Patrick Vieira named new New York City FC head coach

Leave a comment

New York City FC have named legendary midfielder Patrick Vieira as their new manager on a three-year deal.

[ MORE: Spurs ready for top 4 ]

The Major League Soccer franchise fired Jason Kreis last week after the former Real Salt Lake boss failed to make the 2015 postseason during the expansion franchise’s first season of existence.

Vieira, 39, has never been in charge of a first team but has been the head coach of the Elite Development Squad at Manchester City after finishing his playing career with the Premier League side.

Speaking about his new job, Vieira had the following to say.

“I am delighted to take up the role of Head Coach of New York City FC. To work with this squad, with Claudio Reyna and Rob Vartughian and the fantastic support team that is in place, is an exciting prospect for any coach,” Vieira said. “This established football set up, together with a passionate and loyal fan base, located in a special city which I know well, makes for an unparalleled opportunity that I am delighted to seize with both hands.  I cannot wait to get started.”

The former Arsenal, Juventus, Inter Milan and Man City midfielder enjoyed a glittering career for club and country as he won three English Premier League titles, five FA Cups and three Serie A titles. Plus, he captained the French national team and was part of the squad which won both the 1998 World Cup and the European Championships in 2000.

NYCFC’s sporting director Claudio Reyna had high praise for Vieira as the Bronx-based club now has the big-name coach to go with their big aspirations.

“Patrick was a legendary player and has all the characteristics required to make a fantastic head coach,” Reyna said. “His exemplary drive, passion and dedication have always marked him out as a rare talent and all of those qualities, alongside his understanding of the game, make him a natural choice. Patrick is a natural born leader. He has played under some of the best managers in the world and experienced different leagues and playing styles, enjoying success everywhere he has been. We believe he can bring that knowledge and experience to take New York City FC forward in MLS. We are looking forward to him joining us in the coming weeks.”

His pedigree as a player is undoubted and he has been a member of the City Football Group in Manchester for many years as both an ambassador and a coach, so this decision to replace Kreis with Vieira seems to fit the ethos of owner Sheikh Mansour as NYCFC’s new boss has been promoted from within. Vieira will be in NYC on Tuesday to meet his players and be unveiled, as he will officially start his new role on Jan. 1 2016. He has enjoyed success working with youth players at Man City, as he delivered a Premier League International Cup and his side currently sit top of its group in the UEFA Youth League. Vieira’s appointment will likely see many of Man City’s talented youngsters follow him to the Big Apple with loan deals expected and the ethos of the two clubs will likely grow closer together as his appointment will help mesh the two further.

In the past Vieira has been linked with managerial openings in the Premier League but his first job as a head coach will come in MLS and it will be intriguing to see how the Arsenal legend leads NYCFC on and off the field at Yankee Stadium with their three superstars Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo and David Villa together for the entirety of the 2016 MLS season.

Racist abuse delays England v. Bulgaria qualifier

Getty Images
Leave a comment

England raced out to an impressive 4-0 lead at Bulgaria by halftime, but the wonderful attacking display was marred by horrendous incidents from the crowd.

The match in the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia, Bulgaria was stopped on two occasions with announcements being made to ask sections of the crowd to stop their abusive language. This comes with the stadium already serving a partial stadium closure due to racist chanting from the crowd in previous qualifiers.

Below is UEFA’s protocol on how to intervene in these situations, and what transpired from lead writer Joe Prince-Wright.

Tottenham re-signs goalkeeper Vorm

Getty Images
Leave a comment

With Hugo Lloris set to miss at least another two months of action with a broken elbow, Tottenham has turned to a familiar face to provide some cover between the pipes.

Tottenham announced Monday it had re-signed goalkeeper Michel Vorm to a contract through the end of the 2019-2020 Premier League season. Vorm spent five seasons with Tottenham after signing from Swansea City in 2014. However, after playing second-fiddle to Lloris and later serving as the third backup behind current Tottenham No. 2, Paulo Gazzaniga for the past couple of seasons, Vorm was released at the end of last season.

Its certainly a boost for Tottenham that a player with a long history at the club and plenty of experience was available to help in this situation. Similar to Liverpool picking up Adrian after Alisson Becker’s injury, Tottenham know what it’s getting in Vorm and may play him a few times if Gazzaniga needs a night off in the next few months.

According to Vorm, he had been home in his native Netherlands and was watching the game when he saw Lloris get injured.

“Obviously I saw straight away that he had a bad injury and at the time I thought about how bad it was, Vorm told Tottenham’s website. “After the game I spoke with Jan (Vertonghen), he told me what was going on and I spoke also with Toni (Jimenez, our goalkeeping coach) and, yes, during the week I got the phone call to ask if I was open to come back and help out. I’ve kept in contact with a lot of the players and also with Toni. We were speaking quite regularly and on Thursday he called me, we had the conversation and from there on, it went very quickly.”

In his five seasons with Tottenham, Vorm made a total of 47 appearances in all competitions. He saw plenty of time in the League Cup, FA Cup, UEFA Europa League and Champions League during his stay at White Hart Lane.

In-form striker Duvan Zapata injured on international duty

Getty Images
Leave a comment

This international break has been particularly brutal to clubs who have seen a host of key players go down with injuries, and there’s still a few days of matches remaining.

The latest player to succumb to injury is Atalanta striker Duvan Zapata who returned from Colombia duty with an adductor strain and will miss at least three weeks, according to Sky Sports Italia (via FootballItalia). Zapata went down 23 minutes into Colombia’s 0-0 friendly draw with Chile on Friday and was sent back to Italy for tests at his club.

Those tests have reportedly confirmed the initial fears. The loss of Zapata is a massive one for Atalanta, as the 28-year-old has been steadily building for years and is having a breakout start to this campaign, scoring six Serie A goals in seven matches plus one more in Champions League play, currently on a run of four consecutive games with a goal across all competitions. With Zapata’s help, Atalanta sits third in the Serie A table, having bagged the most goals of any team with 18 through seven games.

Zapata becomes the latest high-profile injury from this international break, joining Colombia teammate Alexis Sanchez who went down late in the same match and is reportedly out until 2020 with a serious ankle injury. Chelsea has been hit the hardest, with Andreas Christensen, Mateo Kovacic, and Reese James all pulling up while N’Golo Kante was injured in France warmups but he is expected to be fit for the weekend. Luka Modric may miss time after going down in a Euro qualifier against Wales, while Gareth Bale also picked up a knock in that match. Neymar went down in Brazil’s match against against Nigeria, which forced manager Tite to explain his reasoning for the selection in a friendly. Sergio Aguero is apparently struggling to train with Argentina thanks to a mystery injury confirmed by Lionel Scaloni. Arsenal’s Dani Ceballos withdrew from Spain training earlier in the week with “hamstring overload.” Atlanta United defender Miles Robinson left USMNT camp with a hamstring problem with the MLS playoffs on the horizon.

Ex-England midfielder Gascoigne on trial for sexual assault

Getty Images
Leave a comment

LONDON (AP) — A prosecutor has alleged that former England midfielder Paul Gascoigne sexually assaulted a woman on a train by “forcibly and sloppily” planting an unwanted kiss on her lips.

Prosecutor William Mousley’s comments Monday came as Gascoigne, who has struggled with alcohol and mental-health problems, went on trial at Teesside Crown Court charged with sexual assault of the female passenger.

Mousley said the former England star “put his hands on her cheeks and kissed her forcibly and sloppily on the lips.”

The 52-year-old Gascoigne denies the charge.

The alleged victim has told the court that she froze when the man, who appeared drunk, kissed her in August 2018. She says she did not realize it was Gascoigne until after the alleged incident.