Jack Wilshere denies singling out Adnan Januzaj, insists ‘England should pick English players’

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There’s been a lot of talk about Arsenal’s star little midfielder this week, and the fact that Jack Wilshere has been having his say back has only added fuel to the fire.

You will remember earlier this week, when Wilshere apologized for being caught smoking a cigarette outside a London club.

But now the England international has waded into the deep and murky waters of nationality and which players should represent the Three Lions. Wilshere’s allowed his opinion, but many believe he’s now getting way out of his depth.

Quotes began to trickle through that the 21-year-old midfielder is all for keeping the English national team only for players born within the tiny confides of the Island nation. This was in reference to the huge debate erupting over which country Manchester United’s new 18-year-old whizkid Adnan Januzaj can represent after England contacting Untied about the Belgian born wingers eligibility.

“If you live in England for five years it doesn’t make you English. The only people who should play for England are English people,” Wilshere said. “If I went to Spain and lived there for five years, I’m not going to play for Spain.”

(MORE: Jack Wilshere sparks debate: Should Adnan Januzaj be allowed to play for England?)

He has a point, and despite the British media and plenty of others jumping on Wilshere’s comments as nationalistic and emanating an uncompromising attitude, the young English star spoke about what it means to be an English soccer player and how that relates to national identity.

“We have to remember what we are. We are English. We tackle hard, are tough on the pitch and are hard to beat. We have great characters. You think of Spain and you think technical but you think of England and you think they are brave and they tackle hard. We have to remember that.”

Many took that as Wilshere talking against Januzaj’s inclusion in any forthcoming England squads, but he wasn’t. By no means is Wilshere talking out against any players who want to play for a country other than the one they’re born in. He was just trying to speak same sanity in a situation that has clearly got out of hand over the past few years, with many players changing their international allegiance without batting an eyelid.

(MORE: Wilshere watch, it’s becoming an international break tradition in England)

Let’s cut this guy some slack, he’s had a rough week and people are jumping down his throat at every opportunity. Following the ‘smoking incident’ Wilshere’s commitment is being called into question, but many are forgetting that he’s one of England’s finest talents and he should be protected, not lambasted for being outspoken and doing a few things wrong here and there. Okay, a few days after being caught smoking was probably not the best time to be having interviews… But aren’t people always yearning to have more colorful characters and opinionated individuals in soccer?

And just to prove Wilshere isn’t harboring any strong feelings against United’s Januzaj, which is ridiculous to suggest in the first place, the midfield fire-cracker Tweeting the following on Wednesday. Get over bashing WIlshere, and let his feet do the talking.

Day Six: All the action from the U20 World Cup

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For the second consecutive tournament, the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team is poised to qualify for the knockout stages of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup.

[ MORE: U-20 World Cup latest

In its second match of this year’s edition in South Korea, the U.S. earned an important three points in a 1-0 victory over Senegal, while its main rivals Ecuador fell, 2-1 to Saudi Arabia. The win shot the U.S. up to first place in Group F with four points while Senegal and Saudi Arabia sit just below with three points. Ecuador occupies the final spot in the group with one point through two games.

Seventeen-year-old Josh Sargent scored for the second straight game and the defensive unit anchored by Erik Palmer-Brown and Cameron Carter-Vickers in central defense held tight to earn the U.S. a clean sheet. The U.S. finishes up the group stage on Sunday against Saudi Arabia.

In Group E action, France thrashed Vietnam 4-0 and New Zealand defeated Honduras 3-1.

Click on the link above for all the latest news from the U-20 World Cup, while below are video highlights from Thursday’s four games in Groups E and F.

Group E

USA 1, Senegal 0

Saudi Arabia 2, Ecuador 1

Group F

France 4, Vietnam 0

New Zealand 3, Honduras 1

Rooney left off England squad for matches with Scotland, France

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This summer could be the start of a new era with the England National Team.

England and Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney was left out of Gareth Southgate‘s 25-man squad ahead of a pair of international matches in June. England faces Scotland on June 10 in a World Cup qualifier at Hampden Park before traveling to the Stade de France three days later for a friendly match with Les Blues.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

While Rooney didn’t make the squad, his Manchester United teammate Marcus Rashford did make the team, with Southgate preferring him to be with the senior squad instead of play for England’s Under-21s at the UEFA Under-21 Championship this June in Poland.

“He’s in the senior squad on merit, and has been for a year,” Southgate said to FA.com. “He had one game with the Under-21s when I was there in September and he was outstanding that day, but he’s not really been a part of the Under-21 squad. His performances warrant him being in the senior squad.”

Other notable inclusions in the squad are Tottenham right back Kieran Trippier, who is in line for his first senior international cap, as well as 34-year-old Sunderland forward Jermain Defoe, coming off back-to-back Premier League seasons with 15 league goals.

If Rooney’s time with the Three Lions is over, it would mark a true changing of the guard in the England squad. Rooney, who has 119 caps and is England’s all-time leading goal scorer with 53 goals, made his debut in 2003 in a friendly match against Australia, at the time becoming the youngest player to make his England debut at the age of 17. The record was broken by Theo Walcott.

Rooney came to prominence with the Three Lions with a burst in Euro 2004 in Portugal, leading England to the quarterfinals. Perhaps England could have gone farther if Rooney hadn’t broken a bone in his foot and had to limp off in the first half of England’s ouster against Portugal.

Since then, it’s been a mixed bag for Rooney. While he’s scored bags of goals, he’s never really lived up to the hype in the big tournaments.

Under his watch, England’s never made it past the quarterfinals in either the World Cup or European Championships and he’s been part of big disappointments, including failing to qualify for Euro 2008 and getting bounced by Iceland in Euro 2016. England also failed to make it out of the group stage at the last World Cup.

It’s possible that Southgate left Rooney off the squad purely based on form as Defoe was included, but it could be a sign of things to come, which is a chance for younger players like John Stones, Alli and Kane to take leadership positions within the team.

Stream Live: USA takes on Senegal at U20 World Cup

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The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team is halfway home in its second game of the 2017 FIFA Under-20 World Cup group stage, holding a 1-0 lead over Senegal after Josh Sargent’s left-footed blast.

[ LIVE: USA U-20 vs. Senegal ] 

Tab Ramos’ side came back to draw Ecuador 3-3 in a wild first game of the tournament but after losing central midfielder Gedion Zelalem, holding midfielder Derrick Jones has moved into the starting lineup and provided more stability in the center of the park.

Below you can watch a replay of Sargent’s first-half goal and above is a link to stream the U.S. game live via Telemundo Deportes.

LAFC makes plan for training complex east of downtown

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LOS ANGELES (AP) The MLS expansion Los Angeles Football Club plans to spend $30 million to build a training complex on the campus of Cal State LA.

LAFC revealed its proposal Wednesday after the plans were approved by the California State University Board of Trustees.

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LAFC will renovate the university’s stadium field while constructing a complex to house its players, staff and coaches, along with the LAFC Academy youth development team.

The team’s two-story training building will be financed entirely by LAFC’s deep-pocketed ownership group. LAFC also committed to donate $1.5 million to the university.

The complex will be located on the north campus of Cal State LA, just 10 miles east of Banc of California Stadium. LAFC will begin MLS play in its under-construction downtown arena in March.