City defender Kyle Walker has backed Raheem Sterling to reach greater heights
after standing out for the Citizens in the past couple of seasons. The England
international has become a consistent performer under the guidance of manager
Pep Guardiola and he helped the Citizens secure an unprecedented domestic
treble last term after contributing 25 goals and 15 assists.
Sky Sports, Walker said that his compatriot will only keep getting better,
should he continue to take the advice of Guardiola, who has worked with the
likes of Lionel Messi at Barcelona, he quipped: “If he keeps listening and
getting advice from the gaffer and takes it on board, the sky is the limit. The
manager has worked with the best in [Lionel] Messi.”
Meanwhile, Sterling had brought up a bad impression on some people after the gun tattoo prior to the previous World Cup but he has managed to overcome the same with the recent fight against racism. In response to that, Walker added: “He definitely got bad press when it wasn’t really called for. He was a scapegoat and was targeted. I can assure you, there a lot of players who have done a lot worse than Raheem and nothing has been said about them. He deserves full credit to come out the other end and stay true to himself. It shows his character.”
The Citizens are scheduled to begin their league campaign with an away game at West Ham United but prior to that, they have a Community Shield encounter against Liverpool. With both Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus reporting late after their Copa America exploits, Guardiola has recently said that Sterling could find himself leading the line which he has done with success during the club’s pre-season tour of Asia. He has bagged four goals and an assist from four pre-season games.
Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera has said that he had differences with the Manchester United board which meant that he had to pursue a fresh challenge elsewhere. The 29-year-old was in a contract standoff with the Red Devils for the past year and he eventually decided to move on after the expiry of the deal last month.
Speaking to Marca, the former Athletic Bilbao graduate revealed that he did not feel important with the club’s plans for the future and that influenced the decision to join Les Parisiens, he said: “I don’t like looking at the past but there were differences regarding the project and my importance within it. I was very happy, I have a lot to thank the club for, the fans and also Solskjaer. He did a lot for me to stay but things didn’t happen. They [United] arrived late [with the contract offer] and, by then, I’d already made the decision to play in Paris.”
Spanish midfielder Juan Mata has ended the continued speculation regarding his future by signing a new two-year deal with Manchester United. The 31-year-old was widely fancied to leave Old Trafford earlier in the summer with the Red Devils reluctant to offer him a multi-year contract but they have eventually agreed to meet his demands.
Speaking to the club’s official website, Mata said: “It is a real honour to continue to represent this amazing club and our incredible fans. I have been at Manchester United for five years and I am proud to call Old Trafford my home. I am looking forward to working with Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] and his fantastic coaching staff; the vision that they have for the club is truly exciting and I am so happy that I will be a part of that.”
Former Chelsea star Frank Lampard has indicated that he is focused on the managerial role at Derby County amid the speculation linking him with the Blues job. The 40-year-old has done tremendously well during his debut season in management and he has the opportunity of propelling Derby to the Premier League, should they beat Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final.
Amidst this, there have been reports suggesting that he could take over at the helm at Chelsea this summer but Lampard has stressed that he is concentrating on the Rams duty for the moment, he said: “When I started out in management, people said; ‘Your dream must be to be Chelsea manager.’ It’s an easy link. My dream was to do as well as I can day in and day out to be successful. I can’t call that one. Those things happen or they don’t or whatever. My focus is completely on the here and now. I find it quite difficult because (Chelsea) have got a game coming up. More importantly for me we’ve got a game coming up before that.”
Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has admitted that it would be disappointing to end the campaign without winning any silverware. The Reds went toe-to-toe with Manchester City in the pursuit of the Premier League title but they were eventually finished as the runners-up with the Citizens outclassing them by the solitary point.
Still, the Reds have the opportunity to end their seven-year trophy drought with the Champions League crown and Wijnaldum insists it would be really sad to come up with nothing in the final against Tottenham Hotspur, he said: “If you look back when you’re on vacation on this season, I think everyone will realise we had a really good season, a wonderful season. Ninety-seven points, we’d normally be champion with.
Cardiff City captain Sean Morrison has hailed the performance of the team following their 2-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion on the road on Tuesday night. The Welsh outfit had faced a must-win game to keep their survival hopes alive and they managed to do so with Morrison and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing finding the scoresheet.
Speaking after the game, Morrison acknowledged that the club were facing a do or die situation on the night and they managed to excel in flying colours with the three points, he said: “It was do or die tonight. It was a very important game. We’ve got two very tough games ahead of us and tonight was of great importance.
Ben Johnson has been able to agree a new contract with West Ham that will keep him at the club for the next three years. The 19-year-old featured in the Premier League for the first time in the 1-0 loss against Manchester City. However, he has been featuring regularly with the first team in training. After making 16 appearances for the under 23 squad is so far this season, the defender appears to have impressed manager Manuel Pellegrini sufficiently to earn himself a new contract. This is yet another commitment from West Ham to promote from within, as the youngster has been with West Ham since seven years of age. After starting out as a winger, the 19-year-old soon became a regular at right back.
His versatility will be one of the talking points for West Ham as they look to strengthen the squad going into the summer. He has also spoken fondly about his debut, which was against one of the best teams in the Premier League. Despite his lack of experience, Johnson was able to put in a decent performance. The 19-year-old is aware that he needs to keep working hard in order to feature more regularly in the first team. Interestingly, Johnson is related to former Tottenham captain Ledley King, who happens to be his cousin. Former England defender Paul Walker is also related to Johnson.
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has said that he is preparing for the forthcoming season with the Blues despite the regular speculation regarding his future. The west London giants have endured a mixed campaign where they have struggled to find the consistency, but they are still on course to finish in the Champions League positions.
Speaking to reporters, the Italian tactician said that he is only focused on the performances of the team while talks have already begun over the plans for next pre-season, he said: “We were talking about the programme of the next pre-season, so we were trying to organise in the best way the next pre-season. [Speculation] is not a big problem, the problem is the results. The rest is not important in this moment. I want to win for the team, for the club, not for me. So it’s not important. I was confident in the past, I am confident now but I want to think only about our performances and our results.”
Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford has backed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for the permanent managerial role at Old Trafford. The Norwegian has transformed the club’s fortunes since his temporary appointment in December and he has guided them to victories in 11 of the 13 matches under his tutelage.
As such, there have been growing suggestions that he should be appointed as the permanent head coach and Rashford has no concerns regarding the same. Speaking to Sky Sports News, the England international talked about the man-to-man management from the United favourite and believes there is no reason to deny him the contract, provided the form is sustained for the rest of the campaign.
ESPN football expert Sid Lowe has told Arsenal fans not to expect much of Denis Suarez in the scoring and assisting point of view, given the midfielder does not possess an impressive record in that aspect through his career. The Spaniard recently made his debut in the second half of the 3-1 defeat to Manchester City but he could not make a notable impression.
Speaking on ESPN FC, Lowe highlighted that Suarez can’t be expected to improve the performances of the players around him and lot of his success may rather depend on how the rest of the team live up to the challenge, he said: “Well I must admit I think a lot of this will depend on what’s around him rather than on Denis himself.