England manager Gareth Southgate has heaped praise on Raheem Sterling, who was the star performer during the country’s 5-0 rout of the Czech Republic in the opening game of their Euro 2020 qualification. The attacker has looked lively for club and country over the course of the campaign and he continued his good run of form with a stunning hat-trick at the Wembley Stadium.
Speaking after the game, Southgate hailed the performance of the Manchester City star, who has begun realising his potential with the national team after a few years of struggle, he said: “I thought Raheem was electric all night. He has looked like that all week in training. I’m pleased for him, it is a special night for him. I think Raheem has really matured as a person and a footballer. He’s hungry for goals and hitting things instinctively without thinking too much.”
Hearts manager Craig Levein has urged Steven Naismith to resist the option of heading to Major League Soccer as that could squander his prospects of earning a berth with Scotland, should they qualify for Euro 2020. The veteran recently made a national team comeback after 18 months after the good form at Hearts and he managed to make amends with goals against Albania and Portugal.
Speaking to reporters, Levein stated that Naismith could be better off staying with the Scottish Premiership side next season in order to realise the ambition of featuring for Scotland at the European Championship, should they progress, he said: “Through his efforts at Hearts he has got himself back into the Scotland squad and scored important goals at that level.
Spain national team coach Jose Enrique has acknowledged that Isco may no longer be an automatic pick with La Roja after struggling for gametime at Real Madrid this term. The Spaniard has not started a league game for Los Blancos since October 28 and this has coincided with the appointment of Santiago Solari as the club’s head coach.
Speaking to Movistar, Enrique has admitted that Isco may not make the squad for the forthcoming internationals against Norway and Malta until he can get more minutes under the belt at the club level, he said: “Right now, I do not know if I will call him up, we will treat each case individually. Continue Reading
There have been a lot of speculations in recent months over the future of Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic, as his future at the club continues to remain uncertain.
A number of elite European clubs have shown interest in the Croatian and it continues to seem increasingly likely that the player will be exiting Barcelona in the summer.
France international Raphael Varane has said that Les Blues remain ambitious to secure more trophies after their wonderful expedition at the summer World Cup where they outclassed Croatia in the final. Speaking to Voix du Nord, the Real Madrid star admitted that the expectations are high on the World Cup champions for the forthcoming tournaments and the team cannot afford to hide from the challenges ahead.
He said:“It’s not a fault in football to be ambitious, far from it. We can win it, although it will be very difficult. There’s a lot expected of us, which we saw in our recent friendlies and in the League of Nations matches.We cannot hide and we know that teams who play us will be very motivated. But we’re capable and we’re going to do everything to get there. We must take things day by day and not lose our heads.”
Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths has admitted that he was disappointed by the criticism from Scotland supporters after his decision to snub a call-up to the national team back in October. The marksman had opted for a call-off from international duty to focus on his fitness during that period but that did not go well with the country’s faithful, who ridiculed him through different social media platforms.
Speaking ahead of the Motherwell game, Griffiths acknowledged that he had to take the abuse by the chin after getting a frosty reception from the Scotland fans at that point of time, he said: “You could say it was brave but a lot of people didn’t agree with that and I had to take the abuse I got in the chin. It was unfortunate that I was ill and injured at the same time. It is always difficult when people want to question it.”