Andros Townsend silences critics after superb goal for England. Can he kick on?

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Tottenham Hotspur winger Andros Townsend scored a gem to grab a 1-1 draw for England away at Italy on Tuesday, as the Spurs winger silenced plenty of critics in the process.

Townsend, 23, has enjoyed an up and down season for Spurs with injuries, loss of form and squad rotation eating into his playing minutes.

[ VIDEO: Townsend’s screamer ]

After bursting onto the scene for Spurs and England in 2013, which included a stunning goal on his England debut, Townsend’s career has stalled a little. That prompted many pundits to criticize his inclusion on the current Three Lions squad, one of whom was former England and Arsenal playmaker Paul Merson who now has a prominent role in the UK media with Sky Sports.

Well, Townsend remembered Merson’s jibes shortly after his stunning strike in Turin against Italy and had the following to say via Twitter…

Seeing a player taking his critics head on is refreshing and shows Townsend has confidence in his own ability, even if others do not. Now the pacey winger must continue to play regularly for Spurs and give Roy Hodgson a headache of epic proportions when it comes to future squads.

How can the England manager possibly fit Townsend, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck, Adam Lallana and Theo Walcott all into the same squad? Following Townsend’s stunning finish and his driving runs, he may have to. Townsend played liked a man with something to prove after coming off the bench late on against Italy and he has certainly proved to some of his critics that he is capable of playing and scoring at the international level. Now, can he keep it going?

With five-straight starts for Tottenham, even though he has been subbed out in four of those matches, Townsend seems to be winning over new boss Mauricio Pochettino and is becoming a regular once again at White Hart Lane. If he can add more goals to his game, expect Townsend to fulfill the potential which saw him lauded as a future England regular when he burst onto the scene in 2013 following a successful loan spell at Queens Park Rangers which resulted in him jumping up the pecking order at Spurs.

One other interesting note is that Townsend’s potential ascendancy with England may well be replicated by several of his Spurs teammates. Look at the players around him in the photo he Tweeted above. When celebrating his goal against Italy Townsend was surrounded by Spurs teammates Kyle Walker, Harry Kane and Ryan Mason. Can those four players become regulars for England? There are certainly opportunities for all four but now they have to take them.

WATCH: Zlatan stunner answers Vela’s opener in El Trafico

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic is walking it like he talks it, not that that’s anything new.

A few days after claiming superiority over LAFC superstar Carlos Vela, Ibrahimovic and his Galaxy trailed early in El Trafico via a Vela penalty.

[ MORE: Latest on Eriksen ]

Naturally, Zlatan took it upon himself to answer the bell with his 14th goal in 17 games.

Ibrahimovic chests a long ball onto his right foot, cooking Eduard Atuesta by pushing it into position for a tremendous lash into the LAFC goal.

And if you haven’t been following LAFC’s amazing season, Atuesta’s probably been the side’s best player after Vela, who now has 20 goals in 20 games.

Wizard stuff.

Borussia Dortmund tops Liverpool 3-2 at Notre Dame

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A half-hour of the big guns wasn’t enough to get Jurgen Klopp a result against his former team.

Harry Wilson and Rhian Brewster scored for Liverpool in a 3-2 loss to Borussia Dortmund at the University of Notre Dame on Friday.

Paco Alcacer, Thomas Delaney, and Jacob Bruun Larsen scored for the Black Yellow, who led 3-1 when mass changes began with Virgil Van Dijk, Georginio Wijnaldum, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, and Andrew Robertson entering the match.

Liverpool faces Sevilla on Sunday at Fenway Park in Boston.

[ MORE: Latest on Eriksen ]

Alcacer with the ball in the box is a bad idea, and the Spaniard took advantage of Nathaniel Clyne and Joel Matip to smash home from a yard outside the six.

Wilson leveled the score before halftime, but Delaney made it 2-1 in the 53rd minute when a long diagonal ball beat the Reds line and a low pass across the box went undetected.

It was 3-1 via a clever Bruun Larsen touch to wrong foot James Milner, but Brewster brought the Reds back to within one when he converted a 75th minute penalty won by Ben Woodburn.

Liverpool was without Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah, who are on break after deep summer tournament runs.

Eriksen offered big Spurs wages, but Atletico Madrid lurks

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Christian Eriksen may trade London for Madrid after all, but Marca claims it’ll be Real Madrid’s rivals who earn the services of Tottenham’s Danish playmaker.

Eriksen, 27, scored 10 goals with 17 assists for Spurs in all competitions last season, and was reportedly ready to spread his wings for Real Madrid.

[ MORE: Kean to Everton? ]

But pro-Real site Marca says Zinedine Zidane doesn’t want Eriksen at the Bernabeu, and that Diego Simeone feels differently… should Atletico Madrid fail at landing his prime option.

That’s James Rodriguez, who remains property of Real and that’s a problem.

So Eriksen to Atleti, helping to replace Antoine Griezmann? It’s possible.

From Marca.com:

Just last November, the London club put a 250 million euro price tag on his head, but now appear keen to move him on. The next few days will likely reveal a lot about what’s to come.

So we may get an idea of whether this report has any guts to it by next week. There could be some sense to it, but Metro claims that Spurs are offering Eriksen an “enormous” contract to keep him in North London.

Enormous means a doubling of Eriksen’s wages, and the Dane is said to be happy in England. Might Spurs hold off the finest of La Liga and Serie A after all.

Report: Everton could land Juventus’ Kean after all

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Everton could end up with one of the hottest prospects in world soccer.

Moise Kean may wind up leaving Juventus due to the club’s failure to offload fellow strikers Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain.

And Kean, 19, was poised for a breakthrough to the first team, to the extent that Juve reportedly turned down a $33 million bid from Everton.

[ MORE: Algeria wins AFCON ]

The Toffees, however, may have new life due to the Higuain/Mandzukic problem, and Sky Sports Italia reports that Kean may indeed be an option for Marco Silva‘s club. He could join Michael Keane, if he’s keen.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Kean elected to leave Italy given the racial abuse he’s suffered in Serie A (Though racism is everywhere, of course).

The same report says Kean turned down a Barcelona offer because he would’ve headed on loan, while Arsenal is also said to be in the mix.

Kean scored six Serie A goals with an assist in just 13 matches for Juventus last season after scoring four times for Hellas Verona on loan.