1 Tim Sherwood Tim Sherwood has expressed his disappointment at being axed by Aston Villa.Appointed as Paul Lambert’s successor in February, Sherwood led the club to Premier League safety last season and into the final of the FA Cup.But the 46-year-old’s reign was brought to end on Sunday after Villa slumped to a sixth successive Premier League defeat.“I am very disappointed that I will not be able to carry on in my role as manager of Aston Villa,” said Sherwood on Monday, in a statement released through the League Managers’ Association. “I knew when I took on the role that it would be a big challenge, but it proved to be one I greatly enjoyed and I know I have learned a lot from this experience. “Obviously, the initial priority was to stay in the Premier League, but beating Liverpool in the FA Cup semi at Wembley and then leading the team out for the Final was an achievement and experience that I will treasure for the rest of my career.“I’d like to thank my coaching staff and the staff throughout the club for their dedication, the Villa fans for their passionate support and the players, who gave everything during my time at the club.“I wish the club all the best for the rest of the season and indeed for the future.”Former Arsenal midfielder Remi Garde is the early favourite to succeed Sherwood in the Villa Park hotseat.Garde is available after leaving Lyon in 2014 to take a break for personal reasons.Ex-Manchester United manager David Moyes, currently in charge at Real Sociedad, has also been backed but said last week he wanted to stay in Spain.Dwight Yorke, meanwhile, has put his name forward for the job but the former Villa striker’s lack of managerial experience is likely to rule him out of contention.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho 1 Defeat at Leicester means Chelsea are now just one point above the Premier League drop zone.The Foxes’ 2-1 win consigned Jose Mourinho’s side to their ninth defeat of the season and opposition fans are dreaming of seeing him managing in the Championship.Here, talkSPORT looks at what Arsenal, Liverpool and other supporters are saying about the prospect of the Blues getting relegated.
Steven Gerrard Steven Gerrard has praised Jurgen Klopp’s impact at Liverpool and wishes he had the chance to play for the German.Gerrard is back training at Melwood during the Major League Soccer off-season before returning to Los Angeles Galaxy next month.And the former captain has felt the effects of Klopp’s positive influence around the club.Recalling a meeting with the German last month, Gerrard told the Evening Standard: “I had coffee with him and when I came out of the room I just felt happy.“I felt taller. And I am not one of the players so I can only imagine what he has done to those players in the dressing room.“The atmosphere at the club is brilliant. The players are buzzing around the training ground and there are smiles all over the place.“I think he has lifted the whole place.“He wants to be around players who are enjoying it. He does not want players to be tense, worried or concerned.“He wants to take all that pressure on his shoulders.“I love the way he handles players individually, I love the way he handles his team and I am all over his tactics.“I am watching him on the outside but I also get to work with him so it is a brilliant experience for me – as a Liverpool supporter, an ex-player, a pundit and also for my future as well. I am loving it.”Gerrard has ruled out returning to Liverpool on loan but admits the prospect of playing under Klopp is an appealing one.The 35-year-old, who was a fan of Klopp during his Borussia Dortmund days, said: “If I was a player at Liverpool – either a young player or one at my peak – and Jurgen Klopp walked through the door, I would be licking my lips.“The players should be excited. I think to myself, imagine being 25 or 26 and how happy and excited I would be to be working with him.“So the players should be sitting themselves down and realising what an opportunity they have to achieve success in the next two, three, four or however many years he is here. If the players are not feeling it then there is something wrong.” 1
12 12 12 12 12 4. Kurt Zouma (centre back) – The Frenchman has been a revelation at Stamford Bridge over the past two seasons, making his recent injury all the more frustrating to his progression. At 21, though, he is expected to bounce back quickly from his setback and with John Terry set to leave his beloved club in the summer, Zouma will quickly become even more integral to the senior squad. 3. John Stones (centre back) – This is the defender all at Chelsea want in the heart of their defence. The Blues failed in their pursuit last summer, but their interest is likely to return at the end of this season. Everton have stood firm on blocking his exit, insisting that he is crucial at Goodison Park. If offer(s) in excess of £45m fall their way, though, they could prove difficult to refuse. 12 12 Antonio Conte could be on his way to Stamford Bridge in the summer, so, how might Chelsea line up under the Italian? Click the arrow above to take a look at our prediction 6. Cesc Fabregas (right midfield) – Finally, after just over a year of poor form, the former Arsenal and Barcelona man has reminded supporters of his commanding ability in the centre of the park. Many may have questioned whether he can still perform to the standard expected at the highest level, but he may have silenced his critics for now. Much to the annoyance of Oscar. 12 12 12 5. Cesar Azpilicueta (left back) – Last summer Filipe Luis was forced out after only one season with the club and a similar narrative could follow with Abdul Baba Rahman. Azpilicueta is among the most consistent performers in the Chelsea squad, making it all the more bizarre as to why the Blues opted to spend £21.7m on Rahman, who has shown few signs that he has the ability to push the Spaniard out of the line up. 9. Willian (right wing) – Willian has comfortably been Chelseas player of the season. In what has been a largely miserable campaign, the Brazilian has been a rare bright spark, thriving while those around him have been hiding. When Pedro was confirmed in the summer, it was expected that he would move ahead of Willian in the pecking order, but this has been far from the case. 7. Paul Pogba (centre midfield) – There are few teams not eyeing the Italy midfielder. Arsenal, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona have all been linked with a move, but Chelsea could jump ahead of their rivals if Conte agrees to join the club. The difficulty, though, could be persuading the 22-year-old to give up Champions League football, with the Blues poised to miss out on the elite competition. 1. Thibaut Courtois (goalkeeper) – Courtois is yet to find top form since returning from injury, though he firmly remains the long-term first choice stopper at the club. Asmir Begovic, who deputised admirably in the absence of the Belgian at the beginning of the season, is set to leave in the summer, according to the Telegraph, further confirming the clubs desire to cement Courtois as their no.1. 12 Antonio Conte has quickly emerged as the odds-on favourite to be named the next permanent Chelsea manager.The Daily Express report that the Italy manager has informed Roman Abramovich that, should he agree to move to Stamford Bridge in the summer, he wishes to bring Roma sporting director Walter Sabatini with him.So, if such speculation is to be believed, the Blues’ next permanent manager may have been decided.With this in mind, how might the defending Premier League champions line up next season, if Conte does leave national football to return to club level?Who might the 46-year-old be interested in signing? Could he tinker with their current 4-2-3-1 formation?To see a possible Chelsea line up under Conte, click the yellow arrow above, right. 10. Edinson Cavani (centre forward) – According to reports from Italy, Chelsea opened talks with the Uruguayan following their 2-1 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League last week. Its claimed that the Blues have prepared a lucrative contract and are currently persuading the forward to swap the Parc des Princes for Stamford Bridge. Whether this would be a deal wanted by the new manager or Abramovich, only time will tell. 2. Branislav Ivanovic (right back) – Chelsea supporters have been left frustrated by the Serbs performances this season, with his form at the beginning of the season a major contribution to their sides shocking start. He has, however, improved considerably under Guus Hiddink and having recently penned a one-year contract extension, could remain a key player over the next 12 months. 12 8. Radja Nainggolan (left midfield) – Nemanja Matic has been worryingly disappointing this season, and while John Obi Mikel has stepped in superbly under Hiddink, the new manager may look to bring in reinforcements in central midfield. And, according to the Telegraph, Nainggolan is at the top of Contes transfer wish list, of which Chelseas board has allegedly already been informed. 11. Eden Hazard (left wing) – Hazard has been the most frustrating of all this season, looking a shadow of the player that comfortably clinched the PFA Player of the Year title last term. Nonetheless, in recent weeks his performances have gradually improved, suggesting that his confidence is on the mend. Knowing his ability, Abramovich will not want to see such a forward turn his back on the club.
160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rebuked a fellow San Francisco Bay Area liberal Friday for what she said were “inappropriate” comments about Iraq during a congressional debate. During a debate on children’s health care Thursday, Rep. Pete Stark accused Republicans of sending troops to Iraq to “get their heads blown off for the president’s amusement.” Condemnations rolled in from Republican politicians, right-leaning bloggers had a field day, and a White House spokesman declined to “dignify those remarks” with a response. Pelosi issued a statement late Friday rapping Stark, who is in his 18th term representing the liberal East Bay. He’s California’s longest-serving House member. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.“While members of Congress are passionate about their views, what Congressman Stark said during the debate was inappropriate and distracted from the seriousness of the subject at hand – providing health care for America’s children,” Pelosi said. Stark’s comment came as the House failed Thursday to override President George W. Bush’s veto of legislation to expand the popular State Children’s Health Insurance Program. “You don’t have money to fund the war or children,” Stark accused Republicans. “But you’re going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president’s amusement.” After numerous Republicans called on him to apologize, Stark said it was they who should be apologizing, for failing to provide the votes to override Bush’s veto. Asked for a White House response Friday, spokesman Tony Fratto said: “I see absolutely no reason to dignify those remarks with a comment.”
LAS VEGAS – O.J. Simpson stood before a judge Wednesday and firmly spoke a phrase he has uttered in other courtrooms in the past: “Not guilty.” This time the former football star was being arraigned along with two other men for the alleged kidnapping and armed robbery of sports memorabilia dealers in a strange case that has ballooned to 12 charges with the potential to send Simpson and the others to prison for life. Simpson’s notoriety gained from past trials for murder and road rage looms in the background of the Las Vegas episode. His lawyer said jury selection would be an “onerous” task that would probably last longer than the trial itself. “I am very concerned that we get 12 people on the jury that can listen to the evidence that occurs in the courtroom,” attorney Yale Galanter said on the courthouse steps. “People are going to have opinions.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat Kings Simpson’s co-defendants, Charles “Charlie” Ehrlich, 53, and Clarence “C.J.” Stewart, 53, also entered not guilty pleas, and Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass set trial for all three men on April 7. Ehrlich’s lawyer, John Moran Jr., said he would challenge the most recent charging document as vague and a list of potential witnesses as violating his client’s Fifth Amendment rights. District Attorney David Roger listed 78 potential witnesses, including Ehrlich and Stewart, an odd choice since prosecutors may not compel defendants to testify. Moran said it would be impermissible for the prosecutor to call them “if this tortured process does proceed to trial.” Glass appeared impatient with Moran’s argument and said she would consider written motions when they are filed. She moved quickly through the arraignments, requiring Simpson and the others to state their ages, education and that they could understand English. Simpson appeared relaxed and cheerful before court convened, chatting with his lawyers and a few friends in the courtroom. He did not comment about the case and confined his remarks to small talk. “Mr. Simpson is glad that the arraignment is over with. He’s glad that he doesn’t have to come back to Vegas until April,” Galanter said. While the lawyer said he would be pleased to have the case resolved without a trial, he said that seemed unlikely unless prosecutors dismiss all charges. A plea bargain, he suggested, was not on the table. “I don’t know what my client did wrong,” Galanter said. “And that’s why it would be difficult for us to enter into any kind of a plea agreement. It wasn’t a trespass because he was invited into the room. It wasn’t a robbery because it wasn’t the unlawful taking of someone else’s property.” The prosecutor declined comment outside court. Simpson landed in court after leading an odd raiding party in a Sept. 13 hotel room confrontation with two sports memorabilia dealers to take collectibles and family heirlooms he claimed were his. Simpson, 60, of Miami, has maintained that he intended only to retrieve items that had been stolen from him by a former agent, including photographs, football awards and the suit he wore the day he was acquitted of murdering his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman. Prosecutors allege the heist netted tens of thousands of dollars of sports collectibles that didn’t belong to Simpson. At a colorful preliminary hearing two weeks ago, there were accounts of an angry scene inside the Palace Station casino hotel room during which a cursing Simpson loudly demanded his possessions. Threats were made and guns allegedly were drawn by two men originally charged in the case. Those men and another cohort were given plea bargains with the possibility of probation in return for their testimony against Simpson, Ehrlich and Stewart. Simpson maintains he never saw any guns at the scene and had not asked anyone to bring guns. The preliminary hearing offered the first view of a cast of witnesses described by Galanter as “a defense attorney’s dream” because of their credibility problems. One of them admitted he would have changed his testimony to favor Simpson if he had been paid enough. Simpson has faced juries before. After his murder acquittal in 1995 in a sensational Los Angeles case dubbed “The trial of the century,” he was later found liable for the deaths in a civil case and ordered to pay $33.5 million. In 2001, Simpson, who had moved to Florida, was cleared of all charges in a case involving an alleged road rage incident. Galanter represented him in that case. Simpson and the others won’t have to return to the Las Vegas courtroom until the trial begins, the judge ruled. Afterward, Simpson was whisked away from the courthouse in a black SUV, rolling down a window to smile at the crowd of reporters and cameras. — Associated Press Writer Ken Ritter contributed to this report.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
Joey Barton has warned incoming Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez of the dangers ahead in his new role.The former Real Madrid and Liverpool manager penned a three-year deal to replace Steve McClaren – who was relieved of his duties on Friday – at St. James’ Park.Spaniard Benitez, 55, takes over the Magpies 19th in the Premier League, one point from safety with a game in hand.He made an immediate impact on his first day as United boss, cancelling the players’ day off and calling them into training ahead of Monday’s clash against leaders Leicester City.Former Newcastle midfielder Barton, who helped them to promotion from the Championship in 2010, told Drivetime: “I am fond of Steve McClaren, having worked with him at Queens Park Rangers, and he called me into the England [set up].“He is a good coach and obviously the landscape at Newcastle is difficult at this moment in time. If they didn’t change manager it was certainly looking very difficult for them to get out of the relegation zone. They looked like a team slowly walking into the Championship.“This gives them a chance in my opinion, the opportunity to turn it around.“I don’t know what he can do really. He’ll get them more organised, he’s obviously a high-level coach with the teams he’s managed over the years. The biggest club was his last job [at Real Madrid], so this should be a cake walk in terms of publicity.“When I look through the team, you can’t stay in the Premier League if you can’t defend.“If you can’t keep the ball out of the net, it does not give you any foundation to build a performance. Newcastle at this moment in time just can’t do that.“Without wanting to dig any of them out, the players have to take responsibility. The coach can only do so much and it’s easy for everyone to blame Steve. He has to take the flack because that’s the nature of the job and it comes with it.”Reports surfaced suggesting Benitez agreed a cancellation clause in his three-year deal if the club are relegated in May. Barton emphasised how all his focus should be in the short-term, to ensure safety for the Tynesiders before reassessing the situation in the summer.The Burnley midfielder, 33, added: “The most important thing for that club now is to stay in the league.“I was part of the Newcastle side that did go down and we managed to bounce back [instantly]. I just don’t see this group having that. We had some real leaders in there, real men’s men. When I look in that current squad, they’ve got a lot of ability in there but I don’t see them having the capability to instantly bounce back.“It’s a cruel game, it owes you nothing. It cares nothing for what you did last week, cares nothing for what you did years ago, cares nothing for how many people come through the turnstiles. If you don’t perform on the pitch, if you don’t put it in week in, week out and commit 100% to what you are doing – as big football clubs have found out down the years – it’s difficult to stay in the top league and the game owes you nothing. “[Benitez’s CV] is as good as anybody out there.“His last English job at Chelsea, he won the Europa League. There’s no doubt about it: he’s a top level manager. The difficulty is any manager needs time, it’s not a given that a manager comes in and they will pick up in form.“Hopefully for everyone involved at the football club it does happen but if people don’t start putting the required effort in, which is a given, they are in big trouble.”
1 Tottenham striker Harry Kane admits he is targeting Alan Shearer’s Premier League goalscoring record after netting his 21st goal of the season against Bournemouth on Sunday.The 22-year-old scored a fine brace in the 3-0 win at White Hart Lane.It means Kane has now equalled his goal tally from last season, while it takes his total top flight haul to 45 in just two seasons.He also becomes only the fifth Englishman to hit 20 goals in consecutive Premier League campaigns, joining an esteemed group that includes Shearer, Les Ferdinand, Andy Cole and Robbie Fowler.Shearer remains top of the division’s all-time scoring list with 260 goals and Kane says he is inspired by the former Newcastle man’s record.“It’s a lot of goals and I’m still a long way off but Shearer was an idol of mine growing up, to see how many goals he scored was incredible,” Kane said.“I take it season by season. I don’t like looking too far ahead because you never know what can happen.“But is it good to aim for? Definitely, they’re the goals you dream of.“When you’re a younger player, you watch them scoring goals week in and week out, so to be doing that now is a dream come true.”Kane’s 21 goals this season means he moves two clear of Jamie Vardy and three ahead of Romelu Lukaku in the race for the Golden Boot.If the 22-year-old can hold off his scoring rivals, he would become the first Englishman to finish top of the charts since Kevin Phillips hit 30 for Sunderland in 1999-2000.As England prepare to face Germany and Holland over the upcoming international break, Kane hopes his excellent form will help other young English forwards make the step up at the highest level.“If I can be a role model or if I can maybe make another manager play a young player coming through, rather than buy a player, that’s incredible,” Kane said.“I think sometimes managers like to buy players because they’re more experienced from abroad or when they’ve got players under their nose that will give everything to the club they’ve been brought up with.“The more people get chances at a young age, I think you’ll see more talent coming through as we have done this season.” Harry Kane has plundered 45 goals in his first two seasons in the Premier League
6 With Mauricio Pochettino signing a new contract with Tottenham, the rebuilding process will now start ahead of next season.By the looks of their brave battle this campaign, Spurs could be again challenging for the Premier League title if they get their transfer business right.POCHETTINO: WE MUST IMPROVE SQUAD TO COMPETE IN CHAMPIONS LEAGUEReports in the Daily Mail suggest manager Pochettino will have £60million to spend on players this summer, plus a little extra if those who are surplus to requirements are sold.So who could the Lilywhites sign to bolster their bid for silverware and to ensure they can cope with the demands of Champions League football.Click the arrow above, right, to find out… 6 6 Florian Thauvin (Newcastle) – Magpies relegation could see attacking bought on the cheap – Marcelo Bielsa is doing plenty of work to help protégé Pochettinos transfer plans for the summer. As well as giving him the lowdown on Batshuayi, he has also been advising him on possible signing Thauvin, who he managed at Marseille. Newcastle will be keen to sell and Spurs could even get him on the cheap. Saido Berahino (West Brom) – in case they can’t get Batshuayi – A year on and it appears Tottenham are still interested in signing the England striker. Berahinos value has dropped on the back of a disappointing campaign with the Baggies, but Spurs could be ready to rescue him should they fail to land Batshuayi from Marseille. Sandro Ramirez (Barcelona) – the forward could cost less than £10m – Told by Luis Enrique he is not in the clubs plans for next season, Ramirez will be available for transfer. Likely to be sold for around £7.8m, the 20-year-old forward has been watched by Pochettino before and could a be cheap alternative to the likes of Batshuayi and Berahino. 6 Adam Lallana (Liverpool) – to provide depth in midfield – The England international has begun to look the part again after some initial struggles at Liverpool but, with Jurgen Klopp plotting raids for players like Mario Gotze, Lallana could be left fighting for a first-team spot. A £20m move by Spurs has been rumoured by The Sun, and would give them great depth in midfield. 6 6 Michy Batshuayi (Marseille) – Click to see more players Tottenham could sign in the summer… – Its now quite clear the Belgian striker will be leaving the Ligue 1 side this summer. Hes rated at around £30m by Marseille, and has been the subject of reports by Marcelo Bielsa, who is giving his advice to Pochettino. West Ham are also in the battle to sign the striker but the lure of Champions League football could be what makes his mind up. Yunus Malli (Mainz) – attacker to battle Alli for the no.10 spot? – Mauricio Pochettino and his scouting team clearly have a thing for Bundesliga stars. Having snapped up Kevin Wimmer from Cologne and Heung-Min Son from Bayer Leverkusen last summer, the manager could go back for Mainz attacking midfielder Malli this time. Worth around £10m, the Turkish star is also being looked at by Borussia Dortmund, and will battle Dele Alli for the no.10 spot if signed.
Wing: James Milner (England and Liverpool) – Milner moved to Liverpool on a free transfer in 2015 after his Man City contract expired. 11 Right back: Seamus Coleman (Republic of Ireland and Everton) – Coleman has been on Everton’s books since League of Ireland side Sligo Rovers sold him for £60,000 (80,000) in 2009. Striker: Robert Lewandowski (Poland) – The brilliant Polish attacker moved to Bayern Munich from Borussia Dortmund on a free transfer in 2014. Striker: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden) – Ibrahimovic is leaving PSG when his contract expires at the end of the month, meaning he will join a new club for free. 11 Midfield: Sami Khedira (Germany and Juventus) – Khedira left Real Madrid last summer when his contract expired and Juventus snapped him up. 11 Centre back: Ashley Williams (Wales and Swansea) – The Swans completed Williams’ transfer in 2008, paying Stockport just under 500,000. 11 11 11 Centre back: Kamil Glik (Poland and Torino) – In 2011, Torino paid Palermo around 290,000 for Glik. 11 One million Euros is a lot of money… unless you’re trying to build a world class football team.But we’ve managed to put together an excellent XI comprising players taking part in Euro 2016, all for just one million Euros.That’s based on the transfer fees paid for each player when they made their last move (or their next move, in the case of one particularly talented attacker).Papa Johns are giving you the chance to win a million Euros. When one million people sign-up to Papa Johns’ ‘A Million Fans for a Million Euros’ promotion, everyone will be entered into a draw. One lucky person will be selected to play a Prize Game and could WIN up to €1,000,000! Click here for your chance to get involved: www.amillionfans.com Wing: Yevhen Konoplyanka (Ukraine and Sevilla) – Sevilla secured the skilful winger’s services last summer for free when he left Dnipro. Midfield: Gylfi Sigurdsson (Iceland and Swansea) – Sigurdsson’s move to Swansea in 2014 saw him swap places with Ben Davies, who went to Spurs along with Michel Vorm Left back: Christian Fuchs (Austria and Leicester) – Fuchs left Schalke last summer and joined Leicester for free. 11 Goalkeeper: Joe Hart (England and Man City) – click the arrow above, right, to see a quality Euro 2016 side which costs €1m, based on transfer fees paid – Hart joined Man City in 2006 from Shrewsbury for £100,000 (130,000) 11 11 11