Jack Grealish was the best player on the pitch when Aston Villa drew 2-2 at Old Trafford last weekend. No-one else on either side could have scored that beautiful goal; very few players in the Premier League could have. Reports of his current buyout clause range from £30million to £70million. But just how much is Grealish worth?
As he picked the ball up on the left of the area, he already knew what he was going to do. His opponent Andreas Pereira had no idea. Earlier in the game – in a similar position – Grealish went to the byline and pulled the ball back with his left foot and on another occasion played a slide rule pass to his overlapping fullback.
A cunningly laid trap or fateful coincidence? What came before made little difference to the majesty of the goal Grealish was about to score, but was vital in creating the doubt that enabled him to do so.
Jack Grealish’s goal against Manchester United yesterday was a thing of beauty
Does he deserve to be in the next England squad? #EnglandAway #AVFC pic.twitter.com/6gExi4GFIE
— England Football Fans (@EnglidsAway) December 2, 2019
The Villa midfielder didn’t look at the ball until the final point of contact – the whipped shot into the postage stamp located at the corner of post and bar. Before then he took three almost imperceptible touches, focusing his gaze not on the ball but avidly on Pereira’s feet, knowing the Brazilian would make the first move. And at the merest hint of motion from the midfielder towards the byline, Grealish made his own move, cutting in on his right foot to score one of the memorable Old Trafford goals, in front of the Stretford End.
Jack the lad – revitalised and much improved – is back.
First impressions are hard to shake, particularly when they are entrenched through a series of tabloid news stories that support the initial suspicion. But don’t be fooled by the slicked back hair, fake tan and low-slung socks that remain: this is a very different Grealish to the one relegated from the Premier League in 2016.
He’s still the cocky, brash, well-preened Brummie icon. But now, instead of using his sculpted calves to strut the length of Broad Street, he’s using them to glide past defenders and put them on their arses, like a Chris Waddle of old or a George Best of older.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was predictably asked about rumours linking the 24-year-old with a move to United post-game and gave the stock manager response of not being able to “talk too much about other teams’ players”, while simultaneously eulogising over him. Pep Guardiola has described him as “exceptional”, while everyone else remains bemused by his exclusion from the latest England squads. Speculation linking him with a move away will roll on in line with the exponential improvement in the maturity and calibre of his performances.
Villa use him in a roaming role, starting from the left. It’s not his most effective position or the one he wants to be playing, but one that utilises his talents in the way that serves Dean Smith’s side best: a team that lacks creativity needs their most inventive asset as close to goal as possible. But despite the position he plays for Villa, his aesthetics and the perception they’ve created, he’s much less a show pony than a conductor.
He’s not quite a Jorginho or Fabinho, but still the player capable of controlling the speed and direction of the football his team plays. A Big Six side would likely use him as a number eight, a position from which he could use his dribbling expertise to build attacks from deep and not necessarily deliver the final ball, but more often the pass before that killer blow.
To Villa, the question of how much Grealish is worth and how much Premier League football is worth are one and the same. With him they sit 15th in the table, one point above the relegation zone. Without his three goals and four assists – which if anything belittles the worth of his all-round game – they would be level on points with Norwich in 19th.
Letting him go in January would be tantamount to football treason. He’s more Villa than Harry Kane is Spurs or Trent Alexander-Arnold is Liverpool. Grealish is the lifeblood of his football club, and he – along with the fans – will fear what would happen should he up sticks and follow the lure of Champions League football – where his talents belong.
Tottenham have come closest to luring Grealish away, with the man himself admitting his head had been turned in the summer of 2018 with an offer on the table from Spurs. But when the north London side were unwilling to increase their £25million offer to £32million, the deal fell through and Grealish remained at his boyhood club.
If Villa now offered Grealish to any club with the means to spend £32million on the Birmingham-born midfielder, he’d be gone before you could say “Peaky Blinders”. He’s a ready-made leader with extraordinary talent, now without the can he do it in the Premier League? caveat or previously lingering doubts over his commitment to his profession. This is a footballer capable of more, but understandably tied to the club and community that have given him so much. He won’t be there forever, Villans, so just enjoy him while you can.
Oh sorry, what’s he worth? F*** knows…a lot.
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Rafa Benitez completely transformed Liverpool during his six years in charge of the club in the 2000s – and we celebrate that wonderful period in the latest episode of The Broken Metatarsal.
Rich, Mark and Pete are joined by comedian and Liverpool fan Adam Rowe on this week’s podcast as we remember Benitez’s arrival in 2004, the rivalry with Chelsea, that memorable night in Istanbul, and the team that went so close to winning the title in 2009, featuring the brilliance of Fernando Torres.
Neil Mellor also joins the boys on the phone with some brilliant stories, including how he nabbed an AC Milan runners-up medal after the first final against Milan.
And, as always on The Broken Metatarsal, the episode finishes with a game of Fact or Fiction in which Rich attempts to work out which of Mark, Pete and Adam’s unlikely stories about Benitez are, in fact, true.
If you love 2000s football as much as we do, you can find us on Audioboom and subscribe in all the usual places on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, CastBox, Deezer and RadioPublic.
Or you can just listen to the latest episode right here.
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Mauricio Pochettino admits he is “open to listen to projects” amid speculation linking him with a number of roles.
The Argentinian was sacked almost a fortnight ago after five years in the job following Spurs’ slump in form, before being swiftly replaced by Jose Mourinho.
Pochettino took the north London club to the Champions League final last season, where they were beaten by Liverpool in Madrid.
The 47-year-old has since been linked with Manchester United and Arsenal in the Premier League while elsewhere in Europe he has been reportedly interesting Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
Pochettino told Fox Sports Argentina: “There are a lot of clubs and attractive projects for me to take on.
“At my age I don’t need a lot of time to recover. I am open to listen to projects put before me.”
A report on Monday poured cold water on links with United and Arsenal by suggesting Pochettino would lose his £12.5million pay-off from Tottenham if he accepts another Premier League role this campaign.
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Roy Hodgson is happy with Crystal Palace’s recent performances and hoping they can soon turn that into winning points again.
The Eagles have not tasted success in the Premier League since October 5 when they struck late in a 2-1 victory at West Ham.
While the south Londoners are on a five-match streak without a win, the mitigating factors are the level of opposition they have faced which includes Manchester City, Arsenal, Leicester, Chelsea and Liverpool.
On Saturday, Hodgson’s side will travel to Burnley looking to arrest a slide down the table from sixth to 13th.
“I don’t think you should confuse form with results,” he said. “I don’t know we are in mixed form. Our form hasn’t particularly dipped from the Man City game through to the Liverpool game.
“We have had five tough fixtures and I don’t think we’ve performed badly in any of them, but of course because we’ve been playing the top sides we’ve been unable to get many points.
“But we’ve been close to doing so on many occasions so I would not equate form and results. I don’t think our form is bad, but our results have been bad.
“We did fear we might be in for that type of period when we looked at the fixture list and we were playing the top five teams in the country one after another.”
Sean Dyche’s Burnley, on the other hand, are three points ahead of Palace and have triumphed 3-0 in their last two games.
Hodgson added: “We have every respect for them. We know they are a difficult nut to crack at all times and we have to be ready for the type of game it will be.”
This is the start of a busy schedule for all teams in the Premier League and Palace will play seven times between now and the end of the year.
It means the former England manager will have to consider rotation during a hectic period of the season.
“It’s a time when your squad is really tested,” Hodgson said. “You really need everybody in good form, physical condition and in good mental condition.
“It’s unrealistic to expect 11 players to carry out every 90 minutes you’re going to play, so it’s important everyone’s ready.”
The Palace boss confirmed he would be without Joel Ward for Saturday’s trip to Turf Moor after the defender suffered a serious knee injury in the 2-1 defeat to Liverpool last weekend.
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Arsenal legend Paul Merson explans why his former club should approach Mauricio Pochettino to replace under-fire manager Unai Emery.
Arsenal have won just four of their 13 Premier League games this season, leading many to question Emery’s position at the Emirates.
Arsenal were held to a 2-2 draw by 19th-place Southampton at home on Saturday afternoon, with the Gunners fans booing at the final whistle.
A host of some of Europe’s top bosses – including Max Allegri and former Gunner Mikel Arteta – have been linked with a move to north London, and Pochettino is the latest man to be tipped to succeed Emery, having been sacked by rivals Tottenham last week.
The Argentine took Spurs to the 2019 Champions League final and oversaw four successive top-four finishes in the Premier League, establishing himself as one of the best young coaches in England.
And despite his past ties with Arsenal’s fiercest rivals, Merson believes ‘top manager’ Pochettino is the ideal man to take over, partly because Arsenal would not need to fork out any money for compensation.
“Arsenal should go for Mauricio Pochettino,” the former Arsenal midfielder told Sky Sports. “He’s not won anything, but he improved Tottenham over five years, tenfold. He’s a top manager and he is about at the moment.
“I know he managed at Tottenham, but George Graham had been at Arsenal when he went the other way. You’ve got to get past that sort of stuff. These top managers don’t come along too often, where you don’t even have to pay anything for them.
“Can I see it happening? No. Should it happen? Yes. But it won’t happen. The days of the rivalry between Arsenal and Tottenham are not what they were. When I was growing up, it was the big football match.
“For some of these players, that’s no longer the case. It’s probably Chelsea or Manchester City or Liverpool. It’s not the highlighted fixture anymore as there’s not a lot of home-grown players in the teams.
“You don’t have to pay compensation for him, and if you are going to bring someone in, he’s got to be better than the manager you’ve got.”
Merson is desperate to see a significant change made in the Arsenal dugout but thinks Emery will ultimately be granted an extended stay of execution, even if another loss is posted at Norwich on Sunday.
“I still see Emery being there for a while. They had a chance to get rid of him before the international break,” he added.
“They looked at the fixtures and saw Southampton at home, Norwich away. They thought they would win both and everything would be rosy in the garden again. But they were fortunate to draw with Southampton with some of the chances they had, and they’d recently lost 9-0.
“Their confidence was low, but they never looked like they would be on to a hiding. There wasn’t too much respect and they came and thought they had a chance.
“I’m a great believer in if you keep doing the same things, you get the same results. Something needs to change. The players are not that good, but at the same time, results have to be better than what they are.
“If you’re a football manager and you arrive at a club, the team must improve, and the results have to improve. If they don’t then you won’t be in the job for long. That was a fact when I was playing, and it will be a fact in 30 years’ time.
“It’s worrying times, and with Norwich away this weekend, I think Emery will do well to get on the coach if they don’t win that game.”
Before their trip to Carrow Road this weekend, Arsenal host Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League on Thursday, where a win will be enough to book their spot in the last 32.
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Frank Lampard has insisted he will never follow Jose Mourinho’s lead and manage Tottenham.
Chelsea boss Lampard believes Tottenham are still a top-four threat for the Premier League this term, despite Spurs languishing down in 14th place after 12 matches.
Mauricio Pochettino was sacked this week and two-time Chelsea boss Mourinho jumped straight into the hot seat at the Blues’ bitter rivals.
When asked if he could ever envisage managing Spurs, Lampard replied: “I can firmly say no, and you can replay that again in 10 years.
“It wouldn’t happen but I think things are different for me.
“I was here for 13 years as a player and have an absolutely deep feeling for a club.
“Chelsea is certainly so close to my heart hence why I am so proud to manage the club and why I wouldn’t manage Tottenham.
“That’s no disrespect to anyone, it’s just because of what Chelsea has given me over my time as a player and now, it’s certainly not on my list.”
Asked if he was surprised Mourinho took the helm at Tottenham, Lampard said: “That’s only his decision, and you make that decision as you go.
“He’s managed a lot of football clubs and that’s what happens.
“If fans judge you that’s out of your hands. As a professional you have to understand the right to work.”
Lampard revealed he has sent Mourinho a good-luck message ahead of the Portuguese boss taking charge of Tottenham for the first time.
“We had a couple of messages just to wish him well in his new role as he has always done for me.
“Spurs are a very good team. At the start of the season Spurs were a lot of people’s favourites to be in the race.
“But if you look at what Pochettino has built, I have huge respect for what he’s built.
“They are in a slightly false position I believe.
“They have all the structure, stadium and all those things. They will be a threat without a doubt, Tottenham.
“Without a doubt they are in the top four race, that’s the start at the start of the season and it will be the story now.
“That’s why they reached the Champions League final.
“If you look at the strength in depth, they are going to be a threat. I knew that before and I know that now.”
Christian Pulisic is in contention for Saturday’s Premier League trip to Manchester City, with the United States forward back in full training after a groin concern.
Callum Hudson-Odoi could miss out however due to a minor hamstring issue picked up on England duty.
Champions City are already nine points shy of Premier League leaders Liverpool after a patchy start to the new campaign, but Lampard insists Guardiola’s men have not lost their edge.
“I still see them as the same strength,” said Lampard.
“I’ve watched them a lot this international break. They’ve had their injury problems but they are a great team and still as big a threat as they always have been.
“It’s a great test tomorrow, head to head, to see where we’re at.
“But anyone can go to Manchester City, play at their best and still and lose.
“So I won’t be making huge judgements win or lose tomorrow without a doubt.
“Our story is three months in the making. Their story has been four years and more of hard work from top to bottom.”
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Jose Mourinho was at Tottenham’s training ground to meet his new squad on Wednesday afternoon following his appointment as Mauricio Pochettino’s replacement.
The former Chelsea and Manchester United boss signed a three-and-a-half-year contract less than 12 hours after Pochettino was sacked.
The 56-year-old, who had been out of work since leaving United last December, was at Hotspur Way meeting the club’s players and staff.
He was due to take training in the afternoon ahead of his unveiling press conference at 2pm on Thursday and first game in charge at West Ham on Saturday lunchtime.
Mourinho revealed he was relishing the chance to work with the players, who have under-achieved so far this season.
The Portuguese said: “I am excited to be joining a club with such a great heritage and such passionate supporters.
“The quality in both the squad and the academy excites me. Working with these players is what has attracted me.”
Mourinho also moved quickly to appoint his backroom staff, with Joao Sacramento and Nuno Santos joining from Lille.
Sacramento will be the assistant manager, while Santos becomes the new goalkeeping coach.
A statement on Lille’s official website read: “Following discussions between Lille and Tottenham, an agreement has been reached to allow the departures of Joao Sacramento and Nuno Santos, members of the Lille technical staff, and for them to join the English club as of this Wednesday.”
Despite his troubles in the latter stages of his tenure at Old Trafford, Mourinho remains one of the most sought-after managers in the game.
His success at delivering trophies is not in question, having won three Premier League titles, two Champions Leagues and a host of domestic cups, and that was a clear attraction for Spurs chairman Daniel Levy.
Levy previously tried appointing Mourinho in 2007 when he left Chelsea for the first time and has admired him since.
Levy said: “In Jose we have one of the most successful managers in football.
“He has a wealth of experience, can inspire teams and is a great tactician. He has won honours at every club he has coached. We believe he will bring energy and belief to the dressing room.”
A statement from the club described Mourinho as “one of the world’s most accomplished managers” who was “is renowned for his tactical prowess”.
It added: “He has won a domestic title in a record four different countries (Portugal, England, Italy and Spain) and is one of only three managers to have won the UEFA Champions League twice with two clubs, FC Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2010.”
Pochettino was dismissed after five-and-a-half years in charge, less than six months after he took Spurs to the Champions League final, with the club lying 14th in the Premier League table after the opening 12 matches.
Mourinho, who has most recently been working as a pundit for Sky Sports, had turned down a number of opportunities to coach abroad since leaving United, including with clubs in China, Spain and Portugal.
His first match in charge will be the London derby away to West Ham on Saturday and they are due to play United at Old Trafford on December 4.
Spurs also play Champions League games at home to Olympiakos and away at Bayern Munich before hosting their new manager’s former club Chelsea on December 22.
Mourinho’s side host Liverpool on January 11 and Manchester City on February 1 before making the trip to Stamford Bridge on February 22.
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As ever, this represents our estimation of Gareth Southgate’s thoughts. And we feel like we know him well. Numbers in brackets pertain to this ladder from October…
1 (2) Harry Kane
Twelve goals and five assists in eight qualifying games. His goal against Kosovo saw him become the first England player to score in every game of a qualifying campaign and it also took him back to the top of this ladder, mostly because he has never grabbed somebody by the throat in a canteen. Or at least he has never been caught grabbing somebody by the throat in a canteen.
2 (1) Raheem Sterling
Oh you daft bugger. There is no defending that. He is still England’s second-best source of goals and best source of running really fast and scaring the sh*t out of full-backs, mind.
3 (5) Harry Maguire
The only player to feature in all 720 minutes of European qualifying. And yet he still looks about half a second from dropping a bo**ock and a full second slower than most strikers he faces.
A lot of the stick Harry Maguire gets is, quite frankly, unfair. Virgil wasn’t always Capital V Capital V Capital D. He had to cut his teeth and learn his trade at smaller clubs.
In a couple of years, when Maguire moves to a big club, he’ll shine, you’ll see.
— OLSC Durham Region (@OLSC_Durham) November 17, 2019
4 (4) Jordan Pickford
His place is safer than his hands.
5 (6) Marcus Rashford
Three goals in his last three England games as part of a really encouraging return to form. We would be astonished if Rashford is not in every England squad for which he is fit until the end of the next decade at least…
6 (3) Jordan Henderson
Two victories in his absence have damaged his cause a little, but it still feels like Henderson + 2 in that central midfield.
7 (7) Trent Alexander-Arnold
Remarkably, that’s the first time he has started back-to-back England games. Even more remarkably, ‘he’s yet to produce a performance for his country which doesn’t look like this one did – distracted, inaccurate, lacking in the locked-in intensity which seems as standard at Liverpool’ (and I absolutely agree with Seb Stafford-Bloor).
Alexander-Arnold gets a lot of stick for his defending, and rightly so, but you can teach him to improve his defending. Can’t teach what he has with the ball, not at this age.
— #aheadofthecurve (@mediocentr0) November 18, 2019
8 (10) Ben Chilwell
Perhaps those three assists against Montenegro – and solid defensive performance against Kosovo – will put an end to Gareth Southgate’s lingering and needless flirtation with Danny Rose. Chilwell is and should remain England’s first-choice left-back.
9 (18) Harry Winks
Six England caps, six England wins. And a goal and a man-of-the-match performance against Kosovo. It might well be Henderson, Winks + 1 with Declan Rice hopefully sidelined until he learns some of the basics of defensive midfield play.
10 (13) John Stones
‘Needs to play football. Absolutely needs to play football,’ is what I wrote last month. Now back in the Manchester City side and an England recall duly followed.
John Stones Montenegro:
90 Minutes Played
3 Aerial Duels Won
85 Accurate Passes
95% Pass Accuracy
8 Accurate Long Balls#MCFC pic.twitter.com/dIQ8ojiIdg
— Man City Xtra (@City_Xtra) November 14, 2019
11 (16) Nick Pope
Confirmation that he is England’s No. 2. And a clean sheet is lovely.
12 (17) Joe Gomez
What has become very clear is that Southgate has picked his four centre-halves and Gomez is on that list despite not playing a great deal of Premier League football. Luckily for him, Liverpool have an awful lot of games coming up. He might still be the big man.
13 (8) Jadon Sancho
His form has dipped for Borussia Dortmund and he failed to pad his stats against Montenegro; just one assist from 90 minutes on the wing is not a compelling return from a 7-0 victory. Right now, he has slipped some way behind Rashford.
14 (15) Tyrone Mings
And there’s centre-half No. 4, who has (slightly awkwardly) claimed another cap and another clean sheet. He is literally the big man.
Grew into the game after a nervy start, probably not helped by being dropped last game for no reason
Passing was largely excellent
Two clean sheets in two
Didnt do anything wrong or spectacular, like the rest of the team
Did himself no harm again
Up the Mings
— James (@gortavfc) November 17, 2019
15 (9) Ross Barkley
It’s telling that he has played more minutes in this qualifying campaign than any other midfielder bar Henderson and yet almost nobody thinks he should start for England. Will he eventually be ejected like a stockier Ryan Bertrand? The initials are a clue.
16 (11) Declan Rice
As I wrote last month: ‘He is only 20, so there are caveats, but right now he looks far from good enough to anchor that England midfield. Still, we persuaded him not to be Irish anymore, so his squad place is probably safe for the foreseeable.’ We wanted him to be so much better than Eric Dier; he isn’t.
17 (12) Mason Mount
He has played a part in England’s last six games so he is clearly integrated into this England squad. Unfortunately for him, he has started twice and struggled twice. Fortunately, he can do this from the bench…
A first #ThreeLions goal for @masonmount_10 pic.twitter.com/1MzWLY5KtG
— England (@England) November 17, 2019
18 (14) Kieran Trippier
Called up but then left on the bench. It could be worse; he could be Kyle Walker.
19 (20) Tammy Abraham
His first England goal and confirmation – were it needed – that he is Southgate’s first-choice back-up to Kane.
20 (22) Fabian Delph
Even grown men need a comfort blanket. Let it go, people, let it go…
21 (19) Danny Rose
Clinging onto a place in the squad but for how long? Until Luke Shaw gets and stays fit, you should think. Right now, Rose is holding off Aaron Cresswell and Matt Targett in the battle to be the left-sided fireguard with the thinner chocolate coating.
22 (32) Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Back-to-back England starts for the first time since March 2018, when he was set to start in England’s World Cup midfield before injury struck. “We’ve a huge belief in him,” said Southgate. “Whether it’s as a midfield player – where he’s excellent with or without the ball, provides a goalscoring threat, works hard for the team and presses well – or a wide player or a forward player, we’ve got huge belief in him.” And that versatility might well be what keeps in this 23 ahead of more vaunted competition.
23 (23) Tom Heaton
The old man completes the 23. For now.
24 (21) Callum Hudson-Odoi
Reclaimed and then lost his Chelsea place, while his 59 wasteful, hesitant minutes against Kosovo suggested that he might be better getting some more England experience with the Under-21s this season while he searches for his form.
Seems lots of people on this platform don’t quite understand that young players aren’t always going to play well. Especially when they’ve just come back from a long term injury.
Hudson-Odoi will get back to his top level. Just give him time.
— Chelsea Extra (@CFCExtra) November 17, 2019
25 (24) Callum Wilson
Nobody takes three strikers for a one-striker system. Especially when the third striker on the list has stopped scoring.
26 (26) James Maddison
Most chances created by Englishmen this season:
Trent Alexander-Arnold (42)
Jack Grealish (25)
James Maddison (24)
Mason Mount (23)
Raheem Sterling (22)
Sorry James, but we don’t think Gareth likes the cut of your gib. Or the gib of…
27 (35) Jack Grealish
Though at least Southgate hinted that Grealish could be the next cab off the attacking midfielder rank. That’s progress.
28 (25) Kyle Walker
Sip sliding away. Slip-sliding a-way.
29 (31) Fikayo Tomori
They definitely didn’t bring him on for a few minutes to claim him from Nigeria (oh yes they did). But most importantly for this ladder, he was in the squad ahead of the falling Michael Keane.
30 (30) Dean Henderson
England’s…No. 4. England’s, England’s No. 4.
31 (29) Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Clearly, Southgate is not a fan of a 90s-style full-back.
32 (34) Dele Alli
Back in the Tottenham side at least. Shame it’s a really poor Tottenham side.
33 (27) Michael Keane
We may never see him in an England shirt again.
Well deserved debut for Tomori. He’s the future of England’s defence, not Michael Keane
— Elliot Hackney (@ElliotHackney) November 17, 2019
34 (28) Jesse Lingard
We may never see him in an England shirt again.
35 (33) Eric Dier
We may never see him in an England shirt again.
36 (40) Phil Foden
We will surely see him in a (senior) England shirt soon, but first Pep Guardiola needs to give him more than Carabao Cup football.
37 (NE) Aaron Ramsdale
The Bournemouth goalkeeper is making a compelling case for a long-term battle with Henderson.
38 (36) Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Love the player, hate the injury.
39 (37) Luke Shaw
Love the player, hate the injury. And the body type.
40 (42) Dwight McNeil
Most assists by a teenager in Europe’s top five leagues this season:
Jadon Sancho (5)
Dejan Kulusevski (5)
Dwight McNeil (4)
Always a constant threat. pic.twitter.com/uL1io9rqmZ
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 12, 2019
41 (41) Rob Holding
42 (38) Angus Gunn
43 (39) Ryan Sessegnon
44 (43) Max Aarons
45 (NE) John Lundstram
46 (NE) Harvey Barnes
47 (44) Reiss Nelson
48 (45) James Tarkowski
49 (47) James Ward-Prowse
50 (50) Phil Neville
If you enjoyed this, feel free to give us some love in the the FSA awards. Head here to vote…
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BT Sport has been awarded the exclusive broadcast rights to UEFA’s European club competitions until 2024, it was announced on Friday.
As part of the deal – which has cost £400million per year and commences in 2021 – BT have secured the rights to all 420 games from the Champions League, Europa League and the new Europa Conference League for a further three seasons.
BT Sport will see an increase of 77 games from the previous deal, which includes highlights and in-match clips.
Last season, both the Champions League and Europa League finals were contested by Premier League teams.
BT Sport reported a 26 per cent increase in Champions League viewer hours, with the final between Liverpool and Tottenham made available for everyone to watch in the UK via social media.
A record 11.3 million people tuned in across all platforms to watch the Reds go on and lift the European Cup for a sixth time in Madrid.
Chief executive of BT’s Consumer Division Marc Allera said: “We’re delighted to remain the home of UEFA Champions League in the UK.
“BT Sport leads the way when it comes to UEFA Champions League coverage, and we are very excited to continue to bring our world class coverage to one of the most exciting football competitions in the world – whether that is broadcasting 12 games simultaneously or delivering industry leading images in 4K UHD.
“With increasingly more ways to watch our content, with more games on show than ever before, and alongside our excellent line up of other competitions and sports, BT Sport is going from strength to strength.”
Shares in BT had dropped nearly four per cent after the Labour Party announced plans to turn broadband into a public service. Jeremy Corbyn is due to officially announce the new policy in a speech in Lancaster on Friday morning.
Labour has costed the policy at £20billion, saying it will deliver free full-fibre internet to every home and business by 2030 if it wins the General Election.
But BT chief executive Philip Jansen said the Labour Party had dramatically under-estimated the price of its pledge, saying it would cost closer to £100b.
The BT share price later stabilised to just a two per cent fall – nevertheless wiping nearly £500m off the company’s value.
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- Smith: Leicester loss was like basketball game
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- Hello world! on