England are playing in a major tournament semi-final on Thursday. Let’s take a look at how the national newspapers are previewing such a monumental game. Here are the back pages:
Daily Mail: ‘GARETH’S GAMBLE’
‘Manager Gareth Southgate is set to rest England captain Harry Kane for tonight’s crucial UEFA Nations League semi-final here against England’ – Sami Mokbel.
Daily Mirror: ‘BRUSH-OFF’
‘Gareth Southgate has revealed he is ready to rest Harry Kane following his Champions League nightmare’ – John Cross.
The Times: ‘Sterling set to be captain as Kane left out’
‘Gareth Southgate is preparing to leave the England captain Harry Kane out of the Nations League semi-final against Holland tonight in a move that he hopes will underline the country’s newfound strength in depth’ – Paul Joyce.
Daily Express: ‘IT’S YOUR CALL BOSS’
‘Harry Kane has declared himself fit for Nations League action but manager Gareth Southgate refused point blank to say if he would pick him’ – Matthew Dunn.
Guardian Sport: ‘Gareth’s gamble’
‘Gareth Southgate is considering resting all seven of England’s Champions League finalists, including his captain Harry Kane, for the Nations League semi-final against the Netherlands in a move he believes will demonstrate the depth of quality in his squad’ – Dominic Fifield.
Telegraph Sport: ‘Sterling service’
Good work all round, guys. Oh, hold on…
Here's a look at tomorrow's @SunSport back page:
NATIONS LEAK: Sterling apologies to Southgate after his bungling PR company revealed he will captain England against Holland. pic.twitter.com/ZiC3g4eId6
— Sun Sport (@SunSport) June 5, 2019
So what if he was apologising for something someone else had done? And who cares if England are dropping their captain for a major tournament semi-final? All The Sun care about is the fact that Raheem Sterling finally said sorry. For something. For anything.
On that subject, here is what Sterling had to say on Wednesday when asked about the most difficult challenge he has faced throughout his career:
“Probably pre-tournament, World Cup, last summer regarding the tattoo on my leg. It came off the back of a season where I thought I’d done well, and I was really looking forward to going to the tournament on a positive note. To get that backlash was a real down for me, and I had to pick myself up from there.”
But it was definitely worth using Damilola Taylor’s father – and your platform as the nation’s best-selling newspaper – to publicly attack a man for paying tribute to his deceased dad, wasn’t it?
Writes Matt Lawton in the Daily Mail:
‘Credit to Sterling for the way he handled the situation, admitting that he was ‘”fuming” when he realised what had happened yesterday morning and revealing that he had then apologised to the England manager. It would seem the apology was accepted and he will indeed be the proudest young man in Portugal this evening.’
And there was Mediawatch thinking Gareth Southgate would drop and castigate him because of a social media post made by ‘the red-faced Purple PR whizzes representing Sterling’. That’s a relief.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term ‘evict’ as follows:
‘To expel (someone) from a property, especially with the support of the law.’
‘The action of expelling someone from a property; expulsion.’
Mediawatch is sure you will agree that it sounds awfully official and forceful, and not at all amicable. Bear that in mind when you read this from The Sun online:
‘Jurgen Klopp ‘to be evicted by landlord Brendan Rodgers’ after Liverpool’s Champions League victory’
Good lord. This is huge. A Premier League manager appears to have called on the law to remove a direct rival from their place of residence. That is crazy.
Tom Sheen tells us that Klopp ‘is facing eviction just days after bringing the Champions League trophy home,’ which might be our new favourite addition to the ‘just days after’ genre. He’s just won a bloody European Cup, Brendan. Have some sodding respect.
Rodgers ‘is reportedly looking to sell the Formby pad’ as he ‘has now decided to splash out on a £5million mansion in the Midlands’. And what does that mean? That ‘he may now sell the Merseyside property,’ of course.
So this is less ‘Jurgen Klopp to be evicted by landlord Brendan Rodgers,’ and more ‘Jurgen Klopp might have to move house in the relative short-term if Brendan Rodgers decides to sell the property’.
It’s a little more wordy, granted.
This all comes from a Daily Mirror website exclusive. No variation of the word ‘evict’ is used – The Sun appear to not know what quotation marks are used for – but they do say Klopp ‘faces the boot from his Merseyside mansion just days after the Champions League final’.
JUST DAYS, GUYS.
Their story even contains quotes from ‘a source’ concerning Rodgers’s decision to buy a house closer to new club Leicester.
“Brendan was keen to put down roots, so decided to buy rather than rent.
“It’s unlikely he’d want to keep hold of two mansions.”
Jurgen Klopp is basically homeless.
On the Virg
Neil Ashton listened wistfully as Ronald Koeman sang the praises of Virgil van Dijk on Wednesday. He managed to just about get this out for The Sun before popping out for a few minutes of alone time.
‘It is 64 games since Newcastle’s Mikel Merino had the nerve to skip past Virgil van Dijk.
‘That was in March 2018 and nobody – not even Neymar, Lionel Messi or Edinson Cavani – has been able to take on the Liverpool defender since.
‘He looks and feels unbeatable.’
Not bad for an expensive ‘crock’ that Manchester City turned down, eh?
Reade all about it
Brian Reade has written a well-reasoned article on Mauricio Pochettino for the Daily Mirror, but is not about to miss the chance to use his column for a pop at Louis van Gaal.
‘Considering he’s been around football for such a long time, Louis van Gaal really struggles to get over his sacking from Manchester United.’
It’s almost as if people keep interviewing him about it.
‘His latest stinging attack on the club came in the form of telling Ed Woodward he knows “zero about football”. Had Woodward been less classy, he might have asked the Dutchman how come, for someone who believes he’s one of the greatest minds in modern football, he’s only won one title this century, the Bundesliga, nine years ago.’
A few things:
1) Are we really calling Ed Woodward ‘classy’ for not responding to legitimate questions over his suitability? It was awfully ‘classy’ when Van Gaal’s 2016 FA Cup win was overshadowed by reports that Jose Mourinho was about to take his job.
2) He also won the Eredivisie with AZ in 2009. Sneer at a Bundesliga title all you like – it ‘isn’t exactly a rare occurrence at Bayern Munich’ apparently, even though Wolfsburg won it the season prior – but claiming the Dutch league ahead of PSV, Ajax and Feyenoord is quite the accomplishment.
3) He was either out of management altogether or in charge of the Netherlands for approximately 11 of those 19 years. And reached a World Cup semi-final.
His record ‘this century’, a convenient way of airbrushing three Eredivisies, two La Ligas, a Champions League and a litany of other trophies, is hardly stellar. But it’s not exactly cause for derision, either.
Then there’s Woodward, who has appointed four managers and sacked three in six years. Classy.
From the Daily Mirror‘s match report on Portugal’s win over Switzerland:
‘Cristiano Ronaldo showed he is not ready to step down just yet from the mantle he shares with Lionel Messi as one of the best two footballers on the planet.
‘It has been a quiet year for the Portuguese superstar…’
Recommended reading of the day
Arthur Renard on Ronald Koeman.
Jamie Carragher on Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs De Ligt.