Aston Villa

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Jamie Carragher: Ronald Koeman has been sacked too soon - now Everton should wait for Marco Silva 

You can name the date it started to go wrong for Ronald Koeman at Everton. It was September 1, the transfer window closed, and when he looked around the dressing room the lack of an adequate replacement for Romelu Lukaku killed the team and ultimately led to Koeman’s demise. It has been a deficiency he was unable to overcome, and it is the same problem Koeman’s successor will face. It does not matter how good you are as a coach - and I believe Koeman has proven himself to be a very good Premier League manager during his three full seasons in England - no team can function proficiently without the ability to score goals.  People will say it was not just a striking problem in the end. That is true, but the main issue infects everything else, and that is precisely what has happened at Goodison Park with the defence and midfield looking as poor as the strikers. That is why I believe it was premature to sack Koeman, irrespective of an horrific run of results and performances. It would have made more sense to keep him until Christmas and give him a chance to turn it around. There is as much chance of being drawn into a battle at the wrong end of the table by making this change as there would have been had Koeman been retained. Koeman’s record since moving to English football has been good, particularly defensively. The nine league games this season are an anomaly. You only have to look at his defensive record in two years at Southampton and the first season at Everton to recognise he knows how to organise his back four. Not replacing Romelu Lukaku has hugely damaged Everton this season Southampton conceded just 33 goals in his first season; 41 in his second. Last year it was 44 for Everton. Last season’s tally of 61 points has been bettered just four times by Everton in 24 years. I will not judge Koeman only on this season given his previous record in England. But Farhad Moshiri has made up his mind - or should I say changed it on Koeman - after these nine league games. It seems harsh Do not forget what Moshiri said about Koeman last season: “For our club to compete in the north west of England, which is the new Hollywood of football with Guardiola, Mourinho and Klopp, we needed a star to stand on the touchline so we got Koeman.” How that star has fallen. Obviously serious mistakes have been made. Both Koeman and Director of Football Steve Walsh must accept responsibility for those transfer failings. It is not that Everton did not sign strikers, after all. Sandro Ramirez has proven to be too raw to start regularly. They signed Henry Onyekuru from Kas Eupen and immediately loaned him to Anderlecht. The leading candidates to become Everton manager after Ronald Koeman is sacked Dominic Calvert-Lewin arrived a year ago and has done reasonably well, but it is too soon for him to be a senior striker. Wayne Rooney’s return made sense. He still has the ability at the highest level, but Koeman quickly realised he was the only player capable of consistently scoring. Those signed to add what Koeman called ‘productivity’ have badly let him down. I was amazed the club paid so much for Gylfi Sigurdsson but to be fair to him the lack of a top-class striker has impacted on his assists tally. He needs to get his act together for the new manager. Davy Klaassen has found the adjustment to English football too difficult. Koeman’s exit will impact on these players. They will all be wondering if the next man sees their future at Everton. One of the criticisms is Koeman had signed too many of a similar ilk, his squad full of number 10s, but I understood the strategy. Last year Everton’s best form post-Christmas was in a 4-3-3 and he obviously saw Sigurdsson replacing Ross Barkley, with Klassen taking Tom Davies’ role as first choice. Neither have proven to be an improvement. This has exacerbated the defensive issues. Michael Keane is a young defender who needs an experienced player to guide him through his improvement. At the same time, two of Everton’s best ever Premier League defenders  - Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines - are now at that age where it looks too much to play every week. Ashley Williams, who did OK last season, is at a similar point in his career. At 33 he looks to be feeling the effects even more. This is why Koeman’s defensive record is not matching previous years. The pressure would be relieved on them if Everton were able to create and score more often, but instead it has shifted as much to the other end of the pitch. Ironically, goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has been a success - but the fact he has had so many chances to save shows it is an issue. Ronald Koeman at Everton | In numbers When Everton were completing their summer business I joked on Twitter how none of those signed would get into the Liverpool team. There was some truth to the wind-up. Too often clubs who receive serious investment from a new owner or shareholder believe they are in a game-changing era.  I saw it at West Ham and Aston Villa when I was a player, and never once felt threatened. Only financial input of the levels at Chelsea or Manchester City truly change the game. None of the signings Everton made opted to move to Goodison ahead of the top six. The expectation level rose unrealistically and that has not helped Koeman, either. The next manager must also deal with that. Everton are now faced with two options. Replace Koeman immediately, which makes Sean Dyche look the most realistic target. Or give Under-23 manager David Unsworth temporary charge, trust him to banish any relegation fears and wait until the end of the season to appoint full-time when there will be far more options available, which could bring a target like Marco Silva into the equation. My choice would be Silva, who in a short period at Hull and Watford has shown he has something about him. The kind of star quality Moshiri thought Koeman had nine league games ago.

Jamie Carragher: Ronald Koeman has been sacked too soon - now Everton should wait for Marco Silva 

You can name the date it started to go wrong for Ronald Koeman at Everton. It was September 1, the transfer window closed, and when he looked around the dressing room the lack of an adequate replacement for Romelu Lukaku killed the team and ultimately led to Koeman’s demise. It has been a deficiency he was unable to overcome, and it is the same problem Koeman’s successor will face. It does not matter how good you are as a coach - and I believe Koeman has proven himself to be a very good Premier League manager during his three full seasons in England - no team can function proficiently without the ability to score goals.  People will say it was not just a striking problem in the end. That is true, but the main issue infects everything else, and that is precisely what has happened at Goodison Park with the defence and midfield looking as poor as the strikers. That is why I believe it was premature to sack Koeman, irrespective of an horrific run of results and performances. It would have made more sense to keep him until Christmas and give him a chance to turn it around. There is as much chance of being drawn into a battle at the wrong end of the table by making this change as there would have been had Koeman been retained. Koeman’s record since moving to English football has been good, particularly defensively. The nine league games this season are an anomaly. You only have to look at his defensive record in two years at Southampton and the first season at Everton to recognise he knows how to organise his back four. Not replacing Romelu Lukaku has hugely damaged Everton this season Southampton conceded just 33 goals in his first season; 41 in his second. Last year it was 44 for Everton. Last season’s tally of 61 points has been bettered just four times by Everton in 24 years. I will not judge Koeman only on this season given his previous record in England. But Farhad Moshiri has made up his mind - or should I say changed it on Koeman - after these nine league games. It seems harsh Do not forget what Moshiri said about Koeman last season: “For our club to compete in the north west of England, which is the new Hollywood of football with Guardiola, Mourinho and Klopp, we needed a star to stand on the touchline so we got Koeman.” How that star has fallen. Obviously serious mistakes have been made. Both Koeman and Director of Football Steve Walsh must accept responsibility for those transfer failings. It is not that Everton did not sign strikers, after all. Sandro Ramirez has proven to be too raw to start regularly. They signed Henry Onyekuru from Kas Eupen and immediately loaned him to Anderlecht. The leading candidates to become Everton manager after Ronald Koeman is sacked Dominic Calvert-Lewin arrived a year ago and has done reasonably well, but it is too soon for him to be a senior striker. Wayne Rooney’s return made sense. He still has the ability at the highest level, but Koeman quickly realised he was the only player capable of consistently scoring. Those signed to add what Koeman called ‘productivity’ have badly let him down. I was amazed the club paid so much for Gylfi Sigurdsson but to be fair to him the lack of a top-class striker has impacted on his assists tally. He needs to get his act together for the new manager. Davy Klaassen has found the adjustment to English football too difficult. Koeman’s exit will impact on these players. They will all be wondering if the next man sees their future at Everton. One of the criticisms is Koeman had signed too many of a similar ilk, his squad full of number 10s, but I understood the strategy. Last year Everton’s best form post-Christmas was in a 4-3-3 and he obviously saw Sigurdsson replacing Ross Barkley, with Klassen taking Tom Davies’ role as first choice. Neither have proven to be an improvement. This has exacerbated the defensive issues. Michael Keane is a young defender who needs an experienced player to guide him through his improvement. At the same time, two of Everton’s best ever Premier League defenders  - Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines - are now at that age where it looks too much to play every week. Ashley Williams, who did OK last season, is at a similar point in his career. At 33 he looks to be feeling the effects even more. This is why Koeman’s defensive record is not matching previous years. The pressure would be relieved on them if Everton were able to create and score more often, but instead it has shifted as much to the other end of the pitch. Ironically, goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has been a success - but the fact he has had so many chances to save shows it is an issue. Ronald Koeman at Everton | In numbers When Everton were completing their summer business I joked on Twitter how none of those signed would get into the Liverpool team. There was some truth to the wind-up. Too often clubs who receive serious investment from a new owner or shareholder believe they are in a game-changing era.  I saw it at West Ham and Aston Villa when I was a player, and never once felt threatened. Only financial input of the levels at Chelsea or Manchester City truly change the game. None of the signings Everton made opted to move to Goodison ahead of the top six. The expectation level rose unrealistically and that has not helped Koeman, either. The next manager must also deal with that. Everton are now faced with two options. Replace Koeman immediately, which makes Sean Dyche look the most realistic target. Or give Under-23 manager David Unsworth temporary charge, trust him to banish any relegation fears and wait until the end of the season to appoint full-time when there will be far more options available, which could bring a target like Marco Silva into the equation. My choice would be Silva, who in a short period at Hull and Watford has shown he has something about him. The kind of star quality Moshiri thought Koeman had nine league games ago.

Amavi's unseen handball in the Classique

On loan from Aston Villa, French international Jordan Amavi was playing his first Classique tonight. This game could have ended badly for the 23-year-old if only Ruddy Buquet, tonight's referee, would have seen his handball after chasing Mbappe in Marseille's box. Although obvious on the replays, it was complicated for Mr Buquet to see it as many players were in front of him at that moment.

Amavi's unseen handball in the Classique

On loan from Aston Villa, French international Jordan Amavi was playing his first Classique tonight. This game could have ended badly for the 23-year-old if only Ruddy Buquet, tonight's referee, would have seen his handball after chasing Mbappe in Marseille's box. Although obvious on the replays, it was complicated for Mr Buquet to see it as many players were in front of him at that moment.

Amavi's unseen handball in the Classique

On loan from Aston Villa, French international Jordan Amavi was playing his first Classique tonight. This game could have ended badly for the 23-year-old if only Ruddy Buquet, tonight's referee, would have seen his handball after chasing Mbappe in Marseille's box. Although obvious on the replays, it was complicated for Mr Buquet to see it as many players were in front of him at that moment.

Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce ready to 'break the bank' to sign Tottenham loanee Josh Onomah permanently

Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce ready to 'break the bank' to sign Tottenham loanee Josh Onomah permanently

Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce ready to 'break the bank' to sign Tottenham loanee Josh Onomah permanently

Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce ready to 'break the bank' to sign Tottenham loanee Josh Onomah permanently

John Terry scores first Aston Villa goal in win over Fulham as Brentford and QPR draw

John Terry scores first Aston Villa goal in win over Fulham as Brentford and QPR draw

How Fabian Delph became Pep Guardiola's born-again full-back

Fabian Delph had sunk to sixth place in Pep Guardiola's midfield  pecking order and was seemingly on his way out of the Etihad, but he still believed chances to embed himself in the Manchester City team would come his way.  Into the third month of the season and thoughts of a summer move to Stoke, or indeed, anywhere else are long forgotten. Seven consecutive starts and a string of rave reviews show he has gained Guardiola's  trust in one of City's key positions.  It is not midfield, but left-back where the 27-year-old has become a regular fixture. The loss of new signing Benjamin Mendy, out until  spring with a knee injury, is not being felt as keenly as originally feared around east Manchester.  Delph was a bit-part player last season, making just seven appearances  in midfield, usually whenever Fernandinho or Yaya Toure were in need  of a rest. But having played full-back at previous clubs Leeds and  Aston Villa, the left-footer had another important string to his bow.  Delph had deputised ably for the injured Benjamin Mendy Credit: REUTERS City spent heavily on a new pair of full-backs in the summer to  improve an area of the team crucial to the Pep Guardiola game-plan.  Mendy and Kyle Walker brought immediate pace, physicality and  attacking threat and, since the former Monaco defender's incapacity,  Delph has maintained the impetus down City's left flank.  The big test was at Chelsea recently where Delph caught the eye with an outstanding display in City's notable 1-0 success.  This was all on show against a lively Burnley side, who showed plenty  of combative instinct and attacking intent at the Etihad. It was  Delph's crisp tackling deep in his own half that enabled City to  launch several counter-attacks, one of which, seconds before the  interval, almost led to Bernardo Silva doubling the home lead.  Guardiola also wants his full-backs tucking in, augmenting midfield,  which comes naturally to Delph, who has also developed an  understanding with his attacking team-mates. This weekend it was Leroy  Sane, who often found Delph popping up on his outside to lend an  option.  This is all good news for England, looking for defensive alternatives  and midfield anchormen for next year's World Cup. The fact that Delph  can do both to great effect means the chances of him adding  significantly to his nine caps is rising by the week.  The Verdict   Moment which changed the match Burnley provided stout opposition, in  stark contrast to several recent visitors to the Etihad, and it was  not until the 73rd minute, when Nicolas Otamendi powered home a  header, that City fans began to breathe easy.  Most influential player There is brilliance all around him but David  Silva remains at the hub of City's whirlwind of creativity.  Crowd rating A far closer contest than recent league  matches at the Etihad, at least until the closing stages, reflected in  good noise from the Burnley contingent. 6/10  Referee rating Burnley felt aggrieved that Roger East  awarded Bernardo Silva a penalty for what appeared to be the merest  touch by goalkeeper Nick Pope. 5/10 Match rating Decent contest with Burnley showing many  good things but City were once again devastatingly effective. 6/10

How Fabian Delph became Pep Guardiola's born-again full-back

Fabian Delph had sunk to sixth place in Pep Guardiola's midfield  pecking order and was seemingly on his way out of the Etihad, but he still believed chances to embed himself in the Manchester City team would come his way.  Into the third month of the season and thoughts of a summer move to Stoke, or indeed, anywhere else are long forgotten. Seven consecutive starts and a string of rave reviews show he has gained Guardiola's  trust in one of City's key positions.  It is not midfield, but left-back where the 27-year-old has become a regular fixture. The loss of new signing Benjamin Mendy, out until  spring with a knee injury, is not being felt as keenly as originally feared around east Manchester.  Delph was a bit-part player last season, making just seven appearances  in midfield, usually whenever Fernandinho or Yaya Toure were in need  of a rest. But having played full-back at previous clubs Leeds and  Aston Villa, the left-footer had another important string to his bow.  Delph had deputised ably for the injured Benjamin Mendy Credit: REUTERS City spent heavily on a new pair of full-backs in the summer to  improve an area of the team crucial to the Pep Guardiola game-plan.  Mendy and Kyle Walker brought immediate pace, physicality and  attacking threat and, since the former Monaco defender's incapacity,  Delph has maintained the impetus down City's left flank.  The big test was at Chelsea recently where Delph caught the eye with an outstanding display in City's notable 1-0 success.  This was all on show against a lively Burnley side, who showed plenty  of combative instinct and attacking intent at the Etihad. It was  Delph's crisp tackling deep in his own half that enabled City to  launch several counter-attacks, one of which, seconds before the  interval, almost led to Bernardo Silva doubling the home lead.  Guardiola also wants his full-backs tucking in, augmenting midfield,  which comes naturally to Delph, who has also developed an  understanding with his attacking team-mates. This weekend it was Leroy  Sane, who often found Delph popping up on his outside to lend an  option.  This is all good news for England, looking for defensive alternatives  and midfield anchormen for next year's World Cup. The fact that Delph  can do both to great effect means the chances of him adding  significantly to his nine caps is rising by the week.  The Verdict   Moment which changed the match Burnley provided stout opposition, in  stark contrast to several recent visitors to the Etihad, and it was  not until the 73rd minute, when Nicolas Otamendi powered home a  header, that City fans began to breathe easy.  Most influential player There is brilliance all around him but David  Silva remains at the hub of City's whirlwind of creativity.  Crowd rating A far closer contest than recent league  matches at the Etihad, at least until the closing stages, reflected in  good noise from the Burnley contingent. 6/10  Referee rating Burnley felt aggrieved that Roger East  awarded Bernardo Silva a penalty for what appeared to be the merest  touch by goalkeeper Nick Pope. 5/10 Match rating Decent contest with Burnley showing many  good things but City were once again devastatingly effective. 6/10

Liverpool keen on keeping hold of James Milner despite lack of game time

Liverpool will resist any attempt to sell James Milner when the transfer window opens in January with the midfielder remaining a vital part of Jürgen Klopp’s plans this season. Milner has started just two Premier League games so far in this campaign but underlined his qualities with a star performance when recalled in the Champions League victory over Maribor on Tuesday. The 31-year-old is understandably frustrated about his lack of playing time recently and will be hoping he has done enough to keep his place against Tottenham Hotspur this weekend, and certainly start more frequently in the weeks and months ahead. Milner, who retired from international football in order to prolong his club career, captained Liverpool in the 7-0 win in Slovenia. Milner could have sought a move last summer as numerous clubs were interested in him but he remains committed to Anfield. Leicester City were the most active in trying to persuade the former Manchester City, Aston Villa, Newcastle and Leeds United man to leave Anfield. Milner has not played as much as he would have hoped this season Credit: Rex Features Klopp has assured Milner chances will come, even if the starting place he had last season is no longer guaranteed. Alberto Moreno’s improved form, as well as the arrival of Andy Robertson, means the experiment as a left-back is over for Milner. Back in his favoured midfield role he is competing with Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum, while Adam Lallana will return next month and Philippe Coutinho has also played in a deeper position on occasion. It is most likely Milner’s situation will be reviewed at the end of this campaign when it can be determined how much he will feature further ahead, especially when club record signing Naby Keita joins from RB Leipzig in the summer of 2018. Regardless of the length of a player’s contract, Klopp has spoken previously how feels he has an informal ‘one-year deal’ with the senior members of his squad, ensuring no-one of significance will be allowed to leave midway through a campaign. Milner demonstrated in midweek why he remains a pivotal figure in Liverpool’s squad.

Liverpool keen on keeping hold of James Milner despite lack of game time

Liverpool will resist any attempt to sell James Milner when the transfer window opens in January with the midfielder remaining a vital part of Jürgen Klopp’s plans this season. Milner has started just two Premier League games so far in this campaign but underlined his qualities with a star performance when recalled in the Champions League victory over Maribor on Tuesday. The 31-year-old is understandably frustrated about his lack of playing time recently and will be hoping he has done enough to keep his place against Tottenham Hotspur this weekend, and certainly start more frequently in the weeks and months ahead. Milner, who retired from international football in order to prolong his club career, captained Liverpool in the 7-0 win in Slovenia. Milner could have sought a move last summer as numerous clubs were interested in him but he remains committed to Anfield. Leicester City were the most active in trying to persuade the former Manchester City, Aston Villa, Newcastle and Leeds United man to leave Anfield. Milner has not played as much as he would have hoped this season Credit: Rex Features Klopp has assured Milner chances will come, even if the starting place he had last season is no longer guaranteed. Alberto Moreno’s improved form, as well as the arrival of Andy Robertson, means the experiment as a left-back is over for Milner. Back in his favoured midfield role he is competing with Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum, while Adam Lallana will return next month and Philippe Coutinho has also played in a deeper position on occasion. It is most likely Milner’s situation will be reviewed at the end of this campaign when it can be determined how much he will feature further ahead, especially when club record signing Naby Keita joins from RB Leipzig in the summer of 2018. Regardless of the length of a player’s contract, Klopp has spoken previously how feels he has an informal ‘one-year deal’ with the senior members of his squad, ensuring no-one of significance will be allowed to leave midway through a campaign. Milner demonstrated in midweek why he remains a pivotal figure in Liverpool’s squad.

West Ham try to score Royal fans by giving Prince George and Princess Charlotte football shirts

West Ham could soon have a royal following after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were given replica football shirts for their young children. The couple - who on Tuesday revealed their third child is due in April - were handed the gifts by club captain Mark Noble as they visited the London Stadium, alongside Prince Harry, for the graduation ceremony of dozens of sports coaching apprentices, as part of the Coach Core scheme. The claret and blue shirts were emblazoned with George and Charlotte's names and ages, four and two, respectively. But whether or not the children will wear the shirts is still in question. As he was welcomed by West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady, Aston Villa fan William joked: "Right colours, wrong team." The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry attend the graduation Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Speaking of the presents, Noble said: "It was just a little gift from West Ham really. "We know William is an Aston Villa fan - whether they (the shirts) will get put on or not, I don't know. "It's just a gesture from us to welcome them to the club." The royal couple and Prince Harry at the event Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Noble was speaking to the Duke and Duchess as they watched practical sports sessions in action, including football, gymnastics, tennis and rugby. Among the famous faces involved in the sessions was tennis coach Judy Murray, the mother of Andy and Jamie Murray. She said it was "amazing" for William and Kate to be at the event, adding: "For them to be here is a huge inspiration for the young people." Kate dances with Paddington as royals attend charity event 01:52 She said she spoke to the Duchess about her children and how parents can develop coordination skills at a young age, including playing with balloons. Ms Murray stuck with the theme of West Ham - whose fans sing "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles", adding: "I was telling them to try bubbles as well." She said: "The Prince and the Duchess are very sporty, both of them, and I'm sure they will be keen for their kids to enjoy sport as well." Look back at the Duchess of Cambridge's best maternity fashion moments Before the graduation ceremony William, Kate and Harry, attended a reception to meet key figures who have helped deliver the programme, as well as hearing about future plans for Coach Core. The scheme, designed by the Royal Foundation, is designed to teach apprentices, aged between 16 and 24, technical sports skills alongside coaching, with an emphasis on employability. The organisation says 98 per cent of its graduates are in full-time employment or education, while 80% retain strong ties with their employers and continue to engage in community sport.

West Ham try to score Royal fans by giving Prince George and Princess Charlotte football shirts

West Ham could soon have a royal following after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were given replica football shirts for their young children. The couple - who on Tuesday revealed their third child is due in April - were handed the gifts by club captain Mark Noble as they visited the London Stadium, alongside Prince Harry, for the graduation ceremony of dozens of sports coaching apprentices, as part of the Coach Core scheme. The claret and blue shirts were emblazoned with George and Charlotte's names and ages, four and two, respectively. But whether or not the children will wear the shirts is still in question. As he was welcomed by West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady, Aston Villa fan William joked: "Right colours, wrong team." The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry attend the graduation Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Speaking of the presents, Noble said: "It was just a little gift from West Ham really. "We know William is an Aston Villa fan - whether they (the shirts) will get put on or not, I don't know. "It's just a gesture from us to welcome them to the club." The royal couple and Prince Harry at the event Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Noble was speaking to the Duke and Duchess as they watched practical sports sessions in action, including football, gymnastics, tennis and rugby. Among the famous faces involved in the sessions was tennis coach Judy Murray, the mother of Andy and Jamie Murray. She said it was "amazing" for William and Kate to be at the event, adding: "For them to be here is a huge inspiration for the young people." Kate dances with Paddington as royals attend charity event 01:52 She said she spoke to the Duchess about her children and how parents can develop coordination skills at a young age, including playing with balloons. Ms Murray stuck with the theme of West Ham - whose fans sing "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles", adding: "I was telling them to try bubbles as well." She said: "The Prince and the Duchess are very sporty, both of them, and I'm sure they will be keen for their kids to enjoy sport as well." Look back at the Duchess of Cambridge's best maternity fashion moments Before the graduation ceremony William, Kate and Harry, attended a reception to meet key figures who have helped deliver the programme, as well as hearing about future plans for Coach Core. The scheme, designed by the Royal Foundation, is designed to teach apprentices, aged between 16 and 24, technical sports skills alongside coaching, with an emphasis on employability. The organisation says 98 per cent of its graduates are in full-time employment or education, while 80% retain strong ties with their employers and continue to engage in community sport.

West Ham try to score Royal fans by giving Prince George and Princess Charlotte football shirts

West Ham could soon have a royal following after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were given replica football shirts for their young children. The couple - who on Tuesday revealed their third child is due in April - were handed the gifts by club captain Mark Noble as they visited the London Stadium, alongside Prince Harry, for the graduation ceremony of dozens of sports coaching apprentices, as part of the Coach Core scheme. The claret and blue shirts were emblazoned with George and Charlotte's names and ages, four and two, respectively. But whether or not the children will wear the shirts is still in question. As he was welcomed by West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady, Aston Villa fan William joked: "Right colours, wrong team." The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry attend the graduation Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Speaking of the presents, Noble said: "It was just a little gift from West Ham really. "We know William is an Aston Villa fan - whether they (the shirts) will get put on or not, I don't know. "It's just a gesture from us to welcome them to the club." The royal couple and Prince Harry at the event Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Noble was speaking to the Duke and Duchess as they watched practical sports sessions in action, including football, gymnastics, tennis and rugby. Among the famous faces involved in the sessions was tennis coach Judy Murray, the mother of Andy and Jamie Murray. She said it was "amazing" for William and Kate to be at the event, adding: "For them to be here is a huge inspiration for the young people." Kate dances with Paddington as royals attend charity event 01:52 She said she spoke to the Duchess about her children and how parents can develop coordination skills at a young age, including playing with balloons. Ms Murray stuck with the theme of West Ham - whose fans sing "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles", adding: "I was telling them to try bubbles as well." She said: "The Prince and the Duchess are very sporty, both of them, and I'm sure they will be keen for their kids to enjoy sport as well." Look back at the Duchess of Cambridge's best maternity fashion moments Before the graduation ceremony William, Kate and Harry, attended a reception to meet key figures who have helped deliver the programme, as well as hearing about future plans for Coach Core. The scheme, designed by the Royal Foundation, is designed to teach apprentices, aged between 16 and 24, technical sports skills alongside coaching, with an emphasis on employability. The organisation says 98 per cent of its graduates are in full-time employment or education, while 80% retain strong ties with their employers and continue to engage in community sport.

Shay Given Reveals Magpies Boss Souness Threatened to 'Take on' Both Bowyer & Dyer After THAT Scrap

crap ​Shay Given has lifted the lid on his eventful time at Newcastle United, where the Irishman made 440 appearances between 1997 and 2009. In the early to mid noughties, Newcastle were often competing for Champions League football, but it was marred by wild stories that emerged from the dressing room which brought about the nickname "North-Eastenders".  One of the most famous incidents was Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer fighting each other on the pitch during a home match against Aston Villa in...

Shay Given Reveals Magpies Boss Souness Threatened to 'Take on' Both Bowyer & Dyer After THAT Scrap

crap ​Shay Given has lifted the lid on his eventful time at Newcastle United, where the Irishman made 440 appearances between 1997 and 2009. In the early to mid noughties, Newcastle were often competing for Champions League football, but it was marred by wild stories that emerged from the dressing room which brought about the nickname "North-Eastenders".  One of the most famous incidents was Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer fighting each other on the pitch during a home match against Aston Villa in...

Shay Given Reveals Magpies Boss Souness Threatened to 'Take on' Both Bowyer & Dyer After THAT Scrap

crap ​Shay Given has lifted the lid on his eventful time at Newcastle United, where the Irishman made 440 appearances between 1997 and 2009. In the early to mid noughties, Newcastle were often competing for Champions League football, but it was marred by wild stories that emerged from the dressing room which brought about the nickname "North-Eastenders".  One of the most famous incidents was Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer fighting each other on the pitch during a home match against Aston Villa in...

Six County FAs fail to respond to questions on football sex abuse 

The failure by some to cooperate with the independent review into the game’s child sexual abuse scandal was laid bare again on Monday night after it emerged six County Football Associations had not responded to requests for information five months after being asked to do so. Following the revelation in May that eight professional clubs had missed two deadlines over four months to tell investigators what they knew, it transpired that six of the 46 County FAs had also ignored more than one attempt to contact them, putting them at risk of disciplinary action. The inquiry team, led by Clive Sheldon QC, was forced last week to contact the Football Association itself to ask it to act over what one source branded “inertia” on the part of several counties, something that as of last night had the desired effect on only two out of the six in question. They had originally been written to on May 11 and given a deadline of June 1 to respond, with those which failed to meet that contacted again on June 21. The six outstanding counties were also sent reminders more recently to provide information which could be vital to an inquiry which is investigating what FA chairman Greg Clarke has admitted is the biggest crisis he could recall the game facing. The probe will examine how it dealt with the alleged abuse of schoolboy players between 1970 and 2005, whether there was any cover-up, and even whether a paedophile ring operated in the game. It also transpired that the final report by Sheldon had been delayed until at least Easter after the process of examining up to five million documents in an FA archive proved more arduous than anticipated. Sheldon and his team, who had originally planned to report early next year, had also managed to interview only 15 survivors of abuse - there are 741 potential victims according to the most recent police figures - and 35 other persons of interest. Alleged victims spoken to include former internationals, although sources refused to confirm whether Matt Le Tissier, David White and Paul Stewart - all of whom had gone public - had been among them. Survivors’ stories were said to have been “harrowing”, with Sheldon and his team - as well as victims - requiring counselling as a result. Meetings were planned yesterday with a further 20-30 survivors, as well as with other persons of interest, with the inquiry restricted in who it could talk to due to ongoing criminal investigations and the upcoming trials of former Crewe Alexandra coach Barry Bennell and ex-Southampton youth coach Bob Higgins. Sources close to the investigation confirmed suspended Crewe director of football Dario Gradi - who denies covering up abuse claims - had been on a list of intended interviewees but refused to reveal whether he had been spoken to yet. Former Aston Villa assistant manager Dave Richardson is also a person of interest after the inquiry was told by one victim, Tony Brien, that former England boss Graham Taylor was involved in a cover-up while at the club. No one approached so far has openly refused to co-operate with the inquiry. The Bennell and Higgins trials early next year could also limit either what Sheldon says about allegations against each of them in his report or what the FA is able to publish of his findings. His report is likely to focus on case studies of 10-12 clubs to paint a picture of the game’s handling of claims of child abuse during the years covered by the inquiry, amid the impossibility of speaking to every potential victim and witness.

Shay Given Claims Roberto Mancini 'Fell Out With Everyone' During Time at Manchester City

Less than two years after Roberto Mancini's appointment as Manchester City manager in 2009, he guided the Citizens to their first league title since 1968. His name should be synonymous in Manchester City folklore. However, as Shay Given claims in excerpts from his autobiography 'Shay: Any Given Saturday' which is being serialised in the Daily Mirror, not everything was plain sailing behind the scenes. The current Zenit St. Petersburg manager was a complex character who found building...

Shay Given Claims Roberto Mancini 'Fell Out With Everyone' During Time at Manchester City

Less than two years after Roberto Mancini's appointment as Manchester City manager in 2009, he guided the Citizens to their first league title since 1968. His name should be synonymous in Manchester City folklore. However, as Shay Given claims in excerpts from his autobiography 'Shay: Any Given Saturday' which is being serialised in the Daily Mirror, not everything was plain sailing behind the scenes. The current Zenit St. Petersburg manager was a complex character who found building...

Shay Given Claims Roberto Mancini 'Fell Out With Everyone' During Time at Manchester City

Less than two years after Roberto Mancini's appointment as Manchester City manager in 2009, he guided the Citizens to their first league title since 1968. His name should be synonymous in Manchester City folklore. However, as Shay Given claims in excerpts from his autobiography 'Shay: Any Given Saturday' which is being serialised in the Daily Mirror, not everything was plain sailing behind the scenes. The current Zenit St. Petersburg manager was a complex character who found building...

Shay Given Claims Roberto Mancini 'Fell Out With Everyone' During Time at Manchester City

Less than two years after Roberto Mancini's appointment as Manchester City manager in 2009, he guided the Citizens to their first league title since 1968. His name should be synonymous in Manchester City folklore. However, as Shay Given claims in excerpts from his autobiography 'Shay: Any Given Saturday' which is being serialised in the Daily Mirror, not everything was plain sailing behind the scenes. The current Zenit St. Petersburg manager was a complex character who found building...

Shay Given reveals Roberto Mancini fell out with everyone at Manchester City, from Carlos Tevez to the kitman

Shay Given reveals Roberto Mancini fell out with everyone at Manchester City, from Carlos Tevez to the kitman

Paul Merson Didn't Realise He Was Signing for a Proper Team as He Prepares for Caerau Debut

​Former Arsenal and England midfielder Paul Merson has spoken out about his decision to join Welsh league side Caerau.  The Sky Sports pundit told Jeff Stelling in a​ Sky Bet interview: "A good mate of mine in Wales is part of the team. I thought it was a Saturday pub team and he said would you sign so I said yes."  "I didn't realise they were a proper team."  Paul Merson's career: England Arsenal Middlesbrough Aston Villa ...Welsh fourth-tier's Caerau? 樂 Read more here:...

Paul Merson Didn't Realise He Was Signing for a Proper Team as He Prepares for Caerau Debut

​Former Arsenal and England midfielder Paul Merson has spoken out about his decision to join Welsh league side Caerau.  The Sky Sports pundit told Jeff Stelling in a​ Sky Bet interview: "A good mate of mine in Wales is part of the team. I thought it was a Saturday pub team and he said would you sign so I said yes."  "I didn't realise they were a proper team."  Paul Merson's career: England Arsenal Middlesbrough Aston Villa ...Welsh fourth-tier's Caerau? 樂 Read more here:...

Paul Merson Didn't Realise He Was Signing for a Proper Team as He Prepares for Caerau Debut

​Former Arsenal and England midfielder Paul Merson has spoken out about his decision to join Welsh league side Caerau.  The Sky Sports pundit told Jeff Stelling in a​ Sky Bet interview: "A good mate of mine in Wales is part of the team. I thought it was a Saturday pub team and he said would you sign so I said yes."  "I didn't realise they were a proper team."  Paul Merson's career: England Arsenal Middlesbrough Aston Villa ...Welsh fourth-tier's Caerau? 樂 Read more here:...

Jota on target as new leaders Wolves breeze past Aston Villa

Jota on target as new leaders Wolves breeze past Aston Villa

Jota on target as new leaders Wolves breeze past Aston Villa

Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring Wolves’ opening goal against Aston Villa.

Championship Review: Wolves go top with derby win, Reading snatch victory at Leeds

A derby victory over Aston Villa saw Wolves move top of the Championship, while Leeds United suffered a setback and Bolton got a rare win.

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Aston Villa 0: Vibrant Wolves climb clear at the top as Diogo Jota and Leo Bonatini sink Villa

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Aston Villa 0: Vibrant Wolves climb clear at the top as Diogo Jota and Leo Bonatini sink Villa

Wolves vs Aston Villa Preview: Recent Form, Key Battles, Team News & More

More Two of the Championship's most in-form sides clash on Saturday, when Wolves welcome Aston Villa to Molineux.   Nuno Espirito Santos' men are currently second in the table, while Villa have risen to seventh after their superb September. This is the first time in a number of years that an encounter between these West Midlands rivals has been viewed as such a pivotal game, and it is being eagerly anticipated by both sets of fans. League Form Wolves (DWWLW)   Wolves beat Burton in their most...

Wolves vs Aston Villa Preview: Recent Form, Key Battles, Team News & More

More Two of the Championship's most in-form sides clash on Saturday, when Wolves welcome Aston Villa to Molineux.   Nuno Espirito Santos' men are currently second in the table, while Villa have risen to seventh after their superb September. This is the first time in a number of years that an encounter between these West Midlands rivals has been viewed as such a pivotal game, and it is being eagerly anticipated by both sets of fans. League Form Wolves (DWWLW)   Wolves beat Burton in their most...

Wolves vs Aston Villa Preview: Recent Form, Key Battles, Team News & More

More Two of the Championship's most in-form sides clash on Saturday, when Wolves welcome Aston Villa to Molineux.   Nuno Espirito Santos' men are currently second in the table, while Villa have risen to seventh after their superb September. This is the first time in a number of years that an encounter between these West Midlands rivals has been viewed as such a pivotal game, and it is being eagerly anticipated by both sets of fans. League Form Wolves (DWWLW)   Wolves beat Burton in their most...

Wolves vs Aston Villa Preview: Recent Form, Key Battles, Team News & More

More Two of the Championship's most in-form sides clash on Saturday, when Wolves welcome Aston Villa to Molineux.   Nuno Espirito Santos' men are currently second in the table, while Villa have risen to seventh after their superb September. This is the first time in a number of years that an encounter between these West Midlands rivals has been viewed as such a pivotal game, and it is being eagerly anticipated by both sets of fans. League Form Wolves (DWWLW)   Wolves beat Burton in their most...

Wolves vs Aston Villa Preview: Recent Form, Key Battles, Team News & More

More Two of the Championship's most in-form sides clash on Saturday, when Wolves welcome Aston Villa to Molineux.   Nuno Espirito Santos' men are currently second in the table, while Villa have risen to seventh after their superb September. This is the first time in a number of years that an encounter between these West Midlands rivals has been viewed as such a pivotal game, and it is being eagerly anticipated by both sets of fans. League Form Wolves (DWWLW)   Wolves beat Burton in their most...

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