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England calling? USMNT’s Klinsmann linked with Three Lions job

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Jurgen Klinsmann is being heavily backed to become England’s next manager.

Klinsmann, 51, is the current U.S. national team coach but with England crashing out of EURO 2016 and manager Roy Hodgson resigning, they’re now managerless.

[ MORE: England’s future in ruins

Pundits such as Jamie Carragher in England have backed Klinsmann for the job, while Sky Sports is now reporting that Klinsmann is “intrigued” about possibly becoming the new England manager.

The bookmakers have slashed his odds and he is now the third favorite with Ladbrokes in the UK. It has to be said, Klinsmann’s name often comes up when jobs in England are available as just last week he was the favorite for the Southampton job with the bookies but that was wide of the mark. Yet, his name is always up there.

Since he took charge of the USMNT in 2011, Klinsmann has become perhaps the most polarizing figure in U.S. soccer history.

Opinion on his stewardship of the USMNT appears to almost be split down the middle when it comes to the fanbase and despite delivering a semifinal appearance at the Copa America Centenario this summer, there are still plenty of critics of Klinsmann on U.S. soil.

Let’s look at the facts: Klinsmann has a contract with U.S. Soccer both as the head coach of the men’s national team and its Technical Director until the summer of 2018.

[ MORE: How did USMNT perform at CA? ]

He resides in California and after being linked with plenty of club jobs in Europe in recent years, Klinsmann has simply brushed off the speculation and insists he’s happy trying to build and develop a successful setup from the youth teams up in the U.S.

If you were to ask me if I think Klinsmann will leave the U.S. to manage England, I would say no.

There’s no doubt that many of the qualities Klinsmann has as a coach and leader will be attractive to the English FA. As a figurehead with a top class assistant working alongside him, he’s very good at getting a plan together. With both Germany and the USMNT he’s brought through young talent, improved the professionalism of the setups with heavy backing from the associations and has exceeded expectations in major tournaments. You can’t deny that.

NICE, FRANCE - JUNE 27: Wayne Rooney of England (2nd R) walks toward Dele Alli (3rd L) to console after the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between England and Iceland at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 27, 2016 in Nice, France. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Sure, U.S. fans and even myself will tell you his tactics and team selections are sometimes bizarre and that he’s hit plenty of speed bumps along the way, yet Klinsmann always seems to remain focused on the job in hand and isn’t afraid to make big changes. He has ruthlessly cut aside players with both Germany and the U.S. and isn’t scared of putting his faith in youth. Given England’s massive underachievement at not only EURO 2016 but now for decades, Klinsmann won’t be afraid to activate a huge cull once again.

That is what the Three Lions need.

I’d be shocked if Klinsmann doesn’t remain in charge of the USMNT until after the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Unless he’s fired by U.S. Soccer, you get the sense he’s not going anywhere, especially for the poisoned chalice of the England job.

Yet, with a scattering of UK based journalists and pundits selecting him as their pick to take charge of an ailing England side, do they know something we don’t? Is there a PR push somewhere for Klinsmann to get this job?

For many Englishmen, they still shudder at the thought of a German coaching their national team. Yet, Klinsmann is beloved across most of England after his time spent with Tottenham Hotspur and his infamous celebration which turned him into a cult figure.

One thing is true: England could do a lot worse than hiring Klinsmann.

Leicester City’s Rodgers: ‘Good news’ on Vardy injury

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Brendan Rodgers says there’s good news when it comes to the injury suffered by Jamie Vardy in Leicester City’s 4-1 blowout of West Ham United on Wednesday.

Vardy hurt his glute in the win, temporarily returning to the match after treatment from the trainer but ultimately subbing off before halftime.

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“It wasn’t his hamstring, so that’s good news for us,” Rodgers said, via The Leicester Mercury.

“He just felt a twinge in his glute, so we just have to wait and see on that in the next day or so. Thankfully his hamstring is okay and he just felt some pain in his glute, so we will have to assess that over the next few days.”

Vardy has a Premier League-best 17 goals, one more than Man City’s Sergio Aguero.

He was replaced by Kelechi Iheanacho, who assisted one of Ayoze Perez’s two goals on the day. Perez’s seven goals are second on Leicester, while James Maddison‘s six are third.

Iheanacho has six goals and three assists in 485 minutes and there’s reason to believe he can feast off Leicester’s playmaking if Vardy needs a match or two to heal.

Whether he can fill Vardy’s shoes in the long-term is a big question, especially as Leicester aims to return for the Champions League.

Transfer rumor roundup: Willian Jose to Spurs, Bournemouth after Croatian CB

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London could get itself another Willian.

Willian Jose, 28, was left out of Real Sociedad’s squad at his request on Wednesday, with the club Tweeting that he’d prefer not to play until his situation is resolved.

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Jose Mourinho said he would not comment on another team’s players, but Willian Jose could help Spurs bridge the gap to Harry Kane‘s return.

Willian Jose has been a double-digit scorer for Real Sociedad in La Liga for the previous three seasons, and is well on his way to another 10-goal campaign. He’s got eight goals in 20 matches this season.

Bournemouth needs defensive help, and is reportedly rivaling Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers for Portuguese giant Toni Borevkovic.

The 22-year-old Croatian has one goal in just over 3000 minutes with the side since arriving from domestic side NK Rudes.

He’s averaging 1.3 interceptions, .9 tackles, and 3.3 clearances per game in league play.

Rio Ave sits seventh in Portugal’s top flight and is managed by former Premier League boss Carlos Carvalhal.

Dropped points in Top Four race point to wild February

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Regardless of whether Wolves end Liverpool’s unbeaten Premier League season on Thursday, there will be five teams within seven points of fourth place heading into Matchweek 25.

Chelsea has 40, a comfortable-enough six-point lead on Manchester United, Spurs, and Wolves (who meet Liverpool at 3 p.m. ET Thursday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com). Sheffield United has 33 points.

February, specifically the next three matchweeks, will see the teams inside that group learn a lot more about their fates, and give Chelsea and Sheffield United big opportunities to cement their places in the Top Four and Seven, respectively.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

In the case of the latter, it’s because the Blades are the only team in the bunch who don’t face a Top Four six-pointer; Chris Wilder‘s men will meet Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, and Brighton, while the others will be beating up each other.

Chelsea’s path is fraught, but a big opportunity. The Blues travel to Leicester City before hosting both Manchester United and Spurs. Nine points there would effectively Top Four-proof Frank Lampard‘s side.

By the way, how’s this for a hot take? If any of Chelsea, Man Utd, or Spurs find their center forward or playmaker help in the window, they’ll have a leg up on their Top Four rivals. And, really, is that extra few million pounds worth the spoils of the Champions League? Yup.

Bruno Fernandes is not (yet) with United, and the Red Devils face Wolves and Chelsea in their next two matches. Spurs have City and Chelsea. Tumult is probable!

A draw with Newcastle and loss at Watford dampened Wolves’ hopes of riding into fourth. Beginning with Thursday’s visit from Liverpool, however, Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men face three of the Top Seven and then a visit from Norwich City. It’s not over.

And don’t entirely rule out Leicester City from dropping into the fray; The Foxes host Chelsea and Man City, and visit Wolves.

One more nod, however improbable: Arsenal sits 10 points back of fourth but meets Burnley, Newcastle, and Everton over those three match weeks. A perfect run could have the Gunners thinking big (Man City is after that, alas).

Matchday 25
Leicester City v. Chelsea
Crystal Palace v. Sheffield United
Manchester United v. Wolves
Spurs v. Man City

Matchday 25
Sheffield United v. Bournemouth
Wolves v. Leicester City
Chelsea v. Manchester United
Aston Villa v. Tottenham Hotspur

Matchday 27
Chelsea v. Tottenham Hotspur
Leicester City v. Man City
Wolves v. Norwich City
Sheffield United v. Brighton
Manchester United v. Watford

Spurs play Wolves the next week, too!

Mourinho: Spurs don’t have attacking depth, but do have ‘family’

Mourinho on Spurs win
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In this “whole new Jose Mourinho” world, the key word is family.

Mourinho said it six times in his post-match presser after Tottenham Hotspur scrapped to a 2-1 defeat of Norwich City on Wednesday in London.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Spurs had an early lead disappear when Ryan Sessegnon gave away a penalty to Max Aarons, and Teemu Pukki converted it for a 70th-minute deadlock.

Heung-Min Son scored nine minutes later. It was a win that is good for the whole family.

From Football.London:

“It was fantastic what happened after the 1-1, which happens in a difficult moment for us where I look to the bench and I don’t have attacking players to change the game the team is a little bit fatigued, especially Lucas, Son and of course Lamela. I took him off because he was in trouble and he is a player who is coming from very important and long injury, so very difficult.

“How can we change the game? With the family spirit, the family character and desire.”

Mourinho also praised Giovani Lo Celso‘s work on the wing for attack-short Spurs as “a good experience for the family,” and Paulo Gazzaniga‘s support for returned goalkeeper Hugo Lloris as “a good member of the family and he is such a special friend of Hugo.”

I mean, I’m getting the warm and fuzzies.

Clearly, Mourinho is stressing unity and there’s a bit of bunker mentality involved, as the manager mentioned some dicey calls not going their way against Watford, Liverpool, and now Norwich.