lord Byron and Winston Churchill. And his first football memory comes from Syetun, Moscow.

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» How Coventry United battled back from brink of extinction

The Women’s Championship club appeared doomed before Christmas but support from fans and new owners have given them renewed hope for the future

When the players of Coventry United were told training had been cancelled and they should join an online meeting with the club’s directors at 10am two days before Christmas, they had little idea about what was to follow. Sitting one place off the bottom on goal difference, the Championship side had been struggling, but why call this meeting now?

The reality was far worse than anything they could have imagined. Also on the call were accountants from BK Plus, who had been instructed to assist the formal process of putting the club into voluntary liquidation.

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» Football transfer rumours: Dele Alli and Yves Bissouma to Newcastle?

Today’s fluff is looking forward to February

With just over a week’s worth of unedifying wrangling left to go in the current transfer window, the coming days promise to be punctuated with no end of rumours and counter-rumours as the last-ditch horse-trading ramps up. Now in Saudi Arabia for warm weather training, team bonding and other quite specific football reasons, Newcastle’s already long shopping list got a little longer during Saturday’s hard-fought win over Leeds, as first Joelinton, then Jamaal Lascelles and finally Paul Dummett limped off with various injuries that could keep them sidelined for the coming weeks.

Unwanted by Tottenham, where his decline over the past two seasons has been little short of remarkable, Dele Alli’s “people” are reported to have opened talks with Newcastle on the subject of a loan or permanent move to St James‘ Park. The Magpies remain confident of securing central defender Diego Carlos from Sevilla, who are all too aware of the Premier League club’s desperation for new recruits and are holding out for far more than the £30m currently being offered presumably in the hope of getting far more when the inevitable panic sets in.

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» The Fiver | Watford, Norwich and making the best of things while the going is good

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Watford and Norwich City may be near the bottom of the Premier League, but both of these clubs can claim to be on a run of form. Whether that means they’re at the start of one, or in the middle, or coming towards the end, is a moot point, given that Norwich’s current sequence is one win in a row, while Watford are on a one-draw tear-up. OK, as form goes, neither trend is quite as hot as Manchester City’s 12 league victories on the bounce, or Fulham’s 19-goals-in-three-games scoring spree, but you have to make the best of things and enjoy life while the going is good. It’s later than you think.

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» What have been the closest TV score abbreviations for two football teams? | The Knowledge

Plus: long runs of leagues won by non-domestic managers, players and refs colliding, and playing in all 11 positions

When Chelsea met Chesterfield in the FA Cup third round, the preferred hashtag was #CHECHF rather than the more accurate and frankly soul-stirring #CHECHE. But this act of cultural vandalism did at least facilitate a decent question, and give our readers the opportunity to burst with trivia.

“When Colchester United knocked Crystal Palace out of the League Cup two years ago I thought it was just your everyday shock,” writes Neil O’Sullivan. “However, the full significance is apparent as the abbreviations for the two teams differ by just one place alphabetically: CPL v COL.”

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» David Squires on … Rafa Benítez’s sacking and the Merseyside blues

Our resident cartoonist on the Spaniard’s Everton departure and the general mess at Goodison Park

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» Women’s Super League: talking points from the weekend’s action

The two Manchester clubs are on the rise while Arsenal have made signings in an attempt to stop the rot

West Ham battled well to claim a 1-1 draw with Tottenham on Sunday night after Hawa Cissoko put her team in the worst possible position. The Hammers were 1-0 down after 54 minutes and Cissoko, who was responsible for the tackle that led to Spurs’ penalty, was sent off two minutes later for a second yellow card. But West Ham managed to claw back a point in the dying moments through a Kate Longhurst header in the 92nd minute. The comeback highlights the team’s progression as last season they could well have sunk being a goal and a player down. But the resilience displayed in the second half shows how far they have come under Olli Harder and the potential they have for the future. Sarah Rendell

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» Football quiz: three decades of the Premier League

The football writer Richard Foster has set 20 quiz questions for you based on his new book Premier League Nuggets

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» Golden Goal: Ronaldo for Internazionale v Lazio (1998) | Daniel Harris

The 1998 Uefa Cup final witnessed a goal that was probably the greatest moment of Ronaldo’s greatest game

Growing up as a football obsessive, by the time I was 17 I thought I’d seen pretty much everything the game had to offer me. You can probably see how I became a sportswriter.

Around then, I was also spending most weekday evenings hanging about parks, alleyways and pubs to state-alter in one way or another, often under the guise of watching a game. So in the summer of 1996, my parents – who’d spent a decade resisting my pleas to get Teletext – signed up to Sky, sagely rationalising that beaming industrial quantities of sport into our front room would inspire me to take school more seriously.

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» Football quiz: snipers, XXX and the Simpsons – the game on screen

Our friends at The Blizzard have published a new football quiz book. It’s tough. Good luck

Think you know your football? In the first weeks of lockdown The Blizzard started running online quizzes, the result is The Quizzard: The Blizzard Quiz book, which is available in print or digital form. This quiz is a selection of the sort of questions you can expect. It is deliberately hard – this is The Blizzard, after all. Guardian readers can buy a copy of The Quizzard for the reduced price of £6.99 (print version) or £5 (digital) by entering the code GQUIZ at the checkout. Good luck.

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» ‘We are worried’: how Reading hit crisis point on and off the pitch

Points deduction, Cup exit at Kidderminster and 7-0 thrashing by Fulham sum up struggling Championship club’s problems

A club statement when Reading supporters are desperately seeking greater transparency from the hierarchy would ordinarily be greeted with open arms. Only the seven paragraphs published on Saturday – when some fans were on the motorway back from Middlesbrough – posed more questions than answers. Hours after conceding a 95th-minute goal that condemned Reading to a fourth defeat in five matches, the club confirmed Liam Moore had been stripped of the captaincy and the owner, Dai Yongge, effectively offered the under-pressure manager, Veljko Paunovic, the dreaded vote of confidence.

It capped a miserable week for Reading, who suffered a record-breaking 7-0 home defeat by Fulham last Tuesday, three days after being dumped out of the FA Cup by sixth-tier Kidderminster. Save for Andy Carroll’s equaliser at Boro and his spectacular disallowed goals against Fulham – an overhead kick and a preposterous chest-and-volley from outside the box – the only reason Reading fans have felt compelled to get off their seats recently is to vent their anger. The bad news is Carroll’s contract expired on Saturday.

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» The strange joys of watching from afar as my U’s conjured up an FA Cup shock | Max Rushden

Seeing Cambridge United stun Newcastle, alone in the middle of the Australian night, I felt every one of the 10,475 miles away

Cambridge United’s goalkeeping hero Dimitar Mitov hoofs a goal kick straight out of play deep in the Newcastle United half. The five minutes of injury time are up. Kieran Trippier throws it infield to Jonjo Shelvey and receives it back – the 39-year-old Wes Hoolahan doing shuttle runs between the two. Finally, the referee blows the full-time whistle – after holding on for those agonising final 20 minutes or so, the U’s have secured perhaps their most famous victory. The camera focuses on the bemused-looking goalscorer Joe Ironside. He grins uncontrollably before being enveloped by his teammates.

I jump out of my chair, clench my fist and just manage to stop myself from emitting the involuntary full-volume “yesssssssssss come aaaaaaaaaaaaaan, fucking get in there” that coincides with any rare moment of Cambridge United success.

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» Kylian Mbappé’s graphic yearning for Real Madrid lays bare PSG’s joyless state | Jonathan Liew

Striker’s open desire to move to Spain is at least partly attributable to the lack of any real fun at Paris Saint-Germain

Over the years, footballers agitating for a transfer have concocted all manner of schemes and ruses in an attempt to secure their dream move. The well-placed media briefing: classic. Refusing to turn up for pre-season training: an old favourite. Few players, however, have gone to the trouble of commissioning and writing a 220-page graphic novel purely for the purpose of earning a move to Real Madrid.

You didn’t need to a be a literature scholar to glimpse the subtext of “Je M’Appelle Kylian”, the comic-book autobiography released by Kylian Mbappé in November in collaboration with the illustrator Faro. The young Mbappé makes no secret of his desire to play for Real Madrid when he is older, to the point where in one early passage he is even visited in a dream by Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane. In the dream, Ronaldo and Mbappé do keepie-uppies while Zidane hands him a freshly laundered white Madrid kit. Later, Mbappé is invited to Madrid for real, an experience he describes as “the best of his life”.

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» The Guardian Footballer of the Year Simon Kjær: ‘Football has become secondary for me’

Denmark and Milan defender reflects on a year in which he helped to save Christian Eriksen’s life and reached a Euros semi-final

The Guardian Footballer of the Year is an award given to a player who has done something remarkable, whether by overcoming adversity, helping others or setting a sporting example by acting with exceptional honesty.

Through the window behind Simon Kjær, a grey November afternoon is dimming and the lights across the Øresund strait are starting to flicker. Boats carry commuters home between Sweden and Denmark, or in reverse; the view is striking and simultaneously mundane, a confluence of inexorable nature and everyday business. Inside, Kjær is reflecting on 12 months in which barely anything came to feel familiar. “Positive, negative, we’ve been through everything,” he says. “All the register of emotions. We had it all.” A pause; a repetition. “We had it all.”

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» Next Generation 2021: 60 of the best young talents in world football

From ‘the next Alphonso Davies’ to Dortmund’s Moukoko, we pick 60 of the most talented players born in 2004. Check the progress of class of 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015

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» Next Generation 2021: 20 of the best talents at Premier League clubs

We pick the best youngsters at each club born between 1 September 2004 and 31 August 2005*, an age band known as first-year scholars. Check the progress of class of 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016

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» From Jadon Sancho to Alexander Isak: what happened to Next Generation 2016?

With the Next Generation 2021 picks out this week we look at the final updates for the class of 2016. How did they fare?

There was a time when going abroad wasn’t cool. It was a time when British footballers stayed at home, worried about how they might fare in Europe and beyond.

Gary Lineker helped to break the mould with his switch – and success – at Barcelona in the 1980s but Ian Rush’s struggles at Juventus around the same time seemed to put off many players.

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