Raheem Sterling

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Man City skates by West Ham in Premier League Asia Trophy

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Manchester City’s youth squad did the first-half job, which meant the heavy artillery coming off the bench was that much scarier. Man City came from behind to lead at halftime, and Raheem Sterling scored twice in the second half and the defending Premier League champions were no match for West Ham in a 4-1 victory in the semifinals of the Premier League Asia Trophy in Nanjing.

Pep Guardiola started a mostly second-choice lineup from the opening whistle, with David Silva and Aymeric Laporte the only true first-teamers in the squad. Claudio Bravo manned the net to begin, with new arrival Rodri also among the starters. West Ham’s lineup, meanwhile, was a strong one with Felipe Anderson, Mark Noble, Angelo Ogbonna, Jack Wilshere, Michail Antonio, and Manuel Lanzini all among a first-choice starting lineup.

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West Ham took the lead 25 minutes in through Noble who delivered from the penalty spot, but not without help from Felipe who was the star of the first half for the Hammers and won the penalty after sending Manchester City defender Angelino to the ground.

The lead didn’t last long as David Silva leveled things up in the 33rd minute, a wonderful start to his final season at Manchester City. He received a fabulous delivery from 18-year-old Spanish youth international Adrian Bernabe who rifled one to the far post where Silva was waiting, and the 33-year-old chested it down before unpacking a low finish from a tight angle.

City would go in front three minutes later as 20-year-old Man City youth product Lukas Nmecha won a soft penalty on a foul by Ogbonna, and the youngster took it himself and buried the spot-kick for the lead.

Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane all came on at halftime for the defending Premier League champions, while West Ham brought on the likes of Robert Snodgrass, Javier Hernandez, and Andriy Yarmolenko.

The changes for Manchester City overwhelmed West Ham, with Sane picking up a loose ball near the halfway line and feeding a beautiful pass through the back line to Sterling clean on goal who put City 3-1 up on the hour mark. That saw John Stones, Kyle Walker, Ilkay Gundogan and Oleksandr Zinchenko all come in off the bench for Pep Guardiola and into the fray.

The big three did it again in the 72nd minute as de Bruyne picked Carlos Sanchez’s pocket in the attacking third and fed Sane on the left. He sent it back to de Bruyne who layed it off for Sterling’s second goal of the match.

In squad notes, a pair of England youth internationals went the distance for Man City as Ian Poveda-Ocampo and Taylor Harwood-Bellis were the only two to complete the full 90 minutes. Notable for West Ham, Winston Reid came off the bench for the final 19 minutes, his first game action in over 16 months.

Pickford the hero as England takes third

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England and penalty kicks. Even in a third-place game, there was still drama.

Jordan Pickford scored in penalty kicks and made the lone save of the spot kicks as England beat Switzerland 6-5 in kicks after a scoreless 120 minutes to finish in third place in the inaugural UEFA Nations League.

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Pickford scored in the fifth round of kicks, as no one missed, before stopping Josip Drmic on Switzerland’s sixth attempt.

England lost to the Netherlands in the semifinals, while the Swiss fell to Portugal.

A Callum Wilson goal overturned for a foul was perhaps the lone thing to shout about over 120 minutes of football.

Raheem Sterling struck the cross bar and England grew into the game despite long periods of Swiss control. He was the danger man for the Three Lions, albeit without the clinical finishing that dotted the landscape of his Premier League season.

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.

Report: Sterling to be named England captain for match against Netherlands

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On the occasion of his 50th cap, Raheem Sterling is set to be bestowed with a major honor.

The Guardian in England reports that England manager Gareth Southgate is planning to hand Sterling the captain’s armband for England’s first match of the UEFA Nations League finals in Portugal, with England set to face the Netherlands in Guimaraes, Portugal on Thursday. Sterling is coming off a terrific season with Manchester City, winning the domestic treble of the Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup.

[READ: FIFA U-20 World Cup roundup]

While this is a terrific achievement for Sterling, reading between the lines, it could also hint that both Harry Kane and Jordan Henderson, previous England captains under Southgate, may be rested or at least be on the bench for the match. Both Kane and Henderson played in last Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final and despite having a three-week break prior to that match, Kane is clearly still working back to fitness. Both players went the full 90 in the match and with two games scheduled this week regardless of Thursday’s outcome for Southgate, he could decide that both should be rested until Sunday’s match.

If Kane is rested, we could see Marcus Rashford starting up top, while Fabian Delph or Declan Rice could slot into midfield.

Report: Man City turns down Bayern bid for Leroy Sane

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According to a report by The Guardian, Manchester City has turned down a sizable $89 million bid from German champions Bayern Munich for winger Leroy Sane.

Guardian journalist Fabrizio Romano reports that he expects Bayern to seriously consider coming back with a larger bid as the club looks to pry Sane from the back-to-back Premier League champions. Sane’s contract expires in the summer of 2021, meaning with two years left on his deal, this would be the time for City to sell at top dollar.

[ MORE: Thursday Transfer Rumor Roundup ]

The 23-year-old has struggled for playing time at Manchester City over the past season, a fact which could work in Bayern’s favor. While he has racked up 63 Premier League appearances over the two championship seasons, Sane saw his minutes drop from over 2,400 last season to just 1,867 this past campaign, often used as a substitute late in games. He was especially under-utilized towards the end of the season as the team fought with Liverpool for the title, left as an unused substitute just as often as he made the starting lineup after January – five times.

Still, according to the report, Manchester City desperately wants to keep Sane at the Etihad. Pep Guardiola confirmed after the FA Cup final that the club has offered Sane a contract extension recently, saying, “We offered to extend his contract. We want him to stay. What proof is more than for six, seven months we want to extend his contract? If we don’t want him, we don’t extend his contract.”

Should Sane depart, Manchester City still sports outstanding depth on the wing, with Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva, Fabian Delph, and David Silva all capable of playing out wide.

Bayern Munich is hoping to replace the departing duo of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, both of whom are leaving the club at the expiration of their contracts. Kingsley Coman is a good bet to earn more playing time on the left and Serge Gnabry has impressed on the right, with both players under the age of 24, but Coman has struggled with injury problems in the past and Gnabry has a small sample size of success at the highest level.

Sane has experience in the Bundesliga, arriving at Manchester City in the summer of 2016 from German side Schalke, making 47 German top-flight appearances for the club before his departure.