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Koeman hits out at English managers, Saints over youngsters

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Ronald Koeman has hit out at other managers who do not give young players a chance to play in the Premier League.

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The Everton manager was criticized during his time at Southampton for not bringing through more young players but since he’s been at Everton he’s made the likes of Tom Davies, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Mason Holgate, Matthew Pennington and Ademola Lookman regulars in his first team.

Ahead of the Toffees clash at West Ham on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) Koeman revealed how his approach differs from that of other coaches in England.

“I see differences in how I like to give young players a chance maybe more than the English managers. They are afraid. I am not afraid to put young players in,” Koeman said. “I know in English football people say you have to look out for young players, that maybe they say they can play 15 or 20 games, not more. But I am not afraid – maybe they are.

“It is all about the talents of the young players. If they have the ­talent you have to give an opportunity. If they don’t have the talent then you have to look ­elsewhere. If I have a second center back and he is 20 and I think he can do the job, then I don’t sign a center back as a third option. My young boy is my second option. It’s the way I like to work.

“I am a ­manager who is giving young players a chance when they deserve it. I am not doubting whether to give a young player a chance instead of an older player. But that was in ­Holland, Spain and Southampton and also in Everton.”

Koeman went on to defend himself about not using youngsters at his former club Southampton and was particularly harsh about the quality of the latest batch of young players coming through at St Mary’s.

“In Southampton they can look at how many players made their debuts in the first team of Southampton when I was the manager – seven, eight, nine?” Koeman said. “But why they don’t play for the first team more regularly? Because they weren’t good enough. Now this season they played in Europe when the manager was using a lot of players to have rotation. Now they don’t play in Europe they don’t play every weekend. Tell me which young player is now in the first team? Nobody. That is criticism but, OK, no problem.”

The legendary Dutchman tells it how it is and his philosophy of playing youngsters has been consistent throughout his coaching career in Portugal, Spain, Holland and England. At Everton he has lambasted the likes of Ross Barkley publicly but seems to be getting results from the talented youngster and he seems to have a knack of getting the best out of young talent in general.

That said, Koeman could’ve been a little more tactful when making this point.

Mascherano out 6 weeks, will miss Argentina vs. Brazil

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says defender Javier Mascherano will be out of action for six weeks to recover from a right knee injury.

[ MORE: Luis Enrique leaves Barca with feeling of accomplishment ]

Barcelona’s season is over, but the injury will rule out Mascherano from Argentina’s friendly against Brazil on June 9.

Mascherano injured his leg early in Saturday’s final of the Copa del Rey, when Barcelona beat Alaves 3-1 to defend its title for a third straight season.

He also cut his head during the collision with an Alaves player that produced the leg injury. He returned on crutches to join the team celebration.

Argentina doesn’t play its next World Cup qualifier until it plays Uruguay on Aug. 28.

Courtois aiming at new Chelsea contract after strong season

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There’s a wide range of players that were integral in Chelsea’s Premier League-winning season in 2016/17, but one of the most underrated was arguably goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

[ MORE: PL clubs may miss on Celtic’s Dembele and more transfer news ]

The Blues shot-stopper started all but two PL matches this past campaign, and now the Belgian international is seeking an extension with the London club.

“Contract talks haven’t opened but I am happy at Chelsea,” Courtois told Sky Sports after Chelsea’s loss to Arsenal at Wembley.

“I hope they reward me with a good contract, then there will be no doubt I will sign it.”

The 25-year-old keeper has been in at Stamford Bridge since arriving from Genk in 2011, but Courtois spent three seasons in Spain on a loan spell.

Courtois likened this PL campaign to his time on loan at Atletico Madrid, stating that while his side’s achievements in the league were everything Chelsea could have hoped for that there was still more the Blues could have done.

“It’s not a good feeling now,” Courtois told Chelsea’s official website. “I had the same thing in Spain when I won the league and then lost the Champions League.

“We wanted to end on a high, now we feel sad. Winning is everything so this is hard to face but we have to try to forget it.”

Francesco Totti on bench for final Roma match

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Sunday marks Francesco Totti’s final match with Roma after a stellar 24-year career, but the striker won’t be starting at the Stadio Olimpico.

[ MORE: Reus could miss at least six months after suffering knee damage ]

The 40-year-old was named to the bench for his club’s 2016/17 Serie A finale against Cagliari, with Roma needing a victory to capture second position in Italy’s top flight.

Napoli currently sits just one point behind the Giallorossi and hold a slight two-goal edge in goal differential, which could be a decisive factor in which side finishes second.

It would be quite odd for Roma to not give Totti playing time in his final outing, after a career that featured over 300 goals across all competitions for his hometown club.

Transfer rumor roundup: PL clubs losing ground for Dembele and more

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With all the major leagues across Europe either closing or already have finished it’s the season of transfer rumors once again.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Arsenal’s FA Cup win vs. Chelsea ]

Here are several of the juiciest pieces from Sunday:

Three London sides could potentially miss out on Celtic star Moussa Dembele as AC Milan has emerged as a favorite to sign the top-rated Frenchman. Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham have all expressed great interest in the promising attacker, who scored 17 goals this season for the Scottish champions.

After struggling at times this season to keep goals out, Liverpool could turn to France as a potential outlet to fix the cracks in their back line. AS Monaco’s Benjamin Mendy already has significant PL interest from Manchester United and Manchester City, but Jurgen Klopp‘s side could also put up a fight.

West Ham is looking to bolster its attack this summer, and with Pep Guardiola likely making significant changes at the Etihad Stadium, Kelechi Iheanacho could be on his way to the Hammers ahead of the 2017/18 PL season.

Manchester City higher ups are keen on having Guardiola bring back goalkeeper Joe Hart from Torino this summer. Hart spent last season on loan with the Italian club after Guardiola sent him away from England early in his managing tenure at the club.