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Southampton’s new Canadian Chairman chats growth in North America, NHL roots, Saints’ future

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EXCLUSIVE — On Wednesday Southampton Football Club appointed former NHL coach Ralph Krueger as their new Chairman at St. Mary’s Stadium, as the Premier League club took the unorthodox step of looking to Ice Hockey for their new leader.

Saints have been looking for a new figurehead since January when former Chairman Nicola Cortese left, and owner Katharina Liebherr has pounced to bring in Krueger, 54, who has a wealth of experience in the sports and business world.

Born in Canada, Krueger spent most of his playing days in Europe with the German national team and was a top marksman with Bundesliga side Dusseldorfer EG. Krueger then coached Switzerland and Austria in the Winter Olympics, before taking over at the Edmonton Oilers during the 2012-13 NHL season and as you can probably tell, Krueger is widely respected in hockey circles.

However after recently helping Team Canada to win Olympic Gold in Sochi, Krueger has switched ice for grass, and he couldn’t be happier about it. Initially it was thought Krueger would be an aide to the club, but now he’s the leading man. I caught up with Krueger on Wednesday, as he spoke to PST about his reasons for joining Saints and his plans for the future.

“The opportunity to grow the potential of the group is exciting,” Krueger said. “To see the foundation that’s here, going inside the sports soul of the academy and first team is very strong. The same is happening off the pitch, there are so many talented and motivated people. We have so much potential commercially and we have a great base to work with.”

Southampton are on the crest of a wave, with Saints pushing for their highest ever finish in the Premier League era this season — the team are currently ninth with nine PL games to go — and manager Mauricio Pochettino cultivating his talented crop of teenage superstars superbly at the teams renowned Staplewood training ground.

(MORE: After Gold medal success at Sochi, Krueger to start role at Southampton)

One of Krueger’s main aims is to increase the commercial success of Southampton, as the man who has been part of the World Economic Forum since 2011 is keen to exploit the wealth of untapped potential the South Coast club has. One area the 54-year-old would love to help Saints’ brand grow is overseas, including North America, without neglecting the club’s primary goal of becoming bigger in England, as Krueger also spoke of his aim to give the fans a definite voice within the club.

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Saints; owner Katharina Liebherr, left, has appointed Krueger as the man to take the ambitious PL club forward.

“Our primary goal is to build the club in the area where we live,” Krueger said. “But we want to build those other opportunities in the Far East and North America. I see that as a major responsibility that I have, to build the relationships to grow those markets. There is a huge gap where the club is at commercially and where it needs to be, nobody will give us the solution. We have to go out and work for it.”

During his unveiling at St. Mary’s Krueger talked about the ‘Southampton Way’ which has seen the club continue to develop elite youngsters who are representing not only the first team but also the national teams. Luke Shaw, Calum Chambers and James Ward-Prowse are current teenagers dazzling in the first team, while captain Adam Lallana is an academy product, as are global superstars Theo Walcott and Gareth Bale. Both of those players left Saints during the dark days which saw the club plummet to English soccer’s third-tier in 2010. But now they are back in the big time it’s the youngsters, with Shaw and Lallana now representing the English national team, will be the driving force behind Saints’ global brand.

“We can build the commercial arm of the organization both in Southampton and, for example, North America,” Krueger said. “We’d like to carve ourselves out as a unique club built on the soul of young players that are English. We want to try and tap into the potential of all that. I am really excited to support our commercial arms to do that.”

(MORE: Latest Premier League standings)

But what about his lack of soccer experience? Since news broke that Saints were handing Krueger a role on the board, many skeptics in England have questioned the motive behind hiring an individual who has always worked in the hockey industry.

I asked Krueger about his switch from hockey to soccer, and he gave a refreshingly honest answer, in keeping with his forthright, yet friendly, persona.

“The most important thing is that we want to create a unique, innovative and creative environment,” Krueger said. “I see it as an advantage that I come in without any previous experience in the Premier League, because there is a danger you get ‘stuck in a box.’ We want to be an organization that works ‘outside the box.’ We want to respect the heritage and history, but we want to separate ourselves from the other PL teams.”

source: AP
After coaching the Swiss and Austrian national hockey teams, plus a one-year stint with the Oilers, Krueger has switched hockey for soccer.

One of the main reasons Krueger was appointed was because of his background in motivational speaking and his strong leadership values. Krueger told me that initially he was keen to come on board as an aide to Liebherr but when she asked him to take the lead role, Krueger had no hesitation. The smooth transition he has made over the past few months getting to know the place and Liebherr has made the aftermath of Cortese’s departure a lot less damaging than it could’ve been.

When it comes to leading Southampton’s charge, Krueger is well-equipped from his time as a leader and motivational guru, with his book ‘Team Life: Over Losses to Success’ a best-seller on both sides of the pond. Implementing those values, along with his time spent working with the hugely influential World Economic Forum, which he will continued to do in his role as Southampton boss. Krueger told me he will spend as much time as possible in England, but will keep his home in Switzerland and did not put a definite period of time on his role with Saints.

“There is no time frame for myself, it’s just about coming here to try and nurture the environment to its potential,” Krueger said. “I’m open ended right now. We haven’t spoken about that, it’s all about ‘let’s get this going’ and do our best for the club. This could be a long-term step for me.”

(MORE:The dramatic rise of Southampton FC and their fans)

Krueger grew up in Manitoba, attending a British boarding school from a young age, and spoke about his time playing soccer on the fields, weather permitting, and his passion for the game and all sports. When asked about potentially helping the game grow in North America, Krueger was open to helping the game in any way he could in Canada and the U.S. and praised the impact the sport has for young people, including his two children,  in North America. He also mentioned that Team Canada captain Sidney Crosby is a huge soccer fan, and Krueger said Saints will probably get ‘Sid the Kid’ over to Southampton in August.

source: Getty Images
Krueger is adamant to include Saints’ fans in the conversation, as he wants to make the people who love the club a big part of the future.

The former Edmonton Oilers head coach, who coached the team during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, left the door open for a return to NHL, but insisted his sole aim is working as hard as he can to bring success to Southampton.

“I was confronted with NHL options around the Olympics and I had to make a decision immediately after Sochi,” Kruger said. “Honestly, this was the best fit for me as a person in my life. That other world doesn’t go away, that’s the beauty of sports. Even though you throw yourself whole-heartedly into one thing, it doesn’t mean  the other world is over. But this could be my last stop as a professional in sports.”

As for Southampton’s future, Krueger remained tight-lipped despite plenty of talk of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League in the not so distant future, and insisted his only job is to squeeze every ounce of potential from the upstart PL club. His drive and determination could be exactly what Saints need to get to the next level, as their rapid rise continues.

“I don’t like to promise results, that’s cheap,” Krueger said. “I like to promise that we will create processes that enables us to reach our potential. Where that takes us, nobody knows. The sky is the limit in sports. We would like to build a model where we are striving for that potential. My sole focus is on the process. If our environment feels that we are doing the best on a daily basis, we will accept the results that come with that. Maybe we can reach those high aspirations that everyone likes to talk about… let the process decide that and let’s throw ourselves into that. That’s what I’m all about.”

Skrtel’s agent “90-percent sure” center-back will leave Liverpool

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 17:  Martin Skrtel of Liverpool FC points during the international friendly match between Brisbane Roar and Liverpool FC at Suncorp Stadium on July 17, 2015 in Brisbane, Australia.  (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
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Martin Skrtel seems to have played his last match at Liverpool as the player’s agent said he is “90-percent sure” that the center-back will move away from Anfield this summer.

Skrtel, who joined Liverpool in 2008, has made more than 300 appearances for the club, the most of any player on the current roster.

[ MORE: Delph to miss EURO 2016 ]

After a strong campaign in 2014-15, Skrtel’s play dropped off quite a bit this year, with the 31-year-old also missing three months with a torn hamstring. He managed just 22 appearances in the Premier League, his lowest total since the 2009-10 season.

Speaking to TV Markiza in Slovakia, Skrtel’s agent Karol Csonto said a move is likely to happen, with Turkish side Besiktas interested in the center-back.

Besiktas is one of those interested in Martin but we’re haven’t reached a point where I can confirm Martin is going there, or anywhere else.

But I can say that it is 90 per cent sure Martin will leave Liverpool, but it is far from closed.

Skrtel fell out of favor at Anfield when Jurgen Klopp took over the side, and the veteran defender never seemed to be in the new manager’s plans. He’s been a constant presence in the Reds’ back-line for years now, and it will be strange sight to see a Liverpool defense without a screaming Skrtel keeping things organized.

Copa America 2016: Final 23-man rosters for each team

BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - JUNE 21: Sergio Aguero (L) and Lionel Messi of Argentina react while walking off the field after defeating Iran 1-0 during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group F match between Argentina and Iran at Estadio Mineirao on June 21, 2014 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
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With the Copa America Centenario kicking off next Friday, the final 23-man rosters for each team are in.

This tournament is littered with talent, with top players from every major league represented. Of course, one massive name missing from this list is Neymar, who will be playing for Brazil in the Olympics rather than at the Copa.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Copa coverage ]

Group A – Full Preview

United States
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Ethan Horvath (Molde IK)
Defenders: Matt Besler (Sporting KC), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur)
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (FC Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), Perry Kitchen (Heart of Midlothian), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Graham Zusi (Sporting KC), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund)
Forwards: Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood(Hamburg SV), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy),

Colombia
Goalkeepers: Cristian Bonilla (Atletico Nacional), David Ospina (Arsenal), Robinson Zapata (Santa Fe)
Defenders: Felipe Aguilar (Atletico Nacional), Santiago Arias (PSV), Farid Diaz (Atletico Nacional), Frank Fabra (Boca Juniors), Stefan Medina (Pachuca), Jeison Murillo (Inter Milan), Oscar Murillo (Pachuca), Cristian Zapata (AC Milan)
Midfielders: Edwin Cardona (Monterrey), Guillermo Celis (Junior), Juan Cuadrado (Juventus), Sebastian Perez (Atletico Nacional), Andres Felipe Roa (Deportivo Cali), James Rodriguez (Real Madrid), Carlos Sanchez (Aston Villa), Daniel Torres (Independiente Medellin)
Forwards: Carlos Bacca (AC Milan), Roger Martinez (Racing Club), Marlos Moreno (Atletico Nacional), Dayro Moreno (Club Tijuana)

Costa Rica
Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas (Real Madrid), Patrick Pemberton (Alajuelense), Esteban Alvarado (Trabzonspor)
Defenders: Cristian Gamboa (West Brom), Jose Salvatierra (Alajuelense), Michael Umana (Persepolis), Johnny Acosta (Alajuelense), Oscar Duarte (Espanyol), Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps), Ronald Matarrita (New York City FC), Bryan Oviedo (Everton), Francisco Calvo (Saprissa)
Midfielders: Yeltsen Tejeda (Evian), Celso Borges (Deportivo La Coruna), Randall Azofeifa (Herediano), Esteban Granados (Herediano), Bryan Ruiz (Sporting Club), Johan Venegas (Montreal Impact), Christian Bolanos (Vancouver Whitecaps), Joel Campbell (Arsenal)
Forwards: Ariel Rodriguez (Alajuelense), Alvaro Saborio (D.C. United), Marcos Urena (Midtjylland)

Paraguay
Goalkeepers: Justo Villar (Colo Colo), Antony Silva (Cerro Porteno), Diego Barreto (Olimpia)
Defenders: Paulo Da Silva (Toluca), Gustavo Gomez (Lanus), Pablo Aguilar (America), Fabian Balbuena (Corinthians), Bruno Valdez (Cerro Porteno), Miguel Samudio (America), Blas Riveros (Olimpia)
Midfielders: Oscar Romero (Racing), Nestor Ortigoza (San Lorenzo), Celso Ortiz (AZ Alkmaar), Rodrigo Rojas (Cerro Porteno), Robert Piris Da Motta (Olimpia), Miguel Almiron (Lanus)
Forwards: Roque Santa Cruz (Malaga), Nelson Valdez (Seattle Sounders), Edgar Benitez (Queretaro), Derlis Gonzalez (Dynamo Kiev), Jorge Benitez (Cruz Azul), Dario Lezcano (Ingolstadt), Juan Iturbe (Bournemouth)


Group B – Full Preview

Brazil
Goalkeepers: Alisson (Internacional), Diego Alves (Valencia), Ederson (Benfica)
Defenders: Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Fabinho (Monaco), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid), Douglas Santos (Atletico Mineiro), Miranda (Inter Milan), Gil (Shandong Luneng), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Rodrigo Caio (Sao Paulo)
Midfielders: Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg), Elias (Corinthians), Casemiro (Real Madrid), Rafinha (Barcelona), Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Lucas Lima (Santos), Willian (Chelsea)
Forwards: Douglas Costa (Bayern Munich), Hulk (Zenit), Ricardo Oliveira (Santos), Gabriel (Santos)

Ecuador
Goalkeepers: Alexander Dominguez (LDU de Quito), Esteban Dreer (C.S. Emelec), Maximo Banguera (Barcelona SC)
Defenders: Juan Carlos Paredes (Watford), Arturo Mina (Independiente del Valle), Gabriel Achilier (C.S. Emelec), Frickson Erazo (Atletico Mineiro), Robert Arboleda (U. Catolica), Walter Ayovi (Monterrey), Cristian Ramirez (Ferencvarosi)
Midfielders: Antonio Valencia (Manchester United), Angel Mena (C.S. Emelec), Christian Noboa (Rostov), Fernando Gaibor (C.S. Emelec), Pedro Larrea (El Nacional), Carlos Gruezo (FC Dallas), Jefferson Montero (Swansea), Michael Arroyo (Club America), Fidel Martinez (Pumas)
Forwards: Enner Valencia (West Ham), Jaime Ayovi (Godoy Cruz), Juan Cazares (Atletico Mineiro), Miller Bolanos (Gremio)

Haiti
Goalkeepers: Steward Ceus (Unattached), Luis Valendi Odelus (Aigle Noir), Johny Placide (Reims)
Defenders: Romain Genevois (Nice), Jerome Mechack (Jacksonville Armada), Judelin Aveska (Atletico Uruguay), Reginal Goreux (Standard Liege), Kim Jaggy (Aarau), Alex Christian (Vila Real), Jean Sony Alcenat (Voluntari), Stephane Lambese (Paris Saint-Germain)
Midfielder: Jean Marc Alexandre (Fort Lauderdale Strikers), Kevin Lafrance (Chrobry Glogow), Soni Mustivar (Sporting Kansas City), Max Hilaire (Cholet), Pascal Millien (Jacksonville Armada), Sony Norde (Mohun Bagan), James Marcelin (Carolina RailHawks)
Forwards: Wilde-Donald Guerrier (Wisla Krakow), Kervens Belfort (1461 Trabzon), Jeff Louis (Caen), Jean-Eudes Maurice (Ha Noi), Duckens Nazon (Laval)

Peru
Goalkeepers: Carlos Caceda (Universitario), Pedro Gallese (Juan Aurich), Diego Penny (Sporting Cristal)
Defenders: Luis Abram (Sporting Cristal), Miguel Araujo (Alianza Lima), Jair Cespedes (Sporting Cristal), Aldo Corzo (Deportivo Municipal), Christian Ramos (Juan Aurich), Alberto Rodriguez (Sporting Cristal), Miguel Trauco (Universitario), Yoshimar Yotun (Malmo)
Midfielders: Armando Alfageme (Deportivo Municipal), Adan Balbin (Universitario), Cristian Benavente (Charleroi), Christian Cueva (Toluca), Luiz da Silva (PSV Eindhoven), Alejandro Hohberg (Universidad Cesar Vallejo), Renato Tapia (Feyenoord), Oscar Vilchez (Alianza Lima)
Forwards: Edison Flores (Universitario), Paolo Guerrero (Flamengo), Andy Polo (Universitario), Raul Ruidiaz (Universitario)


Group C – Full Preview

Mexico
Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa (Malaga), Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca)
Defenders: Paul Aguilar (Club America), Miguel Layun (Porto), Rafael Marquez (Atlas), Diego Reyes (Real Sociedad), Nestor Araujo (Santos Laguna), Hector Moreno (PSV), Yasser Corona (Queretaro), Jorge Torres Nilo (Tigres), Jesus Molina (Santos Laguna)
Midfielders: Jesus Manuel Corona (Porto), Hector Herrera (Porto), Hirving Lozano (Pachuca), Andres Guardado (PSV), Carlos Pena (Chivas), Jurgen Damm (Tigres), Javier Aquino (Tigres), Jesus Duenas (Tigres)
Forwards: Javier Hernandez (Bayer Leverkeusen), Raul Jimenez (Benfica), Oribe Peralta (Club America)

Jamaica
Goalkeepers: Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union), Duwayne Kerr (Stjarnan), Ryan Thompson (Saint Louis FC)
Defenders: Rosario Harriott (Harbour View FC), Michael Hector (Reading), Kemar Lawrence (New York RB), Adrian Mariappa (Crystal Palace), Wes Morgan (Leicester City), Damano Solomon (Portmore United), Jermaine Taylor (Portland Timbers)
Midfielders: Rodolph Austin (Brondby IF), Michael Binns (Portmore United), Chevone Marsh (Cavaler Sports Club), Joel McAnuff (Leyton Orient), Garath McCleary (Reading), Andrew Vanzie (Humble Lion FC), Je-Vaughn Watson (New England Revolution), Lee Williamson (Blackburn Rovers)
Forwards: Giles Barnes (Houston Dynamo), Simon Dawkins (San Jose Earthquakes), Clayton Donaldson (Birmingham City), Allan Ottey (Montego Bay United), Dever Orgill (IFK Marieham)

Uruguay
Goalkeepers: Martin Campana (Independiente), Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray), Martin Silva (Vasco da Gama)
Defenders: Sebastian Coates (Sporting Lisbon), Jorge Fucile (Nacional), Jose Gimenez (Atletico Madrid), Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid), Alvaro Pereira (Getafe), Maximiliano Pereira (Porto), Mauricio Victorino (Nacional)
Midfielders: Mathias Corujo (Universidad de Chile), Alvaro Gonzalez (Atlas), Nicolas Lodeiro (Boca Juniors), Gaston Ramirez (Middlesbrough), Egidio Arevalo Rios (Atlas), Cristian Rodriguez (Independiente), Carlos Sanchez (Monterrey), Matias Vecino (Fiorentina)
Forwards: Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain), Abel Hernandez (Hull City), Diego Rolan (Bordeaux), Cristhian Stuani (Middlesbrough), Luis Suarez (Barcelona)

Venezuela
Goalkeepers: Jose Contreras (Deportivo Tachira), Wuilker Farinez (Caracas), Dani Hernandez (Tenerife)
Defenders: Wilker Angel (Deportivo Tachira), Rolf Feltscher (Duisburg), Alexander Gonzalez (Huesca), Roberto Rosales (Malaga), Jose Manuel Velazquez (Arouca), Mikel Villanueva (Malaga), Oswaldo Vizcarrondo (Nantes)
Midfielders: Juan Pablo Anor (Malaga), Arquimedes Figuera (La Guaira), Alejandro Guerra (Atletico Nacional), Yangel Herrera (Atletico Venezuela), Romulo Otero (Huachipato), Adalberto Penaranda (Granada), Tomas Rincon (Genoa), Carlos Suarez (Carabobo), Luis Manuel Seijas (Internacional)
Forwards: Yonathan Del Valle (Kasimpasa), Josef Martinez (Torino), Salomon Rondon (West Brom), Christian Santos (NEC)


Group D – Full Preview

Argentina
Goalkeepers: Mariano Andujar (Estudiantes), Nahuel Guzman (UANL), Sergio Romero (Manchester United)
Defenders: Facundo Roncaglia (Fiorentina), Marcos Rojo (Manchester United), Ramiro Funes Mori (Argentina), Gabriel Mercado (River Plate), Jonathan Maidana (River Plate), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), Victor Cuesta (Independiente)
Midfielders: Matias Kranevitter (Atletico Madrid), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Ever Banega (Sevilla), Lucas Biglia (Lazio), Javier Pastore (Paris Saint-Germain), Augusto Fernandez (Atletico Madrid), Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur)
Forwards: Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Hebei China Fortune), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli), Nicolas Gaitan (Benfica)

Chile
Goalkeepers: Claudio Bravo (Barcelona), Johnny Herrera (Universidad de Chile), Cristopher Toselli (Universidad Catolica)
Defenders: Mauricio Isla (Marseille), Jose Pedro Fuenzalida (Universidad Catolica), Gonzalo Jara (Universidad de Chile), Enzo Roco (Espanyol), Gary Medel (Inter), Eugenio Mena (Sao Paulo)
Midfielders: Jean Beausejour (Colo Colo), Marcelo Diaz (Celta Vigo), Francisco Silva (Chiapas), Erick Pulgar (Bologna), Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich), Matias Fernandez (Fiorentina), Charles Aranguiz (Bayer Leverkusen), Pablo Hernandez (Celta Vigo), Edson Puch (LDU Quito).
Forwards: Nicolas Castillo (Universidad Catolica), Fabian Orellana (Celta Vigo), Mauricio Pinilla (Atalanta), Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), Eduardo Vargas (Hoffenheim)

Panama
Goalkeepers: Jose Calderon (Platense), Jaime Penedo (Saprissa), Alex Rodriguez (San Francisco)
Defenders: Felipe Baloy (Atlas), Harold Cummings (Alajuelense), Eric Davis (FC DAC 1904), Fidel Escobar (Sporting San Miguelito), Luis Henriquez (Tauro), Adolfo Machado (Saprissa), Roderick Miller (San Francisco)
Midfielders: Ricardo Buitrago (Juan Aurich), Armando Cooper (Arabe Unido), Anibal Godoy (San Jose Earthquakes), Gabriel Gomez (Cartagines), Amilcar Henriquez (America), Valentin Pimental (La Equidad), Alberto Quintero (San Jose Earthquakes)
Forwards: Abdiel Arroyo (RNK Split), Ismael Diaz (Porto B), Roberto Nurse (Mineros de Zacatecas), Blas Perez (Vancouver Whitecaps), Luis Tejada (Juan Aurich), Gabriel Torres (Zamora)

Bolivia
Goalkeepers: Carlos Lampe (Sport Boys), Romel Quinonez (Bolivar), Guillermo Viscarra (Oriente Petrolero)
Defenders: Diego Bejarano (The Strongest), Marvin Bejarano (Oriente Petrolero), Nelson Cabrera (Bolivar), Ronald Eguino (Bolivar), Luis Gutierrez (Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona), Erwin Saavedra (Bolivar), Edward Zenteno (Wilstermann)
Midfielders: Pedro Azogue (Oriente Petrolero), Jhasmani Campos (Kazma SC), Raul Castro (The Strongest), Samuel Galindo (Club Petrolero), Cristhian Machado (Wilstermann), Alejandro Melean (Oriente Petrolero), Fernando Saucedo (Wilstermann), Martin Smedberg-Dalence (IFK Goteborg), Walter Veizaga (The Strongest)
Forwards: Juan Carlos Arce (Bolivar), Yasmani Duk (New York Cosmos), Bruno Miranda (Universidad de Chile), Rodrigo Ramallo (The Strongest)

England’s Fabian Delph to miss out on EURO 2016 through injury

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 01: Fabian Delph of Manchester City looks on during the Capital One Cup Quarter Final match between Manchester City and Hull City at Etihad Stadium on December 1, 2015 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
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Fabian Delph will not be playing for England at EURO 2016 after picking up a groin injury in training.

Delph did not travel to Sunderland for England’s friendly against Australia on Friday, with manager Roy Hodgson saying he “probably won’t be in the 23 [final roster spots].”

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s EURO coverage ]

Delph’s inclusion in the provisional 30-man roster was met with some criticism, as the Manchester City midfielder managed just eight Premier League starts this season and made only nine appearances off the bench.

This news will now boost the hopes of Leicester’s Danny Drinkwater and Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson, who are also battling to make the final roster in the center of midfield.

In his press conference on Thursday, Hodgson stated that Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge has not trained with the team yet, as his fitness will be closely monitored leading up to EURO 2016. Hodgson also confirmed that Manchester United’s 18-year-old Marcus Rashford will make his international debut against Australia.

Ranking the Copa America Centenario contenders

Copa America trophy — 2015 Copa America
AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo
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Sixteen teams enter next month’s Copa America Centenario tournament, and only one emerges as the champion of North, South and Central America.

Will it be Chile who continues its reign? Will Argentina, Brazil or Uruguay find revenge? Can a CONCACAF side thrive with the tourney in the United States?

[ PREVIEWS: Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D ]

There a varying degrees of likelihood that a country rises above the field to win this year’s competition. In this post, we’ll rank the sides from 16 to 1, unlikeliest to likeliest.

16. Haiti — Happy to be there? Circling the Peru match on its calendar.

15. Venezuela — If Salomon Rondon can make things happen, who knows?

14. Bolivia — Lots of work to be done here.

13. Jamaica — Winfried Schaefer’s team has struggled since its strong Gold Cup.

12. Peru — Inexperience will be a problem.

11. Paraguay — Wins have been hard to come by for Los Guaraníes.

10. Panama — Are they primed for a run, or too old to outlast its group opponents?

9. Ecuador — Dangerous but inconsistent, La Tricolor has an easier group from which to advance than most.

8. Costa Rica — If the USMNT falters under the pressure of hosts, Los Ticos will be most likely to benefit in Group A.

[ USMNT-ECUADOR: Match recap | Player ratings | 3 things ]

7. United States — Hosting is a big deal, and Jurgen Klinsmann seems ready to take a more orthodox approach to his lineups. The Yanks will run more than a few teams ragged, depending on how the chips fall.

6. Uruguay — Navigating the absence of Luis Suarez, which could last the group stage or longer, knocks them down a peg.

(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

5. Mexico — It’s another golden generation for El Tri, and it’s not far-fetched to imagine Mexico makes a run at everything.

4. Colombia — James Rodriguez goes back to being the focal point of an attack, and will remind us just how good he is while under the spotlight.

3. Chile — Repeating is hard, and Chile had a lot of home cooking good fortune in its hosted run to a first title.

2. Brazil — No the side won’t be fully loaded, but Dunga has shown he knows how to run a side with or without Neymar.

  1. Argentina — This could be Lionel Messi’s year to lift hardware for club and country.