Kyle Walker

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Walker extends Man City deal; Hummels returns to Dortmund

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Kyle Walker has extended his contract at Manchester City until the summer of 2024.

Walker, 29, has signed a two-year contract extension to his current deal at City with the England right back a huge part of their back-to-back Premier League titles wins.

Speaking about his new deal at the Etihad Stadium, Walker was delighted to extend his time playing under Pep Guardiola.

“I’m thrilled to have signed a new deal. Playing for City has been everything I’d hoped it would be and more,” Walker said. “It was an easy decision. I want to be competing for trophies, playing at the highest level, and I feel I have improved hugely as a player during my time here. The Club’s vision – both on and off the pitch – matches mine perfectly and I’m looking forward to spending the new five years here, hopefully winning more silverware.”

Walker has had his critics for some of his defensive work, but there’s no doubt he has improved on the ball under Guardiola and he is now versatile enough to play at center back if needed too.

His power and pace down the right flank gives City an extra option in attack and he has fulfilled his wish of winning trophies following his $63 million transfer from Tottenham in the summer of 2017 with two PL titles, two League Cups and an FA Cup to his name.

Walker has seen off the challenge from Danilo to his right back slot but it is believed City Joao Cancelo will arrive from Juventus this summer to push Walker further at right back. If he does lose his slot to Cancelo he can also play at left back at a push and at center back, so that versatility will be hugely important for Guardiola moving forward.


Everyone says you should never go back, but Mats Hummels has.

The German defender, 30, has returned to Borussia Dortmund after a three-year spell at Bayern Munich, as he heads back to the club where he won back-to-back Bundesliga titles from 2010-12.

Hummels returns to Dortmund on a three-year contract for a transfer fee in the region of $35 million, as that is only $4 million less than Bayern bought him for in 2016. Since then he has won four-straight league titles with Bayern Munich, his boyhood club, but couldn’t help them get any closer to winning the UEFA Champions League title again.

Even though he hasn’t played as well as he would have liked for Bayern and Germany over the past season or so, Hummels is still a very reliable center back and is also capable of playing out of the back. Given Dortmund’s raft of young defenders he could also be key in their development and the fact he left Dortmund in the right way and was a hero in their back-to-back league titles means he will be welcomed back with open arms.

Dortmund have now added Thorgan Hazard, Julian Brandt and Hummels during the offseason as head coach Lucien Favre has also signed a new contract. The second-place Bundesliga team from last season have certainly got their business done early as they look to jump ahead of Bayern who just pipped them to the title in 2018-19.

Hummels’ influence on and off the pitch at the Westfalenstadion will be hugely important for Dortmund.

Nations League: Netherlands comes back, beats England in extra time

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In a wild match decided by numerous defensive errors, it was the Netherlands that made the most of its opportunities.

Despite trailing early, the Netherlands came back from a goal down to defeat England, 3-1 after extra time on Thursday in Guimaraes, Portugal. With the win, the Netherlands advances to the UEFA Nation’s League Final, where it will face host nation Portugal. England, meanwhile, will face Switzerland in the third-place game back in Guimaraes.

With the match coming at the end of a long season for many of the players on the pitch, whether they played for Tottenham, Liverpool or Ajax, it seemed that there were moments of lost focus, which enabled both team’s attacking talent to flourish.

England and the Netherlands traded blows early, with Jadon Sancho taking on Netherland’s right back Denzel Dumfries and former Manchester United winger Memphis Depay taking strikes on Jordan Pickford in goal.

It was Matthijs de Ligt who made the game’s first crucial mistake, turning the ball over right on the edge of the box. Rashford pounced on the error and drove towards goal before de Ligt took Rashford down from behind with a slide tackle, leading to a penalty kick.

After a long wait, Rashford stepped to the spot and calmly sent Jasper Cillessen the wrong way to put England in front in the 32nd minute.

Although the Netherlands was creating chances, England seemed comfortably on its way to the Nation’s League final until a mistake on corner kick marking. In the 73rd minute, de Ligt made up for his earlier mistake by rising highest on a corner kick and scoring to tie the match.

The back and forth match came to life after de Ligt’s goal as England had a goal ruled out by VAR and the Netherlands thought they may have earned a penalty kick but it was waived off after a VAR check.

A beautiful move, started by Ben Chillwell down the left wing with a silky smooth Raheem Sterling backheel and a Jordan Henderson through ball saw Jesse Lingard look to have put England up 2-1. However, Lingard’s goal was called back for offside after a lengthy check.

Minutes later at the other end, Ben Chillwell had the ball ricochet off his hip and arm in the box, leading the Dutch players to call for a handball. However under the new IFAB rules, it was ruled unintentional and the appeals were waived off.

In extra time, it was yet another defensive error that effectively decided the match. John Stones got caught with his eye off the ball and Depay stole it before taking a shot on goal. Pickford made an incredible save but after Quincy Promes dashing run into the box, Promes shot deflected off Kyle Walker and in for an own goal to give the Netherlands a one goal lead in the 97th minute.

Promes made it 3-1 to the Orange in the 114th minute, firing into an empty net after another England miscue gave the Netherlands a great opportunity.

Ranking top 10 Premier League players at each position

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There are 25 players in each Premier League squad, but who not only starred for their respective clubs but also elevated themselves to the upper echelons of the league this season?

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

We pondered that as we analyzed those who rose to the challenge best over the past nine months.

Below is a look at our complete list of the top 10 players in each position based on their play during the 2018-19 campaign.


Goalkeepers
1. Ederson
2. Alisson
3. David De Gea
4. Kepa
5. Ben Foster
6. Lukasz Fabianski
7. Hugo Lloris
8. Jordan Pickford
9. Rui Patricio
10. Martin Dubravka


Right backs
1. Trent Alexander-Arnold
2. Matt Doherty
3. Aaron Wan-Bissaka
4. Cesar Azpilicueta
5. Ricardo Perreira
6. Kyle Walker
7. Seamus Coleman
8. Kiko Femenia
9. Pablo Zabaleta
10. Yan Valery


Left backs
1. Andrew Robertson
2. Lucas Digne
3. Ben Chilwell
4. Luke Shaw
5. Jonny Otto
6. Patrick Van Aanholt
7. Ben Davies
8. Nacho Monreal
9. Jose Holebas
10. Emerson Palmeri


Center backs
1. Virgil Van Dijk
2. Aymeric Laporte
3. Toby Alderweireld
4. Jan Vertonghen
5. Vincent Kompany
6. Sokratis
7. Antonio Rudiger
8. Conor Coady
9. Michael Keane
10. Issa Diop


Central midfielders
1. Fernandinho
2. Joao Moutinho
3. Moussa Sissoko
4. David Silva
5. Jordan Henderson
6. Andre Gomes
7. Abdoulaye Doucoure
8. Fabinho
9. N'Golo Kante
10. Youri Tielemans


Attacking midfielders
1. Eden Hazard
2. Bernardo Silva
3. Kevin De Bruyne
4. Christian Eriksen
5. Gerard Deulofeu
6. Dele Alli
7. James Maddison
8. Gylfi Sigurdsson
9. Paul Pogba
10. Diogo Jota


Wingers
1. Raheem Sterling
2. Bernardo Silva
3. Sadio Mane
4. Mohamed Salah
5. Wilfried Zaha
6. Ryan Fraser
7. Pedro
8. Ryan Babel
9. David Brooks
10. Nathan Redmond


Strikers
1. Sergio Aguero
2. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
3. Harry Kane
4. Roberto Firmino
5. Alexandre Lacazette
6. Raul Jimenez
7. Heung-Min Son
8. Jamie Vardy
9. Marcus Rashford
10. Salomon Rondon


Sterling, Walker joke about bad misses in hilarious Twitter banter

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Raheem Sterling and Kyle Walker have been both club and international teammates for nearly two years now, since the latter joined Manchester City back in the summer of 2017. That’s plenty of time for the two to build a strong friendship, and often that includes some good-natured banter.

Manchester City topped Leicester City 1-0 on Monday to put the Citizens back in the pole position for the Premier League title with just one game to go, a massive result that has left Pep Guardiola with just one more 90-minute battle to navigate to see this tense title challenge through. Still, the match was nervy until Vincent Kompany‘s absolute belter to win it, as City dominated the second half but found it difficult to break Leicester City down inside the penalty area.

Until Kompany’s thunderous strike, Man City’s finishing left much to be desired, kept out by Kasper Schmeichel on a number of occasions and leaving City fans nervous they would be held to a draw that would see Liverpool take over as title favorites. Once the result was secured and the pressure was lifted, Sterling and Walker had a little fun at each other’s expense, poking fun at each other’s poor finishes earlier in the match. Sterling first retweeted a fan who sent him a Walker shot from distance in the 17th minute that flew miles over the bar. Walker responded with a 52nd minute Sterling header that also found the seats high over the bar, joking that it looked more like a defender sending the ball out for a corner.

Now now fellas, all in good fun.

The two deserve to enjoy themselves after the season and stretch Manchester City has put together. The club has won a stunning 13 matches in a row, without dropped points since late January. Both Sterling and Walker have missed just one match during that stretch, otherwise both proving vital to the side. The two have often combined on the right flank, although recently Sterling has been moved to the left to accommodate Bernardo Silva.

To pile on the jokes, Sterling mentioned Walker’s skied effort on Instagram as well, adding to his Instagram post about Kompany’s winning blast, “And if anyone has updates for the one @kylewalker2 hit in 1st half, please let us know.” Sterling then posted on Twitter that “legend says we still looking for that ball #nowheretobefound.”

Pochettino laughs off ungiven penalty, says Spurs deserved better

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Mauricio Pochettino says Michael Oliver’s decision not to give a penalty to Spurs when Kyle Walker handled the ball in the box was baffling to the entire world… besides City and its supporters.

“For Manchester City, no, but for me and the rest of humanity, it’s clear,” Pochettino laughed after the game, noting that the referee was well-positioned to see the incident.

[ MORE: 3 things | Player ratings ]

Still buoyed by advancement in the UEFA Champions League, Pochettino might’ve been more bitter had Spurs not already reached that carrot. Tottenham has 67 points and sits third, but is within one bad result — and a UCL exit — from missing out on a return to the competition.

His men were arguably good money for a win, especially given another match without Harry Kane, but Man City keeper Ederson was phenomenal and the reigning league champions plucked a fifth minute goal and made it stand up over the remaining 85-plus.

[ MORE: Guardiola reacts to win ]

“I’m not frustrated with the result,” Pochettino said. “That’s football. It was an even game and we deserved more, at least a draw. The man-of-the-match was Ederson but in football this sometimes happens. I’m so happy with the performance in very difficult circumstances. We competed really well and we had clearer opportunities than them. Just because you deserve it, doesn’t mean you always get it.”