Gareth Southgate

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Loftus-Cheek returns to Chelsea for injury treatment; WC in doubt

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Ruben Loftus-Cheek was enjoying a breakout season at the age of 21, featuring as a full-time starter for the first time in his career while on loan to Crystal Palace and debuting for England in November, before an ankle injury brought everything to a screeching halt last month.

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Now, more than a month later, Loftus-Cheek’s ankle hasn’t improved after a period of rest, and surgery has emerged as a very real possibility should no progress be made over the next month. As such, Loftus-Cheek, now 22, has returned to Chelsea for further evaluation by his parent club’s medical team.

Palace manager Roy Hodgson, just like the rest of us, is living in total darkness — quotes from the Guardian:

“Chelsea insist on having him back there on this period of rehabilitation, so we won’t really know until such time that they release him back to us. The agreement was that he would spend two to three weeks without having a surgical intervention, in the hope that the problem he has will be resolved naturally.

“During that time, Chelsea have insisted they take care of that because they regard him as their player. We will now wait for that period to pass, then he’ll come back to us. We will then test whether or not the injury is still there or whether, as they think, the injury has cleared up. So there’s another 10-14 days to go before I can tell you anything about Ruben Loftus-Cheek at all. I haven’t seen him literally for 10 days.”

With the 2018 World Cup now just four and a half months away, ankle surgery would almost certainly eliminate Loftus-Cheek from consideration for Gareth Southgate‘s squad.

Not yet ready: Lampard rules out taking League One manager job

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Frank Lampard could be standing in the technical area one day, barking out instructions to his players. But that day isn’t today.

Lampard went on British radio station TalkSport and ruled out taking over the now-vacant League One Oxford United managerial position, which opened after Pep Clotet was sacked earlier this week. Lampard, who retired following the end of the 2017 MLS season, has been working on his coaching badges and is getting experience coaching in Chelsea’s academy.

But he’s not ready to get on the hot seat for the League One side.

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“I spoke to Dave Jones, who works at Sky and is on the board at Oxford, in the summer about the job and that is far as it went. There wasn’t much in it,” Lampard told TalkSPORT. “Certainly I’m working on my badges now and it’s my intention [to get into management] if the right thing comes along.

“I don’t know what the route will be – there are plenty of different routes to become a top manager and I am working there [at Chelsea with the U18s] now to get towards that. You can’t just step out of something and think you can become a manager, you have to practice a lot. Thankfully Chelsea and the academy are helping me get my hours in and I am watching training at certain Premier League clubs and studying as much as I can so down the line, I hope so [to become a manager one day].”

Perhaps the timing wasn’t right, but getting to learn the ropes at a smaller club in England could be just what Lampard needs to keep improving now as a manager. Ryan Giggs waited and now is the Wales boss but it’s unclear if Lampard could have done the same for the England job, even if he coached the youth levels in the national team setup as Gareth Southgate did.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Sturridge to Inter; Laporte to Man City

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Inter Milan appear to be pushing hard to sign Daniel Sturridge on loan from Liverpool.

Phil McNulty from BBC Sport believes that Inter want a loan move until the end of the season for the 28-year-old striker.

England international Sturridge has seen his appearances dwindle at Liverpool this season with just nine games and two goals in the Premier League. Injuries have once again impacted Sturridge’s season and with Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane ripping it up in a fluid front three, there doesn’t appear to be a place for Sturridge in Jurgen Klopp‘s plans.

Sturridge has started just six games in all competitions, making 14 appearances and scoring three goals in total.

Sevilla are reportedly also interested in Sturridge, while several other Premier League clubs have also been suggested as a potential temporary home.

As he tries to earn a spot in Gareth Southgate‘s England squad, regular action will be key for Sturridge between now and May. He may not get that at Liverpool, even with the Reds pushing to finish in the top four of the PL, plus still in the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League. He will likely get some minutes in the cup and some league games but unless he plays, and scores, regularly then his hopes of going to the 2018 World Cup will be far-fetched.


Sky Sports are reporting that Manchester City are in talks to sign Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao for $83 million.

Per the report  negotiations are ongoing about a deal for the young defender.

Laporte, 23, has an $83 million release clause in his contract, hence the bid, but the French international center back previously turned down the chance to sign for City.

With Vincent Kompany once again struggling with injuries, plus the erratic form of John Stones this season, Guardiola has been looking to beef up his options at center back for a while. Jonny Evans and Real Sociedad’s Inigo Martinez are reportedly other options for City in January, with Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala the only other recognized center back around after Kompany and Stones.

Laporte is a product of the Athletic youth system and made his first team debut in the 2012-13 season. He was included in the 2013-14 La Liga team of the year and is known as a tough tackling, ball-playing center back who has an excellent turn of pace and he is left-footed.

$83 million is a lot of cash to splash but Man City have a little in the bank given their failure to land Alexis Sanchez. Guardiola needs to strengthen in defense and at the age of 23, with five seasons in La Liga under his belt, Laporte seems like a very good long-term project.

England boss Southgate has a job no matter the World Cup result

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Job security is a luxury most of those who work in sports are not able to enjoy.

Unless you’re Gareth Southgate.

According to English FA chief executive Martin Glenn, his manager has a job no matter what happens in Russia during the 2018 World Cup.

“We have a long-term plan. You’ve seen some of the fruits of it,” Glenn said according to a number of English media outlets.

But Glenn admitted things can change, and public perception can often put pressure on an otherwise fluid process.

“Long-term plans are hard to defend when the short-term results go against you. He’s not looking at Russia as a free pass. The World Cup’s a really important staging post for our development, I think. We go out there wanting to win it but also being realistic. No-one wants to have a bad World Cup but we’re confident he’s the right guy to take us through for the next few tournaments.”

Glenn’s reference to “the next few tournaments” likely includes the World Cup, plus Euro 2020. He looked to other European powers as a model.

“We’re going to do it in a way that’s sustainable,” Glenn said. “We know that worked for the Germans and we know that worked for the Spanish, so we’re just repeating things they’ve done with our own emphasis on it.”

Southgate confirms Rooney will remain retired for World Cup

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Wayne Rooney seems to have found some semblance of his former self at Everton of late, but it won’t leave his national team manager begging for him to come back with the 2018 World Cup on the horizon.

England boss Gareth Southgate confirmed that Rooney will not make a ceremonious return to the national team, meaning he will stay retired for the 2018 World Cup. England was drawn out of Pot 2 into Group G alongside Belgium, Panama, and Tunisia.

“I think Wayne made his decision clear, his decision to retire,” Southgate told the BBC. “We were looking at bringing him into the squad in September much for his value as a senior player as anything else.

“But we’ve now moved forward, evolved as a squad in the last three months and our feeling now is that it’s important for the younger players to gain that experience rather than look back at a younger player.”

Rooney scored a hat-trick in Everton’s 4-0 win over West Ham, hitting his third from inside the Toffees’ own half.

The 32-year-old last played for the national team on November 11th, 2016 in a 3-0 win over Scotland in World Cup qualifying. Since, Harry Kane has earned most of the time up front for the England national team, while Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli, and Adam Lallana have been saddled with much of the creative duties.