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Recently retired Ryan Mason receives standing ovation at Hull match

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Midfielder Ryan Mason, who was forced to retire after suffering a fractured skull over a year ago, received a warm ovation at KCOM Stadium before Hull City’s match on Friday against Sheffield United.

Mason, just 26 years old, announced his retirement last week on the advice of medical professionals after over a year of rehabilitation from his injury in an attempt to return to playing. The Tottenham youth product was injured in an aerial clash with Chelsea defender Gary Cahill in January of 2017, and did not return to action.

“Ryan has sought the guidance of numerous world-renowned neurologists and neuro surgeons who have all advised that a return to competitive football is not advised,” Hull City said in a release after Mason’s retirement was announced. “Ryan would like to put on record his thanks to all at the club who have aided his recovery to this point and he his is indebted to them for their support and compassion over the past 12 months.”

Before Hull City’s match against Sheffield, an important one with Hull battling relegation, Mason was brought out on the pitch and received a warm reception from the patchy crowd.

As the club did after his injury, they put a message on the screen with the Twitter hashtag #OneRyanMason.

Mason picked up his first job since retirement over the weekend, commentating on Sky Sports in studio for a Championship match between Aston Villa and Preston North End, which ended in a 1-1 draw. “It’s been a bit of a whirlwind – it’s been crazy. I’ve had a lot of messages and it’s been a lot to take in,” Mason said on the broadcast. “I’ve been quite positive throughout and I’m looking to the next chapter now.”It’s difficult [to accept]. For the last year I’ve been working as hard as I can to get back on a football pitch. But when you’re long-term health comes into it then it’s a lot easier. There is more to life than football.

Serie A: Turkish youngster Under fires Roma back into 3rd

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ROME (AP) The rapid development of 20-year-old Turkey winger Cengiz Under is playing a big role in Roma’s revival.

Under scored his fourth goal in three matches and Roma won at Udinese 2-0 for its third straight win in Serie A on Saturday.

Roma moved into third place, two points ahead of Inter Milan, which lost at Genoa 2-0.

It’s a drastic improvement from where Roma was a month ago, when the Giallorossi were mired in a five-match winless streak that risked dropping them out of contention for the Champions League places.

“We’re getting back on track to where we were in the first half of the season,” forward Diego Perotti said.

Roma went ahead when Under unleashed a powerful, rising shot from beyond the area in the 70th.

Perotti sealed the victory in the 90th with an angled effort after Udinese gave the ball away near midfield.

Under is having a breakout month.

First, he scored after 43 seconds when Roma ended a five-match winless streak by beating Hellas Verona 1-0. Then he had a brace and also delivered an assist in a 5-2 win over Benevento last weekend.

All this after not being involved in any goals in his first 14 matches with Roma.

“He plays far more for the team than himself,” Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco said of Under. “His greatest strength is being able to prepare his shot with great speed, making him difficult to close down.”

Added Perotti, “He’s very humble and he doesn’t speak Italian yet but he’s well behaved and is a great kid. He deserves all of this.”

On Wednesday, Roma visits Shakhtar Donetsk in the first leg of the Champions League last 16.

“We’ve got to make the most of the fact they’ve had a winter break and might not be match fit,” Di Francesco said of the Ukrainian side. “They have a lot of quality in attack and are dangerous, but we shouldn’t change our attitude.”

Inter’s defense was in shambles against Genoa.

The hosts took the lead before the break when a failed clearance attempt from Milan Skriniar ricocheted off of a stunned Andrea Ranocchia, who was charged with an own goal.

Then former Inter striker Goran Pandev was left unmarked to score from the center of the area midway through the second half.

Inter hasn’t won at regional rival Genoa in more than seven years.

Chievo Verona took a big step toward avoiding relegation with a 2-1 win over visiting Cagliari.

Emanuele Giaccherini and Roberto Inglese scored late for the hosts before Leonardo Pavoletti pulled one back for Cagliari.

Chievo moved up to 14th, level on points with Cagliari, eight points above the drop zone.

Scott, dual Americans must top Cordeiro’s USMNT priorities

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With no national team in the World Cup and without a wild outsider laying claim to the U.S. presidential chair, many American soccer fans have let the United States men’s national team slip to the back of their minds.

And while that’s understandable, new boss Carlos Cordeiro needs his recruiters working hard in two areas: finding the top man to be U.S. technical director, and making sure the next Jonathan Gonzalez isn’t largely ignored while he decides to switch allegiances to Mexico.

[ MORE: American debuts as Chelsea tops Hull ]

He may not have a ton of convincing to do, thanks to current staffers, but there are a least a couple dozen short phone calls he should make on behalf of the men’s national team.

“Hey, I’m the new president. We’re going to hire some new soccer people and a USMNT manager, but I want you to know we know and care about you.”

LONDON: Scott holds off pressure from Evandro Goebel (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images).

Kyle Scott stands as one of three reminders just this month. The Chelsea 20-year-old center midfielder, born in Bath, represented England at U-16 level and Republic of Ireland at U-17 before switching to the U.S. for U-18 and U-20 duty.

He is, barring some unknown FIFA bylaws, another prospect who could fall between the cracks™.

Eight days ago, listed 10 young league talents who could “soon join the USA national team,” including teenagers like Bayern Munich youth Timothy Tillman, Malik Tillman, and Jalen Hawkins, as well as established players like Borussia Dortmund’s Jeremy Toljan (23).’s Ives Galarcep moved four Mexican-American prospects into the hopper when he wrote about three LA Galaxy prospects and NC State right back Manny Perez.

Plus: we’re all quite aware of Spurs center back Cameron Carter-Vickers.

I was critical of U.S. Soccer for implementing a number of significant measures last month in the run-up to the presidential election, things that might have been better with approval from the new president, but it’s worth noting that not a single one of these players needed to wait for a recruitment push from Tab Ramos or any number of influential people in the USSF set-up.

To be clear: playing in a German youth set-up doesn’t make a player superior to stateside prospects, and there are any number of perceived European academy washouts playing NCAA Soccer who won’t go on to sniff an MLS Draft slot, let alone a battle between Hoffenheim and Mainz.

But Bob Bradley and Jurgen Klinsmann were both very successful at convincing players, future stars and let-downs alike, to choose their American heritage. Whether Bruce Arena or Tim Howard thinks these players are American-blooded enough to succeed is irrelevant in my opinion, let the field sort that out.

But Cordeiro could go a long way toward currying favor with his new populace by finding the next Klinsmann-level super recruiter to make sure that the player pool is as deep as possible.

American debuts, Willian stars, Chelsea wins

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Willian made a statement within 120 seconds of kickoff on Friday, and Chelsea repeated it often during a four-goal first half: Hull City was not getting near the FA Cup quarterfinals.

The Brazilian scored twice, while goals also came for Olivier Giroud and Pedro in Chelsea’s 4-0 win over the Tigers.

[ MORE: West Brom players investigated in Spain ]

Hull’s Harry Wilson, on loan from Liverpool, won a penalty kick in the 49th minute off a hasty Cesc Fabregas tackle, and David Meyler was stopped by Wily Caballero to preserve the clean sheet.

American U-20 center midfielder Kyle Scott made his full Chelsea debut in the match, subbing on for Fabregas in the 62nd minute and joining Matt Miazga and Roy Wegerle as U.S. players to don the blue of Chelsea.

Scott entered the game with 60 appearances for Chelsea between the U-18 and U-23 levels, with four goals and seven assists.

The Blues got a pair from Willian, including a 2nd minute opener off a poor Hull idea, as they rolled past the Tigers at Stamford Bridge.

Willian dinged the far post with an 89th minute effort, denied of the hat trick.

Here’s the opener:

FA Cup fifth round preview, score picks

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The last 16 of the FA Cup takes place this weekend and there are plenty of big boys aiming to avoid upsets in the oldest knockout competition on the planet.

[ LIVE: Follow FA Cup scores here ]

Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are all still in the competition and all four are heavily favored to ease into the quarterfinals.

Where will the upsets be? Tottenham head to third-tier Rochdale to play on the freshly laid pitch at Spotland and we saw how they struggled at Newport in the fourth round, while Brighton host fourth-tier Coventry City who have already knocked out Stoke City on their way to the last 16.

Wigan have also beaten PL opponents on their way to the fifth round after dispatching Bournemouth and West Ham but they face a Manchester City side who are eyeing the quadruple.

Below is a look at the schedule in full, while I make my score prediction for each game.

FA Cup fifth round schedule

Leicester City vs. Sheffield United – 2:45 p.m. ET (JPW’s pick = Leicester to win 2-0)
Chelsea vs. Hull City – 3 p.m. ET (JPW’s pick = Chelsea to win 4-1)

Sheffield Wednesday vs. Swansea City – 7:30 a.m. ET (JPW’s pick = Swansea to win 2-1)
Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Coventry City – 10 a.m. ET (JPW’s pick = Coventry to win 2-1)
West Bromwich Albion vs. Southampton – 10 a.m. ET (JPW’s pick = 0-0 draw)
Huddersfield Town vs. Manchester United – 12:30 p.m. ET (JPW’s pick = 1-1 draw)

Rochdale vs. Tottenham Hotspur – 11 a.m. ET (JPW’s pick = Tottenham to win 3-0)

Wigan Athletic vs. Manchester City – 2:55 p.m. ET (JPW’s pick = Man City to win, 3-1)