Willian to be given number 10 shirt at Chelsea after Eden Hazard’s move to Real Madrid and fans are fuming

22 Jul

Willian has confirmed he will be taking the number 10 shirt at Chelsea, previously held by Eden Hazard .

The Belgium winger left Stamford Bridge this summer to join Real Madrid in a deal worth up to £130million after add-ons.

Willian is Chelsea’s new No.10
getty images

In his place, Blues fans were hoping a natural successor would emerge from within the club given the transfer ban imposed by FIFA.

New signing Christian Pulisic is a potential heir to Hazard’s vacant left-wing spot, with Callum Hudson-Odoi also making serious waves in west London.

Callum Hudson-Odoi was reportedly set to take the number from Hazard to keep him from Bayern Munich’s clutches
getty images

A target for Bayern Munich, it was suggested the Blues would offer the England international Hazard’s old number in order to convince him to snub the Bundesliga champions.

But in a recent interview with Brazilian TV show Desimpedidos, Willian confirmed he had been offered the No.10 shirt and would be taking it instead of his old number 22 shirt.

The 30-year-old wore the prestigious number for Brazil at the recent Copa America tournament, having also donned the 10 shirt for Shakhtar Donetsk.

Despite his impressive pedigree and diligence, some fans are really not happy with Chelsea’s decision to give the shirt number to Willian, especially ahead of the likes of Hudson-Odoi and Pulisic.

Scroll down to see what they have said.

A Day in the Life of an England rugby international: Speed, Power, Endurance and Love Island

22 Jul

English sport in the past 12 months has enjoyed an incredible revival and the momentum shows no sign of stopping.

Although Kieran Trippier’s sensational free-kick marked the beginning of the end for England’s World Cup journey in Russia, the mood around the national team had shifted considerably.

Eoin Morgan and his men capitalised on this last weekend when, after one of the greatest games in cricket history, Jos Buttler smashed the bails off the New Zealand wickets to win the World Cup.

But now, the attention turns to Eddie Jones and his side as they try and stop the All Blacks from gaining their revenge in Japan at the Rugby World Cup.

England’s rugby stars will be hoping to continue a remarkable run in English sport
getty images

Under the tutelage of Jones, the expectancy surrounding England has reached almost insurmountable levels.

There were times during the previous Six Nations campaign when England looked unbeatable – especially on the back of a strong showing in the Autumn Internationals.

But defensive frailties were exposed against Wales and Scotland, meaning Warren Gatland’s side were crowned Grand Slam winners.

In order to eradicate the mental scars of the spring, Jones has organised a series of high-intensity training camps to develop the player’s fitness and togetherness as they prepare to go deep into the tournament in Japan.

Joe Launchbury, Jonny May and Mark Wilson oversaw the training session at Pennyhill Park
England Rugby

In order to highlight the rigorous demands placed on the shoulders of the professionals, two plucky talkSPORT journalists were invited to Pennyhill Park to experience a day in the life of an England player.

Despite the blistering June heat and our severe lack of fitness, we both eagerly agreed to take part.

Under the watchful eye of Mark Wilson, Jonny May and Joe Launchbury, we were tasked with completing a series of daunting physical challenges, before enjoying a spot of lunch and watching an analysis session, courtesy of an England analyst.

Scroll down to see how well we got on.

A thorough warm-up was required before we got stuck into the day
England Rugby

Before engaging in the drills, we were first required to sign a waiver in case the physical exertions proved too taxing. Whilst this didn’t exactly put me at ease, we put pen to paper.

Upon receiving our instructions and getting changed, we headed out to a small artificial pitch to go through a series of stretches and drills focusing on ball skills and hand-eye co-ordination.

Suffice to say, we weren’t quite up to scratch and making a late surge for the plane to Japan in September became increasingly unlikely.

After that, we partnered up and performed an intense core exercise which focused on maintaining our balance whilst trying to knock our partner our their haunches. In spite of the burns sustained on the turf, it proved to be an enjoyable start to the day. How quickly it would turn.

Physically challenging and fiercely competitive, the warm up exercise gave us a taste of things to come
England Rugby

As we headed down from the artificial pitch to take on the next set of challenges, the trio of England internationals tentatively asked about our levels of fitness.

In my younger years, I once considered myself to be of a decent standard of fitness. As captain of my school football team, I was regularly playing 90 minutes matches and, although that was six years ago, I still consider myself in decent shape.

So when I cockily replied ‘Yeah I’m not in bad nick, lads’, I should have known better.

Here’s a breakdown of what we got up to.

Speed

  • A drill to be completed with a partner, both participants lay down on their stomachs with one about five metres in front of the other and the other on the try line.
  • As soon as you hear the whistle from the coach, both subjects get to their feet as quickly as possible and the person trailing must try and catch the man in front of him.
  • The finishing point is on the 22-metre line, and the trailing partner has to try to catch the other one.
This was our starting position, with the first person starting on the five-metre line
England Rugby
The idea was to catch our partners, something I failed to do quite spectacularly
England Rugby

Agility

  • Using a series of cones, we set out a course designed to simulate the intense directional changes you would experience in a normal game of rugby.
  • Driving from the line, subjects were either required to then sidestep left or right depending on which end they started from, before twisting and turning at various different angles and speeds to reach the finish line.
  • Although the distance wasn’t particularly challenging, the fact the drills were timed and we knew what score we had to beat made us push one another even harder
With Launchbury, May and Wilson all watching, we felt a tad out of our depth
England Rugby

Power

  • Perhaps the drill which made me regret my cheeky comment from earlier the most, we practised a serious of carries with a partner to simulate the sort of leg drives which have become synonymous with some of the greatest England forwards in recent years.
  • Again, the competitive element was in place to ensure we pushed ourselves as we attempted three types of carries with a partner between two points, with the first pairing back being declared the winner.
  • Although it pains me to admit, this was the first time I have blatantly cheated in sport. Instead of completing all three lifts, we skipped one in order to try and close the widening gap between ourselves and the opposite team. Still ended up losing.
Thankfully, the England trio were not taking part in the carrying drills
England Rugby

Endurance

  • A drill designed to push us to the brink of our V02 max, we again lined up face down on the try line, only this time we were each given a ball.
  • The idea was we had to pick and go and drive to the end of our 22, before dropping down and repeating it back again.
  • It’s safe to say this finished us all off as, upon completion, we collapsed into sweaty heaps on the line whilst the England players tried their best to stifle their laughter.
The final push, each and every single one of us was delighted to have finished the session exhausted, but unscathed
England RUGBY

After hauling ourselves off the pitch, we took to the showers and headed off for lunch.

The average rugby player will have a certain calorie intake in mind per day based on position. For instance, a forward will look to consume more as they look to build size (eating junk food is not an option unfortunately)

Non-refined carbohydrates, lean proteins, vegetables and fats should be the basis of every meal. Needless to say, I did feel a tinge of guilt as I wolfed down my BBQ chicken wrap, but the session beforehand had been sufficiently taxing.

After this, we headed back down to the performance centre to gain an insight into just how much analysis goes into every England performance.

Thanks to one of the many Performance Analysts England have at their disposal, we saw firsthand how much work goes into a match day
England Rugby

Eddie Jones is renowned for being a meticulous tactician, with the Australian (a former PE teacher) openly revealing how much he loves to orchestrate training drills.

But in order to win the World Cup, Jones is willing to go to great lengths to ensure the William Web Ellis trophy returns from Japan this autumn.

During every training session, players are fitted with monitors to record heart rate and distance covered. If a player fails to hit a certain target, it is likely they will perform the aforementioned endurance drill to keep them on task.

ENGLAND'S WORLD CUP FIXTURES...

  • vs Tonga – 22/09/19
  • vs USA – 26/09/19
  • vs Argentina – 5/10/19
  • vs France – 12/10/19

Jones and his performance analysts also make use of cameras during sessions to gain as many vantage points as possible to spot and correct even the most minute error. Drones can often be seen flying above scrum practice as well to ensure the positioning of every pack member is correct to the last centimetre.

As part of our experience, we also got to see how this analysis is used in real-life game situations – in two of England’s best performances no less.

In both the New Zealand and Ireland games, the pressure placed on the opposition with and without the ball was relentless. And in doing so, it created enough confusion and chaos to leave space in crucial areas.

Chris Ashton’s try against New Zealand was the result of a carefully formulated plan created on the training pitch
getty images

There is perhaps no single player who has benefited more from Eddie Jones’ appointment as England boss than Jonny May.

The Leicester Tigers winger made his debut in Argentina back in 2013, but has since developed into one of the most lethal finishers in world rugby.

Since Jones took over in November 2015, May has scored 18 tries and sits joint-sixth in the list of all-time England try scorers.

And the 29-year-old believes the success can be traced back to the work Jones and his squad undertake.

Jonny May continues to flourish under the guidance of Eddie Jones
getty images

He said: “When you’re lucky enough to come here every day and every part of every day you’re learning and getting better because, in my opinion, this is the best place you could possibly hope for in terms of improving your game and getting better.

“The staff we have, the facilities we have and the players around you mean you can eat, live, breathe, and sleep the game. Everything is geared towards helping you improve.”

And how do these highly-tuned and pertinacious international rugby players relax? A spot of Love Island, naturally.

“We’re all watching it,” May added. “We actually all got together and watched it on Wednesday in the team room together.

“Pretty sad, but I’m looking forward to my Love Island tonight at 9pm.”

Japan Awaits – Mitsubishi Motors in the UK is giving England Rugby fans the opportunity to live out their ambitions by offering a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Japan this Autumn. To find out more visit the following link.

Watch: Terrifying moment Joel Caudle is knocked headfirst through the ring by Cassius Chaney after brutal barrage of punches

20 Jul

Joel Caudle displayed tremendous courage and resilience after being sent flying headfirst through the ring ropes.

The American heavyweight was on the receiving end of a barrage of punches from Cassius Chaney, an unbeaten prospect, at the MGM National Harbor in Maryland on Friday night.

Chaney, a 6’6 slugger with a perfect 16-0 record, caught his man early in the first round and looked to send out a statement on Top Rank main card.

Cassius Chaney sent Joel Caudle through the ring ropes on Friday night
TOP RANK

Caudle was struggling to deal with the powerful shots he was receiving, but managed to somehow stay on his feet as right hand after right hand crashed home over the top of his guard.

Eventually, the brave journeyman ate a powerful right uppercut which caused his legs to wobble and give way.

As he lost his balance and hit the deck, his momentum took him straight through the ropes and into the audience below.

Somehow, Caudle managed to clamber back to his feet and entered the ring via the steps – even managing to beat the referee’s count.

Caudle went through the ring ropes, before clambering back in via the steps
TOP RANK

Although it would have marked a sensational comeback, the fight was stopped almost instantly after the restart as the North Carolina-native’s legs buckled once more under a shot and the referee called a halt to proceedings.

The rest of the evening did not prove to be as eventful, with lightweight prospect Teofimo Lopez doing just enough to gain a decision win over Japan’s Masayoshi Nakatani.

Lopez, who moves to 14-0 (11 KO’s), is now next in line to fight IBF champion Richard Commey. Unified champion Vasily Lomachenko wasted little time in confirming his next opponent, with Luke Campbell challenging the Ukrainian for his Ring Magazine, WBA and WBO belts, with the vacant WBC belt also on the line at the 02 on August 31.

 

Manchester United transfer news: Steve Bruce responds to Red Devils’ £50m move for Sean Longstaff

20 Jul

Steve Bruce is adamant he wants Sean Longstaff to stay at Newcastle United, despite interest from Manchester United.

Bruce has been Magpies boss for less than a week, but is already facing the huge task of keeping one of his most important players.

Sean Longstaff has been in great form for the Magpies in pre-season thus far
getty images

Longstaff earned a starting berth in Rafael Benitez’s team last season and shone in a central midfield role.

The 21-year-old has attracted attention from United, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer keen to attract young, hungry players to Old Trafford.

Despite figures of up to £50million being discussed, former Sunderland boss Bruce insists he wants to keep the youngster at St James’ Park.

“He’s the type of player you want to build your team around, I’ve only seen him for a day, but he has had an unbelievable rise,” said Bruce.

“Very much reminds me of a Michael Carrick. I’m not aware that he’s going to United, I’m not aware of that at all.”

So far, United have splashed the cash to bring Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James to the club, with both starlets featuring heavily in pre-season.

Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes are also targets, but Solskjaer is still waiting with bated breath to see if Real Madrid make an offer for Paul Pogba.

Eddie Hearn insists it will ‘end horrifically’ for Andy Ruiz Jr legally if he does not meet Anthony Joshua’s demands over rematch

20 Jul

Eddie Hearn has warned Andy Ruiz Jr to accept a rematch with Anthony Joshua in the UK or face a ‘huge legal mess’.

The Mexican shocked the world at the art of June when, in front of a packed out Madison Square Graden and millions watching around the world, he pummelled Joshua into submission and prised his world heavyweight titles away.

Naturally, the 29-year-old from Watford is desperate to reclaim his WBO, WBA, IBO and IBF belts in a rematch.

Andy Ruiz Jr wants to fight Anthony Joshua in Mexico or USA
getty images

Ruiz Jr has claimed he is calling the ‘all the shots’ after his sensational upset win last month in New York, and the rematch will only take place in Mexico or USA.

But Matchroom Boxing chief Hearn is adamant a clause inserted into the initial fight contract allows the Olympic Gold medallist to decide where the final fight takes place.

He said there ‘would be a huge legal case that will probably stop him from fighting’ – unless the rotund underdog agrees to fight this side of the pond.

The venue dispute has already delayed a date being set for a rematch of the all-time great boxing upset.

Joshua was stopped on his feet in the seventh round in NYC
getty images

And Hearn told iFL TV: “Andy Ruiz Jr is an honourable stand up guy.

“He knows what he signed and it wasn’t unfair what he signed but he has contractual obligations that he has to meet now.

“Andy Ruiz was chosen from a group of people because we believed he would be the best most competitive fight for Anthony Joshua – we were right.

“And then, if he was to win that fight, as set out in the contract there were a number of terms that he would have to adhere to.

“It’s very standard. It’s not, ‘oh that was out of order, he is the A-side now’.

“No, this was what was agreed by both parties. Negotiated and agreed.”

But he stressed: “Joshua will be the one who ultimately decides where that fight takes place.”

Watch Pablo Hernandez save Leeds United with wonder goal which brought one fan to tears ‘in the most beautiful way possible’

20 Jul

It’s fair to say Pablo Hernandez has become something of a cult hero at Elland Road since moving to Leeds United.

The diminutive midfielder, who has four international caps for Spain to his name, appeared to be settling down to retire when he moved to Qatari-based side Al-Arabi in 2014.

But, after moving to Yorkshire two years later, it’s fair to say Hernandez has begun to enjoy something of an Indian Summer in his career.

Pablo Hernandez weaves in and out of defenders en route to goal
getty images

Under the tutelage of Marcelo Bielsa, the 34-year-old has taken his career to the next level, with the Argentine describing the veteran as ‘a complete player from every point of view’.

And it seems the PFA Team of the Year entrant is showing no signs of stopping after his sumptuous solo strike for Leeds against Western Sydney Warriors on Saturday morning.

With the game locked at 1-1 in stoppage time and after Patrick Bamford missed a glorious chance to open the scoring, Hernandez picked the ball up on the right wing and set about dancing though several defenders as if they were not there.

Taking the ball into the box on his left foot, the former Valencia and Swansea star unleashed a shot which flew into the corner.

Naturally, Leeds fans who had woken up especially to see the game were left spellbound by what they had seen and took to Twitter to heap praise on their little magician.

His shot ended up nestling in the far corner
getty images

Arsenal vs Fiorentina: Predicted Gunners team for International Champions Cup clash featuring Ozil and Aubameyang – but no Lacazette

20 Jul

Arsenal face Fiorentina in their second International Champions Cup fixture on Saturday evening at the Bank of America Stadium in North Carolina.

The Gunner got off to an ideal start in their first game against Bayern Muncih, beating the Bundesliga champions 2-1.

Unai Emery is preparing for the third International Champions Cup game
Getty Images

Unai Emery has already confirmed that the match, which was initially due to be against Roma before the Giallorossi were forced to cancel due to Europa League commitments, will see him hand starts to several more youngsters after impressive cameos in victories over the Colorado Rapids and Bayern Munich.

Eddie Nketiah grabbed the winner against Bayern in Los Angeles and could well get the chance to lead the line, with Alexandre Lacazette afforded an opportunity to rest.

The France international played 81 minutes in the previous game and may well be excluded from the match day squad altogether.

Emery said of his young players: “I am very positive with them, I am very happy with their work every day in the training sessions and also in the match.

Arsenal’s youngsters will be expected to get more game time in North Carolina
getty images

“We are going to play next Saturday against Fiorentina also in another match and we are going to use young players. It’s another chance for them to show us how they can respond, but [against Bayern], for example, is very positive.”

Check out how the Gunners could line up below.

Emery could play a youthful midfield to give his senior players a rest
buildlineup.com

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp describes Manchester United target Jadon Sancho as ‘one of the biggest talents in world football’

20 Jul

Jurgen Klopp has described Jadon Sancho as ‘one of the biggest talents in world football’ after watching the Borussia Dortmund winger in the flesh.

The Liverpool boss put out an inexperienced side to face the Bundesliga runners-up at the Notre Dame stadium in Indiana as the Reds succumbed to a 3-2 defeat.

Jadon Sancho in action for Borussia Dortmund against Liverpool
getty images

But the game was as much a chance to ease senior players back into the squad as it was to ingratiate some of the younger stars, like goalscorers Harry Wilson and Rhian Brewster.

For Sancho however, he finds himself in the rare situation of being both a senior member of the squad and still a teenager. The 19-year-old came through the Manchester City academy, before moving to Germany to gain invaluable first team experience.

In the past 12 months the winger has developed into a crucial player for Lucien Favre’s side, scoring 12 times and making 14 assists. Such form has attracted the attention of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the Manchester United manager reportedly keen to bring the teen to Old Trafford – if he can offload Paul Pogba.

And Klopp believes the hype surrounding Sancho is fully justified.

Jurgen Klopp watches his side, but was impressed with Sancho in particular
getty images

“An exceptional talent,” Klopp said. “But he’s not the only one in England at the moment.

“That age group has a few, we have Rhian Brewster who is the same age, Raheem Sterling for example I don’t want to forget any wingers because there are a lot of talents.

“There’s a lot of very young, promising players in England so there’s no doubt about the potential of Jadon Sancho.

“His speed and body control in high speed is his main strength. Being good in big spaces and in small spaces makes you a pretty interesting player and that’s what Jadon is for sure.

“But especially for his game tonight, he defended against our 18-year-old Yasser [Larouci], who played against one of the biggest talents in world football and did pretty well the whole night.

“So no doubt about Jadon Sancho.”

Liverpool suffer pre-season defeat to Borussia Dortmund but Rhian Brewster, Harry Wilson and Rangers target Ryan Kent star

20 Jul

Liverpool’s pre-season preparations have been dealt a blow after being beaten 3-2 by Borussia Dortmund in their first match of a tour of the US.

In stifling conditions at the Notre Dame stadium in Indiana, the Champions League holders faced the Bundesliga runners-up in what Jurgen Klopp had called ‘the first proper test’ of his side’s pre-season.

Harry Wilson opened the scoring for Liverpool
getty images

Missing veterans Roberto Firmino, Alisson, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane due to the Copa America and African Cup of Nations, Liverpool were hurt by a sloppy defence and Dortmund wasted no time in finding the net courtesy of a close-range strike from Paco Alcacer after just three minutes.

Harry Wilson found the net in the 35th minute to draw level but Dortmund scored two quick goals after the break.

Thomas Delaney made it 2-1 eight minutes into the second half with an easy tap-in and Jacob Bruun Larsen extended the lead after finding the bottom corner in the 58th minute.

Rhian Brewster converted a penalty in the 75th minute after Ben Woodburn was brought down in the box but the Reds could not find the equaliser in the closing stages in front of the 40,361-strong crowd.

Rhian Brewster continued his good pre-season form
Getty images
Virgil van Dijk was back at the heart of Liverpool’s defence
getty images

Klopp had featured many of the younger players in his starting line-up but handed Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, Andy Robertson, Virgil van Dijk and Georginio Wijnaldum their first summer match action after making 10 changes on the hour mark.

Liverpool will continue their pre-season tour with at Boston’s Fenway Park against Sevilla on Sunday.

Watch: Ex-Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores perfect hat-trick for LA Galaxy including 25-yard screamer

20 Jul

Zlatan Ibrahimovic responded perfectly to any critics who had any lingering doubts about his ability with a stunning hat-trick for Los Angeles Galaxy.

Prior to the game against local rivals Los Angeles FC, a journalist asked the 36-year-old if he was still the best player in MLS because Carlos Vela was top of the scoring charts.

Appalled, the Swede said: “By far. Because if he’s [Vela] in his prime. How old is he? 29. And he’s playing in MLS and he’s in his prime.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a perfect hat-trick against LAFC
getty images

“When I was 29 [I was in Europe]. Big difference.”

And the former Barcelona and AC Milan striker showed class is indeed permanent by scoring a perfect hat-trick in the game dubbed by locals as ‘El Trafico’.

Ibrahimovic opened the scoring in the eighth minute with a rousing volley and he proved he’s not over the hill yet.

The former Manchester United talisman is adamant he is still a big game player, as he said after the match: “When you play against a rival like that, in a full stadium, I get pumped. I get adrenaline.

Former Arsenal striker Vela scored twice himself, but had no answer to Zlatan
getty images

“This is considered to be the biggest game in the league and I show up in the biggest games,” said the Swede after the match.

“I am in play-off mode every day.”

Ibrahimovic’s treble took his tally in the MLS to 41 goals from 44 appearances.