I CANNOT question players withdrawing from international duty claiming they are injured.
I wonder sometimes if it were the World Cup final whether those pulls and twinges would heal quicker? But there you go.
The one thing I do question is a player apparently refusing a call-up because he claims he has not played enough football.
Danny Drinkwater, what were you thinking? If you have not played enough football, take the opportunity to play some!
Going forward he is not the sort of person I would want in my squad. Given that attitude he shouldn’t be picked again.
It is England v Germany at Wembley for crying out loud.
Most players in my era would have given anything for that opportunity . . . yes, even to be on the bench.
For some time the big question mark with England is whether the players really want to play for the Three Lions enough?
Is their club more important and international football just a diversion?
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I have said many times in this column how pulling on an England shirt appears to be a burden for some when it should be the opposite.
It should lift you up, make you proud, push you to another level.
Those are the sort of players we need, not the ones crushed by the expectation.
I cannot point a finger at those called up on Friday night as they stepped up to the mark.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek being the best example.
What has to happen if these players fill in and do well, is that they get rewarded by being picked again, no matter who is available. Only then will players start running through brick walls for England, like they do for their clubs.
There was certainly a freedom and vibrancy about Loftus-Cheek’s play that suggested playing for England was a real joy.
Hopefully we see that again tomorrow with another prestige friendly against Brazil.
It is always a mistake to get carried away with anything surrounding England given the last few decades of under achievement.
Yet there is certainly a lot to be positive about right now.
I have chosen a team for the opening game in Russia but the fact it is open for debate tells you we have options.
Harry Winks in midfield has come to the fore in recent months and deserves his chance.
Kieran Trippier also showed there is competition for a place on the right as well.
So gradually under Gareth Southgate I can see progression.
Are we going to win the World Cup this summer? No.
But a team that aims to, gives it a go and makes the country proud will certainly be a step in the right direction.
Heading for trouble
I HOPE those who saw my documentary on the correlation between heading a football and dementia found it interesting.
It certainly opened my eyes to the inherent dangers and I was glad my own scan showed no damage from heading a ball.
But I have been stunned by the number of ex-players who have contacted me in recent days saying that they are suffering as a result of playing the game.
Do we ban heading? I am not saying that — but players should be aware of the dangers and if there is potential for long-term damage to their health.
If there is, then at least they can make an educated choice.
The wrong option is to bury your head in the sand — and those who run our game have been doing that for far too long.
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Diego Simeone’s representatives ‘contact Everton over manager’s role’ fuelling speculation that he could be set to leave Atletico Madrid
DIEGO SIMEONE has been linked once again with the Everton job after news the Atletico Madrid manager’s representatives reportedly contacted the Toffees about the vacant manager’s position. According to reports, the 47-year-old’s team have been in contact with the Everton board over the vacant berth on Merseyside, after Ronald Koeman was sacked a month ago. It […]
DIEGO SIMEONE has been linked once again with the Everton job after news the Atletico Madrid manager’s representatives reportedly contacted the Toffees about the vacant manager’s position.
According to reports, the 47-year-old’s team have been in contact with the Everton board over the vacant berth on Merseyside, after Ronald Koeman was sacked a month ago.
It had been widely reported Everton were the ones in contact with Simeone, but now it seems the truth was it was the other way around.
Simeone’s tenure in the Spanish capital appears to be coming to an end, with the club stagnating under a transfer embargo and the fans booing their star striker.
Atletico drew 0-0 with rivals Real Madrid over the weekend and look highly unlikely to progress in the Champions League after falling behind Chelsea and AS Roma in Group C.
According to the Liverpool Echo, Everton were contacted by the Argentinian’s representatives, as he looks like he has his eye on a sensational move to the Premier League.
The thought of highly-rated Simeone managing in the opposite dugout to Jurgen Klopp in a Merseyside derby is a mouthwatering prospect.
The former Inter Milan, Lazio and Atletico midfielder had appeared to suggest star forward Antoine Griezmann could be on his way out of the Wanda Metropolitano after scoring just four goals so far this term.
Diego Costa is also coming in for the club in January after leaving Chelsea, but there will be question marks over his fitness from the off.
But Simeone did back Griezmann ahead of their clash with Roma.
He said: “It is normal that he is worried.
“He needs a goal. It has been many games since he scored, he’s had chances but when he doesn’t score, he suffers, as do the team and the fans.
“We have to give him confidence and calm. At some point it will all return to normal.”
Champions League: All five English clubs are favourites to top their groups – but they may not be happy with result
ALL of England’s Champions League contenders go into the final round of matches in pole position to top their groups. But their joy could well be short lived if they look at what’s in store for them. Manchester United, City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham are all sitting pretty and, should, ensure a first-place finish and […]
ALL of England’s Champions League contenders go into the final round of matches in pole position to top their groups.
But their joy could well be short lived if they look at what’s in store for them.
Manchester United, City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham are all sitting pretty and, should, ensure a first-place finish and theoretically an easier draw.
But Spurs’ run has thrown up a huge potential road block for their Premier League rivals in defending champions Real Madrid.
Los Blancos have been struggling for form this season but their 6-0 demolition of Apoel Nicosia proved they are starting to click.
And with ex-Spurs flier Gareth Bale likely to be fit for the knock-out stages – barring another major set-back – Zinedine Zidane’s team will be increasingly dangerous.
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As it stands, German giants Bayern Munich, beaten finalists Juventus and in-form Roma are all potential opponents for Spurs, who cannot face Real.
And if the tables remain if they are, the unseeded runners-up pool is arguably far stronger than the group winners.
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United are unlikely to slip into second as they would need to be turned over by CSKA Moscow at Old Trafford, with Basel topping Benfica.
Tottenham are all-but guaranteed top spot as they prepare to welcome Apoel to Wembley, while City have already topped their group.
Chelsea and Liverpool have the biggest chance of being knocked from their perch.
The Reds are just a point ahead of Sevilla but have a decent tie at home to Spartak Moscow.
Antonio Conte’s Blues host fired-up Atletico Madrid who need a victory and Roma to slip up against Qarabag to progress afetr they beat the Italians last night.
Copa Libertadores final: Gremio vs Lanus live stream, kick-off time and TV channel for the first leg
GREMIO take on Lanus as they look to win the Copa Libertadores for the first time since 1995. The Brazilians have made it to their first final in ten years after beating Barcelona, of Ecuador, 3-1 on aggregate in the semi-final. A 3-0 win in Guayaquil was enough to put Renato Gaucho’s side out of […]
GREMIO take on Lanus as they look to win the Copa Libertadores for the first time since 1995.
The Brazilians have made it to their first final in ten years after beating Barcelona, of Ecuador, 3-1 on aggregate in the semi-final.
A 3-0 win in Guayaquil was enough to put Renato Gaucho’s side out of site and ensure a 1-0 loss at home in the second leg was purely academic.
Argentines Lanus made it to their first ever final in more dramatic fashion, losing 1-0 away to River Plate and then finding themselves 2-0 down at home after 23 minutes of the second leg.
But Jorge Almiron’s side then scored four goals without reply to sensationally secure their place in the final.
When is Gremio vs Lanus?
Gremio host Lanus on Wednesday, November 22.
The match will kick off at 11.45pm GMT.
That’s 9.45pm in Porto Alegre and 8.45pm in Buenos Aires.
It will take place at the Arena do Gremio.
What TV channel is Gremio vs Lanus on?
Gremio vs Lanus will not be on television in the UK.
But you can keep up to date with the biggest stories from the match on SunSport.
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