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Everton confirm David Moyes’ departure as Scot faces tough task with Wayne Rooney

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As Manchester United scramble to confirm David Moyes’ appointment (it’s been awhile since they’ve had to do this sort of thing), Everton have confirmed that the Scot’s 11 run at the club will come to an end at the end of the season.

After watching Chelsea draw 2-2 with Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday at Stamford Bridge, Moyes went through the departure formalities this morning at Everton’s Finch Farm training base. He leaves the club after taking over from Preston North End in 2002.

Annually strapped with financial constraints at Everton, Moyes consistently outperformed expectations by taking the Toffees to a Top 4 finish in the 2004-05 season, earning them a Champions League qualification. Despite never lifting a trophy, Moyes managed to reach the 2009 FA Cup final where Chelsea defeated the Toffees 2-1 and the 2012 FA Cup semi-final where they lost 2-1 to Liverpool.

Everton’s official website released the following statement confirming Moyes’ departure:

David Moyes will leave the Club at the end of the season. The Manager met Chairman Bill Kenwright early yesterday evening (Wednesday 8th May) and confirmed his desire to join Manchester United. The Chairman, on behalf of the Club, would like to place on record his thanks to David for the massive contribution he has made to Everton since his arrival in March 2002. He has been an outstanding Manager. During his tenure at Goodison Park, David has taken charge of the team on over 500 occasions including four European campaigns. His final two games as Everton Manager will be the remaining Premier League matches against West Ham United and Chelsea. Everton officials will start the search for a replacement manager immediately.

Moyes will arrive at Old Trafford needing to address the current drama surrounding former Toffee Wayne Rooney, who asked to leave United two weeks ago in order to rejuvenate his career. Ferguson reportedly rebuffed Rooney’s request, informing the striker that his future remained at United.

Claiming Rooney would be given a new deal, Ferguson stated, “He’ll be here next year. You can have my word on that.” A spokesman for United reaffirmed this on Wednesday explaining, “Wayne Rooney is not for sale.”

MORE: What now for Wayne Rooney?

But with the changing of the guard at United, speculation has persisted and Rooney has reportedly asked to leave the club for a second time. It will now be up to Moyes to diffuse the situation. The two certainly have history.

The Scottish manager handed Rooney his Premier League debut at Everton in August 2002 in a 2–2 home draw against Tottenham. He was 16 years old at the time. In October of that year, just five days before his 17th birthday, Rooney scored a last minute winning goal against Arsenal, making him the youngest goalscorer in Premier League history (a mark which has since been surpassed by James Milner and James Vaughan). Two years later, Moyes sold Wazza to Manchester United in a deal worth a £27 million.

It will be interesting to see whether Moyes can convince the striker to stay at United. Two years after Rooney’s departure from Goodison Park the pair had a falling out when Moyes successfully sued the striker for allegations made in an autobiography. Rooney thereafter personally apologized and many believe their relationship to be in a decent state.

How healthy that relationship truly is will now doubt be further examined over the coming weeks.

Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Bayern Munich have been mentioned as potential destinations for the England international.

Chelsea’s Courtois says FA Cup or Champions League final a must

Thibaut Courtois, Chelsea FC
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Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is used to big matches, whether at Stamford Bridge, with the Belgian national team or during his loan to Atletico Madrid.

[ SPORTSWORLD: Courtois “standing tall” at Chelsea ]

If he doesn’t get one or two of those contests by the end of this season, a bad season will become an utter failure.

Courtois says it’s a long way to the Top Four, but Chelsea hasn’t given up on that hope. Regardless, he’s targeting wins over Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain in the FA Cup and UEFA Champions League, respectively.

From ChelseaFC.com:

“After that we play in the Champions League and FA Cup against two great sides and we have to try to win those games because the only way to save our season is to reach the final in one or both of them.”

Chelsea’s star has fallen this year, but this is still largely the team that won the Premier League last season. Courtois’ goals are not unreasonable.

LIVE – West Ham vs. Liverpool in FA Cup 4th round replay

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 30:  Nathaniel Clyne of Liverpool is watched by Dimitri Payet of West Ham United during the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Liverpool and West Ham United at Anfield on January 30, 2016 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
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Two Premier League teams clash in the FA Cup on Tuesday with a place in the last 16 on the line.

West Ham United welcome Liverpool to Upton Park (Follow live, 2:45 p.m. ET) following the 0-0 draw between the teams at Anfield 10 days ago.

[ LIVE: Follow West Ham-Liverpool here

Slaven Bilic‘s side will fancy their chances of getting past an injury-hit Liverpool squad and creating another famous FA Cup memory in their final season at the Boleyn Ground. With Dimitri Payet in contract negotiations about extending his stay at the Hammers, can the French playmaker lead them to a big win?

After missing Liverpool’s late collapse on Saturday during the 2-2 draw with Sunderland due to a bout of suspected appendicitis, manager Jurgen Klopp will return to the dugout. The German coach has already guided the Reds to one Wembley final during his debut season in charge as they face Manchester City in the League Cup final in less than three weeks time.

The winner of this clash will travel to second-tier Blackburn Rovers and they’ll be heavy favorites to reach the FA Cup quarterfinals.

Click on the link above to follow the game live, plus we will have a recap, reaction and analysis following the encounter in east London.

State of the USMNT: What is Klinsmann’s best XI for World Cup qualifiers?

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With the U.S. men’s national team ending their January camp with two narrow friendly wins over Iceland and Canada, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and his staff will now be sitting back and thinking: “What did we learn? Who impressed? Who struggled?”

Or something like that.

[ MORE: American takeover at Everton update

Each year the January camp provides domestic based players — mostly from Major League Soccer but a sprinkling of other guys too — with the chance to impress Klinsmann and his staff in close quarters for multiple weeks in California. Many current U.S. regulars earned their stripes in January’s gone by and have established themselves ever since.

This January was no different as the experienced core of players — Michael Bradley, Matt Besler and Jozy Altidore among them — showed their class and several promising players worked hard to get minutes in the friendlies.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

However, despite some glimmers of hope from youngsters such as Jordan Morris and Jerome Kiesewetter, what we learned about the USMNT heading into the two CONCACAF 2018 World Cup qualifiers in March is that the established players remain the best hope for success. Sure, the likes of John Brooks is impressing in the Bundesliga, Matt Miazga sealed a move to Chelsea and Lee Nguyen took his chance in January camp, but the old guard should remain in place through this next batch of World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala home and away on Mar. 25 and 29 and the Copa America Centenario this summer.

Question marks remain regarding some veterans, which could keep the situation a little more fluid than it should be.

One of those is Tim Howard with speculation of him moving away from Everton mounting plus a straight-up battle between Howard and Brad Guzan for the starting spot, while Clint Dempsey‘s status with the national team still seems to be somewhat clouded. Overall, though, the settled core of players who played together at the World Cup — plus or minus a few who have performed consistently over the last 18 months — should be kept together by Klinsmann. During last summer’s Gold Cup disappointment there was plenty of experimenting, especially in defense, but now is the time to settle things down and realize the following guys are the players you should count on going forward.

Below is my selection — feel free to select your own in the comments section — for the best XI available to Klinsmann, plus seven subs, assuming everyone is fit and available.

USMNT’s Best XI as of Feb. 9, 2016

—– Howard —–

— F. Johnson — Cameron — Besler — Ream —

—- Bradley —- Williams —-

—- Bedoya —- Dempsey —- Zardes —-

—– Altidore —–

Subs: Guzan, Brooks, Jones, Yedlin, Nagbe, Morris, Johannsson

Ahead of huge title clash, influential Leicester scout transfers to Arsenal

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 06:  Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium on February 6, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
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Ben Wrigglesworth might not be a man you’ve heard a lot about, but he has been influential in helping Leicester City’s unlikely charge to the top of the Premier League.

Now, he’s been poached by Leicester’s main title rivals: Arsenal.

[ MORE: Spurs, Arsenal to battle for title?

Ahead of the monster clash between the Foxes and Gunners at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday (Watch live, 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra) the man who unearthed the likes of Riyad Mahrez and N'Golo Kante has transferred to Arsenal and is now their First Team Video Scout.

Wrigglesworth, Leicester’s former Head of Technical Scouting, announced he would be leaving the Foxes via his Twitter page (see below) and he has now accepted a new role as part of Steve Rowley’s team at Arsenal.

It is believed he will not only help with the scouting of players but will also analyze Arsenal’s first team and the opposition.

[ MORE: Recapping Week 25 in the PL ]

Arsenal will unveil a new player performance center at their training HQ this summer and have recently purchased a soccer data company based in America, statDNA, to help them with scouting and player analysis.

With several Premier League teams now having huge player databases monitored by a team of talented individuals — often, like Wrigglesworth, with no pro playing experience — scouring the globe for the next bargain, the Moneyball vibe is strong.