Gibraltar 0-1 Republic of Ireland: Jeff Hendrick strikes to give Mick McCarthy victory on his second debut as manager in bid to reach Euro 2020

23 Mar

Jeff Hendrick gave Mick McCarthy a winning start to his second spell in charge as the Republic of Ireland launched their Euro 2020 campaign with a narrow victory in Gibraltar.

Hendrick’s first international goal since September 2016 ultimately settled a tight encounter fought out on a plastic pitch in swirling winds at the Victoria Stadium in front of the man who famously led the nation to the 2002 World Cup finals.

Mick McCarthy got his second reign as Ireland boss off with a win

It was far from pretty on a night when Ireland dominated possession against a team consisting largely of part-time footballers, but created few clear-cut chances.

However, they left having banked three Group D points, the minimum requirement heading into Tuesday night’s clash with fast-improving Georgia at the Aviva Stadium.

The lack of inspiration which plagued the latter days of Martin O’Neill’s reign remains an issue, and although the difficult conditions had a part to play, McCarthy knows it is a failing which must be addressed if his team are to qualify for the finals.

Gibraltar started brightly and saw ambitious appeals for an early penalty waved away after midfielder Liam Walker blasted a shot into a mass of white shirts.

Richard Keogh turned down hand surgery to play for his country

Keeper Darren Randolph could have been forgiven for being distracted four minutes in when a plane took off from the airport runway just a couple of hundred yards behind his goal.

However, it was opposite number Kyle Goldwin who had cause for concern as David McGoldrick sent a seventh-minute volley over the bar, although he was able to get his hands on Richard Keogh’s stabbed effort after Hendrick had fired across the penalty area four minutes later.

Shane Duffy only just failed to reach Conor Hourihane’s 15th-minute free-kick as Ireland started to dominate possession, although McCarthy on the sidelines could be heard repeatedly urging his players to move the ball more quickly.

They would have taken the lead in fortuitous circumstances with 28 minutes gone had it not been for Goldwin’s excellent reactions.

Jeff Hendrick celebrates with the travelling fans at the final whistle

Seamus Coleman made the most of the space he and Matt Doherty were being afforded down the right to send in a driven cross which defender Roy Chipolina could only head towards his own goal, prompting the keeper to instinctively throw out a hand and somehow turn the ball over the crossbar.

Ireland were struggling to find space in the final third, but they did just that five minutes before the break when Sean Maguire laid the ball into Coleman’s path and his low cross was just about smuggled away before McGoldrick could pounce.

However, as the half-time whistle sounded, Goldwin remained unbeaten and Irish frustration unbroken.

Indeed, it might have grown significantly within seconds of the restart when Chipolina powered a header towards goal from Walker’s corner and Randolph reacted smartly to repel his effort.

The Republic’s nerves were settled just three minutes later when Hourihane played McGoldrick into space down the left and he cut into the penalty area before looking up and rolling the ball into the path of the fast-arriving Hendrick, who swept his first-time shot inside the far post.

Ireland were considerably more composed as they set about the task of cementing their lead with Robbie Brady added to the mix in place of Doherty, although their advantage might have disappeared with 64 minutes gone when Lee Casciaro curled a shot across Randolph but just wide of the far post.

Randolph was pleased to see Keogh, playing with a lightweight cast on his broken right hand, take the sting out of Walker’s 75th-minute drive and Ireland saw out time with few real scares.

Every Premier League club’s highest-paid player revealed including Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Gonzalo Higuain

24 Jan

When Chelsea confirmed the loan signing of Gonzalo Higuain from Juventus on Wednesday evening, rumours soon began to swirl about just how much the former Real Madrid star will earn.

Brought to Stamford Bridge by boss Maurizio Sarri to add goals to a rather feeble frontline, the Argentina international is still regarded as one of the deadliest strikers in Europe.

Higuain will earn almost £300,000-a-week at Chelsea

Such is his reputation, the Daily Star claim the Blues are going to fork out around £270,000-a-week on top of the £9million loan fee for six months of the 31-year-old’s services.

However, while this would make him the biggest earner at Chelsea, this does not place him at the top of the Premier League’s highest earners pile.

According to the findings from the 2019 Deloitte Money League report, Premier League clubs experienced tremendous amounts of growth during the 2017-18.

Naturally, as clubs grow financially stronger, the spending on top talent increases and this is best perfectly exemplified in the amounts the highest-paid players at each club earn.

Thanks to data provided by spotrac.com, we have been able to calculate how much the top earner at every Premier League club earns.

Scroll down to see who is the biggest earner at your club and how much they earn a week.

AFC Bournemouth – Asmir Begovic

Asmir Begovic

Signed in the summer of 2017, Begovic was used to picking up a hefty wage packet at Chelsea, but wanted to get regular game time.

The 31-year-old now reportedly earns £70,000-a-week, replacing Rangers new boy Jermain Defoe at the top of the wage bill.

Arsenal – Mesut Ozil

Mesut Ozil

With his contract running out last season, the Arsenal board decided to give the playmaker a huge £350,000-a-week deal at the Emirates.

However, several former Gunners have told talkSPORT the mercurial talent should be sold. Alan Smith told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast the 30-year-old should be sold to raise funds.

Brighton and Hove Albion – Jose Izquierdo

Jose Izquierdo

The Colombia international has shown flashes of brilliance in his year and a half in England.

Seagulls fans will perhaps want more consistency from the jet-heeled winger – especially considering he earns £45,000-a-week.

Burnley – Six players on £35,000

There are six players in total on £35,000-a-week

With Sean Dyche apparently keen to enforce a tight wage structure at Turf Moor, there are six players on £35,000-a-week at Burnley.

Chris Wood, Jeff Hendrick, Robbie, Brady, Tom Heaton, Steven Defour and Jack Cork are all on the relatively low sum.

Cardiff City – Harry Arter

Harry Arter

Although technically still a Bournemouth player, Harry Arter is currently playing his trade for Neil Warnock’s side.

The Republic of Ireland international will hope to keep the Bluebirds in the Premier League to justify his £40,000-a-week salaray.

Chelsea – Gonzalo Higuain

Gonzalo Higuain

As mentioned previously, Higuain is set to come in and shatter the current wage structure at Chelsea and pocket a healthy £270,000-a-week.

Before that, Eden Hazard was the highest earner at the club on £200,000-a-week.

Crystal Palace – Wilfried Zaha

Wilfried Zaha

Despite a rumoured move to Borussia Dortmund in the summer, Zaha has stayed loyal to the Eagles in spite of Premier League interest.

Back in August, the Ivory Coast international signed a deal worth £130,000-a-week to keep him at Selhurst Park until 2023.

Everton – Gylfi Sigurdsson

Gylfi Sigurdsson

Officially Gyfi Sigurdsson is the highest-paid player at Goodison Park on £150,000-a-week.

There are reports that free signing Bernard earns a similar wage with the Toffees, although this has not been confirmed and could revolve around an incentive-based structure.

Fulham – Aleksandar Mitrovic

Aleksandar Mitrovic

The Serbia striker enjoyed a fantastic loan spell at Craven Cottage towards the end of last season to get the club back into the Premier League.

However, fans will be concerned Mitrovic is earning around £50,000-a-week and the club are still firmly in the bottom three.

Huddersfield Town – Alex Pritchard

Alex Pritchard

The former England Under-20 midfielder came through the Tottenham Hotspur academy in his youth, but failed to make the grade.

Having secured a permanent move to the John Smith’s Stadium, Pritchard reportedly agreed to a stunning £110,000-a-week deal.

Leicester City – Jamie Vardy

Jamie Vardy

Back in the summer of 2016, Premier League champions Leicester were concerned about interest from rival Premier League sides in the prolific Vardy.

In order to stave off the glances from interested foes, the Foxes secured the former England international to a £100,000-a-week contract.

Liverpool – Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah

When Salah arrived from Roma in the summer of 2017, the Chelsea reject was on a relatively modest contract.

However, after an incredible haul of 32 goals in the Premier League, the Reds moved to make him the highest-paid player at Anfield on £200,000-a-week. A contract fit for the ‘Egyptian King’.

Manchester City – Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne

Almost a year to the day, the Belgium international signed a new contract at the Etihad worth £350,000-a-week once bonuses are taken into account.

De Bruyne has suffered with injuries this season, but is one of the finest midfielders in Europe on his day.

Manchester United – Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez

When it became clear Arsenal were not going to cave in and give Alexis Sanchez the lucrative contract he so clearly desired, a host of Premier League rivals came sniffing.

With rivals City in pole position, Jose Mourinho convinced the Red Devils board to give the Chilean a deal worth a reported £500,00-a-week. Safe to say it hasn’t panned out as planned.

Newcastle United – Jonjo Shelvey

Jonjo Shelvey

Touted for an England call-up before last summer’s World Cup, the 26-year-old has the vision and ability to take him to the top.

The Magpies clearly feel this to be true, offering Shelvey £70,000-a-week when they signed him from Swansea City on a five-year deal in 2016.

Southampton – Danny Ings

Danny Ings

After a torrid time with knee injuries, Ings left Liverpool on a loan deal to rediscover his form and fitness.

After Manolo Gabbiadini completed a permanent transfer back to Sampdoria this month, the Englishman became the highest-paid player at the club on £75,000-a-week.

Tottenham Hotspur – Harry Kane

Harry Kane

An ankle injury may mean Kane is sat on the sidelines, but the England captain is still earning around £200,000-a-week.

With Real Madrid reportedly sniffing after the World Cup Golden Boot winner, Spurs moved quickly to sign the 25-year-old up on a new deal in June.

Watford – Andre Gray

Andre Gray

The former Burnley striker turned heads when he moved to Vicarage Road in a club-record deal worth £18.5million in 2017.

Unfortunately, the striker has failed to justify his £70,000-a-week wages and has netted just eight goals in 46 appearances.

West Ham United – Javier Hernandez

Jabier Hernandez

After years of watching the likes of Mido and Benni McCarthy up front, West Ham fans thought they had hit the jackpot when they signed Chicharito in 2017.

However, the Mexico international has failed to justify his whopping £140,000-a-week contract and a move to Valencia this month has been mentioned.

Wolverhampton Wanderers – Ruben Neves

Ruben Neves

The wonderkid from Porto is a hero at Molineux and will surely attract transfer offers from one of the bigger clubs in Europe in the not-too distant future.

Even in the Championship last season the 21-year-old was reportedly earning £50,000-a-week.