Despite a dramatically up-and-down first season at Manchester City, John Stones has a very bright footballing future to look forward to — at more than just his natural position, center back, perhaps, according to England manager Gareth Southgate.
[ MORE: Tuesday’s transfer rumor roundup | Monday | Sunday ]
Speaking in the build-up to Tuesday’s friendly against France in Paris, Southgate revealed that Stones spent a considerable amount of time training in a position other than central defense, and based on a certain set of qualities, he’ll be considering him for selection there in the future — quotes from the Guardian:
“We had a look at [Stones in defensive midfield] in training last week, in fact. I also think we want defenders who can bring the ball out and show composure. I think he could do either of those jobs. You’ve asked me if he’s an option there, and I think he is. He’s a player who’s very comfortable receiving possession, and has all the attributes and capabilities to play as a holding midfield player. He obviously hasn’t done that yet, really, so that’s a decision we have to make. But do I believe he can play that role? Absolutely.”
It’s surely an idea which has crossed the mind of Pep Guardiola, Stones’ boss at Manchester City, and someone who’s perhaps best-known for his previous sides’ ability and tendency to pass that ball out of the back.
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Tottenham Hotspur’s Eric Dier, a rival of Stones for England minutes at either position, successfully made the transition from center back to holding midfielder and saw his career take off since moving to White Hart Lane in the summer of 2014, albeit having done so at the age of 20, where as Stones is 23 years old with over 100 Premier League appearances thus far in his career (Dier had made only a couple dozen appearances for Portuguese side Sporting CP before transferring back to England).
Argentina’s World Cup roster features a number of the usual suspects, particularly up front, but Serie A’s top goalscorer has been surprisingly left off the list of 23.
[ MORE: Belgium goes to World Cup without Nainggolan ]
Manager Jorge Sampaoli’s squad was made official on Monday, which includes the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain.
The Albiceleste won’t be taking Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi though, which has raised some questions about the decision.
Icardi led all scorers in Italy’s top flight this season, scoring 29 goals in 34 Serie A matches, while Paulo Dybala edged out the final striker spot in the Argentina squad.
Dybala is teammates with Higuain at Italian giants Juventus.
Meanwhile, six Premier League players were named into the South American nation’s squad, including goalkeepers Sergio Romero (Man United) and Willy Caballero (Chelsea), as well as Nicolas Otamendi (Man City), Marcos Rojo (Man United) and Manuel Lanzini (West Ham).
Rog and Davo recap a spite-fueled, snear-filled, peak Phil Jones FA Cup Final, preview this weekend’s Champions League tilt between Liverpool and Real Madrid and eulogize Big Sam… gone the opposite of too soon. Plus, World Cup rosters and MLS.
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Santi Cazorla hasn’t played a match for the Gunners since suffering a gruesome Achilles injury back in October 2016.
[ MORE: No World Cup for Spanish Chelsea trio ]
And unfortunately for the Spaniard, Cazorla won’t feature for Arsenal again after six years at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal released a statement on Monday revealing the veteran midfielder won’t return to the club in 2018/19, which isn’t unexpected given the extent of his injury.
In his time with the Gunners, Cazorla made 180 appearances in all competitions for the club, and helped Arsenal win two FA Cups.
Cazorla was also a member of the Spanish national team squads that won back-to-back UEFA EURO competitions in 2008 and 2012.
Wolfsburg managed a 1-0 win (4-1 on aggregate) over Holstein Kiel on Monday in the second leg of its German promotion playoff as the Bundesliga side kept its place in the top flight.
Robin Knoche scored the game-winner in the second leg, which ensured Wolfsburg’s stay in the Bundesliga ahead of the 2017/18 season.
The hosts boasted a number of quality chances in the first half, including David Kinsombi’s close-range shot that tested Wolfsburg keeper Koen Casteels with a save, however, Holstein couldn’t break through.
U.S. Men’s National Team defender John Brooks went the full 90 minutes for Wolfsburg, after the 25-year-old made nine starts this season for the German side in league play.