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USMNT’s $72M Pulisic amongst top eight U-21 values in world

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USMNT and Borussia Dortmund star Christian Pulisic is among the most valuable U21 players in the world, according to a new study.

Pulisic’s value of $71.7m is eighth-highest in the world, and he is the first American to be named to the list.

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The group SoccerEx uses data driven by Prime Time Sport’s Football Value Index, and it has issued U21 value reports for about a half decade. Previous winners are Dele Alli, Anthony Martial, Leroy Sane, and Raheem Sterling.

The report deals with players born after Jan. 1, 1997, and claims to account for “personal attributes and pitch performances, using player’s current personal information and the performance of both current season and the previous one.”

That does answer the question of whether being American and carrying interest from a massive country might bump up the value a bit, though there’s little doubt Pulisic is a star (though media value is just a small part of their formula).

It comes as little surprise that PSG’s Kylian Mbappe is No. 1, coming off an amazing season for club and country which could see him win the Ballon d’Or.

Pulisic is ahead of Top 20 players Cenzig Under (Roma), Patrick Cutrone (AC Milan), Vinicius Jr (Real Madrid), and Premier Leaguers Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) and Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham).

The seven ahead of Pulisic: Gianluigi Donnarumma (7, AC Milan), Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina), Malcom (Bordeaux), Gabriel Jesus (Man City), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), and Mbappe.

This is not meant to be the latest in an eternal list of shouts at the USMNT, but imagine how high Pulisic could’ve ranked had he been able to take the stage at the World Cup in Russia.

Southgate asks media to “help the team” after lineup leak

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England management is unhappy with the media after a coach was snapped with the proposed lineup for Saturday’s match against Panama.

Assistant manager Steve Holland was photographed holding a teamsheet that appeared to show a pair of changes in the England attack, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek replacing Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford partnering with Harry Kane up front. While Southgate attempted to play down the leak, stating the piece of paper was “just a squad list” and “the next sheet has different players in different positions,” he was also clearly frustrated with the media’s decision to run the photos.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

“Obviously any time, if we were to give the opposition the opportunity of having our team it’s a disadvantage to us,” Southgate said in his pre-match press conference. “So of course our media has to decide whether they want to help the team or not.

The teamsheet showed no changes to the defense, with the team playing a three-center-back system as Kyle Walker continues his role along that back line. Kieran Trippier stays in at wing-back opposite Ashley Young, with Jordan Henderson sitting in the midfield between them. Jesse Lingard retains his place in the attack centrally with help from the addition of Loftus-Cheek, and the pair of strikers ahead of them.

Walker was also asked about the leak, and he said Holland apologized to the team, even if they felt it was unnecessary. “He’s apologised to us all in training, which we had a bit of banter with him about, and that was it.”

“I think if you guys try to keep it to yourself and don’t bring it out to the world,” Walker added, “because it’s not going to help us come the later stages of the tournament, please God we get there. All the rest of the world’s seen our team now, if that is the team or if not. As I say, you guys have to do your little bit, so if you could just please help us with that it would be polite.”

VIDEO: Marcus Rashford scores terrific goal vs. Costa Rica

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Marcus Rashford‘s first England goal since September was a beauty.

The Manchester United youngster took a short pass in space and belted the ball across the goal from 23 yards to put England up 1-0 against Costa Rica in the Three Lions final World Cup tune-up.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Rashford, 20, now has three England goals heading into Russia, where he’s given manager Gareth Southgate something to think about ahead of Group G with Tunisia, Panama, and Belgium.

He scored a career-high seven Premier League goals this season for Jose Mourinho.

Man United 1-0 Watford: Rashford caps Red Devils season

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If there ever was a game to provide a microcosm of what Manchester United’s season has been, this one was it. Largely a snoozefest, Manchester United scored off a speculative long-ball and then bunkered in for the remainder of the match as they finish the season with all three points at Old Trafford.

Manchester United saw most of the early half-chances, but nothing of true value. Marcus Rashford fired an early shot over, while Alexis Sanchez looked for an ambitious volley but fired it well wide. Watford was forced into an early change as

The home side, keeping disciplined on the defensive side, earned the opener out of nothing on 34 minutes. A speculative long-ball by Michael Carrick unlocked the messy Watford back line and fell straight in to the path of Juan Mata, who was through on goal alongside Marcus Rashford, and the Spaniard laid off to his teammate to get past goalkeeper Huerelho Gomes, and the English international had a tap-in to open the scoring.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The goal was fitting for the cagey first half, something out of nothing as Mourinho’s strategy held the visitors at bay. Watford nearly had the equalizer two ticks before halftime as Richarlison picked out a header at point-blank range, but he struck it directly at deputy goalkeeper Sergio Romero who held his ground and kept out the effort.

The second half had hardly a chance in it until the 80th minute, when Watford looked to equalize off a corner, but the header was speculative and Romero could collect. Manchester United was happy to sit back and soak up the pressure,

[ MORE: Final Premier League standings ]

Michael Carrick got a standing ovation as his Manchester United career came to an end with an 85th minute substitution, and the Red Devils had one more big opportunity as Alexis Sanchez ran the break, but his ball to the middle of the penalty area fell unclaimed.

The final whistle came to mercifully end the season finale at Old Trafford, giving Manchester United a final tally of 81 points, 12 more than last season’s haul. They end the year four points clear of third-placed Tottenham, and 19 points back of champions Manchester City. For Watford, the goalscoring continues to be a clear issue, and they end the campaign in 14th with 41 points.

Mourinho tears into forwards after loss at Brighton

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If Romelu Lukaku‘s fine season hasn’t made his Manchester United MVP argument for him, perhaps Friday’s lackluster and Lukaku-free loss to Brighton did the job for him.

[ MORE: Match recap | Brighton reacts ]

Jose Mourinho sure thinks so.

“For 10 months I get asked ‘why always Lukaku? Why always Lukaku, why always Lukaku? Why always this player? That guy doesn’t have a chance to start, the other one is on the bench.’,” he said. “You know why now.”

Mourinho went on to rip his fill-ins, as the front free of Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford, and Anthony Martial got little to nothing done.

“It was not good enough. The players that replaced others did not perform at a good level and when individuals do that it is difficult for the team to play well. Maybe now you will not ask me why A, B and C do not play so much.

“I knew what was going to happen and I told them, but that is what we got. … I wouldn’t say disappointed. I know them. I thought that the possibility to start the game and give reason would give them something.”

It’s safe to say Mourinho is planning on opening up the vault this summer — I still think the Pogba/Martial for Neymar swap is plausible — and the training ground probably won’t be a brilliant place to be over the final week of the season.