places

Raheem Sterling: ‘Level of competition for places behind improvement’

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling hopes his – and other players’ – stance on racism will help eradicate it from grounds within the next decade. The 24-year-old has been a prominent figure in the fight against abuse and discrimination from the stands, with his treatment at Stamford Bridge earlier this season thrusting the issue into the headlines. Since then there have been numerous other incidents but Sterling hopes by taking action now he and his fellow professionals can avoid further pain in the future. “It’s difficult. I wanted to bring light on not just one situation, but on my past experiences, things I’ve felt and know speaking to other players, something I felt I needed to say,” he said. “We’re trying, not just me, to make a change tha...

Paul Heckingbottom targets late surge for European places

Hibernian head coach Paul Heckingbottom watched his side leapfrog Hearts with a 2-1 victory at Tynecastle – and immediately targeted a late charge for Europe. Daryl Horgan notched a clinical brace to cancel out Peter Haring’s opener and send Hibs two points clear of the Jambos, having been 11 adrift of their city rivals when Heckingbottom succeeded Neil Lennon in mid-February. With six wins and two draws from his eight Premiership matches in charge, the Englishman is setting lofty goals as his side approach the post-split fixtures full of momentum. Heckingbottom said: “Is Europe a goal? Yes. But whether we get there or not, we’ll see. “We still have to play the teams around us and we’ll need results to go our way and continue this type of form to get there – b...

Lee Johnson “delighted” as Bristol City move into playoff places

Lee Johnson likened his Bristol City side to “young gunslingers” as they shot down Middlesbrough to climb into the Sky Bet Championship play-off positions. Adam Webster’s first-half header lifted City into fifth position in the table, with the 1-0 win at the Riverside following hot on the heels of Saturday’s victory over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. Having been on the fringe of the promotion race for much of the season, City are now at the heart of the battle for a place in the Premier League, and Johnson is delighted with the way in which his young side have risen to the challenge of competing in the upper echelons of the table. Johnson said: “I was delighted with the boys. We have a big respect for the club, their players and managers and we were like t...

Phil Neville: ‘England World Cup places are up for grabs’

England Women boss Phil Neville has stressed places in his World Cup squad are up for grabs. Neville says there is no complacency among the players he has called up for the forthcoming friendlies against Canada and Spain, and has spoken about a number who missed out, emphasising they are still in his thoughts. That includes Bethany England, the forward yet to be capped at senior level who has scored 18 goals for Chelsea in all competitions this season. Bethany England has been in fine goal-scoring form this season (Steven Paston/PA) Her club-mate Hannah Blundell, who has three senior caps, Birmingham’s Aoife Mannion and Manchester City’s Lauren Hemp are others currently not with the Lionesses to have been mentioned by Neville. Neville said: “We’ve got the selection ...

Result: Athletic Bilbao move closer to European places with Girona win

Bilbao were just three points above the relegation zone last month, but Friday’s win has lifted them level with seventh-placed Valencia on 40 points. Athletic Bilbao continued their rise up the LaLiga standings with a 2-1 comeback victory over Girona at the Estadi Montilivi. Bilbao were just three points above the relegation zone last month, but Friday’s win has lifted them level with seventh-placed Valencia on 40 points – just three off the European places. A fourth win in six games looked someway off for the Basque outfit, however, when Girona established a half-time lead through Cristhian Stuani’s 37th-minute header. The in-form Uruguay international got on the end of Raul Garcia’s deep cross from the left touchline to nod home his 18th goal of the season. Bilbao...

Jermain Defoe calls for patience, with Rangers ‘going places’

Jermain Defoe insists Rangers are still heading in the right direction under Steven Gerrard despite seeing their trophy hopes fade for another year. The Ibrox outfit look set to chalk up an eighth straight season without a major piece of silverware after being dumped out of the William Hill Scottish Cup by Aberdeen. Derek McInnes’ well-drilled Dons have been a thorn in the Light Blues’ side all season, having also ended their Betfred Cup bid. Rookie manager Gerrard arrived in May last year promising to make the Ibrox faithful happy, but with his side also eight points adrift of Ladbrokes Premiership leaders Celtic, he now admits he will face scrutiny over his performance as boss. But Defoe has seen enough in the two months since he joined the club on loan from Bournemouth to leave him conv...

Guardiola warns young players first team places have to be earned

Pep Guardiola has warned that no youngsters will be gifted a place in his star-studded Manchester City side. City are keen for players from their much-vaunted academy to progress to the first team but manager Guardiola has made clear they have to earn the right through hard work. The highly-rated 18-year-old Phil Foden is set for another opportunity as City, leading 9-0 on aggregate, face Burton in the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final on Wednesday. Others that could be included are defenders Philippe Sandler, 21, and Eric Garcia, 18, but the expectations on them are high. Pep Guardiola says young players like Phil Foden have to earn their place in the first team (Martin Rickett/PA) Guardiola said: “I’m pretty sure they are motivated to play in the first team, to play alongside in...

Frank Lampard frustrated as Derby slip out of play-off places

Lampard’s side dropped down to seventh place. Derby manager Frank Lampard was left frustrated as his Rams side slipped out of the play-off places following their 2-1 defeat at Stoke. The hosts went in front through Sam Clucas on 25 minutes, but saw Peter Etebo dismissed by referee Darren England before the break for a rash challenge on Richard Keogh. During the coming together between the two sets of players, Derby midfielder Bradley Johnson appeared to have the shirt of Stoke’s Joe Allen in his mouth. Derby were back on level terms five minutes after the restart when Harry Wilson curled a free-kick beyond Jack Butland prior to Tom Ince winning an action-packed, ill-tempered Championship clash, and giving Gary Rowett the victory against his former club. Lampard felt that the game was there...

Everton defender Kurt Zouma: ‘Competition for places is healthy’

Everton defender Kurt Zouma suggests that competition for places in the starting lineup can only benefit the Toffees this season. By Darren Plant, ReporterFiled: Tuesday, August 28, 2018 at 18:32 UK Last Updated: Tuesday, August 28, 2018 at 18:33 UK Defender Kurt Zouma has admitted that he will have to perform well in order to earn a place in Everton‘s starting lineup. Zouma has moved to Goodison Park on a season-long loan from Chelsea, but the Frenchman is yet to make his first start for the Toffees in the Premier League. However, the 24-year-old has suggested that he sees competition for a first-team spot as a positive ahead of the EFL Cup fixture with Rotherham United. At a press conference, Zouma told reporters: “It’s very important moment for me because I came here t...

Pep Guardiola: ‘Competition for places is key for Manchester City’

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola talks up the importance of competition for places after beating Arsenal without many of his star players from last season. By Barney Corkhill, Assistant EditorFiled: Sunday, August 12, 2018 at 22:10 UK Last Updated: Sunday, August 12, 2018 at 22:10 UK Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has challenged his players to use the competition for places at the club as motivation to raise their own levels of performance. City began their title defence with a 2-0 victory over Arsenal this afternoon, strolling to all three points at the Emirates despite starting without the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Gabriel Jesus, Nicolas Otamendi, Leroy Sane and Vincent Kompany. Bernardo Silva – who was behind Sane and Raheem Sterling in the pecking order l...

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