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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.”

Conte rages on media gossip: “If you want to hit me, hit me”

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Antonio Conte is an excitable man, which can be entertaining on the pitch when he’s leading Chelsea.

Less fun is Conte excited in an angry way, frustrated at rumor-filled reports that claim Carlo Ancelotti is in line to replace him due to player unrest, and that those same players are reaching out to former assistant Steve Holland with their distress.

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Conte’s pre-Bournemouth press conference went a little off course on Friday as he responded to such reports with vigor, saying gossip about him all you want, but leave other people out of it:

 “If you want to hit me, hit me. I stop. This is incorrect and I hate these type of situations. If someone is happy to write this and make the newspaper more interesting continue to do this but don’t put other people in it, because this is incorrect.”

“It’s not good when this person has to send me a message to tell me ‘I’m sorry this isn’t true.” Why do that to a person?”

Conte’s second year in charge of the Blues is not going swimmingly, his three losses just two shy of Chelsea’s total for all of last season’s title run.

It’s worth wondering where all the gossip is coming from, whether it’s a case of “where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” due to a certain batch of Chelsea’s squad having played a part in a previous mutiny. Yet if Conte is correct, and things are mostly fine, then his rage is understandable.

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Member of Chelsea’s coaching staff to take up England role

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LONDON (AP) — A leading member of Chelsea’s coaching staff has been hired as the No. 2 to recently appointed England manager Gareth Southgate.

Steve Holland will leave his role as Chelsea’s assistant first-team coach at the end of the Premier League season to join up with the national team on a full-time basis. In the meantime, he will be free to work with England during its matches against Germany and Lithuania in March.

The 46-year-old Holland worked alongside Southgate with England’s under-21 side from 2013-16 and has been a coach at Chelsea since 2011, since when the team has won the Champions League, Premier League and Europa League. Chelsea currently leads the Premier League.

Southgate says “Steve’s experience of working with elite players and coaches at Chelsea means he knows what a world-class team needs to look like.”

Holland worked on an interim basis under Southgate for England’s games in October and November, when Southgate was in temporary charge following the departure of Sam Allardyce. Southgate was hired as permanent manager last month.

Chelsea assistant on “raw” win: “Team is still fragile to an extent”

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Chelsea first team coach Steve Holland has been through the ringer this week.

With his boss Jose Mourinho fired and Chelsea in the midst of a brutal stretch of results, Holland wanted a win in the worst way.

[ MORE: Match recap | Terry says Chelsea owes fans | Chants for Jose ]

But for it to come with his friend Jose fired, even an emphatic win against a desperate Sunderland squad isn’t ticking all the boxes for him.

From the BBC:

“I am happy with the result but it is raw. I feel the way I feel.

“The first half they played well in general. The early goal gave the players a boost of confidence, but the team is still fragile to an extent. They are used to setbacks in recent weeks so we wobbled a bit in the second half. In the end I thought they saw the game out fairly comfortably.”

It was a strange day for Chelsea, and it’ll be a long road back for the Blues with their fans. Holland’s choice of words “raw” and “fragile” fit the bill for the day, and for Chelsea’s season in general.

Guus Hiddink will take over the Blues next week.