Paper Round: Chris Smalling one of five facing England axe as Gareth Southgate looks to the future
The kids are alright according to Gareth Southgate, who could drop five players in order to take his young stars to the World Cup. It’s Thursday’s Paper Round.
Southgate plans youthful World Cup squad
Gareth Southgate is apparently looking to stick with his recent youthful line-up in his squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia – meaning former England stars Chris Smalling, Jack Wilshere, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott could all miss out. Impressive outings by the likes of Joe Gomez and Harry Maguire mean Smalling could be most in danger of earning a long holiday next summer, according to The Sun.
Paper Round’s view: The results of Southgate’s largely injury-induced experiment were far better than many had hoped. Though both games in the recent international break resulted in 0-0 draws, this was an exciting team to watch – one that attacked and took chances unlike the boring, ground-out, last-minute 1-0 victories we’re so used to seeing (if we’re lucky) and we’d be in favour of mixing it up a bit. The future could well be bright for England, but we’ve had exciting young players before – they cannot succeed unless they’re protected from the pressure, attention and scrutiny that goes with a place in the England squad.
Willian wants Loftus-Cheek to come home
Chelsea midfielder Willian has questioned why his former team-mate Ruben Loftus-Cheek was allowed to leave the club on loan to Crystal Palace last summer. Speaking after his side Brazil took on Loftus-Cheek’s England on Tuesday, Willian said: “He’s a very good player…I don’t know why he is at Crystal Palace now…He has to come back.”
Paper Round’s view: Loftus-Cheek has certainly looked impressive for both Palace and England this season, and you can understand his frustration at not to get playing time for Antonio Conte – especially in light of the lack of quality signings over the summer. Having even admitted that he was “held back” under Conte, it remains to be seen if Loftus-Cheek would want to return to Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho hints at United’s next manager
Jose Mourinho has committed to the Manchester United tradition of including an academy player in every match-day squad since 1937, but also says he hopes the next manager of the club will do the same. Though Mourinho didn’t want to be drawn on his own long-term plans in his exclusive interview with The Mirror, he did have some words about expectations in the post-Ferguson era of Old Trafford. He said: “Of course it is an objective, but to say the only way we’re improving is to win the Premier League is not quite fair because the other teams…have the same objectives, the same responsibility, the same tools…”
Paper Round’s view: Someone clearly needs to explain the concept of a “competition” to Mourinho (and the fact that not every team in the top six has spent £300 million on their squad in the less than two years). Mourinho’s reference to “the next manager” was wholly unnecessary, especially amid recent speculation about his future. You can’t help but wonder what his game is.
Search for new Everton manager stalls amid tapping-up rumours
Everton’s search for a new manager was said to have stalled after it was reported that the club could face action for tapping-up Watford boss Marco Silva. Though an official play for Silva was apparently made –and rejected - this week, The Mirror reported on Wednesday that Watford were considering reporting Everton to the Premier League, feeling the approach was not made as it should have been.
Paper Round’s view: This is not going very well for Everton – even Sam Allardyce has ruled himself out of the running, now, after the club spent too long umming and ahhing over a deal. Allardyce told talkSPORT: “Such a long time without a decision, I had to make a decision myself.” Fair play. As for Silva, Watford will no doubt be keen to buck their usual managerial traditions and keep hold of Silva, after a decent start to the season.