Here’s a candidate for least surprising story of the day: David Beckham has no intention of hanging up his boots.
“I enjoy playing and that’s why I still play and push myself into challenges. I want to continue. It’s harder than it was when I was 21 but I am still enjoying it like I was when I was 21. And when you get to my age, you’re more aware than when you were 21, you learn to read the game a lot differently. It becomes easier in that sense. Physically, it was always going to be difficult,” he told reporters yesterday in the wake of Paris Saint-Germain’s exit from the Champions League at the hands of Barcelona on Wednesday.
“Every time I play it only increases the urge to continue. That’s not going to change. When I finish, I will still be playing football with my kids and dreaming of playing in the Champions League. It’s year by year. I don’t have a plan right now,” the former Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder added.
On the one hand, Beckham turns 38 in three weeks. Then again, he’s just played twice in the Champions League quarter-finals for France’s best team, against probably the finest club side in the world. So why stop now?
He suggested in the interview that he’d be open to some sort of ambassadorial role to help grow the game in his native England. And of course, there’s the tantalizing possibility that he could become an MLS club owner in the future. He’s not short of options, that’s for certain, but with PSG open to extending his contract, it seems that we’ll have to wait at least a year before discovering what life looks like for a retired Beckham.
Not that all the publicity’s been positive since his move to the French capital. There’s a story in today’s Independent which reveals that ten weeks after the announcement that Beckham would give all his PSG wages to a children’s charity in the city, there’s no sign that any of the money is heading imminently to good causes.
Jamie Vardy has joined several Leicester City voices in refuting claims that he helped usher in the dismissal of championship-winning manager Claudio Ranieri.
Vardy led the Foxes in scoring during last season’s run to the Premier League title, but has struggled to follow that success this season. He has five goals in 22 matches.
[ MORE: Ranieri – “My dream died” ]
Ranieri was fired this week with Leicester on the verge of dipping into the relegation zone, where they now sit ahead of Monday’s match against Liverpool.
Vardy wants the world to know this wasn’t his preference, saying, “There is speculation I was involved in his dismissal and this is completely untrue, unfounded and is extremely hurtful!”
Harry Kane spent the first half hour of Sunday’s tilt versus Stoke torturing the visiting Potters.
Kane opened the scoring in the 14th minute. Christian Eriksen bobbled Dele Alli‘s pass into the 18, but Ryan Shawcross‘ barely hit his clearance and Kane took a touch before belting home for the advantage.
[ WATCH: Spurs-Stoke live, replay ]
His second was lovely, bounding a low volley between the legs of Victor Wanyama and by a diving Lee Grant.
The third carried a bit of luck, with his low free kick taking a turn off the leg of wall end Peter Crouch to elude a lunging Grant. 3-0.
Here are the first and third, too:
The EFL Cup has named its team of the tournament ahead of Sunday morning’s final between Southampton and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium.
Liverpool and Southampton lead the way with two players each, while finalists Manchester United have just one player in the team.
[ MORE: Whitecaps acquire Brek Shea ]
That’s Ander Herrera, who joins a midfield with Sofiane Boufal (Saints), Mohamed Diame (Newcastle United), and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal).
Up top are Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge and Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham, the latter for his work at Bristol City.
The back four is led by Saints’ Maya Yoshida and Hull City’s Harry Maguire, with Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) and Matty Pearson (Accrington Stanley) joining the unit.
The backstop is Leeds United’s Marco Silvestri.
The penultimate Premier League match of the weekend pits Stoke City against third-place Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Sunday (Watch live at 8:30 a.m. EDT on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
Jan Vertonghen is back alongside Toby Alderweireld in the heart of Spurs’ back line, and it’s no surprise that PL Download stars Harry Kane and Hugo Lloris also start.
Geoff Cameron‘s four-month layoff appears to be reaching its end, as the USMNT back is on the subs bench for Stoke City. He last played on Oct. 22.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Walker, Dier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Wanyama, Dembele, Eriksen, Alli, Kane. Subs: Vorm, Trippier, Wimmer, Winks, Sissoko, Son, Janssen.
Stoke City: Grant; Bardsley, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Pieters; Whelan, Adam; Arnautovic, Allen, Ramadan; Crouch. Subs: Given; Muniesa, Berahino, Afellay, Diouf, Cameron, Imbula.