MONDAY’S BIG STORIES
Germany edge out experimental England
After a bold attempt to usher in yet another new era with some straight talking about English underachievement before this friendly, Gareth Southgate’s tactics demonstrated his intent for actions to follow words.
Granted, the 3-4-3 (or its variants) did feel a bit like copying the cool kids of the Premier League but – in theory at least – it feels like a system for which Southgate’s current crop are well stocked. Elite English players don’t grow on trees these days, but there are plenty of tireless wing-backs around to charge up and down the left and right flanks for their country, while any formation that can wrap itself neatly around Dele Alli’s centralised mischief is worth exploring.
It’s worth repeating – because many keep forgetting, understandably – that the result didn’t matter in Dortmund, or in most friendlies. Lukas Podolski’s winner (more on which below) was a tidy conclusion for the evening, but England had carved out enough promising openings to suggest that Southgate’s test-run has potential.
Change for change’s sake isn’t usually the way, but England are long overdue a revamp.
Tributes pour in for “Mr Liverpool”
Captain, coach, physio, caretaker manager. Five decades and 44 trophies. If anyone summed up the Boot Room at Anfield, it was Ronnie Moran, who has died at the age of 83.
RIP Ronnie Moran . Gave me some great advice over the years . 🙏 the reason our club has a fantastic history is because of people like him . My thoughts are with his family at this sad time . A post shared by Steven Gerrard (@stevengerrard) on Mar 22, 2017 at 4:07am PDT
Moran’s Liverpool peak came as a relentlessly demanding but forward-thinking coach under Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Kenny Dalglish – a period of astonishing success at home and in Europe – but his influence extended to the club’s modern legends like Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard.
In an era when players can force a move whenever the mood takes them – and managers exist on borrowed time – the idea of one man spending half a century with one club feels rather exceptional.
Arsenal’s A-listers keep future up in the air
There’s no respite from the traditional spring-time Emirates grumblings, even in international week: Arsene Wenger, speaking to beIN Sports, has revealed that contract talks with Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil have been put on hold.
“At the moment we have not got an agreement,” said of Sanchez. “We have decided to focus on the end of the season and talk about it in the summer. It is the same situation with Özil because once you don’t find an agreement and it [the negotiation] lasts, it is not good so it is better you get it out and sit down in the summer.”
Such uncertainty is likely to feed the disquiet that continues to surround Wenger’s own future at the club. On that subject, he remains oddly elusive: “My news is that I have no news.”
The summer is going to bring some answers to the repeated questions, and they won’t all be pleasant ones.
IN OTHER NEWS
Past Roy Keane press conferences have taught us all a few things: 1) Roy Keane doesn’t like stupid questions, 2) Roy Keane doesn’t like it when your phone rings, and 3) Roy Keane does not do banter.
Cue two young intrepid reporters, ahead of Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Wales, with one line of questioning that Keane might not have expected.
Roy, you’ve been hanging around with Roy for a long time. Is he your best friend?
Read the full article on eurosport.co.uk: The Warm-Up: England’s fresh start faces familiar foe, Roy Keane manages a smile