Dutch fitness expert blasts Wenger and Moyes coaching techniques

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Raymond Verheijen, author of The Complete Handbook of Conditioning for Soccer and former assistant manager of Wales, is on a tirade.

The Dutch fitness expert (pictured, right) is known for being openly critical of English managerial techniques on and off the pitch, and he’s at it again.

Yesterday, Verheijen described Arsenal’s handling of Theo Walcott as “Russian Roulette” and told Goal.com that his injury was a disaster waiting to happen.

Walcott, who tore his ACL on January 4th, had returned from a two-month injury layoff in the end of November thanks to an abdomen issue.  He returned during a time of serious fixture congestion for the Gunners, playing the full 90 in five straight matches over an 18-day span.  This, Verheijen believes, is what led to Walcott’s knee injury.

“Walcott’s injury is not bad luck, it is the logical consequence of the approach at Arsenal,” said VerheijenThey made a big gamble. It is Russian roulette with a player’s career.

“Walcott went from nothing to everything. If you haven’t played for a while you are not totally fit. Then, when you play a game when you are not top fit you will need more recovery time than normal. A top-fit player recovers from the game after 48 hours. But a player who is not top fit takes 72 hours to recover. So a less fit player is more susceptible to injury. So, in December when you are playing all these games while needing more recovery time than the average player it is common sense that you are accumulating fatigue.”

According to Verheijen, because of the fatigue that the 24-year-old built up during this conjested, his knee’s normal response to trauma was slow to react, thus late with its usual protection of the fragile ligaments.

However, the coach failed to mention that after Walcott’s abdomen injury, he made five substitute appearances for the Gunners before actually playing a full 90 minutes, accumulating just 73 minutes over the course of those five appearances.

The Dutchman went on to single out Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger for his lack of adaptation to the uptick in tempo that has swept across the sport.  “What Arsene Wenger did 15 years ago was revolutionary for the UK,” Verheijen said. “But he kept doing what he was doing for 15 years so, basically, he stood still.”

In order to avoid reinjury after returning to the pitch, Verheijen says Walcott must not just concentrate on his knee during rehabilitation. “Theo Walcott has to rehabilitate his career, not only his ACL.”

It isn’t just Arsenal the 42-year-old Dutchman is concerned about though.  In a scathing Twitter rant yesterday, Verheijen blasted David Moyes and his young Manchester United career.

He called David Moyes a “nobody,” called his backroom staff “clueless,” labeled his training techniques as “prehistoric,” and tabbed his tactical knowledge as “superficial.” The 42-year-old said no matter who United sign, “these new players will either get injured or play in the wrong position with this manager.”

It’s not the first time Verheijen has said such negative things about Moyes.  When Robin van Persie first began to struggle with fitness at the end of last calendar year, the Dutchman called Moyes “prehistoric” and was highly critical of the way Moyes handled the Dutch striker’s training.

This man may know his stuff, but he sure didn’t hold back when talking about some very big names in the world of soccer.

It’s also not the first time Verheijen has ruffled feathers above him. During his time at Wales, after the death of manager Gary Speed in December 2011, the Dutchman threw his name in the hat for the open job, tweeting that he would like to “lead the team to Brazil.”  It didn’t go down well with some current and former players.

He resigned from his position at Wales just weeks later in February of 2012, less than a week before Speed’s honorary match with Costa Rica.

FIFA force pace on $25B Club World Cup, global league plan

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GENEVA (AP) FIFA is forcing the pace on talks over a $25 billion offer to revamp the Club World Cup and create a global national team competition.

FIFA says President Gianni Infantino hosted a meeting last Friday with invited officials from some top European clubs.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Walcott strike ]

The European Club Association has strongly opposed FIFA’s hope for a four-yearly club tournament starting in 2021, which could rival the UEFA-organized Champions League.

UEFA has also proposed a Global Nations League. A similar project is tied to the FIFA-controlled $25 billion, 12-year offer from a consortium including investors from Saudi Arabia and China.

FIFA says it’s holding “informal ongoing discussions with different stakeholders on the topic of the future Club World Cups.”

Infantino is set to meet confederation presidents and general secretaries “in the near future,” FIFA says.

Video: De Rossi, Roma make classy visit to Hillsborough memorial

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On many occasions there are instances where teams and individuals exemplify the fact that real-life occurrences are more meaningful than sports.

Ahead of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League meeting, Italian giants AS Roma visited Anfield –where they will face Liverpool in the competition’s semifinals.

After walking around the venue where the two sides will compete in less than 24 hours, Roma captain Daniele de Rossi and the rest of the Roma squad visited the Hillsborough memorial at Anfield to pay tribute to the 96 victims lost in the 1989 event that rocked the entire country.

De Rossi was seen laying a floral arrangement on the site, along with a note from the club that read, “In memoria delle vittime di Hillsborough AS Rome.”

Liverpool, Roma ride major emotions into the UCL semifinals

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Four clubs remain in this season’s UEFA Champions League competition, and while two of the teams have been considered heavy dogs in the fight all year long the other two sides look to continue on their storybook run.

Liverpool, Roma, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have found themselves in the semifinals of this season’s UCL, creating a strong mix of storylines as the tournament heads towards its most critical point.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Theo Walcott’s strike ]

Anfield will be the site for Tuesday’s first leg between Liverpool and Roma, with both sides still riding major highs from their victories in the last round.

The Reds enter the final four after having disposed of fellow Premier League side Manchester City in relatively dominating fashion. Meanwhile, Roma completed a seemingly impossible comeback against Barcelona to progress in the competition.

Liverpool is led by three of the year’s top goalscorers, including Mohamed Salah — who has scored eight goals in the UCL and 41 across all competitions.

For Roma, much of the side’s success has been predicated on finding defensive strength at the right moments throughout the tournament.

Despite falling behind 4-1 in their first leg defeat to Barca in the previous round, Edin Dzeko and Co. rallied for a 3-0 win at the Stade Olimpico to stun the Catalan club by holding Lionel Messi and his side in check.

Manager Eusebio Di Francesco will have to find creative ways to halt the Liverpool attack though over the course of two legs, with the Reds boasting the top attack in this year’s UCL.

Liverpool has scored 33 goals in 10 UCL matches, while only conceding seven in the process.

Keeper Ederson hopeful he can score this season for Man City

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The prospects for a goalkeeper scoring during a match are usually uncommon, but that hasn’t halted Manchester City’s number one choice from aiming to break the trend this season.

Ederson — who has moved into the starting role at the Etihad Stadium with relative ease in 2017/18 — has dreamt of scoring a goal of his own for the Premier League champions in waiting.

“I heard the fans chanting my name, asking me to take the penalty but Gabriel went there,” Ederson said. “Unfortunately he missed it and Bernardo happily scored. But if the manager have asked me to go there, definitely I’d score.

“I’m not sure if I would be able to do set-pieces, but I’m good at penalties, either using power or technique on shooting it. But City have [their] regular penalty-takers and we are well-served.

Citizen supporters chanted for the goalkeeper to take a penalty kick over the weekend in the team’s 5-0 win over Swansea City.

However, Gabriel Jesus was the man selected for the opportunity, but had his attempt saved by Lukasz Fabianski before Bernardo Silva was in the right spot to score the game’s fifth goal.

“If Pep asks me to take it, I’m there,” Ederson said of the penalty kick. “Hopefully it will happen [before the end of the season], I’d like to score.”

This isn’t the first time Ederson has discussed exploring opportunities outside of the net, though.

The Brazilian shot-stopper has long been a fan of former Brazil international goalkeeper Rogero Ceni — who scored 65 goals for club side Sao Paolo.

Earlier this season, the 24-year-old joked around with the media, saying that he’d be more than happy to fill a role in the midfield when City was experiencing some injury issues within the squad.