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What would Mauricio Pochettino bring to Tottenham Hotspur?

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Rumors of Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino leaving Saints and taking over at Tottenham are rife, with reports suggesting the Argentine boss could be in charge at White Hart Lane as soon as this week.

Tottenham have remained tight-lipped throughout the entire process, yet Pochettino’s silence on his future since the end of the season, has been deafening. Particularly for Southampton’s fans.

After stating he wanted to speak with the owners to see which direction Saints will be heading in, Pochettino has yet to confirm his future. Southampton’s boss has one year left on his deal and has been dismissive about future contract negotiations for months, hence this interest and reported talks with Tottenham Hotspur not coming as a surprise to many.

MORE: Report – Pochettino to be named Spurs boss this week

Personally, having been around Saints’ camp on multiple occasions this season, Pochettino’s body language alone suggests a move was always in the offing. Failing to look beyond this season when repeatedly asked about his and the clubs future, you could the patience of the 42-year-old wearing thin as more and more journalists lined up to try and trick him into revealing his plans.

However this shakes out, Pochettino is one of the best managers in the Premier League. No doubt about it.

When he took over Southampton in January 2013 they were flirting with relegation after just being promoted from the Championship. Pochettino secured safety and then kicked his team on during the 2014-15 season. Blending teenagers with talented veterans, the soccer Saints have played has been sublime and admired across the Premier League. They finished eighth, their highest-ever position in the PL and recorded a records points tally. Pochettino kicked on the careers of Saints’ inspirational players and helped the likes of Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw and Jay Rodriguez get called up to the English national team. He has built a squad of talented internationals yet the core is built of academy products such as Lallana, Shaw, James Ward-Prowse, Callum Chambers, Harrison Reed, Sam Gallagher and others. That quality is hugely valuable to any club, as producing your own talent, rather than spending millions to buy players elsewhere is hugely beneficial even for a big club like Spurs.

They have the spending power to buy big but they didn’t work out well for Andre Villas-Boas when he plundered the $120 million Spurs received for Gareth Bale last summer. When you look at Tottenham, they have produced the likes of Tom Carroll, Harry Kane, Nabil Bentaleb, Danny Rose and Andros Townsend through their academy. If Pochettino can bring through several other youngsters into the first team it will save them millions and also allows the coach to instill his beliefs in the players from a young age.

source: AP
After a stunning season with Saints, Pochettino is a man in demand.

Working with talented teenagers is his forte and Pochettino’s ability to deliver a team playing attractive soccer with substance is well known in England. After his exploits this season, it is no surprise other clubs are courting his expertise as Saints are fun to watch, work incredibly hard, have integrated teenagers into their lineup seamlessly and pin other teams back by deploying a high-pressure approach few opponents can match.

He will bring all of that to Spurs as the North London club will get an innovative and hard-working manager who spends the entire day at the training ground with his large staff who tirelessly analyze every single aspect of the team. Having witnessed Pochettino’s work up close and personal, if he’s allowed to stamp his own mark on Spurs, just like he did with Saints, then he will only succeed at White Hart Lane.

That’s right. Tottenham may actually get a managerial decision correct for the first time in a long time. He is, of course, unproven at the very top level but after managing Espanyol in La Liga and now Southampton in the PL, it seems as though Pochettino’s career path is leading him towards Tottenham and masterminding their quest for Champions League soccer.

Brazilian midfielder Fred has doping ban extended to club, out until June

VIENNA, AUSTRIA - AUGUST 19:  Fred of Donetsk goes for a header during the UEFA Champions League: Qualifying Round Play Off First Leg match between SK Rapid Vienna and FC Shakhtar Donetsk on August 19, 2015 in Vienna, Austria.  (Photo by Christian Hofer/Getty Images)
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Shakhtar Donetsk striker Fred, a regular for the Brazilian national team, has seen his CONMEBOL doping ban extended worldwide to all competitions.

A FIFA disciplinary committee announced that Fred’s suspension now covers “all types of matches, including domestic, international, friendly and official fixtures.”

The 22-year-old tested positive for the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide during last summer’s Copa America, and has not played for the Brazilian national team since, having been banned for a year by CONMEBOL. He had been playing for his Ukranian club while FIFA was reviewing the case, making 12 appearances in league play and scoring two goals. He also played six times in the Champions League without scoring a goal.

The one-year ban is back-dated to Fred’s last international squad appearance, when he was on the bench for the Copa America quarterfinals on June 27 of last summer. That date will allow Fred to be eligible for the Rio Olympics, which start August 5.

Men In Blazers podcast: Irvine Welsh Pod Special

Men In Blazers - Sept. 22
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Rog talks with “Trainspotting” author Irvine Welsh about his new novel “A Decent Ride,” unconventional career arc, and love for West Ham United/Hibernian.

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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LA Galaxy newcomer Ashley Cole takes responsibility for previous MLS quote

CARSON, CA - FEBRUARY 5: Ashley Cole #3 of the Los Angeles Galaxy speaks after he was introduced during a news conference at StubHub Center February 5, 2016, in Carson, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Wireimage)
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During Ashley Cole‘s introductory press conference today, where the former Chelsea legend was officially unveiled by the LA Galaxy to the media alongside Belgian defender Jelle Van Damme, a predictable question came his way.

Cole was asked about comments he made a year and a half ago when he joined AS Roma, where he said he turned down offers from Major League Soccer because he didn’t want to go “relax on the beach.”

The 35-year-old took responsibility for the quote, saying, “Of course, I hold my hands up, it was said.” However, he defended himself saying he was baited into the comments by the Italian reporter.

“I’m not going to come here and try to defend myself,” Cole said. “It was said, but it was for sure taken out of content. I was talking to the reporter, and he kind of said it to me, ‘We’re glad to have you at Roma. We didn’t expect you to be here, we thought you would go and relax on the beach.'”

“Of course you have to understand, I was at a new team, I have to tell the fans at Roma I was here to fight, I was there to win things and play in the Champions League.”

Cole said he spoke to Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, and Robbie Keane about the league before deciding to join Major League Soccer. “I know it’s going to be hard for me for sure, but I’m happy to be here, I’m going to work as hard as I can, change a few views on me being here, and we’ll see. I’m a winner, I always want to win, I didn’t come here to sit on the beach – to rest – I’m here to play football and work hard. I’m not a diva, I’m not this egotistical guy that comes and thinks he’s bigger than anyone.”

3 key battles for USMNT against Canada

CARSON, CA - JANUARY 31:  Jozy Altidore #17 of the United States chases down a pass against Iceland during the first half at StubHub Center on January 31, 2016 in Carson, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The United States takes on Canada in the second of two matches throughout January camp to test those brought in and see who stands out.

They took out Iceland in the first match, and now the Canadians stand in the way at the Stubhub Center in Carson, CA at 10:30 on Friday night.

[ PREVIEW: Get the full look at US vs Canada ]

Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann no doubt has already run through is list of positives and negatives in the win over Iceland. While the win is nice, the overriding purpose here is to both evaluate certain players and determine the best formula for success moving forward into World Cup qualifying, the Copa America, and the Olympics.

So, with that in mind, here are three key matchups to keep an eye on as the USMNT players battle both Canada and each other for spots on the roster in future meaningful games.

1) United States attack vs Canada’s organization

The US was solid in possession against Iceland, but it came against an opponent that showed a more attacking intent and also appeared to have limited motivation. Canada would not be what you call a “defensive” team, but they are very organized under Benito Floro, and it shows. They’ve conceded 1 or 0 goals in each of their last 13 matches, losing just once across that time. Their goalscoring numbers have suffered, but it’s translated into marginal success.

To hold the ball against Iceland, the US used a slow build-up process beginning with Jermaine Jones (who stayed surprisingly composed and centralized during his time on the field) who fed Michael Bradley and Lee Nguyen further up the pitch. That tactic may not be as effective against a less erratic opponent, but it will be interesting to see how Klinsmann decides to break down the Canadian defensive unit. The wide areas may be vital.

The 0-0 scoreline has been a fixture in this matchup, finishing goalless the last two times and in four of the last eight, so the US will no doubt be looking to break that deadlock early lest they get frustrated as time progresses.

2) USMNT full-backs vs wide play

Michael Orozco and Brad Evans were sent back to their clubs, leaving the United States incredibly thin at a position the nation has already been weak at for years. Jurgen Klinsmann has been searching far and wide for an answer to this question, and with young Kellyn Acosta slightly out of his depth or potentially star-struck in his debut against Iceland, there are a few other question marks.

The options are limited. Acosta could get another shot if Klinsmann likes what he sees in training, or he could move to the likes of Brandon Vincent or Matt Polster. The latter logged 30 matches for Chicago last year as a rookie, while Vincent was just drafted by FC Dallas and has yet to even make a professional appearance. Either way, it’s likely Canada targets the wide areas as a point of weakness for the US, so whoever plays will be in the spotlight.

[ VIDEO: Bobby Wood scores skillful goal for club ]

3) Central defenders vs Akindele and Larin

Whether Floro decides to play Larin centrally by himself, or partner him with Akindele, the striker(s) will be the main target for Canada’s attack. Larin and Akindele both have not seen the scoresheet since a 4-0 win over the Dominican Republic in World Cup qualifying last June, so they will be itching to get back on board. Should one be deployed centrally, look for the lone wolf to split the central defenders and receive service from wide areas where Canada may exploit the aforementioned weaknesses along the outside of the US back line.

How do you see the US matching up against Canada, and visa-versa?