Rafael Benitez: Newcastle United manager will ‘almost certainly leave’ this week when his contract expires

24 Jun

Rafael Benitez will ‘almost certainly’ leave Newcastle United when his contract as manager expires later this week, talkSPORT has been told.

The Spaniard’s deal runs out on Sunday and is expected to depart having failed to agree an extension with owner Mike Ashley.

Benitez’s future has been one of the biggest talking points around St James’ Park over the last 12 months as his contract winds down.

Rafa Benitez is a hero to Newcastle fans after taking the club back to the Premier League

His deal expires on June 30th – this coming Sunday – and there has been no official news over whether a new agreement has been struck, while he has been linked with a £12m-a-year job in China.

The Champions League-winning boss is beloved by the club’s avid fans, who have urged him to stay throughout the season.

But, according to talkSPORT’s man in the North East, Graham Courtney, Benitez will leave the Magpies this summer.


MORE: ‘Newcastle fans will never forgive Benitez if he leaves this summer’


Asked for the latest on the manager’s future, Courtney said on Monday’s Sports Breakfast: “Rafa Benitez will almost certainly go at the weekend.

“If he was going to stay, it would have been announced by now. I just can’t understand how there will be any other logical outcome.

Magpies supporters are desperate for Benitez to stay
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“It’s probably a bit of stubbornness from both sides.

“Rafa has simply said: ‘I’ve been here, I’ve got my feet under the table and I feel this club can really move forward. We got back into the Premier League and managed to survive, but let’s now move things on and have a right good run’.

“He’s obviously then gone to Mike Ashley. There’s no point in saying ‘sack the board’, there is no board – Mike Ashley is the person you have to talk to and deal with.

“And you end up with an immovable force on both sides.

“’This is the way this club works, we buy young players and sell them for a bit of a profit, we don’t do this, we don’t do that – and by the way, you’re on £6m a year and you can have the same again next year’.

“We understand he has been offered one-year extension on his contract, which expires on Sunday, and Rafa has said no.

“He wants to move the club on, he wants to do things at the training ground and rejig things when it comes to the youngster side of the club and the academy  – other clubs are putting stacks of money into trying to bring through young players.

Mike Ashley will have to begin the search for a Newcastle’s next manager with Benitez set to leave
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“But crucially, he wants to take over the bringing in and selling of players. He wants to be given the funds to do that.

“And Mike Ashley has simply said: “No, we don’t operate like that. That’s the way it’s going to be, it’s going to be the same as it was last year, take it or leave it.

“So Rafa, I’m afraid, at the end of this month his contract will run out and he will leave.”

Listen back to Graham Courtney on the Sports Breakfast in full above

Women’s World Cup: Officials to blame for ‘chaotic’ England vs Cameroon clash, says Laura Woods

24 Jun

Poor refereeing was to blame for tempers flaring in England’s 3-0 victory over Cameroon in the last-16 of the Women’s World Cup.

That’s the view of talkSPORT host Laura Woods, who believes officials allowed Cameroon players to take control of the ill-tempered clash.

Players of Cameroon argue with referee Qin Liang following England’s second goal
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Lionesses boss Phil Neville said he was ‘ashamed’ of the Cameroon players’ behaviour throughout the game in Valenciennes, as they reacted angrily over a number of game-changing decisions.

Players staged an on-pitch protest when England’s second goal was given by VAR after it was initially, incorrectly, disallowed for offside.

And they were outraged further in the second-half when Cameroon’s star forward Ajara Nchout had a goal ruled out by VAR for a marginal, yet correct, offside ruling.

Ajara Nchout of Cameroon (C) reacts after her goal is disallowed via a VAR decision
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There were also a number of nasty incidents throughout the game, with Yvonne Leuko booked for an apparent elbow on England winger Nikita Parris, Augustine Ejangue apparently spitting on Toni Duggan and Alexandra Takounda booked for a late, studs-up challenge on captain Steph Houghton.

Cameroon’s head coach insisted following the game his side ‘showed fair play’ and were victims of a ‘miscarriage of justice’.

And Woods said officials should have controlled the game better.

Speaking to Ally McCoist on Monday’s Sports Breakfast, Woods said: “Have you ever played against a team that lost its discipline to such an extent?

“The behaviour aside, what I think is worse is the way the officials didn’t deal with it.

“That’s what you’re there for, you have the ability to nip behaviour like that in the bud.

“I think they lost control of the game completely to such a degree that it just spiralled into absolute chaos. It was comedy at times, the way they were playing and the decisions they were making.

“At one point they had a group chat to decide whether or not, it seemed, to walk off the pitch and abandon the game.

“But rather than the referee saying, ‘what are you doing wasting time?’, she just let them have a chat!”

Ally McCoist can’t stop laughing at talkSPORT listeners’ superb Supermarket XI suggestions

21 Jun

Ally McCoist was in stitches once again as talkSPORT listeners sent in their superb suggestions for a football pun XI.

This time it was supermarket-based and they delivered by the trolleyful.

Friday is here, Ally was back in the presenter’s chair, and therefore it was time for another puntastic team to get everyone in the weekend mood on the Sports Breakfast.

You can always count on Ally McCoist for a laugh on a Friday morning
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The Scotland and Rangers legend is a big fan on a novelty football XI – we’ve heard he still giggles whenever Pie XI star ‘Chicken Tikka MoSalah’ pops into his head.

And he loved the names that were being thrown out by the brilliant talkSPORT faithful on social media this time around.

There were some superb ones – Petr Cechout, Trolley Gunnar Solskjaer, Emmanuel Asdabayor, but our personal favourite has to be: Roberto unexpected-item-in-the Baggio area.

In the words of Mr Aldi McCoyst: “I know it’s childish, but I don’t care – it’s magic!”

When we say your suggestions came in by the trolleyful, we weren’t joking.

Over 150 were sent in to talkSPORT via Twitter, and we scoured the comments for the best – here’s what we came up with…


talkSPORT’s Supermarket XI


Sir Alex Ferguson hated losing so much the legendary Manchester United boss cheated at cricket, Alex McLeish explained

21 Jun

It will surprise nobody that legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson liked to win, and that he was also the sorest of sore losers.

The Scot was a serial trophy winner at Old Trafford, winning 38 major honours – including 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, and two Champions League titles – in 26 years in charge.

Sir Alex Ferguson is Manchester United’s longest-serving manager and the most decorated football coach of all time
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He is considered by many to be the greatest manager in football history, knighted by the Queen and with his name on a stand at the Theatre of Dreams.

But you can’t be good at everything, as Alex McLeish revealed to talkSPORT on Friday!

McLeish, who played under Ferguson during his successful eight-year spell as manager of Aberdeen, regaled the Sports Breakfast with a brilliant tale about when his boss took the team to play cricket – and made up a new rule…

Former centre-back Alex McLeish was one of Scotland’s top players during Alex Ferguson’s spell in charge of Aberdeen
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McLeish said: “He took us to play cricket, we were kitted out in whites and of course the two guys with the biggest egos at the club had to be the opening batsmen – Willie Miller, the captain, and Sir Alex.

“The first three or four bowls Sir Alex popped them away and says, ‘I’m like Geoffrey boycott here, I’m going to be here for a long, long time’.

“And then he got clean bowled, but he didn’t walk!

“One of the players who is right into his cricket, Stuart Kennedy, said, ‘boss, why are you not walking? There’s a wicket over there, a wicket there, a wicket there, a bail over there – why are you not walking?

“And Sir Alex replied: ‘You cannae be out in the first over!’”

As Laura Woods quite rightly says: “You’re not going to argue with that, are you?”

‘Frank Lampard may regret it forever if he turns down Chelsea to stay at Derby’ – Mark Bosnich tells old team-mate to take dream job

21 Jun

Frank Lampard has been told he may regret it forever if he doesn’t accept the offer to become the new manager of Chelsea.

The Blues’ record goalscorer is expected to take over at Stamford Bridge following Maurizio Sarri’s departure to Juventus – but there is still no concrete news on when the deal will be done.

It has been reported for weeks that Lampard will leave Derby County after just one season in charge. However, the Championship club maintain they expect their boss to still be in the hotseat next season.

Frank Lampard enjoyed a brilliant first season in management – taking Derby to the Championship play-off final
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The former England midfielder still has two years left on his Rams contract, and owner Mel Morris has insisted they will not let their boss go without a fight.

It has even been claimed Derby have opened new contract talks with Lampard, while Chelsea are dragging their heels.

But former Chelsea goalkeeper Mark Bosnich has urged his old team-mate to take his ‘dream job’ in west London.

“I think it’s a great move for both parties,” the Australian said on Thursday’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.

“From a Chelsea perspective, the fact they’re banned for two transfer windows and have lost their best player in Eden Hazard, it may not be a smooth ride for them, but having a club legend will give them some breathing space.

“And for Frank, it’s a fantastic move.

“It’s a dream job, very few people in the world will be offered this job.

“If he stays with Derby and just say, for example, he loses seven of the first ten games and things aren’t going particularly well, he’ll forever be saying to himself, ‘I should have taken that opportunity’.

“I think it’s a really good move and I really do hope it works out for him.

“I was very close to Frank during my time at Chelsea. He not only was a wonderful player, he is a wonderful man as well and I think this will be ideal for him.”

Listen back to Mark Bosnich on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast IN FULL above

Jesse Lingard: Ally McCoist blasts Manchester United star for obscene social media video – ‘Imagine Sir Alex and Roy Keane watching that’

20 Jun

Ally McCoist has told Manchester United star Jessie Lingard to be a better role model for young fans after posting another embarrassing video on social media.

The England international has been active on social media throughout a post-season break in Miami with Marcus Rashford, but has done more than show his questionable taste in fashion.

He baffled supporters with a bizarre ‘Beans Beans Beans’ video which went viral online last week, but he sparked outrage with a second video he uploaded to Snapchat on Wednesday.

In the clip, Lingard is giving a quick tour of his and Rashford’s messy hotel suite and is heard shouting and swearing, while one of his friends also makes an obscene gesture in a bed.

A number of United fans responded to the video, branding the 27-year-old ‘embarrassing’, ‘unprofessional’ and ‘disrespectful’.

Some of the Old Trafford faithful even urged the club to get rid of him, claiming Lingard has been a negative influence on 21-year-old Rashford, while one supporter said the player ‘needs his head examined’.

Sports Breakfast hosts Alan Brazil and Ally McCoist were similarly annoyed by Lingard’s video and said the forward must be more responsible on social media,

“The sad thing is I’m not surprised, I don’t know if any of this nonsense on social media surprises me anymore,” Rangers legend McCoist said on talkSPORT.

“I understand totally that social media is a massive part of today’s world, particularly with the younger generation.

“But at the same time, surely you’ve got to show a bit of responsibility and common sense when you’re using it.

Lingard has been accused of caring more about his image and social media presence than his work on the pitch
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“I’m looking at the reaction from Manchester United fans, and they’re worse than angry, they feel completely let down.

“He’s well entitled to go on holiday and have a good time, but why would you put something like that on social media? Does he actually think that’s going to benefit him?

“I don’t think there’s ever been as much of a gulf between the top players and the fans. Young fans are looking for role models – that isn’t a role model.

“Bryan Robson, Roy Keane, Sir Alex Ferguson, imagine them watching that – what are they thinking?”

Phil Foden’s England Under-21 solo stunner ‘as good’ as Eden Hazard’s wondergoal against West Ham, says Dean Saunders

19 Jun

Dean Saunders has compared Phil Foden’s sublime solo goal for England’s Under-21s to Eden Hazard’s stunner in the Premier League against West Ham.

The Manchester City midfielder gave the world a glimpse of his incredible talent as he skinned five players before coolly slotting past the France goalkeeper to give England the lead in their European Under-21 Championship opener on Tuesday night.

The goal was so good, many of us have forgotten the Young Lions went on to lose the game!

It was an eventful clash in Cesena, Italy, as Aidy Boothroyd’s side conceded twice late on to lose 2-1, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka scoring a decisive own-goal in injury-time, after Leicester City’s Hamza Choudhury was sent off for a reckless challenge.

But while the result may soon be forgotten, Foden’s individual brilliance will surely live long in the memory.

And Saunders believes the 19-year-old’s strike is up there with Hazard’s dazzling goal for Chelsea against West Ham, which won the Premier League Goal of the Month award back in April.

“For me, that goal last night was as good as the goal Hazard scored [against West Ham] where he shifted the ball between his feet,” said the Welshman on Wednesday’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.

“It was a brilliant individual goal, but that goal last night was as good.”

Foden is facing a crucial time in his career after breaking through into Pep Guardiola’s first-team last term.

The young midfielder made 13 Premier League appearances for City durign 2018/19, although only three of those were as part of the starting XI.

The 19-year-old has been linked with a move away from Manchester City on loan this summer, in order to gain more first team experience.

Pep Guardiola has carefully managed the development of Phil Foden at Manchester City
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But Saunders insists Foden is better off staying at City and learning as much as he can from Guardiola and his talented team-mates.

“I personally think he should stay with Guardiola,” the former Liverpool and Aston Villa striker added.

“Training every day and learning from all those great players, it’s going to help him more than going out on loan.

“All the little things they do in training, their patterns of play from the back, he’s going to learn that and get better at it.”

Paul Pogba: Constant negativity surrounding Manchester United star is unfair, says former defender Danny Higginbotham

19 Jun

Danny Higginbotham believes Paul Pogba is an unfair magnet for negativity and criticism at Manchester United, despite his recent comments about wanting a ‘new challenge’ this summer.

Pogba is already in many supporters’ bad books after an inconsistent season, but he angered many more United fans this weekend by publicly courting a possible move away from Old Trafford.

The French midfielder, linked with moves to Real Madrid and Juventus this summer, said during a promotional trip to Japan for adidas: ‘It could be a good time to have a new challenge somewhere else’.

Paul Pogba’s Manchester United days appear to be numbered
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Pogba has been widely slammed for his comments and his apparent lack of respect for United.

And while Higginbotham admits the midfielder has done himself no favours, he believes people are too quick to criticise and judge the World Cup winning star.

Speaking on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, the talkSPORT pundit and former defender said: “Obviously what Pogba did and what he said does not look good for United, and the first thing they need to do is sit down with him. He’s not helping the situation.

“But when you look at him as a player, at times I think he’s probably given too much negativity.

“Just look at the top teams in the Premier League at the moment – when you talk about Liverpool it’s about the collective, you talk about Mane, Firmnio and Salah, when you talk about Manchester City you talk about De Bruyne, both [David and Bernado Silva], Sterling and Aguero, and Tottenham the likes of Kane, Alli, Eriksen and Son.

“Whereas with Manchester United, when something goes wrong, it’s Paul Pogba’s fault.

“That’s the frustration, because you look at the way he plays and at some points he’s given a raw deal.

Paul Pogba ended the season as Man United’s top scorer (16 goals, 11 assists), but was criticised for his inconsistency and poor attitude over the campaign
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“Yes, I agree 100 per cent with a lot of fans about what he’s done at the weekend, it doesn’t help him or endear him to the United supporters.

“But I just think he has been looked at so many times as a negative, when – it doesn’t matter who you are, maybe apart from Messi and Ronaldo – you can’t do it on your own. It’s a simple as that.”

Listen back to Danny Higginbotham on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast IN FULL above

Gareth Bale at Real Madrid: Manchester United transfer target has ‘not lived up to expectation’, says former president Ramon Calderon

19 Jun

Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon has told talkSPORT Gareth Bale has ‘not lived up to expectation’ at the Bernabeu.

The forward has been strongly linked with a move away from the Spanish giants this summer as he is apparently no longer in Zinedine Zidane’s plans.

However, Bale is playing hard ball with his club as they seek to offload him.

Gareth Bale has spent more and more time on the bench since Zidane’s return as manager in March
Getty Images

Manchester United and former side Tottenham have been mooted at possible destinations, but the winger is determined to remain in Spain to see out the remainder of his bumper £480,000-a-week contract, even if he doesn’t play.

An exit on loan has also been suggested, but Bale’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, recently dismissed those claims, saying ‘there’s more chance of me winning at Ascot’ and that it ‘would take something exceptional’ for the player to leave Real Madrid.

It is clear Bale’s time in Spain has turned sour, having lost favour with his manager and supporters – who last month voted unanimously for the Welshman to depart their club this summer.

And Calderon says the 29-year-old has not proved value for money since his £85m arrival from Spurs.

That is despite winning 13 major honours in six years Real Madrid, including four Champions League titles, and managing 102 goals and 64 assists in 231 games, including scoring one of the Champions League final’s greatest goals.

A bit harsh, maybe?

Asked about Bale’s future on Wednesday’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, Calderon said: “It’s a problem.

“I feel sorry for the player, but the truth is he hasn’t lived up to the expectation when he came.

“After six years, his situation is very difficult.

Gareth Bale honours at Real Madrid:

  • La Liga: 2016/17
  • Copa del Rey: 2013/14
  • Supercopa de Espana: 2017
  • Champions League: 2013/14, 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18
  • UEFA Super Cup: 2014, 2016, 2017
  • FIFA Club World Cup: 2014, 2017, 2018
Gareth Bale is surplus to requirements at Real Madrid, just one season after scoring two crucial goals to win the Champions League final against Liverpool
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“Zidane has discarded him in his mind, clearly, and he proved that in the last two months when he took over the club and Bale sat on the bench.

“For me, the best option would be a loan, but we’ve heard what Bale’s agent has said, it’s easier to see him winning Ascot than leaving on loan.

“So it’s a difficult situation for him.”

Listen back to Ramon Calderon on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast IN FULL above

Aston Villa coach John Terry tipped to be a top manager amid links with replacing Frank Lampard as Derby County boss

18 Jun

Ian Holloway has tipped Chelsea legend John Terry for a bright future as a manager, amid reports linking him with the top job at Derby County.

The former centre-back went from Aston Villa player last season to Aston Villa coach this season and helped the club seal promotion back to the Premier League via the Championship play-offs.

John Terry is said to have had a positive influence on the Villa dressing room this season, particularly with the club’s young players
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And, after one season on Dean Smith’s staff, he is being linked to the Rams as a potential replacement for Frank Lampard.

According to the Daily Mail, Terry is among the leading candidates to take over at Pride Park if his old friend leaves to succeed Maurizio Sarri at Stamford Bridge.

Many may question whether Terry would be a wise appointment given his lack of experience – as many did when Lampard was given the job last summer.

Chelsea are expected to make an approach for Frank Lampard now that Maurizio Sarri has taken charge of Juventus
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But Holloway believes Terry has all the right qualities to succeed in management, saying the former Chelsea and England captain has a ‘wonderful presence’ in the dugout.

Speaking on Tuesday’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, the ex-Queens Park Rangers boss said: “I was at the play-off final, and I was lucky enough to be working almost around the pitch as all the players first came out.

“He was pulling them aside, talking to them.

“Tyrone Mings said he wanted to go on loan to Aston Villa to learn from him.

“He’s got a presence, and it’s a wonderful presence. There’s a calmness about him. The belief he gave Villa that day…

“Dean Smith doesn’t need John Terry, in my opinion, because Dean Smith and his backroom staff are a different class.

“But Dean has said what a wonderful lad he is, what a wonderful member of staff he is and that’s he’s enjoyed working with him.

“So he’s got all sorts of things that automatically make him look like a manager, to me.”

Listen back to Ian Holloway on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast IN FULL above!