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Wayne Rooney Dropped As Jordan Henderson Takes England Armband

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Wayne Rooney's England career hangs in the balance.

Wayne Rooney is set to be benched by Gareth Southgate for England’s World Cup qualifier against Slovenia on Tuesday night. The Three Lions’ new manager is still trying to figure out his preferred 11 as they look to improve on a lackluster 2-0 victory against Malta at Wembley on Saturday. Sports Rants reported on Rooney’s position in the England setup being under threat ahead of the European Championships in France over the summer.

England overcame Malta 2-0 in a dour contest at Wembley on Saturday with two first-half goals seeing off the visitors, who are ranked 176th in the FIFA rankings. Sections of the crowd booed Rooney and England on Saturday, with Rooney admitting on Monday evening that he is currently “in a difficult period” in his career. Jordan Henderson will lead England out on Tuesday evening, with Rooney retaining his role as squad captain for the foreseeable future.

Rooney’s position has been under intense scrutiny since England’s acrimonious departure from Euro 2016 after their shock 2-1 loss to Iceland. As captain, Rooney has caused his managers at national and club level many a headache as they look to try and implement him into their team. His manager at Manchester United, Jose Mourinho, benched him against Leicester City last month and saw his team record their most convincing victory under their new boss, defeating the current Premier League champions 4-1.

For the mean time, Southgate has moved to ensure that there is no lingering doubts about his captain’s future in the England set-up and insisted that his omission was purely tactical. “We have looked at the way Slovenia play and I knew in my mind the profile of the midfield I wanted to play in this game. In no way is it a reflection of Wayne’s performance on Saturday,” Southgate said. The former Middlesbrough manager is set to play Tottenham Hotspur’s Eric Dier  in the centre of midfield.

The United striker was full of praise for his stand-in and believes that his captaincy of Liverpool will stand him in good stead to lead the Three Lions out on Tuesday evening. “I think Jordan is a fantastic leader. He has taken a difficult job from Steven Gerrard at Liverpool and grown into the position. He has great leadership qualities and he deserves his chance. It will be an incredibly proud moment for him and his family.”

Henderson, however, was full of praise for his national captain and stressed that he was merely standing in for the striker. “Wayne is very experienced and for me he has been one of the best players in the world for many years and he sets an example to all of us on and off the field. He is someone we all look up to as a captain and a leader for his experience and the type of person that he is”, said Henderson. The former Sunderland player has experience in captaining England, taking the armband as Under 21’s skipper from 2011 to 2o13. In what could be a potential litmus test for Henderson’s future prospects as England captain, the show will go on with or without Rooney.

 

 

 

Regular contributor to the soccer/futbol section at sportsrants.com alongside completing my Journalism degree at University of Derby.

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Juventus Fans Arrested After Clash with Police

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Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League quarter-final clash between Juventus and Ajax has already been marred by violence and controversy, before the teams even took to the pitch.

According to Ansa, citing a report from De Telegraaf, dozens of fans were reportedly arrested in Amsterdam in the hours leading up to the game.

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini (h/t Football Italia) took to Facebook live video to state that “around 120” fans had been arrested.

Per the report from De Telegraaf, fans near the Johan Cruyff Arena were “in possession of knives, clubs, pepper spray and flares.” Also, dozens of Ajax supporters were reported to have clashed with riot police in separate incidents outside the stadium and were eventually dispersed with the use of tear gas and water cannons.

The Mirror posted the following images on their Twitter page:

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Man City forward Raheem Sterling Looking to Combat Racism on the Pitch

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Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling, who spoke out last month after being subjected to taunts during England’s game in Montenegro, is looking to take his fight against racism to the pitch, saying he would rather stay on the field than let racism force him to walk off of the pitch during a match.

Sterling’s manager Pep Guardiola, stated that he would support players walking off in protest if it happened again, in a strong statement that racism is simply not acceptable.

“I think everyone are entitled to their own opinions. My mum has taught me to be comfortable in my own skin and I am,” Sterling said, according to the Manchester Evening News.

“I wouldn’t personally agree with [walking off], to win the game would hurt them even more they’re only trying to get you down. If you walk off they win, to score or win would be better.

“Everyone’s different. Everyone has their own opinion, how they deal with things emotionally and you have to support everyone.”

Sterling opened up about the racism he has faced in his life, discussing when he first expereinced racism when he moved from North London up to the north-west back in 2010.

“I don’t think trying to make a difference or making a difference, it’s about speaking what you experience. Some people might shy away from it, if more players speak up that might be better.

“It’s offensive but growing up my mum always told me I’m a wonderful black child and I know this. When I hear it, it’s nothing new. I’m happy with it. I’m confident, I’m black and I’m proud. Some people can’t take it but my mum has always told me to love who I am.

“The first time I experienced racism is when I went up north to Liverpool – in London in schools and on a day-to-day basis you’re surrounded by a diverse community. Only a few occasions growing up in the academy in Liverpool, and then mainly in the last couple of years of being a professional.”

 

 

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Birmingham City Fan Jailed for 14 Days for Punching Aston Villa Player

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27-year old Paul Mitchel, a Birmingham City fan has been jailed for 14 days after he plead guilt to assaulting Aston Villa midfielder Jack Graelish during the derby on Sunday.

Mitchell rushed the pitch and took a swing at Graelish when the player’s back was turned at Birmingham City’s St. Andrew’s stadium during the Championship match on Sunday.

Mitchell admitted to invading the pitch and has been officially banned from attending any football match in the U.K. for up to 10 years, and was also ordered to pay £350 in total fines.

Graelish made a statement in which he described how he was “shocked and scared” by the attack.

“I cannot help but feel how lucky I was in this incident,” he said (h/t ESPN). “It could have been so much worse had the supporter had some sort of weapon.”

“He cannot explain what came over himself yesterday morning,” Mitchell’s lawyer, Vaughn Whistance, said on Monday.

“His initial foolish intention was to go onto the pitch to whip up the crowd. He is certainly remorseful today. He is a man with a partner, they have a 2-year-old together and they’re expecting their second child.”

“This weekend a line has been crossed in terms of fan behaviour,” said a spokesperson for the FA.

“On Sunday we saw two separate incidents, at Birmingham City and Arsenal, of individuals entering the field of play and assaulting players.

“Not only is it an offence to enter the pitch, which could result in a club ban and criminal charges for the individual, but it also puts the safety of the players at risk.

“This is entirely unacceptable and we strongly condemn both incidents.

“We will be working with the clubs, the leagues and the police to discuss what collectively needs to be done to protect players and officials on the pitch.

“In addition, we have written to both Birmingham City and Arsenal to seek their observations to examine the security measures they had in place.”

Birmingham City apologized to Grealish and Aston Villa and banned Mitchell for life.

“Birmingham City Football Club would like to apologise to Jack Grealish and Aston Villa Football Club for an incident in Sunday afternoon’s derby match,” a club statement said.

“We deplore the behaviour of the individual who committed this act and rest assured he will be banned from St. Andrew’s for life. The club will also support any further punishment this individual may face in the eyes of the law.

“The club will be working with the relevant authorities to investigate all the circumstances and we will be reviewing our stadium safety procedures.

“What happened has no place in football or society. Jack is a Birmingham lad and regardless of club allegiance should not have been subjected to this — there are no excuses.

“Again, we apologise to Jack and all at Aston Villa Football Club.”

 

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