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Walcott says Dortmund experience has England youngster Sancho ready

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18-year-old Jadon Sancho is thriving in front of Borussia Dortmund’s Yellow Wall, and for Theo Walcott, that’s enough for him to know the pressure of playing for England won’t affect the youngster at all.

Sancho, a Manchester City youth product, is playing at Dortmund after moving to Germany this summer, and has embraced his super-sub role scoring a goal and assisting six despite just one lone start this season. His stellar play has given England manager Gareth Southgate cause to bring him into the national fold, a positive experience for Sancho even if he does not see the field during Nations League matches against Croatia and Spain.

“He can deal with it, he’s been in the Dortmund dressing room, he’s played at their stadium which is fantastic,” Walcott said. “He won’t be fazed at all.”

Walcott was just 17 when he was selected to the England squad for the 2006 World Cup despite not having made a senior appearance for Arsenal in his career, and while he didn’t make an appearance in Germany, he would know what that kind of pressure is like. With Dortmund, Sancho plays at 81,000-capacity Westfalenstadion where the fans are known for their ferverous support.

Thankfully for Sancho, Walcott believes the presence of other young players will help Sancho fit in.

“It’s completely different now, there are a lot of young players in that group,” Walcott said. “When I came through there was Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard – completely established players in the team – so it’s a different environment I would say. Of course it’s still daunting but when you get down on the field and play football that’s all you want to do, you just want to play, it doesn’t matter who it’s for.”

Alongside Sancho, the young players Walcott is referring to include 20-year-old Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold, 21-year-old Leicester City playmaker James Maddison, and 22-year-old Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks

Gerrard: “Big result” to come back twice at Villarreal

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Steven Gerrard remains unbeaten as a manager in Europe after his toughest test yet.

The Rangers boss watched his team go down 1-0 to Villarreal after less than a minute of their Europa League group stage debut, but ended up collecting a pair of equalizers and an impressive 2-2 draw in Spain.

[ MORE: PAOK 0-1 Chelsea ]

“It’s a big result and that’s always the way, my experience in Europe, you have to come away and get something,” Gerrard said on BT Sport.

“Obviously we came here to try and win the game and we nearly did through Scott Arfield at the end. We nearly lost it as well. They pushed, which is understandable but it’s a big point for us. Now we’ve got a home game and if we can take maximum points it’s a terrific start to the group.”

Adversity was there for Rangers, from Carlos Bacca’s first minute marker to conceding a second goal two minutes after Scott Arfield made it 1-1. But the Glaswegian side answered the ball through Kyle Lafferty.

Playmaker Daniel Candeias has plenty of praise for Gerrard. From Rangers.co.uk:

“When we finished the first half, the gaffer said in the dressing room to believe in ourselves and get a great result,” Candeias said. “I know we didn’t win, but a draw is a good result for us.”

Rangers will host Rapid Vienna on Oct. 4 in their second Group G match. Rapid beat Spartak Moscow 2-0 on Thursday.

LIVE, Europa League: Chelsea, Arsenal in European action

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Both Chelsea and Arsenal begin their UEFA Europa League campaigns on Thursday, with the Premier League clubs expected to breeze through to the latter stages of the tournament.

We all know this tournament doesn’t exactly work like that, with plenty of surprises in the past. Yet Chelsea and Arsenal are the bookmakers favorites to lift the trophy in Baku in May.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores ]

Chelsea face PAOK Salonika (kick off, 12:55 p.m. ET) in Greece without Eden Hazard, as their star man has told manager Maurizio Sarri he could do with a break following his exploits for Belgium at the 2018 World Cup over the summer. The Blues still put out a pretty strong but had plenty of changes from the lineup which beat Cardiff City at the weekend to secure their fifth-straight win to open up the new season. Sarri clearly has one eye on their London derby against West Ham United this Sunday (Watch live, 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com). Elsewhere in Group L, Videoton and BATE Borisov do battle.

As for Arsenal, they host Ukrainian side Vorskla Poltava at the Emirates Stadium (kick off, 3 p.m. ET) as they take part in their second-straight season outside of the UEFA Champions League. Unai Emery will also utilize his squad players and is expected to rest several regulars ahead of their tasty Premier League clash at home against Everton on Sunday (Watch live, 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com). Elsewhere in Group E, Sporting Lisbon host FK Qarabag.

Elsewhere in the Europa League on Thursday both Glasgow Celtic and Glasgow Rangers are in action, with Steven Gerrard‘s side playing at La Liga side Villarreal, while Celtic host Rosenborg. Some other tasty clashes include Marseille hosting Eintracht Frankfurt, Sevilla and Standard Liege doing battle, Real Betis heading to Olympiacos and Red Bull Leipzig hosting Red Bull Salzburg.

Below is the full schedule for the Europa League games on Thursday, while you can follow all of the action live by clicking the link above.

[ MORE: Europa League schedule ]

Europa League preview: Arsenal, Chelsea debut; Red Bull Derby (of sorts)

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The Europa League group stage begins Thursday, with two London giants taking part in a relatively unfamiliar competition.

[ MORE: Full Europa League schedule ]

Both Arsenal and Chelsea have played in the tournament finals in recent years, but for the most part are Champions League mainstays.

This season, however, it’s the UEL leading one to Greece and the other to a visit from a Ukrainian side.

Both are involved in our five matches to monitor amongst the 48-team field on Day 1.

5 (tie). Villarreal vs. Rangers / Celtic vs. Rosenborg

The Old Firm rivals with plenty to prove kick off their group stages on Wednesday, in turn saying something for Scottish football.

For Steven Gerrard‘s Rangers, that means the chance to make good on their first full European tournament since the 2010-11 Europa League. They took the long way, winning four qualifying rounds to earn these nights. Now what? Perhaps their toughest test yet in Villarreal.

For Brendan Rodgers‘ Celtic, it’s an opportunity to show that while the Champions League has been a bit too rich for their blood, a Europa League group stage with Austrian, German, and Norwegian competition isn’t a problem for the best team in Scotland.

4. Arsenal vs. Vorskla Poltava

Forget the opposition: Unai Emery sees the Europa League as the opportunity to put more silverware in the halls of Arsenal HQ. From Arsenal.com:

“Every title for us is very important. In 2000, Arsenal played the final against Galatasaray but didn’t win. And also, Arsenal played the final in 2006 in the Champions League and also didn’t win. In my career, the ambition is very important for continuing to improve and continuing to achieve the objectives in my career personally and with the team. I want to play for every title going forward.”

There’s no reason to expect anything but a win for the Gunners against a team in just its second European group stage.

3. Marseille vs. Eintracht Frankfurt

Frank McCourt’s Olympique Marseille still doesn’t sound quite right, so let’s go with the manager. Rudi Garcia’s Olympique Marseille has a lot of weapons, including a trio of World Cup winners in Steve Mandanda, Florian Thauvin, and Adil Rami. Their Bundesliga visitors feature a Mexican national teamer (Carlos Salcedo) and an American (Timothy Chandler), but eyes will be trained on a Frenchman: Sebastian Heller has three goals and an assist in three league appearances this season.

2. PAOK vs. Chelsea

With all respect to Vieirinha and Amr Warda, this shouldn’t be a major challenge for Maurizio Sarri‘s men. Yes, even with Eden Hazard, Mateo Kovacic, and David Luiz being rested in London.

But it gets our circle because Sarri has called it the most difficult challenge of their group stage. BATE Borisov and MOL Vidi (formerly Videoton) are the other members of Group L. From ChelseaFC.com:

“I have seen the four matches played by PAOK in the Champions League play-offs. My staff have seen the matches of the Greek championship. I think I know everything.

“We want to play with our characteristics, to control the match with our ball possession, but I know tomorrow will be difficult. They are a good team. They have won against Basel, Spartak Moscow, they drew against Benfica in Portugal. We have to do a very good match if we want to gain points.”

1. RB Leipzig vs. Red Bull Salzburg

UEFA would prefer to avoid matches like this, even presumably one-sided ones, as two clubs owned by Red Bull square off in a meaningful competition. The pair being in the same group will be even trickier when there are chances to affect the next round fate of their brother club (The clubs aren’t technically deemed to have the same ownership, but it’s difficult to conclude the relationship isn’t a healthy one).

Report: Terry joining Europa League participants Spartak Moscow

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John Terry resisted calls to come out of international retirement during qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, but he’s going to play in Russia anyway.

The longtime Chelsea defender, 37, last played with Aston Villa in its ill-fated bid to return to the Premier League.

[ USMNT-BRAZIL: Full recap | Player ratings ]

Sky Sports in Italy has the report of Terry undergoing a medical with Spartak Moscow, and notes that Terry could face former England teammate Steven Gerrard in the UEFA Europa League when Spartak faces Rangers.

Terry was decent for Aston Villa last season, and still has something left in the tank. While this means he won’t be playing with Wayne Rooney at DC United or Ashley Cole with the Galaxy, it’ll be interesting to see how long he continues playing.

He does seem like one of those “lifers” who will be one day playing third division at 44.