Euro 2016 countdown – France

October 11, 2015

“Les Bleus have plenty of talent at their disposal as they prepare to host next summer’s 24-team tournament. But their lack of competitive action makes it hard to judge their chances. France face the perennial problem of tournament hosts – they have played only friendly matches since their World Cup quarter-final defeat by Germany. But coach Didier Deschamps insists it is not a problem as, in the past year, France have played Spain, Belgium, Portugal and Brazil, with England, Germany, Holland and Russia lined up in the coming months.” World Soccer

Champions League: Who makes our team of the week?

October 2, 2015

“5-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb. After defeats for Arsenal and Chelsea on Tuesday, Wednesday wins for Manchester City and Manchester United see three Premier League players make the XI. And Cristiano Ronaldo – who extended his lead at the top of the all-time Champions League goalscoring charts with two more for Real Madrid – keeps his place.” BBC

Why AS Roma have an opportunity for the Scudetto

October 2, 2015

“The appointment of Rudi Garcia as manager for AS Roma signaled a change in fortune for the Italian capital club. Garcia joined Roma from Lille after his 2011 exploits won them their first Ligue 1 title since 1954. They were by far the most exciting team to watch in France with an abundance of attacking talent in a fast paced and zippy 4-3-3 formation. With Hazard and Gervinho flanking Moussa Sow, they resembled a French version of the mighty Barcelona.” Outside of the Boot

Reconstruction of Olympique Lyonnais

September 30, 2015

“No one, and I repeat, no one could have expected what came from Olympique Lyonnais last season. Lyon were still at a point financially where they had to solely rely on their famous youth academy to get them by as their new stadium was still being constructed. It’s been that way for the last few years with Lyon as player transfer spending was cut dramatically. After having a seven year peak of dominating French football and being a relevant power in Europe, Lyon went through an awkward transition period that saw them significantly drop.” Stats Bomb

Talent Radar Young Defender Rankings: Jordan Amavi, John Stones & Samuel Umtiti impress

September 27, 2015

“Judging the calibre of a young player is often a tricky task. Perceived potential has an important bearing in any consideration and is just one of the many parameters to consider when trying to quantify the ability of football’s young stars. To add a basis to what may be a leap of faith, it is useful to look back and trace the growth, or indeed lack thereof, in young players. Our Talent Radar Player Rankings, along-with our Talent Radar Team of the Weekdocuments the progress of youngsters across Europe, with those featuring in these regular pieces, eventually being recognised in our end of season Talent Radar Young Player Awards and 100 Best Young Players to Watch list. Read this document for all your queries on Talent Radar and explanation of the features under it.” Outside of the Boot

Style & substance: How Liverpool’s five teen talents got on against Bordeaux

September 18, 2015

“Liverpool kicked off their Europa League campaign on Thursday night with a tricky trip to Bordeaux and it was an evening that had plenty of positives, as well as a few negatives. It was clear to see from earlier in the week that Brendan Rodgers was going to use the competition to give some of his youngsters some game time, whilst also ensuring the right experience was moulded into the squad. The Northern Irishman left out a whole host of stars ahead of the trip, with Christian Benteke, Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren, James Milner, Lucas Leiva and Martin Skrtel all staying put on Merseyside.” Squawka

Can Marco Verratti progress at PSG?

September 18, 2015

“Sometimes it is easy to forget that Marco Verratti is merely 22 years old. During his stay at Paris Saint-Germain, the Italian youngster has drawn constant comparisons with none other than Andrea Pirlo, and is widely expected to take over from ‘Il Architetto’ as the chief orchestrator in the Italian midfield. The diminutive Verratti has a unique skill-set. Blessed with a sharp footballing brain and equally nimble footwork, he usually uses these strengths to weave out of trouble in defensive areas. His ability to find wingers in advanced positions with 50-yard passes is exceptional, but he is equally adept at playing pass-and-move. Even more remarkably, he does his fair share of the dirty work and possesses a mean sliding tackle which can take an opposition player by surprise, given his 5 foot 5 inch frame.” Outside of the Boot


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