Football | The Guardian
John Barnes: ‘I was seen as the voice of reason on race. I haven’t changed’ | Sachin Nakrani
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 23:01:07 GMT
The former England and Liverpool winger on why he is no apologist for racism and how it can be tackled at its roots

“Football, and you can put this in your article,” John Barnes says as he leans forward and points at the dictaphone on the table between us, “is the least racist industry in this country. Yes, you have people shouting racist abuse and throwing bananas on the field, and there are issues regarding the number of black coaches and managers in the game, but which other industry allows a young black boy the exact same opportunity as a young white boy? Even at League One and League Two level you’ll see five or six black players, because they are given an opportunity to maximise their potential.”

Barnes has never been afraid to speak his mind when it comes to the issues that have increasingly come to define him – race and racism, on and off the field. He is arguably the most famous black player in England and had to endure racism as a player – the picture of him back-heeling a banana off the pitch during a Merseyside derby in 1988 is iconic.

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Gareth Southgate’s England gamble after James Maddison’s casino visit | David Hytner
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 21:38:00 GMT
The England manager will talk to the Leicester playmaker after the team return from their match against Bulgaria

Rather abruptly, Gareth Southgate finds his back pressed to the wall and it is principally because of what happened in Prague last Friday night. In the England manager’s opinion, the 2-1 Euro 2020 qualifying defeat against Czech Republic was one of the most disappointing games of his three‑year tenure. “Certainly in the last 18 months, that would be the first time that we’ve let ourselves down in terms of the level of the performance,” Southgate said.

Related: Gareth Southgate ponders formation switch after Czech Republic defeat

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Wales hopeful of qualifying after Bale salvages point against Croatia
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 21:02:47 GMT

This, as Ryan Giggs was only too happy to highlight, might yet prove a priceless point for Wales in the grand scheme of things. They were made to work overtime against Group E leaders Croatia, with Gareth Bale cancelling out a ninth-minute opener by Nikola Vlasic in a bruising encounter punctuated by several wholehearted challenges, including an inauspicious first-half collision that left the Manchester United winger Daniel James in a heap. James went on to complete the match but Ethan Ampadu was not so fortunate five minutes into the second half, hobbling off after clashing with the Croatia forward Bruno Petkovic, who laid on Vlasic’s opener.

James said he was not knocked unconscious and his manager suggested the winger feigned injury, despite being grounded after being sandwiched by the Croatia pair Domagoj Vida and Borna Barisic, who flung themselves at a loose ball that James tried to head on out to the right flank. The ground fell silent and the referee Bjorn Kuipers immediately signalled for medical attention, which James received for almost three minutes.

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Bulgaria’s Krasimir Balakov says English game has more of an issue with racism
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 19:52:29 GMT

• Manager points to problems at ‘various levels’ in English game
• Responds to England fears of ‘racist chanting’ at Euro qualifier

Krasimir Balakov has insisted English football has more of a problem with racism than Bulgaria despite the Euro 2020 qualifier on Monday night being held in a partially closed stadium. Uefa imposed sanctions after incidents during Bulgaria’s matches against Kosovo and the Czech Republic in June.

Balakov, Bulgaria’s manager, also accused England of increasing tension in the build-up to the match after the Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham claimed that Gareth Southgate’s side would walk off the pitch if they are on the receiving end of racist chanting.

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Petr Cech breaks the ice with match-winning penalty shootout save | Sachin Nakrani
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 21:33:33 GMT
Former Chelsea and Arsenal goalkeeper made his ice hockey debut for Guildford Phoenix – and ended up a hero

For Petr Cech it was a dream start to a somewhat surreal change of careers. In his first game for Guildford Phoenix ice hockey team the Premier League and Champions League-winning goalkeeper was the hero of the evening, saving the crucial shot in the penalty shootout to secure a victory that, in its own way, ranks highly in the 37-year-old’s long list of achievements.

For sure Cech looked delighted as he was named Phoenix’s man of the match amid their celebrations at Guildford Spectrum leisure centre, a place where pensioners can swim for less than a fiver and families of four can go tenpin bowling for £23 exactly. To call it modest compared to some of the venues Cech has competed in would be an understatement.

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Football transfer rumours: Bruno Fernandes to Tottenham Hotspur?
Mon, 14 Oct 2019 07:54:58 GMT

Today’s tell-all didn’t get where it is today learning about the ‘them and us’ situation which bedevils British industry so tragically

With Christian Eriksen expected to leave the Premier League for pastures new in January, Tottenham Hotspur will be needing a replacement for their out-of-sorts Danish dynamo. Sporting midfielder Bruno Fernandes remains the man they see as ideal to fill the 27-year-old’s Nikes and they plan to ramp up their interest in the Portugal international come New Year’s Day, after failing in their efforts to recruit him during the summer.

Related: Petr Cech breaks the ice with match-winning penalty shootout save | Sachin Nakrani

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John McGinn hits hat-trick in Scotland’s hollow demolition of San Marino
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 18:33:38 GMT

John McGinn scored a first-half hat-trick as Scotland defeated San Marino 6-0 on an increasingly waterlogged Hampden pitch.

Lawrence Shankland and Stuart Findlay got their first international goals during a second half played in terrible conditions. Stuart Armstrong made it six after a bizarre incident in the latter stages.

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Euro 2020 roundup: Russia and Poland qualify as 10-man Germany win
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 23:10:00 GMT

• Emre Can sent off in Estonia but Germany win 3-0
• Georginio Wijnaldum scores twice for Netherlands

Germany went level on points at the top of Group C despite having Emre Can sent off early in the first half in Estonia, for bringing down Frank Liivak when he was the last man.

However, Ilkay Gündogan steadied Germany’s nerves when he gave them the lead in the 51st minute and six minutes later his shot deflected off Karol Mets for an own goal. Timo Werner added a third with 19 minutes remaining as Germany consolidated second place and Joachim Löw praised his team’s temperament. “We had to regroup after the red card,” the manager said. “The decisive factor was that we increased the tempo in the second half and kept calm.”

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Pierre van Hooijdonk: ‘I told Ron Atkinson he was a pub manager’
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 08:00:02 GMT

The Dutch striker on his time at Nottingham Forest, Celtic and returning to Glasgow to pay tribute to Fernando Ricksen

Pierre van Hooijdonk does a very good Ron Atkinson impression. It is genuinely funny as, in the lobby of an Amsterdam hotel, he tries in vain to collapse his 6ft 4in frame into something resembling Big Ron. The Dutchman’s accent and intonation, however, are spot on as we discuss his final few months under Atkinson at Nottingham Forest in 1998-99, when the club was relegated from the Premier League. They have not been back since.

Related: Steve Ogrizovic: ‘I enjoyed the police. I was good at clearing bars and clubs’

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Chelsea recover from early blow to end Arsenal’s unbeaten run
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 16:35:53 GMT

The Chelsea manager, Emma Hayes, was full of praise for the depth and versatility of her team after a thunderbolt from the substitute Maria Thorisdottir earned a precious victory and ended the 11-game winning run of the Women’s Super League champions, Arsenal.

“If you get it right you’re an unbelievable manager, if you don’t you’re a pile of shite,” Hayes said with a grin. “I got it right today, that for me is what wisdom is about, you’ve got to get more right than not, more often.”

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Gareth Southgate’s constant revolution leaves England in a spin
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 17:55:42 GMT

Change is good but the England manager’s tactical tinkering is starting to feel reckless as the Euro 2020 defeat in Prague shows

“At that moment, Svejk looked as if he had fallen down from the skies from another planet and was now looking with a naive wonder at a new world, where people were demanding from him idiotic questions he had never heard before.”

Jaroslav Hasek’s great Czech comic novel The Good Soldier Svejk follows its amiable hero through the contortions of central Europe during the first world war. Its real subject, though, is human folly, human conflict and the absurdity of human attempts to manage the chaos. At which point cut to Mason Mount on Friday night in Prague, another likeable ingenue who seemed at times also to have fallen from the skies, baffled by his own role in this drama, looking about himself in a state of otherworldly bemusement.

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‘We need to be better’: Harry Maguire admits England defence must improve
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 21:30:34 GMT

• Maguire says struggles at club level may have had impact
• England have conceded five times in last two matches

Harry Maguire has acknowledged that England’s defending must improve after defeat by Czech Republic and admitted that a testing start to the season for several of Gareth Southgate’s first-choice backline contributed to their slapdash display in Prague.

Maguire has struggled to live up to his status as the world’s most expensive defender since moving to Old Trafford in the summer for £80m, with the former Leicester player again noticeably below his best against the Czechs. It was a similar story for fellow centre-half Michael Keane, who - like Everton teammate Jordan Pickford - has suffered four consecutive Premier League defeats and was caught out at the back post for Jakub Brabec’s equaliser in the first half.

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Gareth Southgate ponders formation switch after Czech Republic defeat
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 21:30:33 GMT

• England manager considers switch back to three-man defence
• Team faces Bulgaria in next Euro 2020 qualifier

Gareth Southgate has said he would consider a switch back to a three-man defence as he picked over the tactical flaws that led to Friday’s 2-1 defeat against Czech Republic in Prague. The England manager, whose team face Bulgaria in Sofia on Monday in the second game of the Euro 2020 qualification double-header, felt the tremors from the Czech reverse more keenly because of how smoothly his team had progressed in the campaign up to that point.

England’s 100% record was taken apart and so was Southgate’s faith in the 4-2-3-1 system with which he began the game. With his team over-run in midfield and unable to take a grip in creative terms, he reverted to a more familiar 4-3-3 for the second half, which served to bring more cohesion. That said, the overall performance fell some way short of the expected levels and Southgate indicated that a move to a back three was an option, although most likely not for the Bulgaria game.

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Euro 2020 roundup: Italy qualify, while Spain are delayed by Norway
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 21:16:06 GMT
• Italy’s Jorginho scores penalty in 2-0 win against Greece
• Josh King scores dramatic added-time penalty for Norway

Italy secured their place in the Euro 2020 finals with a 2-0 win over Greece in Group J. Chelsea’s Jorginho put Italy ahead from the spot in Rome after Andreas Bouchalakis handled and Federico Bernardeschi made it two with 10 minutes left. There was no debating the penalty, with Bouchalakis sticking out his left arm to block Lorenzo Insigne’s shot.

Italy’s qualification was secured in when Bernardeschi let fly from 25 yards, with his effort taking a slight deflection and nestling in the bottom corner. Insigne came close to adding a third, Alexandros Paschalakis producing another good save.

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Football League: Crewe top League Two as Morecambe slip to bottom
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 17:24:55 GMT
  • Bristol Rovers move fourth in League One by beating MK Dons
  • Wimbledon continue improvement under Glyn Hodges

With the top two out of action Peterborough were the day’s outstanding achievers, leaping from seventh to third courtesy of a 2-0 victory over Lincoln in which all the notable action came in the last 10 minutes. Louis Reed opened the scoring in the 82nd minute with a vicious drive from just outside the area, and though he was sent off in stoppage time Ivan Toney had by then doubled their advantage with a delicious angled lob. Bristol Rovers, eighth before kick-off, stayed in their slipstream to move to fourth after a 1-0 win over MK Dons, Tom Davies scoring his first goal since November 2015 to secure the points and inflict a fifth successive league defeat on the visitors.

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Keira Walsh pounces early as Manchester City swat aside Birmingham
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 16:45:54 GMT

There could not have been a much tougher test for Marta Tejedor’s goalless and pointless Birmingham than unbeaten Manchester City and Keira Walsh was the architect as the hosts made sure they piled the pressure on the Midlands side with a comfortable 3-0 win.

Nick Cushing described Walsh as “the most intelligent player I’ve ever worked with” after the holding midfielder provided the opener from distance and helped create their second. “It’s her ability to control the buildup,” Cushing said. “I’m smiling because we have a bit of banter about it, she controls our buildup in ways we don’t work on, she’s a very smart player. You can see that if she plays well our team has the ability to go on and win football games.

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Republic of Ireland draw in Georgia and miss chance to take control of Group D
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 14:59:37 GMT

Aaron Connolly, on debut, almost snatched victory after coming off the bench to spark a late surge for the Republic of Ireland who laboured to a goalless draw in Georgia.

The 19-year-old forced a 90th-minute save from Giorgi Loria and then fired into the side-netting when he might have done better in a cameo that almost paid rich dividends.

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Next Generation 2019: 60 of the best young talents in world football
Thu, 10 Oct 2019 09:00:14 GMT

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

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

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Next Generation 2019: 20 of the best talents at Premier League clubs
Wed, 09 Oct 2019 09:15:45 GMT

The Guardian selects the best young players at each club born between 1 September 2002 and 31 August 2003, an age band known as first-year scholars. Check the progress of class of 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014

Photographs by David Price/Arsenal/Getty Images, Neville Williams/Aston Villa/Getty Images, AFC Bournemouth, Paul Hazlewood/BHAFC, Paul Dennis/TGS/Shutterstock, Clive Howes/Chelsea/Getty Images, Danny Loo/PPAUK, Emma Simpson/Everton/Getty Images, Nick Taylor/Liverpool/Getty Images, Manchester City/Getty Images, Ash Donelon/Manchester United/Getty Images, Jason Dawson/Jasonpix, James Wilson/Sportimage, Simon Bellis/Sportimage, Robin Jones/Digital South/Southampton FC, Tottenham Hotspur/Getty Images, Alan Cozzi/Watford, Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United and Sam Bagnall/AMA

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Next Generation: after five years, how has our first full class of picks fared?
Tue, 08 Oct 2019 13:00:21 GMT

From Rashford to Tielemans, we check in on how our initial Next Generation players have got on before the 2019 ones are announced this week

In 2014 we decided that it would be interesting to pick the best young players from each Premier League club – as well as 40 from around the world – and follow them for five years to see how they progressed.

The idea was to try to get a sense of how difficult it is to become a professional footballer despite being one of the best in that country at the age of 16 or 17.

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