Stuart Holden on his first Sheffield Wednesday appearance

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Stuart Holden was held out of Sheffield Wednesday’s lineup Monday, the victim of that ridiculously jammed-up schedule in the physically demanding English second tier.

The Bolton man was signed on a month-long loan to Sheffield Wednesday late last week, and the Owls got Holden right into their lineup. The U.S. international worked his way through 62 minutes Saturday in a huge win over local rival Barnsley.

Holden was stationed as central midfielder, assigned to play slightly higher than his central partner in the Owls’ 4-4-2.

He says he came through wonderfully, physically. Trouble was, the Owls of Sheffield Wednesday had just one full day of rest before their next match, Monday’s clash with Bristol City. The contest finished in a 1-1 draw; Holden was not named to the squad, which wasn’t too surprising.

Here’s what Holden said on Soccer Today (disclosure: it’s a radio show I co-host along with Marc Stein) on Sunday, just hours after making his first appearance for Wednesday. Holden had played a scattering of minutes for Bolton since returning from that extended injury absence six weeks ago but was ecstatic getting into the action for Wednesday, which is desperate to stave off relegation into England’s third tier.

Holden’s first contest for his new (temporary) club wasn’t just any old night, either, but a derby match for Sheffield Wednesday.

I feel great today. Nothing is like playing in a local derby game, running around, making a few challenges, getting up and down the pitch. To be able to come through that, that feeling of doing that, it makes you feel like a footballer again, that you really are back and that everything is great.

Holden then hinted that perhaps it wasn’t prudent to follow up so quickly, but noted that he was willing and certainly able if management asked:

We’ve spoken before, the gaffer here. We sat down and we spoke to me and said I need to be honest with him, to let him know how I’m feeling through this process, for it to be more of a give and take. Obviously, I don’t know that playing two games over three days is the best thing … but I certainly feel like I could do it. It’s going to be a decision that’s up to the manager.

Sheffield Wednesday takes the field again on Saturday, at home against Blackburn.

The full Holden interview is here, starting at about the 14-minute mark of the hour-long show.

Leicester City record massive earnings from UEFA Champions League

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Leicester City’s UEFA Champions League campaign may have ended without a trophy, but the Premier League side pipped the European champions in the bank account.

UEFA announced on Friday that Leicester City earned $96,167,125 during the Champions League run that ended in the quarterfinals, the farthest of any Premier League club. Real Madrid, the back-to-back champions, earned a slightly less $95,385,679. Much of the difference comes from TV rights deals in England, which pays out more to teams compared to the TV rights deal in Spain.

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Juventus, the Italian giant, earned the most of any club in last year’s Champions League, making a whopping $129,965,357, mostly thanks to the TV rights again.

Mourinho: Ibrahimovic could return in December

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Dare to Zlatan? It could be only a couple of months away.

That’s according to Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, who said the veteran striker could return from his torn ACL before the end of the calendar year.

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“Zlatan is here, he’s working here and under our control,” Mourinho told reporters. “He’s working as you would expect so, so, so hard. But he’s not to be back in the next week or next couple of weeks. Do I believe he’ll be back in 2017? Yes, I do. But it’s just a feeling.”

The big Swede scored 28 goals for Man United last year in all competitions, proving that he’s still got it at the age of 36, but it’s going to be tough for him to find his old form coming off an ACL injury at such an old age. After suffering the injury last April, it’s been a long road to recovery for Ibrahimovic.

However, with the play of Romelu Lukaku up top, Ibrahimovic would only play from time to time, which could help in his recovery both from the knee injury and just the general recovery between games.

Manchester City quartet called up by Brazil for friendlies

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Brazilian National Team coach Tite has decided on calling up a full-strength squad for November’s upcoming friendly matches in Europe, including four Manchester City players in his 25-man squad.

Gabriel Jesus, Fernandinho, Danilo and Ederson all made the squad as Tite looks to develop more chemistry among his side ahead of the 2018 World Cup, which Brazil breezed into after Tite took over in 2016.

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Luckily for Manchester City and the other European-based players in the squad, Brazil’s friendly matches will be played in Western Europe. The Selecao first faces Japan in Lille, France on November 10 before taking on England at Wembley Stadium on November 14.

The call-ups may be a tough pill for Guardiola to swallow though. As of Friday, Manchester City has 17 games remaining in the calendar year, and surely he would prefer for some of his starters to get a two-week break in November to preserve some energy instead of play in friendly matches.

Everton announce lifetime ban for fan involved in altercation with Lyon player

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On a night when UEFA unveiled a new campaign for respect, there wasn’t enough of it shown both on and off the field.

Everton has followed up on UEFA opening up disciplinary proceedings against them by banning a fan from Everton matches after the fan was seen to punch at an Olympique Lyon player in the second half of Lyon’s 2-1 win at Goodison Park.

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“Club Officials have reviewed the footage of an incident that occurred in the 64th minute of the game against Olympique Lyonnais where supporters towards the front of the lower Gwladys Street End became involved in a confrontation between players,” Everton said in a statement. “We have identified one individual whom action will now be taken against. This will include a ban from attending future Everton fixtures and the Club registering a formal complaint with Merseyside Police.”

The video below shows a fan – amazingly, holding onto a small boy in one arm – throwing some punches at Lyon players after a fracas on the field.

The punch and ban is yet another dark moment for Everton, which has just one point from its first three Europa League matches and sits in 16th place in the Premier League with eight points from eight games.