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

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Coaching’s greatest seminar: how Louis van Gaal shaped five top managers

August 13, 2014

Barcelona manager composite
“In 1997, Louis van Gaal arrived at Barcelona. He had initially been approached to be youth coordinator but with Bobby Robson’s side struggling in the league – despite winning both the Copa del Rey and the Cup Winners’ Cup – he was asked to take over as manager, with Robson taking on an ambassadorial role, becoming, as he put it ‘the world’s highest-paid scout’. On Robson’s recommendation, Van Gaal took on José Mourinho, who had become far more than a translator, to be his ‘third assistant’. In his midfield, he had Pep Guardiola and Luís Enrique.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


League Focus: Eredivisie 2014/15 Preview – Ajax’s Chance to Make History

August 5, 2014

“If one word could describe the Eredivisie it is “engrossing”. Unpredictability borne out of the annual summer upheaval – today’s economic reality means Dutch clubs find it difficult to retain the experience and cohesion forged over the past 12-18 months – leading to its competitive nature. Since the leagues inception in 1956 no team has managed to win five consecutive championships; the feeling among many observers is that it’s all about to change. History will be re-written by Frank de Boer and Ajax. The cornerstone behind their latest domestic supremacy has been De Boer’s system. No longer relying on individuals, anyone can be replaced, and reintroducing Ajax’s traditional game absent for much of the time between his departure as a player in 1998 and appointment as manager in December 2010.” whoscored


Scandinavian weekly round up

April 9, 2014

“At the end of Round 25, we have a new name at the top of the Danish Superliga table. Aalborg have finally snatched first place from Midtjylland, and nobody can argue that they do not deserve to lead the way with only eight games left to play. To make it even sweeter for the boys from Nordjyske Arena, it was their victory against Midtjylland on Saturday that allowed them to take top spot, as they saw off early pressure by the former league leaders to beat them 3-2 in front of 11,500 fans at MCH Arena in Herning.” backpagefootball


Wednesday’s friendlies: What we learned

March 7, 2014

International talking points2
“The final international break of the season produced some interesting results, and perhaps more importantly, offered a few hints about how major contenders might play in Brazil. Here are four conclusions from the week’s matches…” ESPN – Michael Cox (Video)


England renew continent’s oldest football rivalry with visit of Denmark

March 7, 2014

“England’s friendly against Denmark on Wednesday is not just the much-discussed final audition for players hopeful of forcing their way into Roy Hodgson’s squad for the World Cup, but also another episode in the oldest rivalry in international football – other than those between teams from Britain and Ireland. It was never, it must be admitted, a particularly ferocious rivalry, but England (representing Great Britain) did beat Denmark in the finals of both the 1908 and 1912 Olympics, while no continental European nation took football as seriously as Denmark did in the years up to the first world war.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Bergkamp Statue Revealed: “Henry Himself, Would Argue That Dennis Was Better.”

February 23, 2014

“This weekend, whilst a lot of the British press are passing judgements on Arsenal’s current star signing, arguably the greatest Gunners arrival of them all is set to be honoured outside Emirates Stadium. As a big name with a similarly big price tag in 1995, Dennis Bergkamp had a slow start adapting to a new league, but went on to be revered by Arsenal fans. Certainly in the Wenger-era, few would argue that Thierry Henry is the greatest player for the Gunners. Henry himself, would argue that Dennis was better.” Sabotage Times