Sherwood unfazed by speculation, as Tottenham boss impresses with passion

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LONDON, England — As the rain teamed down at White Hart Lane early in Tottenham’s 5-1 win against Sunderland, Spurs manager Tim Sherwood sat on the edge of his seat on the bench tentatively, like a cat on a hot tin roof.

Slumping back into his seat time and time again, jumping up and down, remonstrating with the referee, swearing excessively, getting involved with fans and doing it all with a smile on his face, Sherwood enjoyed his night despite all the recent pressure being piled on top of him.

Earlier on Monday it was reported that Sherwood will be let go as Tottenham manager at the end of the season, responding to questions about his future, the Spurs boss remains defiant he’s the right man for the job.

“Nothing has changed, I have had a chat about next season, players I’ve identified for next season and preseason plans. Nothing has changed,” Sherwood said.

Responding to further questions about the uncertainty around his future, Sherwood isn’t fazed by it. Not at all.

“The uncertainty has always been there, you can’t stop speculation. It has always been there from the moment I took over to where we are now,” Sherwood said. “It’s up to the football club to answer those questions. I am going to be professional and worry about the players on the pitch and getting the best out of them between now and the end of the season. I am more than capable of doing that.”

(MORE: Three things we learned from Tottenham’s win vs. Sunderland)

With manager’s such as Louis van Gaal reportedly lined up to replace Sherwood in the summer — with the former Spurs captain only handed an 18-month deal back in January — it seems like Chairman Daniel Levy isn’t 100 percent certain on what Sherwood’s no-nonsense character brings to the table. He has had a wonderful start to life in the PL, there’s no disputing that. The 45-year-old has won 10 of his 17 games in charge of Spurs since taking over from Andre Villas-Boas, and has the best winning percentage of any Spurs manager in PL history. But somehow his face doesn’t quite fit, as it’s inevitable that a new manager will be at the helm at White Hart Lane next season.

Asked whether Tottenham are entitled to look for a new manager, while he is still in charge, Sherwood had the following to say.

“I think every club are always looking for the next one,” Sherwood said. “It’s the same with players, you always look for someone to possibly come in and replace the player. I don’t know if this club has been doing that, I have no idea. All I know is that any question regarding my employment, you have to ask my employers.”

(MORE: Tottenham 5-1 Sunderland – Eriksen all-world at White Hart Lane)

Tottenham’s players put in a top performance for Sherwood, as they hammered Sunderland and had 29 efforts on goal in a completely dominant display. When Emmanuel Adebayor scored his second, he ran to Sherwood and saluted Spurs’ boss… Sherwood saluted back with a cheeky smile on his face. The players seem to love playing for Sherwood, does he get the feeling that they are backing him 100 percent?

“I think they are, I’m backing them as well,” Sherwood said defiantly. “What they get from me is honesty, they know when they don’t do it. I tell them. But when they do well, I pat them on the back. It works both ways, and that is healthy. I always wanted honesty from my managers, sometimes I never got it.”

Will Sherwood get honesty from his chairman and those who decide his future? That’s the least he deserves, as speculation around his future continues to spiral out of control.

Former Czech Republic defender Rajtoral kills himself

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PRAGUE (AP) Former Czech Republic defender Frantisek Rajtoral, who won the domestic league title four times before joining Turkish club Gaziantepspor, died on Sunday. He was 31.

[ MORE: Bayern scouted Kyle Walker, Alex Sanchez this weekend ]

The Czech football federation said in a statement that Rajtoral had “committed suicide in Turkey.”

His agent Pavel Zika confirmed the player’s death, describing it as a “huge tragedy.”

Gaziantepspor announced Rajtoral’s death in a brief statement on its website.

Rajtoral played 14 international matches for the Czech Republic.

In the top Czech league, he won four titles with Viktoria Plzen and played in the group stage of the Champions League twice for the club. He moved to Hannover in the Bundesliga in 2014 for half of the season, on loan.

He left Viktoria Plzen last year to move to Turkey.

Bellerin wants to represent Spain U21s despite Wenger’s wishes

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Arsene Wenger has made it clear about Hector Bellerin representing Spain this summer but the Arsenal defender is prepared to go against his manager’s wishes if he is selected.

[ MORE: Bayern scouted Kyle Walker, Alexis Sanchez over the weekend ]

The 22-year-old has said he hopes to play for Spain’s Under-21 side this summer during the 2017 European U-21 Championship but Wenger has been weary of Bellerin’s injury status and wants his fullback to maintain a clean bill of health throughout the offseason.

“I really want to play,” Bellerin told IBTimes. “Representing Spain is very important. If [Albert] Celades gives me the chance I’ll be there.

“Those are opinions of the managers. I have to keep working. The truth is that I had a difficult injury but I think that I am at 100% now and I’ll try to prove it when I get the chance.”

Bellerin signed a six-and-a-half year deal with the Gunners in November, where he has resided since coming up in the club’s academy. He has made 102 appearances for Wenger’s team in that span over all competitions.

Roma boosts bid for 2nd in Serie A by beating Pescara 4-1

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PESCARA, Italy (AP) Roma boosted its bid for second place in Serie A and automatic entry into the Champions League with a 4-1 win at Pescara, which was mathematically relegated on Monday.

[ MORE: Newcastle joins Brighton in promotion to Premier League ]

Roma moved four points clear of third-placed Napoli, which drew against Sassuolo 2-2 on Sunday. Third place in Serie A receives a Champions League playoff.

Pescara remained 15 points behind Empoli. There are only five matches left and Empoli has the better head-to-head record, which is the deciding factor if two teams finish level on points.

There were 48 goals in total in the 33rd round, matching the record set in October 1992.

Roma took control shortly before halftime, with Kevin Strootman breaking the deadlock after Stephan El Shaarawy unselfishly rolled the ball across the area.

Radja Nainggolan, who earlier hit the bar, doubled Roma’s lead two minutes later.

Mohamed Salah extended Roma’s advantage three minutes after the break and the winger doubled his tally on the hour following a swift counterattack.

Ahmad Benali got a consolation for Pescara and a Cristiano Biraghi free kick also hit the post for the home side.

Frank Yallop resigns as Phoenix Rising coach shortly after Drogba arrival

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The timing is a bit sudden and certainly leaves many questions up in the air, but Phoenix Rising will have to look for a new manager.

[ MORE: Chicharito talks heating up with LA FC ]

On Monday, head coach Frank Yallop resigned from his position with the United Soccer League (USL) club less than one day after former Chelsea legend Didier Drogba joined the organization as a player-owner.

With Phoenix seen as one of several lower-level clubs with ambitions of making the leap to MLS over the coming seasons, Yallop’s departure is surely a shock to many.

According to ESPN FC, Rising lead owner Berke Bakay was quite surprised by Yallop’s decision to step down, as was Drogba.

“Didier was as surprised and disappointed as we were that Frank is unable to continue coaching our Club,” Bakay told ESPN FC. “But, we all respect his decision to put his family first.

“Didier’s focus will remain on improving our team as a player and assisting our MLS expansion team ownership group as a co-owner. Frank will be helping with our international search for a new head coach.”

Rick Schantz, the current Rising assistant coach, will head the team’s managerial duties for the interim while the club completes a full search for a new manager.