100 Best Young Players to Watch in 2015 | Midfielders 10 – 1

December 26, 2014

“Hakan Calhanoglu grew up in Mannheim of Germany, before moving on to Karlsruhe, Hamburg and Leverkusen while getting called up to the Turkish National team in 2013. An attacking midfielder by trade, Hakan’s style and elegance on the ball has seen him sought out by some of the world’s best. Mini-Analysis: Operating behind the striker or across the midfield, Calhanoglu’s style of play is easy on the eye. A mainstay in the Hamburg team that narrowly escaped relegation last season saw him bag 11 goals and assist 4 in 32 games.” Outside of the Boot


Analysis: Danny Welbeck’s Excellent Movement Hugely Beneficial for England

November 17, 2014

“Danny Welbeck continued his superb form for England by bagging another brace, this time against Slovenia. Incredibly, this now means he’s recorded five goals in his last four matches for the Three Lions. The subtle variations in movement by the Arsenal man proved to be the catalyst that allowed him, and his teammates, to achieve so much positive work. These movements included swift switches with Wayne Rooney (England’s left-sided centre forward) from his right-sided centre forward position, which worked well to ensure the Slovenian defence were kept busy.” Licence to Roam


Clyne, Callejon and Talisca get their chance at international level

November 17, 2014

England v Slovenia - EURO 2016 Qualifier
“In the aftermath of the World Cup, with national teams beginning a new, four-year cycle, there have been plenty of debutants for major nations recently. Here are three players who were hoping to earn their first caps this week and how they might influence the play of their respective national teams, should they become regulars.” ESPN – Michael Cox


Slovenia’s Srecko Katanec is back and still prickly before England game

November 14, 2014

Srecko-Katanec-008
“Gwangju, 2 June 2002. Slovenia were 1-0 down to Spain in their first ever World Cup match when, after 63 minutes, Srecko Katanec took off Zlatko Zahovic for Milenko Acimovic. What followed has become Slovenian football’s equivalent of the Zapruder footage, a clip replayed endlessly on television in search of a meaning. Zahovic walked from the pitch, slapped hands with Acimovic, and then, out of focus in the background, kicked out at a bottle of water. Somewhere in those three or four seconds, the first golden age of Slovenian football came to an end.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Checking In on Europe’s World Cup Heavyweights: What’s New in the Old World?

November 14, 2014

“… But guess what? We’ve got another international break on our hands, so there’s no club soccer until next weekend. And since it’s the last such intermission of the year, let’s check in with your favorite European World Cup squads as they’re about to put a bow on 2014.” Grantland


Harry Catterick – the straight man

October 24, 2014

“They say one of the key ingredients to many great double acts is the combination of different stage personas; every Morecambe needs his Wise, every Costello needs his Abbott, every Ball needs his Cannon – OK, maybe not that last one. The same principal can easily be applied to footballing spheres; striking partnerships with one flamboyant, crowd-pleasing protagonist and the other who does the hard, thankless yards or the managerial duo who often assume the good cop/bad cop roles for their players and the media – the obvious example being Peter Taylor’s straight man complimenting the often volatile, always charismatic Brian Clough.” The Football Pink


The Guardian view on Labour’s football reforms: Fans 1, Big Money 0

October 20, 2014

“As fans streamed into football grounds at the weekend for the resumption of domestic fixtures, it wasn’t hard to argue that the national sport is booming. The Premier League points to stadiums filled to 95%-plus capacity. A new round of TV deals will top the £5.5bn raised last time. Football is omnipresent, seeping into every corner of life. And yet a paradox grips the game. As player wages have rocketed, fans feel increasingly disenfranchised. Ticket prices in the top flight have risen 16% since 2011 alone, and a season ticket at Arsenal can now cost more than £2,000. Supporters are beginning to doubt whether they can afford their passion. They gaze longingly at Germany’s Bundesliga.” Guardian


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