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Football News

» Chelsea appoint Thomas Tuchel as manager after Frank Lampard sacking
Chelsea have unveiled former Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel as their new manager after parting ways with Frank Lampard on Monday morning
» Man Utd skipper Harry Maguire warned Eric Bailly could displace him in back four
Bailly has been brought back into the fold at Old Trafford after shaking off injury and has been used ahead of Victor Lindelof in defence, though Maguire's place may not be certain
» Micah Richards identifies Man City transfer that would replicate Cavani impact
Former England defender Micah Richards has identified a free agent striker Manchester City could sign capable of mirroring Edinson Cavani's impact at Manchester United
» FIFA 21 TOTY defender FUT 21 ratings confirmed and 12th man voting opens
The FUT 21 TOTY Ultimate XI defenders and goalkeeper have had their ratings confirmed this evening by EA SPORTS FIFA, with the TOTY 12th man voting also kicking off., featuring Lionel Messi as a 12th man TOTY Nominee.
» Lampard's Chelsea transfer request 'annoyed' board members amid Arsenal demand
Chelsea bosses were reportedly irritated by Frank Lampard's insistence on targeting West Ham midfielder Declan Rice - and the manager also wanted to raid Arsenal for their star striker
» Liverpool urged to sign Erling Haaland to replace 'concerning' Roberto Firmino
Firmino has been a pivotal part of Liverpool's front three over the past few seasons but his position in the team is now under scrutiny following a prolonged patch of indifferent form
» Demarai Gray targeted by Crystal Palace, Bayer Leverkusen and Marseille
Demarai Gray has just five months remaining on his contract at Leicester City and is a transfer target for Crystal Palace, Bayer Leverkusen and Marseille
» Messi 'learning French' amid PSG transfer links as Barcelona face summer ordeal
Lionel Messi is yet to agree to a new contract with Barcelona and the uncertainty over their captain's future could hardly come at a worse time for the Catalan giants
» PSG confident of signing Tottenham's Dele Alli before transfer deadline
PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino is confident of a reunion with Dele Alli by signing the Tottenham midfielder for the Ligue 1 leaders before the transfer deadline
» Leicester aim for third time lucky in James Tarkowski transfer chase
Exclusive: Leicester are increasingly hopeful of finally landing long-term target Tarkowski this summer
» Cazorla sends message to Arteta over Arsenal return
Former Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla has opened the door to a return to the Premier League club as a coach under Mikel Areta
» Solskjaer shares Man Utd's exciting plan for Greenwood and points to star duo
The youngster scored his fourth goal of the season in Sunday's FA Cup fourth round victory over Liverpool at Old Trafford, and Solskjaer wants to see more
» Man City goal vs Aston Villa makes Premier League change offside rule guidance
Dean Smith was sent off for his heated protests over Bernardo Silva's opening goal, which was scored after Rodri came from an offside position to dispossess Tyrone Mings
» Ferdinand's prediction over new Man Utd contract for Pogba
Paul Pogba has become a key part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United side, but his contract is up at the end of next season
» FIFA 21 pro Harry Hesketh announces retirement after being banned for 'mum joke'
FIFA player Harry Hesketh has left Fnatic and retired from FIFA esports with immediate effect after receiving a ban from EA for language used during a Twitch broadcast in reference to an opponent’s immediate family member.
» Five Arsenal stars at risk to make Edu and Arteta's next transfer happen
Arsenal have been linked with Jordan Amavi, but Martin Odegaard's arrival could mean they need to move players on to sign the Marseille player
» Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists Man Utd "looking strong" after huge injury boost
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men will hope to further strengthen their Premier League title push against the league's bottom club when they square off at Old Trafford on Wednesday night
» Solskjaer doesn't want to "feel sorry" for Lampard after Chelsea sacking
The Manchester United boss has had to navigate his own ups and downs during over two years in the Old Trafford hotseat
» Maguire gives five examples to disprove Ferdinand's Man Utd claim
Rio Ferdinand claimed in November that there were no leaders in Manchester United's squad, but Harry Maguire disagrees with the BT Sport pundit
» Arsenal may play Europa League last-32 tie against Benfica at neutral venue
The Gunners are set to face the Portuguese giants in the last-32 of the competition in February, but coronavirus concerns cold see it moved
» Odegaard mentality blasted as he is accused of "running away" in Arsenal move
The 22-year-old attacking midfielder looks set to complete his loan move to the Gunners until the end of the season on Tuesday
» Jody Morris details Chelsea sacking and admits it's "tough to take"
Frank Lampard was sacked as Chelsea manager on Monday, with assistant Jody Morris following him out of the exit door, and the former Blues coach has reflected on a painful exit from the club
» Cech placed in awkward position as Chelsea sacked former teammate Lampard
The club's former first-team goalkeeper has actually been re-registered as a player as well as a technical director this season, placing him in a position to act as a go-between
» Steven Gerrard takes swipe at Chelsea following Frank Lampard sacking
The Rangers boss, who has the 'Gers on course to the Scottish title, saw his former England teammate dismissed by Chelsea on Monday, with Thomas Tuchel replacing Lampard at Stamford Bridge

Other sport news:

» 'It feels amazing': Tuchel takes Chelsea manager's job on 18-month contract
  • German replaces Frank Lampard with club ninth in league
  • He will be in dugout for Wednesday’s game against Wolves

Chelsea have confirmed the appointment of Thomas Tuchel as their manager and have tasked the German with turning their season around following the ruthless dismissal of Frank Lampard.

Tuchel has signed an 18-month deal with an option for another year and inherits a team in ninth place in the Premier League following a dismal run of form. The German, fired by Paris Saint-Germain last month, has arrived in time for Chelsea’s home game against Wolves on Wednesday.

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» Newcastle United v Leeds United: Premier League – live!

28 mins: Stuart Dallas is on the floor now, and feeling his left hamstring.

27 mins: Leeds have the ball on the left, and four people in the penalty area to aim for. They don’t find any of them, but compare and contrast. Meanwhile this has also happened since kick-off:

Related: 'It feels amazing': Tuchel takes Chelsea manager's job on 18-month contract

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» Dele Alli's loan move to PSG hinges on Tottenham finding a replacement
  • Christian Eriksen an option but Dane’s salary a stumbling block
  • Spurs still in four competitions and could yet move for Eriksen

Paris St-Germain are pushing to sign Dele Alli on loan from Tottenham and talks are progressing well but the Premier League club have said that they do not want to let the midfielder go without finding a replacement.

The two clubs have been in talks for some time to try to find a way for Alli to rejoin his former manager, Mauricio Pochettino, at PSG but Spurs are concerned that letting the 24-year-old would leave them short in the final six months of the season as they are still in four competitions.

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» Aston Villa complete £16m signing of Marseille's Morgan Sanson
  • Midfielder to compete with McGinn and Barkley for place
  • ‘I love the team and the team spirit. I am a warrior,’ says Sanson

Morgan Sanson has completed his move to Aston Villa from Marseille for £16m, the French midfielder signing a contract until 2025.

The 26-year-old, who is expected to compete with Ross Barkley and John McGinn for a starting place, said: “I’m very excited to play with my new teammates. I have watched the team very intensely since we talked with the club.

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» Premier League changes offside guidance after outcry at Silva's goal
  • Rodri’s role in buildup to Manchester City goal prompted debate
  • Officials now told to call for offside in similar situations

Premier League referees have been given another round of guidance on how to interpret one of football’s most controversial laws, following an outcry over a player winning the ball while apparently offside.

Changes are to be made following the buildup to Bernardo Silva’s opening goal for Manchester City against Aston Villa last week. The alterations again bring into focus the disparity between the laws of the game, the spirit in which people want the game to be played, and how VAR interprets them both.

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» The Fiver | Jumpy and paranoid to the point of not taking questions from papers

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Say what you like about Shed Reorganising, Car Boot Vacuuming and Old Episodes Of Quincy Watching’s Frank Lampard, but the recent run of five defeats in seven Premier League games that did for him wasn’t the worst in Chelsea’s history. Not by a long chalk. How about this string of results in 1980-81, from the start of December until the end of the season in May, and in the old Second Division to boot: 0-0, 0-2, 0-1, 0-2, 0-0, 0-0, 0-1, 3-0, 3-0, 0-4, 0-1, 0-1, 2-0, 0-1, 0-0, 0-1, 0-1, 0-0, 0-0, 0-2, 0-3, 0-2. They found the net in only three of their last 22 matches! If that sort of thing happened today, the steel toecap of Mr Roman’s Big Boot o’ Bye Bye would be worn down to a grade of foil not recommended for roasting.

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» Chelsea's interest in Declan Rice likely to end with Lampard departure
  • West Ham midfielder targeted by former manager
  • Summer price tag on Rice set to be at least £80m

West Ham’s hopes of holding on to Declan Rice have been boosted by Frank Lampard’s departure from Chelsea.

The likelihood of Chelsea maintaining their interest in Rice is understood to be slim following the sacking of Lampard, who was the main driver behind last summer’s pursuit of the 22-year-old. Other figures inside Stamford Bridge were not as keen on a reunion with the highly rated midfielder.

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» Oscar: 'I would like to return to Chelsea to end my career'

Oscar reminisces about playing with Didier Drogba, working with José Mourinho and making eight slide tackles in one game

By Josué Seixas for Yellow and Green Football

Oscar left home very early in his life for football. And the further he went in his career, the further he got from home. Born in Americana, a small city in the state of São Paulo, he only had to travel 10 minutes to play for Santa Bárbara d’Oeste. He then moved to one of the state capital’s biggest teams, São Paulo FC, before signing for Internacional in Porto Alegre, Chelsea in London and now Shanghai SIPG, nearly 12,000 miles away from where he started.

Where next? “I don’t think about leaving China,” says the 29-year-old. “There is a great project for me here. But, to end my career, I would like to return to Chelsea. I built a beautiful story there and went to the Premier League very young, at a time when fans did not trust Brazilian players that much. I helped change that. I’ll be a bit older when I try this move again but, as I am playing very well, with good stats, I feel there is still a place for me at Chelsea.”

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» Manchester United's Mason Greenwood urged to 'kick on' after ending drought
  • Solskjær confident striker will produce going forward
  • Marcus Rashford available to face Sheffield United

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has urged Mason Greenwood to “kick on” following his goal against Liverpool after the Manchester United forward failed to do so when last scoring two months ago.

The 19-year-old’s equaliser in Sunday’s 3-2 FA Cup win over the champions was only a fourth of the campaign. This followed a standout contribution of 17 last season, the joint-highest by a United teenager.

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» West Ham ready to clear way for Lingard loan by buying Benrahma this month
  • David Moyes interested in Manchester United midfielder
  • Bringing forward Benrahma deal would clear loan space

West Ham plan to bring forward the permanent transfer of Saïd Benrahma if they press ahead with a loan move for Jesse Lingard.

Manchester United have decided to allow Lingard to go on loan this month, sparking interest from David Moyes as he seeks to add depth to his squad. However Premier League clubs are allowed only two domestic loan players in their squad and West Ham, who are also keen to sign a striker, have borrowed Craig Dawson from Watford and Benrahma from Brentford.

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» In Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea are pivoting to a kind of anti-Lampard | Barney Ronay

The tactical modernist is very different from his predecessor at Stamford Bridge but could be just what Chelsea need now

According to the Thomas Tuchel playbook, managing a football team is “something you need to learn and understand, not a thing you do because there’s nothing else left or because it seems like the logical next step after 400 professional matches”. Tuchel wasn’t talking about Frank Lampard when he said these words.

Although it would surely make his likely arrival at Stamford Bridge a little spicier if he could rehash this statement for his opening remarks at the unveiling-station – ideally while wagging his finger and brandishing his economics diploma, his youth coaching medals, and all the other evidence of a coaching hinterland, a life spent outside the inner circle, that separates him from his immediate predecessor.

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» David Squires on … Chelsea's sacking of Frank Lampard

A look back at Roman Abramovich’s ruthless, brutal treatment of a hard-working cartoonist. Oh, and Liverpool’s season melting away

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» Men's transfer window January 2021 – all deals from Europe's top five leagues

All the winter window’s Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and Serie A deals with club-by-club guides

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» Anger management: study suggests lack of fans has made players calmer
  • Researchers find fewer fans means fewer arguments on pitch
  • But incidents of self-criticism appear to increase

More insight into the weird world of football behind closed doors has arrived from Austria, where research into Red Bull Salzburg matches found a lack of fans off the pitch coincided with a lack of arguments on it.

Researchers from the University of Salzburg studied 20 Salzburg matches, 10 before lockdown and 10 after, to observe the “emotional behaviour and interactions” between players and with officials.

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» Women's transfer window January 2021 – every deal in Europe's top five leagues

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

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» Pep Guardiola urges Manchester City to match relentless pace of last title win
  • Manager says his team need to match ‘incredible consistency’
  • Guardiola: Sam Allardyce is ‘a genius’ for relegation escapes

Pep Guardiola has said Manchester City are aiming to match the consistency of their 2018-19 title triumph, when they won their last 14 games.

City travel to West Brom on Tuesday hoping to claim a seventh successive victory and leapfrog Manchester United to become league leaders. Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side host Sheffield United on Wednesday.

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» Bale, Winks and Ndombele ensure Spurs avoid Wycombe FA Cup shock

José Mourinho had warned Gareth Bale he would have to fight for his place in this Tottenham team. But even if he is still showing signs of rustiness four months into his second spell at the club as he spurned several chances, it was the Welshman’s equaliser that ensured Spurs avoided the embarrassment of being eliminated from the FA Cup by the team currently propping up the Championship.

Related: Wycombe 1-4 Tottenham: FA Cup fourth round – as it happened

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» Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes on his mentality: 'I don't like to lose'
  • Portuguese is now the club’s leading scorer with 16 goals
  • Fernandes is confident United can win a trophy this season

Bruno Fernandes has revealed the mentality that has helped to make him so successful for Manchester United by saying that losing is “not normal for me”.

The Portuguese’s late free-kick against Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday knocked the champions out of the FA Cup fourth round. This was Fernandes’s 16th goal of the season to make him United’s leading scorer, and his 28th in total since signing almost a year ago. He also won four Premier League Player of the Month awards in 2020, a record for a calendar year.

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» Crystal Palace race Benfica and Monaco to sign Leicester's Demarai Gray
  • Gray’s contract at the King Power expires this summer
  • Palace hopeful of completing signing for around £2m

Crystal Palace face competition from Benfica and Monaco to sign Demarai Gray from Leicester for a cut-price fee.

Gray’s contract at the King Power Stadium expires in the summer, with the former England Under-21 forward having played just 18 minutes in the Premier League for Leicester this season.

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» Where did all the fun go? Liverpool must rediscover risk-taking brilliance | Jonathan Liew

At some point last season, Jürgen Klopp’s side adopted a measured approach based around control and drilled patterns but they mislaid a part of themselves in the process

What came first, the football or the fun? Does excellence on the pitch beget its own virtuous circle of good times, good vibes and good decisions? Or is successful football simply an expression of deeper traits: curiosity, ingenuity, outlook, an urge to move and be moved? Either way, these are probably the sorts of questions worth pondering as we address Liverpool’s current predicament. Because Liverpool’s biggest problem right now isn’t their league position or their front three or their cover at centre-half. It’s the absence of fun.

Results will bounce back soon enough. The underlying performance against Manchester United on Sunday was good, undone by some individual errors and a brilliant free-kick from Bruno Fernandes. They are neither as bad as they look now nor as good as they looked a month ago when many sensible observers were predicting they would win the league by 10 points. The centre-half issue, too, will work itself out. Injured players will return to fitness. Young players like Rhys Williams will find their feet.

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» Abramovich era leaves Lampard with no time to pull out of nosedive | David Hytner

Chelsea’s latest ex-manager is yet another victim of a hierarchy that will not hesitate to make a change if they feel Champions League qualification is at risk

Frank Lampard may allow himself a rueful smile, albeit only when the pain begins to ease. At another club, Chelsea’s latest former manager might have been granted more time; the means to pull out of the nosedive.

Look at Manchester United and Arsenal, where Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Mikel Arteta have seemed close to crashing and burning at various points. Solskjær appeared doomed after United’s 6-1 home defeat against Tottenham on 4 October while he continued to dice with disaster through November and into the early part of December. Arteta’s horror period was more sustained, the moments of respite rather more sporadic. When his Arsenal team lost at Everton on 19 December, they had taken only five points from 10 Premier League games.

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» En Nesyri is outscoring Messi at Sevilla – the club where players grow | Sid Lowe

The striker’s hat-trick took him joint-top in La Liga’s scoring charts. Sevilla’s challenge is to keep polishing a rough diamond

Youssef En Nesyri didn’t see the moment he became top scorer, not properly. And no one else saw it coming either. Setting off on yet another run, long stride carrying him up the left, the Sevilla striker had just turned towards the area when Pedro Alcalá stuck a thumb in his eye. As Cádiz’s players confronted the referee – “you’re ‘right’ because you decide you’re right”, “that’s what they pay me for”, “I’m not sure they should” – he sat at the side of the pitch holding gauze to his left eye, watched by four policemen on a bench better than the players get. Then, realising this next set play was his, he got up again and scored.

Related: Ten transfer targets for Premier League clubs from across Europe

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» Bayern have their vulnerabilities but not nearly as many as their chasers | Andy Brassell

Defeats for Dortmund, Leverkusen and Leipzig opened up yet another clear path to the Bundesliga title

They did what they always do, and it was rarely in doubt. Schalke resisted as best they could, had their moments and were several steps forward from the meek strugglers who have filled the royal blue shirts for a large part of this season. Bayern Munich, however, were always going to get it done, and not just because this was their 10th successive win against the Gelsenkirchen club. Even if the late goals by Thomas Müller and David Alaba added a slightly unfair sheen to the scoreline for the champions, their total superiority couldn’t have been clearer.

Related: Ilicic puts Atalanta in title race and leaves 'winter champions' Milan cold | Nicky Bandini

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» Ilicic puts Atalanta in title race and leaves 'winter champions' Milan cold | Nicky Bandini

The Slovenian orchestrated the 3-0 thrashing of Serie A leaders Milan and proved his side can compete without Papu Gómez

There are no medals for Serie A’s ‘Winter Champions’. Every year, that title is foisted on the team thattopsthe table at the season’s midway stage, and every year the players and manager point out that it does not mean a great deal. It has become less a celebration than a custom: a moment to reflect on the preceding months and consider where the actual title race stands.

Some years, though, the ritual feels especially absurd. On Saturday, Milan became Winter Champions on the same day that they got thrashed 3-0 by Atalanta – clinging on to top spot only because Inter also drew with Udinese. “That does not give me anything,” grumbled Zlatan Ibrahimovic when the subject was raised during a post-game interview.

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» Women’s Super League: talking points from the weekend’s action | Rachel Brown-Finnis

Iwabuchi makes sudden impact for Aston Villa, while transfer activity remains busy and England embark on life after Neville

We all saw the potential impact a January signing can make at Aston Villa on Saturday, when Mana Iwabuchi got a goal and an assist in a 2-2 draw with Reading. She is 5ft 1in and about seven stone, but perfectly fits the mould of the kind of elite player Japan has produced – dynamic, organised, well drilled, technically excellent and personally unassuming. Her run to score the opener from a set piece was so typical of the Japanese national side, whose set-pieces are always perfectly executed. She has agility, poise and composure and is technically excellent – this is just not the calibre of player Villa have previously had, so the move is a real coup for them. Reading dominated the first half and it was only thanks to some poor finishing and their goalkeeper Lisa Weiss that Villa went in at the break trailing by only one goal, but they came out for the second half with renewed intent and got their reward. Drawing 2-2 when your opponents have only two shots on target will hurt Reading but, in Iwabuchi, Villa had the outstanding individual.

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» Frank Lampard sacked: what went wrong at Chelsea? – video

Frank Lampard's tenure as Chelsea manager is over, with Thomas Tuchel being lined up to replace him. The Englishman has had a successive run of poor games. The 42-year-old was brought back to the club that he served for well over a decade. During his first season in charge he did well; developing some of Chelsea's young players, reacting an FA Cup final and secured Champions League football. The former midfielder was also restricted due to the club's transfer ban. However, in season two the expectations changed. The Guardian's Jacob Steinberg takes a look at what seemingly went wrong for Lampard at Chelsea

• Chelsea sack Lampard with Tuchel to replace him

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» 'We can match the best': Solskjær delighted after win over Liverpool – video

A superb Bruno Fernandes free-kick was the difference in Manchester United's scintillating 3-2 FA Cup victory over Liverpool. The hosts came from behind after an opener from Mo Salah, before goals from Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford put them ahead. 'We feel for us it's a good feeling to play on our terms,' said manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær, 'that's the confidence boost that we can match the best with our style of football'.

• Solskjær hails Manchester United's 'statement win' over Liverpool

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» 'My fault': Klopp takes responsibility for Liverpool's shock defeat by Burnley – video

Jürgen Klopp took the blame for Liverpool's first league defeat at Anfield since April 2017 which left the team six points behind leaders Manchester United. Ashley Barnes' penalty secured Burnley a first win at Anfield in 47 years as Liverpool have now failed to win in five league games.

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» 'My dreams come true': Mesut Özil arrives in Turkey to sign for Fenerbahce – video

Mesut Özil has landed in Istanbul before his move to Turkish side Fenerbahce. A breakthrough in talks between the midfielder and Arsenal over the weekend brought an agreement in principle to terminate his contract at the club. Speaking on Fenerbahce TV Özil said: 'I am very excited because I was always a fan of Fenerbahce. My dream comes true. I am very excited to wear the Fenerbahce jersey. I hope we will be very successful with my teammates.'

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» Özil and out: the highs and lows of Arsenal’s fallen star – video

Mesut Özil's time at Arsenal is set to come to a close after an eight-year period filled with highs and lows. There was jubilation among fans in September 2013 as the German midfielder signed for Arsenal. Things began well for Özil at the Gunners, winning the FA Cup in his first season and playing among Europe's best sides in the Champions League. 

However, things gradually went from bad to worse as criticism was heaped on the attitude and performances of the World Cup winner. The departure of Arsené Wenger would prove even more significant for the playmaker as under Unai Emery and subsequently Mikel Arteta Özil's chances have been few and far between. Mesut Özil's departure from north London will leave a bitter taste for some fans who will be left wondering what could have been

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» 'It's instinct': Premier League managers sceptical of socially distanced celebrations – video

Premier League managers have expressed scepticism at the idea of socially distanced goal celebrations, after Julian Knight, the chair of the digital, culture, media and sport committee, said footballers were 'brainless' for continuing to hug.

'It's instinct,' said Jürgen Klopp, while Pep Guardiola said it was hard for players to contain their emotions after a goal. Mikel Arteta pointed out that it made little sense ban players from celebrating together when they were coming into contact during play. 'We are trying to do all the right things,' he said. '[These] are things that are pretty complicated to control.'

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» 1-0, 1-1, 1-2, 2-2, 3-2, 3-3, 4-3, 4-4, 5-4: surely this was the maddest game in A-League history | Emma Kemp

Scorelines rarely tell the full story and goals are never just goals – except, perhaps, when Western United played Perth Glory

Scorelines rarely tell the full story. They flatter, and flatter to deceive, lack context and even credibility, and almost always fail to comprehend the narratives within the 90 minutes. Goals are never just goals – except, perhaps, when Western United played Perth Glory.

1-0, 1-1, 1-2, 2-2, 3-2, 3-3, 4-3, 4-4, 5-4 says all it needs to. Eight segments of this nine-part tale played out in 28 minutes during the second half. Each of the eight were more maniacal than the last, a scarcely believable proposition given Saturday night started as a stock-standard A-League tie.

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» Broadcasting bungles undermine genuine quality of W-League | Samantha Lewis

Fox Sports’ coverage over the weekend sent out an alarming message about how football is now valued by the broadcaster

It is the 10th minute of Brisbane Roar’s round five match against Melbourne Victory. On the far side of the field, two of the league’s most exciting players – young Australian full-back Angie Beard and Brazilian winger Mariel Hecher – tussle for possession, matching each other stride for stride.

Hecher comes away from the tussle with the ball at her feet. She charges towards the box and takes a shot that clatters off a Victory defender and is thumped away upfield. Broadcast co-commentator Amy Chapman, a former Roar and Matildas player, narrates through the pause as both teams reset and prepare to go again.

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» European roundup: Juventus back on track as Bayern roar to win over Schalke
  • Lozano scores third-fastest Serie A goal but Napoli lose
  • Thomas Müller scores twice in Bayern’s 4-0 victory

Juventus got their Serie A title defence back on track with a 2-0 home win over Bologna on Sunday that moved Andrea Pirlo’s side into the top four. Arthur Melo scored his first goal for the Turin club in the first half with a deflected strike and the American midfielder Weston McKennie headed home the second on 71 minutes.

Related: European roundup: Milan crowned winter champions despite Atalanta defeat

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» 'Once in a lifetime': Alcoyano rock Real Madrid as worlds collide | Sid Lowe

A shock for the ages provided the happiest night in the life of what, right now, might be the saddest city in Spain

“Javi Antón is crying,” said Vicente Parras, and he wasn’t the only one. The manager of Club Deportivo Alcoyano looked across the pitch at El Callao with its whitewashed walls, “Morale” splashed alongside the little blue door in the corner and saw his players still on the grass long after the final whistle. Some of them held white shirts, most of them held phones. “They’re all out there calling home,” he said: endless messages and dozens of conversations starting the way his had a few minutes before. Parras’s son couldn’t come to the game; no one could. “I just wanted to make sure he had seen it,” he admitted.

Not all of them had. José Juan Figueiras’s wife and his daughter were in tears when he called overwhelmed by it all, but his five-year-old son was in bed, asleep. It was late and he had school tomorrow; he’d have to find out what had happened in the morning, just what his dad had done, why everyone was suddenly talking about him. What had happened was this: tiny Alcoyano, the club that had not been in the first division for 70 years and were now in the semi-professional third tier with its 102 teams and 10 groups, had just beaten the biggest of them all, knocking Real Madrid out of the Copa del Rey. With 10 men, no fans and in extra-time.

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» Sarai Bareman: the Fifa executive bringing women’s football in from the margins | Samantha Lewis

The former Samoa international and only woman on Fifa’s reform committee is driving change from within

From her time as a player on the Samoan women’s national team to becoming deputy secretary general of the tiny Oceania Football Confederation, few people are better suited to addressing the challenges faced by the global women’s game – itself a monument to life on the margins – than Sarai Bareman.

Now, as Fifa’s inaugural chief women’s football officer, the New Zealand-born Bareman is in charge of developing and delivering the sport across the world’s 211 associations.

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» Brazil to California to Lyon: Catarina Macario's long road to stardom

The playmaker left home at the age of 12 to pursue her soccer career. Now she has signed with the most successful club in the women’s game

It has been a week to remember for Catarina Macario, the Brazilian-born, San Diego-raised midfielder who for years has been touted as the future of the US women’s national team but at the moment appears increasingly bound to its present.

Three months after receiving her American citizenship, the 21-year-old playmaker wept tears of joy with her family last Wednesday after receiving confirmation from Fifa of her approval to represent the four-times world champions in international play. The paperwork was finalised a day after Macario signed a contract to start her professional career with European champions Lyon, forgoing her senior season at Stanford University. Then on Monday night, she cut the figure of a polished veteran while making her USA debut in a 4-0 friendly win over Colombia at Orlando’s Exploria Stadium.

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» Cristiano Ronaldo's enduring sway gives Juventus and Pirlo timely lift | Nicky Bandini

The pressure on Andrea Pirlo’s team to deliver in the Supercoppa had been intense. Juve’s talisman carried out the delivery

Andrea Pirlo used to love winding up Gennaro Gattuso. In his autobiography, the now Juventus manager described his former teammate as “my favourite target … despite the fact that he tried on numerous occasions to kill me with a fork”. Pirlo recalled bursting out of Gattuso’s wardrobe to scare him in the middle of the night and stealing his phone to message a Milan director with an offer to swap his sister for an improved contract.

It is one thing to tease, though, and another to defeat. If Pirlo derived any additional pleasure from claiming the first trophy of his managerial career at Gattuso’s expense on Wednesday night, then he did a good job of hiding it. “I feel sorry for him,” Pirlo confessed after steering Juventus to a 2-0 victory over Napoli in Italy’s Supercoppa. “But we are doing a different job now to the one that we had before. It was important for me to bring home the win.”

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» Phil Neville is about to discover that Inter Miami will be no beach holiday

The former Manchester United player will take the reins at a club establishing itself on the field, and grappling with challenges off it

On Monday morning, Inter Miami announced that Phil Neville would step down from his role as manager of the England women’s team to take the helm at the Major League Soccer club. Co-owned by Neville’s former teammate David Beckham, the club played their first season in MLS amid the tumultuous backdrop of 2020, and will hope Neville can turn the team into a force to be reckoned with in the seemingly ever-expanding league.

In his first statement as Miami manager, Neville described Inter as a “very young club with a lot of promise and upside”. But if he expects his new job to be all beach days and sunshine, he is in for a shock.

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» Marseille's title challenge in Ligue 1 has ended before it started

Marseille were fighting PSG and Lyon for top spot in Ligue 1 a month ago. Now they are only fighting among themselves

By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News

It wasn’t so long ago that we found ourselves tipping Marseille as outsiders for the Ligue 1 title. After six straight wins in the league, they sat just two points off the leaders in mid-December. They also had two matches in hand: a fairly tricky game against Lens and an eminently winnable fixture against a rudderless Nice side. Marseille had been shockingly poor in Europe but, now that their relentless, squad-stretching Champions League campaign was behind him, could they make a fist of things domestically?

Related: Antonio Conte outsmarts Andrea Pirlo in great leap forward for Inter | Nicky Bandini

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» Next Generation 2020: 60 of the best young talents in world football

The ‘Tanzanian Mbappé’, Juan Pablo Ángel’s son and the next Kai Havertz are among our players born in 2003. Check the progress of our 2019 selection | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015

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» Next Generation 2020: 20 of the best talents at Premier League clubs

We pick the best young players at each club born between 1 September 2003 and 31 August 2004, an age band known as first-year scholars. Check the progress of class of 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015

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» From Ødegaard to Mastour: what happened to Next Generation 2015?

As we prepare to publish our Next Generation 2020 selection, we say goodbye to the class of 2015. So how did they get on?

This is what the Guardian’s Andy Hunter wrote about his 2015 Liverpool player for our series the Next Generation, where we pick one player from each Premier League club in the first-year scholar age group and follow their developments for five years.

The 16-year-old has received rave reviews not only from Liverpool and England coaches during a rapid rise up the ranks but also from Steven Gerrard, his boyhood hero, in the former Anfield captain’s new autobiography. Gerrard reveals he asked Pepijn Lijnders, the first-team development coach, to always include Alexander-Arnold in his group when taking his ’B’ Licence course, and handed him the captain’s armband during a comeback game in Liverpool’s Under-18s side last season. “It was my way of telling Trent that I believed he could make it for Liverpool one day,” Gerrard writes.

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» Next Generation 2019: 60 of the best young talents in world football

Eidur Gudjohnsen’s son, the new Paul Pogba and Barça’s Ansu Fati are among our 60 most talented players in the world born in 2002. Check the progress of our 2018 picks | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014

Photographs by DZfoot, BackpagePix, Club Atlético Belgrano, EFE, EPA, Getty Images, Uwe Gruen/Hoffenheim, AMA/Getty Images, Rex/Shutterstock, Zuma Press/PA, FIFA, Tigres, Damir Krajac/CROPIX, Alamy, Daniel Reyes/Ecuafutbol, Reuters, Atromitos, Imago/PA, fotoBERNAMA, New Straits Times, José Alonso Paredes Sánchez, Agencja Gazeta, David Price/Arsenal FC/Getty, AP, Asian Football Confederation, Danubio FC and Championat Asia

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» Does Frank Lampard genuinely deserve to be fired right now? | Barney Ronay

It’s easy to make the case he has been overpromoted at Chelsea – but a more interesting question is whether he has failed

Why do people want Frank Lampard to fail so much? This seems like a reasonable question at the end of a week tickled and teased by rumours that Lampard is about to be sacked at Chelsea, that “elements” within the dressing room are already jimmying away at his fixings – all wrapped up in a gleeful surge of postmortems, pile-ons, and a tangible hunger for the great Roman to whirl his terrible scythe.

And yet he still stands! No doubt to the anguish of many watching from the sidelines. Because people really do want Lampard to fall short, and in a way that feels personal. Not to mention – on the balance of the facts – a little premature.

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» Phil Neville's tenure as England Women coach: tepid and too much arrogance | Suzanne Wrack

Neville exits after one World Cup semi-final, several outbursts and an arrogance not befitting a coach with such limited experience

After the longest of goodbyes the Phil Neville experiment is finally over. He leaves the England job not on the crest of a wave following major tournament success, or tail between legs having fallen short on the biggest of stages, but with a muted press release that sums up a muted and, dare we say it, tepid tenure.

As he leaves to become Inter Miami manager, five days short of his three-year anniversary, what to make of it all? There has been praise for aspects of the 43-year-old’s spell. His holistic approach and the big-game experience he had from his career as a player were perhaps his greatest strengths. His man-management was described as “world class” by his assistant Bev Priestman (who took charge of the Canada national team on 1 November last year) on the eve of England’s 2019 World Cup opener. She was backed by the right‑back Lucy Bronze, who said his relationship-building with players, fans and staff had helped England to “become a better team”.

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» Rooney-mania had many ages but his defining moment remains the first | Jonathan Liew

It is the basic paradox of Rooney that a player of such emotional heft will ultimately be judged largely on numbers and records

In a way, it was the perfect understated ending: with a short, sober statement on the Derby County website. New manager appointed at struggling Championship club. Signs a two-and-a-half-year deal after a cautiously successful stint in caretaker charge. Liam Rosenior to be his assistant.

Meanwhile – buried in the seventh paragraph, as if an entirely incidental detail – England and Manchester United’s all-time leading goalscorer has decided to retire as a footballer.

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» Football transfer rumours: Real Madrid to move for Kylian Mbappé?

Today’s fluff is spinning plates, and dropping most of them

It’s been a busy old month at Arsenal, and latest murmurs suggest a swoop for Paris Saint-Germain’s old Mill favourite Julian Draxler with Matteo Guendouzi heading the other way. Draxler has fallen out of favour at PSG and has less than six months left on his contract, pricking the interest of Arsenal, who could be prepared to haul Guendouzi back from his loan at Hertha to make a deal happen. Heading out of the Emirates door could be Shkodran Mustafi, with the club in negotiations to end the defender’s contract and Lazio a possible next destination, while various sources talk up Mikel Arteta’s interest in bringing another left-back to Arsenal without furnishing us with names.

For their part, PSG are keen on making a Dele Alli-Mauricio Pochettino reunion happen. Oh, and did we mention they’re also very keen on letting the world know of their ongoing interest in Lionel Messi? Meanwhile they could face a battle to keep hold of Kylian Mbappé. According to the Mail, Real Madrid have made it their “mission” to snare the France striker, who could be tempted. “We’re currently negotiating with the club,” he apparently teased, “and I am spending considerable time reflecting on many things.” Aren’t we all?

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» Kevin Lasagna and other footballers with surnames that are tasty dishes | The Knowledge

Plus: the tallest strike partnership ever, father and son (refs) and a knockout follow-up

“Udinese have a player named Kevin Lasagna,” notes Yuval Hyman. “Do you know of any other players with a tasty dish as a surname?”

Finding specific delicious meals in a footballer’s surname is no easy feat (or treat) but Tim Postins jumped at the opportunity to combine a few ingredients and serve up some choice dishes on the back of this question. “Adam Curry (currently on loan to Alfreton Town from Hull) would operate well with Declan Rice (West Ham 2016-present). And then there’s Mark Fish (ex-Bolton and Charlton) but only if Worthing’s striker James Lemon is putting the squeeze on. Plus the former Margate defender Paul Lamb who’d go well with a dash of Scott Mint(o). Or maybe you’d prefer a Patrick Berger with a portion of Jonas Fries?”

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» David Squires on … an interactive football lockdown worksheet

Stuck inside with the kids? Here are some alternative home-schooling lessons. There’s a version to print out and colour in too

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» Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend action

Ole Gunnar Solskjær takes a leaf out of Fergie’s book, Mason Mount channels vintage Lampard and Wolves’ woes go on

There has been recent evidence that Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s adherence to the lessons learned at Sir Alex Ferguson’s feet was wavering. His Manchester United have lately shown something of their own identity, but here Solskjær used a classic Fergie blueprint. Even when United were far superior to Liverpool, Anfield was where the old master’s team would sit deep and try to score on the counter, or from set pieces. It is not difficult to imagine unsung players like Scott McTominay and Fred being handed a Ferguson detail of sweeping up the bits and pieces in midfield in the mould of a Phil Neville or Quinton Fortune. There was to be no unlikely goalscoring hero in the mould of a John O’Shea, Diego Forlan or Gary Pallister. Instead, Sunday will be recalled in future for Anfield’s emptiness, a match endured rather than enjoyed. And Ferguson, even during his imperial period, would probably have been happy with a point. John Brewin

• Match report: Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United

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

Players must learn lesson after damaging Dubai trip while Chelsea top WSL after beating Manchester United

It has been a difficult few weeks for the WSL amid the fallout from some players going on a trip to Dubai during the winter break. The trip resulted in positive Covid tests for a number of returning players, leading to games being postponed, and it brought into sharp focus the fact that the spotlight is so much bigger on these players these days. This is good news in many respects and this is what we have wanted for a long time.

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» Buy a classic sport photograph: Dalglish seals the title

The latest in a Guardian Print Shop series featuring classic sports images. This week’s picture is of Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish who spurred the Reds to eight league titles during his time as a player and manager

The 1985-86 season was Kenny Dalglish’s first term as player-manager of Liverpool and although he only netted three times that campaign, this strike was particularly precious. It came in the final match of the season, away at Chelsea, as the Reds secured a 1-0 victory to win the league title at Everton’s expense. Dalglish controlled a looping through-ball on his chest and laced a sweet right-foot volley into the far corner – “an unerring finish” in the words of commentator John Motson – before wheeling away in celebration. Dalglish inspired ongoing success, primarily from the dugout, and by his final appearance in 1990 he had netted 169 times in 502 appearances for Liverpool. No wonder they call him ‘King Kenny’.

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» Golden Goal: Terry Gibson for Manchester United v Arsenal (1987) | Rob Smyth

A violent game remembered for a spectacular rampage by Norman Whiteside had a poignant footnote

Not every golden goal has to glister. One of the most euphoric moments of Terry Gibson’s career was a tap-in from eight yards in a match his team would probably have won anyway. After a year of incessant frustration, it was his first goal for Manchester United – and, as it turned out, his last.

Gibson was marginalised almost as soon as he was signed by Ron Atkinson, who was subsequently replaced by Sir Alex Ferguson in November 1986. Two months later, Gibson made one and scored in injury-time to secure a violent 2-0 win over the league leaders Arsenal. Not for the last time, they left Old Trafford bristling with injustice as an unbeaten run – 22 games this time – went up in smoke.

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» Football quiz: who was Roy Keane ranting about in these quotes?

Which players and managers took a tongue-lashing from Keane?

"I am sick to death of this goalkeeper!"

Darren Randolph

David de Gea

Jordan Pickford

Roy Carroll

"He’s had loads of plaudits over the last few months - I know he’s still a young man - but his body language today was shocking, really shocking. Shrugging his shoulders when things weren’t going his way, you roll your sleeves up."

Paul Pogba

Mason Greenwood

Anthony Martial

Marcus Rashford

"Who is he, Mother Theresa?"

Niall Quinn

Alan Shearer

Gary Neville

Alex Ferguson

"Stuff like that kinda almost insults me. What am I supposed to do? Give up? Not cover every blade of grass? Not do my best for my teammates? Not do my best for my club? To be honest, I get actually offended when people throw quotes like that at me as if I'm supposed to be honoured by it."

Mick McCarthy

Alex Ferguson

Clive Tyldesley

Ron Atkinson

"I felt I was entitled to say that. He was just a mascot for them. Walking around .... – ‘Look at me, how big I am’ – and he didn’t even own the bloody thing."

Mick McCarthy

David Gill

Alex Ferguson

David Beckham

"He said, ‘I’ve had enough of you. It’s time we sorted this out.’ So I said, ‘Okay.’ And we had a fight. It felt like 10 minutes. There was a lot of noise – ****’s a big lad. I woke up the next morning. I kind of vaguely remembered the fight ... My hand was really sore and one of my fingers was bent backward ... Throughout the flight, **** wore his sunglasses. He never took them off, and it wasn’t very sunny ... Butty had refereed the fight. He even got a new nickname for it – Mills Lane, after the famous boxing referee. Anyway, **** had grabbed me, I’d head-butted him – we’d been fighting for ages."

Steve Bruce

Ruud van Nistelrooy

Niall Quinn

Peter Schmeichel

"One of the best pros you could ever come across, so being late for the bus tarnished him; you’d have thought he’d been caught with drugs or something. He was having a go at me."

Gary Neville

David Beckham

Denis Irwin

Andy Cole

"Reinventing the game, apparently. Sugar lumps at half-time."

Jürgen Klopp

Arsène Wenger

Pep Guardiola

Julian Nagelsmann

"He was an absolute prick to play against. Niggling, sneaky."

Paul Ince

Alf-Inge Haaland

Vinnie Jones

Dennis Wise

"People are telling me he’s playing well, I don’t think so. This guy is 30 years of age, an international player, he’s a car crash. He keeps on making these type of mistakes. He was rightfully punished for it.”

Jordan Henderson

Kyle Walker

Joe Hart

Phil Neville

1 and above.

Oh dear. Roy will not be impressed

2 and above.

Oh dear. Roy will not be impressed

3 and above.

Oh dear. Roy will not be impressed

4 and above.

Oh dear. Roy will not be impressed

5 and above.

Oh dear. Roy will not be impressed

6 and above.

You got a few wrong. Roy will not be pleased

7 and above.

You got a few wrong. Roy will not be pleased

8 and above.

You got two wrong. Roy will not be pleased

9 and above.

You got one wrong. Roy will not be pleased

0 and above.

You scored a bit fat zero. Roy will not be impressed

10 and above.

You scored full marks. Roy would not expect any less from you.

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» He shoots, he scores – or does he? How VAR changed football for ever

Virtual assistance for referees has drawn complaints from managers, players and fans. What has it done to the beautiful game?

When Manchester City scored a brilliant winning goal in the last seconds of a Uefa Champions League quarter-final against Spurs in the spring of 2019, at least two spectators who were present at the game abandoned watching.

Out in the stands, an overcoated City fan hurried for the exits, delighted with his last-gasp win and keen to beat the rush home. At the same time, down on the substitutes’ bench, Moussa Sissoko, a Spurs player who’d been withdrawn through injury, was so distraught that he turned his back on the game and hobbled to his dressing room alone.

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» Mesut Özil: the galáctico who became symbolic of Arsenal's decline

The Germany international was supposed to elevate the club when he joined from Real Madrid but he left with no fanfare

There was a first-day-of-school feeling around Arsenal’s training ground when their squad returned from the September 2013 international break. They had a star in their midst and the sense was one of genuine elation. Mesut Özil’s arrival was a show of intent quite out of keeping with the half-decade that preceded it: this seemed the turning of a page and, with that in mind, the players snapped and crackled their way through the morning’s drills.

“It was a complete buzz,” says a senior staff member from that time, who worked with Özil on a daily basis and saw him quickly forge instinctive understandings with fellow schemers such as Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky. “All of a sudden you get a big one coming in, and you felt something was happening again. You could see things forming. There was a real electricity among everyone; you felt something was coming.”

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» QPR's Manisha Tailor: 'I am here to work in football and offer change' | Donald McRae

The only South Asian Indian woman in the English professional game talks about her career and how it has helped her traumatised twin brother to speak again

“There were many times where I would go to games and of course it would be perceived that I was the physio or any role where I couldn’t possibly be the lead coach,” Manisha Tailor says as she remembers arriving at opposition grounds with her Queens Park Rangers boys’ academy teams. Tailor is now the lead foundation phase coach at QPR and she says that “being a South Asian Indian woman, and the only person of South Asian heritage, male or female, in this kind of full-time coaching role at any of the 92 clubs in English professional football is a testament to QPR”.

Yet, when she first began working as the head coach of the under-nine boys, the opposition automatically assumed she was the QPR physio. “Myself and my colleague had conversations about it,” Tailor says with a smile and a shrug. “We’d say: ‘How many times has this happened? Is it three in a row? We laugh about it but you have to be in a position to influence change. You need to be in a position where you have the qualifications – but you also need an opportunity to coach on a level playing field. I was given that at QPR but I know that there are other South Asian people, male and female, who have the qualifications to do my role. So why are so few people of colour, who have pro licences, getting opportunities to become head coaches?”

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