Chesterfield

Chesterfield slideshow

We're into the final month of the season across England's top four tiers, and there is still plenty to play for. The Premier League title is wrapped up, and the bottom three clubs are looking increasingly to be relegated, but lower down the footballing pyramid there is plenty still at stake. Here, we round-up who can still finish where in the Premier League and Football League. Premier League Every team has either four or five games remaining, but it wouldn't be all that surprising if everyone finished in exactly the position they currently find themselves - or at least in the positions that truly matter. Manchester City are champions, while Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham are looking good to finish in the top four, barring a significant late collapse coupled with a Chelsea recovery. Arsenal and Burnley are battling it out for sixth place (though Arsenal can technically still finish in the top four), with the losers of that race to go into the Europa League at the second qualifying stage - which starts on July 26. Everyone from Leicester in eighth and below can - mathematically - still be relegated, but it would take something dramatic for any of the teams above West Ham to be pulled back in to the dogfight. Southampton, Stoke and West Brom, all at least five points adrift of safety, are in real trouble. Premier League | Who can still get what? Championship Wolves are all but secure of the Championship title, 12 points clear of Cardiff, who have four games left and a vastly inferior goal difference. Cardiff are battling it out with Fulham and Aston Villa for the second remaining automatic play-off spot, though the Welsh side are in the best position to secure promotion. Two of those sides will go into the play-offs, joined by two more of Middlesbrough, Millwall, Derby, Preston, Sheffield United, Brentford and Bristol City, though the final four of those sides face an uphill task to sneak in. At the other end of the table, Sunderland are on the brink of a second successive relegation and last position, rooted to the foot of the Championship. Burton and Barnsley currently make up the bottom three, though Barnsley have a game in hand on Birmingham and Bolton, two points above them, just outside the relegation zone. Every side up to Nottingham Forest can still technically go down, but everyone from Reading and up should survive. Championship | What can still happen? League One Wigan and Blackburn look like they have won the race for the two automatic promotion spots, though Shrewsbury could technically still catch either. Whichever of those teams does not get into the top two will go into the play-offs, and with many sides still having to play five more games, the race for the three remaining play-off places is very, very open. Every team between Rotherham in fourth and Southend in 15th (apart from Fleetwood, due to the combination of other teams' games) can still make it into the play-offs, though realistically, it is unlikely that anyone below ninth will. At the bottom, Bury are down, while everyone up to Bradford in 10th could feasibly get sucked into the relegation battle. Given only eight points separate Rochdale in 21st and Doncaster in 12th, there is an awful lot still to play for. League One | What can still happen? League Two Accrington Stanley have sealed promotion to League One, and Luton will join them with one more win. Wycombe are in pole position to secure the third and final automatic promotion slot, but every side currently in the play-off places is still in contention. The play-off berths will be filled by four teams from those currently between second and 14th (apart from Crawley, who have too few games remaining to make it into seventh). Relegation from the Football League is looking perilously likely for both Chesterfield and Barnet, though everyone up to Crewe in 17th could still be dragged into the drop zone, however unlikely that actually is. League Two | What can still happen?
Premier League and Football League relegation, promotion and play-offs: who can still finish where?
We're into the final month of the season across England's top four tiers, and there is still plenty to play for. The Premier League title is wrapped up, and the bottom three clubs are looking increasingly to be relegated, but lower down the footballing pyramid there is plenty still at stake. Here, we round-up who can still finish where in the Premier League and Football League. Premier League Every team has either four or five games remaining, but it wouldn't be all that surprising if everyone finished in exactly the position they currently find themselves - or at least in the positions that truly matter. Manchester City are champions, while Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham are looking good to finish in the top four, barring a significant late collapse coupled with a Chelsea recovery. Arsenal and Burnley are battling it out for sixth place (though Arsenal can technically still finish in the top four), with the losers of that race to go into the Europa League at the second qualifying stage - which starts on July 26. Everyone from Leicester in eighth and below can - mathematically - still be relegated, but it would take something dramatic for any of the teams above West Ham to be pulled back in to the dogfight. Southampton, Stoke and West Brom, all at least five points adrift of safety, are in real trouble. Premier League | Who can still get what? Championship Wolves are all but secure of the Championship title, 12 points clear of Cardiff, who have four games left and a vastly inferior goal difference. Cardiff are battling it out with Fulham and Aston Villa for the second remaining automatic play-off spot, though the Welsh side are in the best position to secure promotion. Two of those sides will go into the play-offs, joined by two more of Middlesbrough, Millwall, Derby, Preston, Sheffield United, Brentford and Bristol City, though the final four of those sides face an uphill task to sneak in. At the other end of the table, Sunderland are on the brink of a second successive relegation and last position, rooted to the foot of the Championship. Burton and Barnsley currently make up the bottom three, though Barnsley have a game in hand on Birmingham and Bolton, two points above them, just outside the relegation zone. Every side up to Nottingham Forest can still technically go down, but everyone from Reading and up should survive. Championship | What can still happen? League One Wigan and Blackburn look like they have won the race for the two automatic promotion spots, though Shrewsbury could technically still catch either. Whichever of those teams does not get into the top two will go into the play-offs, and with many sides still having to play five more games, the race for the three remaining play-off places is very, very open. Every team between Rotherham in fourth and Southend in 15th (apart from Fleetwood, due to the combination of other teams' games) can still make it into the play-offs, though realistically, it is unlikely that anyone below ninth will. At the bottom, Bury are down, while everyone up to Bradford in 10th could feasibly get sucked into the relegation battle. Given only eight points separate Rochdale in 21st and Doncaster in 12th, there is an awful lot still to play for. League One | What can still happen? League Two Accrington Stanley have sealed promotion to League One, and Luton will join them with one more win. Wycombe are in pole position to secure the third and final automatic promotion slot, but every side currently in the play-off places is still in contention. The play-off berths will be filled by four teams from those currently between second and 14th (apart from Crawley, who have too few games remaining to make it into seventh). Relegation from the Football League is looking perilously likely for both Chesterfield and Barnet, though everyone up to Crewe in 17th could still be dragged into the drop zone, however unlikely that actually is. League Two | What can still happen?
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield's Zavon Hines celebrates with teammates after he scored his sides second goal Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield's Zavon Hines celebrates with teammates after he scored his sides second goal Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Notts County players applaud the fans after the match Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Notts County players applaud the fans after the match Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Notts County Manager Kevin Nolan looks dejected after the match Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Notts County Manager Kevin Nolan looks dejected after the match Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield manager Jack Lester celebrates after the final whistle Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield manager Jack Lester celebrates after the final whistle Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Notts County's Shola Ameobi and team mates look dejected after conceding their third goal scored by Chesterfield's Kristian Dennis Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Notts County's Shola Ameobi and team mates look dejected after conceding their third goal scored by Chesterfield's Kristian Dennis Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield's Kristian Dennis scores his sides third goal from a penalty Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield's Kristian Dennis scores his sides third goal from a penalty Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield manager Jack Lester Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield manager Jack Lester Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield's Aaron Ramsdale celebrates after they are awarded a penalty Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield's Aaron Ramsdale celebrates after they are awarded a penalty Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Notts County's Dan Jones (R) scores his sides first goal direct from a free kick Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Notts County's Dan Jones (R) scores his sides first goal direct from a free kick Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Notts County's Dan Jones (not pictured) scores his sides first goal Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Notts County's Dan Jones (not pictured) scores his sides first goal Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Notts County's Dan Jones celebrates after he scores his sides first goal Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Notts County's Dan Jones celebrates after he scores his sides first goal Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Notts County's Dan Jones comes on as a substitute to replace Carl Dickinson Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Notts County's Dan Jones comes on as a substitute to replace Carl Dickinson Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield's Sid Nelson receives medical attention after sustaining an injury Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield's Sid Nelson receives medical attention after sustaining an injury Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Notts County's Jon Stead is shown a yellow card by referee Seb Stockbridge Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Notts County's Jon Stead is shown a yellow card by referee Seb Stockbridge Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield and Notts County players clash Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield and Notts County players clash Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield's Robbie Weir (L) in action with Notts County's Lewis Alessandra Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield's Robbie Weir (L) in action with Notts County's Lewis Alessandra Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Notts County Manager Kevin Nolan Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Notts County Manager Kevin Nolan Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield manager Jack Lester Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield manager Jack Lester Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Notts County's Matt Tootle (L) in action with Chesterfield's Zavon Hines Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Notts County's Matt Tootle (L) in action with Chesterfield's Zavon Hines Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield's Zavon Hines celebrates scoring their second goal Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield's Zavon Hines celebrates scoring their second goal Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield's Zavon Hines celebrates scoring their second goal with team mates Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield's Zavon Hines celebrates scoring their second goal with team mates Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield's Zavon Hines scores his sides second goal Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield's Zavon Hines scores his sides second goal Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield's Zavon Hines scores his sides second goal Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield's Zavon Hines scores his sides second goal Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Notts County Manager Kevin Nolan Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Notts County Manager Kevin Nolan Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield's Sid Nelson celebrates scoring their first goal with team mates Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield's Sid Nelson celebrates scoring their first goal with team mates Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Notts County's Adam Collin Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Notts County's Adam Collin Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield's Sid Nelson scores his sides first goal Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield's Sid Nelson scores his sides first goal Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield's Sid Nelson (C) scores his sides first goal Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield's Sid Nelson (C) scores his sides first goal Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield manager Jack Lester before the match Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Chesterfield manager Jack Lester before the match Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Notts County manager Kevin Nolan shakes the hand of Chesterfield manager Jack Lester before Kick off Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County
Soccer Football - League Two - Chesterfield vs Notts County - Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, Britain - March 25, 2018 Notts County manager Kevin Nolan shakes the hand of Chesterfield manager Jack Lester before Kick off Action Images/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Less than five months ago, England's brave under-17s cemented the view that the senior team's problems go far deeper than mere issues with their mentality. They came from two goals down against a highly-rated Spain side to become world champions and, in doing so, became the third English youth team to win a tournament in 2017. As they celebrated with their shirts turned back-to-front to show off their names to the watching world, there was a real feeling of optimism about England's footballing future. It concluded a successful six months for England, following the under-20s' World Cup win in June and the under-19s winning the European Championship in July. Once the fanfare had died down, though, much of the narrative surrounding these victories focused on the fact that these players needed game time, and it was the responsibility of their clubs to ensure their progress was not in any way hindered by a lack of it. That was a minimum requirement - and one that many thought was perfectly reasonable, too. England's under-17s celebrate their World Cup triumph Credit: Reuters In reality, the amount of football afforded to the likes of Timothy Eyoma at Tottenham or Dujon Sterling at Chelsea was always going to be limited, particularly while their clubs harbour hopes of challenging for the Premier League title and have the riches to improve their first team at the click of a finger. But that said, every player across the three squads proved that they did deserve a chance, and while there is plenty of negative feeling regarding the quality of Gareth Southgate's latest squad, there is reason for optimism about the future, right? Five months on from the third time football came home in 2017, has there been any palpable sign that England's youth are going to make inroads at a higher level? The success stories Plenty of England's under-20s are now playing at least semi-regularly in the Premier League, most notably Jonjoe Kenny and Dominic Calvert-Lewin at Everton, Lewis Cook at Bournemouth, Dominic Solanke at Liverpool and Ainsley Maitland-Niles at Arsenal. Cook has even made it into the senior England squad. From the under-17s, Rhian Brewster has shone for Steven Gerrard's impressive Liverpool youth team, gaining deserved attention for his ability when so much of the coverage on him has focused on the allegations he made of racist language being used towards him by a Spartak Moscow player. Top flight minutes played in 2017/18 | England's trophy winners The recent news that golden boot-winning Brewster had impressed Jurgen Klopp sufficiently to earn a place in the first team squad next season will provide some positive feeling that Liverpool-based players have a chance of breaking through, even if he is still yet to play for senior side. Similarly, Lukas Nmecha has been given the chance to train with the first team at Manchester City. Pep Guardiola has done a fair amount for England's chances at the World Cup this summer, with Raheem Sterling now a far greater force than a year ago, and many more fans will have been delighted to see Phil Foden afforded intermittent opportunities with the first team. He is training regularly with some of the best players on the planet under the watchful eye of one of the best coaches around, and has started twice in the Champions League. However, one of those games was effectively a dead rubber and the other was actually a dead rubber. His Premier League minutes stack up to 18 in total, each time coming on late in games already won. Foden has made three appearances in the Champions League this season Credit: Reuters Pep has the luxury of being able to give promising players like Foden minutes in games like these, but this is experience nonetheless, and it will certainly benefit him. The question remains, however, whether his path to the first team will be blocked by yet more inevitable big-money signings. Jadon Sancho saw his path blocked at City so went to Borussia Dortmund in search of first team football in the summer. He has racked up 303 minutes in the Bundesliga, completing 90 minutes on three occasions, and will be confident he made the right choice in going abroad. Injury has disrupted his progress, but he is making impressive strides in Germany. Five of the under-19s have played a significant amount of football this season, but nobody in the top flight and only two, in Ryan Brereton and Ryan Sessegnon have played more than a couple of matches at their parent clubs (Nottingham Forest and Fulham, respectively), rather than out on loan. Ryan Sessognon is one of the hottest prospects in English football Credit: PA Sessegnon has had a rapid rise, and is now reportedly being chased by Tottenham and Manchester United. His exposure to first team football has seen the biggest rise in profile and ability. Brereton, meanwhile, looked like he could cut it in the Premier League when Forest knocked Arsenal out of the FA Cup. More to be done The under-17s' Morgan Gibbs-White has made six appearances for Championship leaders Wolves, and at 18 years of age he would hope that his game time increases next season. However, with Wolves on the verge of the Premier League, reinforcements will be made, and Gibbs-White will do well to avoid being sent back to the Championship for more experience. From the under-19s, Jay DaSilva has made 32 league appearances on loan at Charlton from Chelsea; Mason Mount has played 22 times for Vitesse, also on loan from Chelsea; Bournemouth's Aaron Ramsdale has played 10 times on loan at Chesterfield. Mins played 2017/18 outside top flight | England's trophy winners Andre Dozzell tore his cruciate in the opening game of Ipswich's season, and will surely be straight back in the first team next season, while Spurs fans are still waiting for Marcus Edwards' career to take. He is yet to play a minute on loan at Norwich. There has been far more action in the under-20s, where Dean Henderson, Callum Connolly, Ezri Konsa, Josh Onomah, Kieran Dowell and Sheyi Ojo have all been given a significant amount of game time at a decent level. Adam Armstrong has been in fine goal-scoring form on loan at Blackburn. It's gone far too quiet First team football has eluded the remaining players in every squad. There is, of course, plenty to be said for the quality of coaching Josh Dasilva receives at Arsenal and the advice Mauricio Pochettino can give Kyle Walker-Peters at Spurs, but neither look at all likely to get a chance in the first team any time soon, and surely a stint out on loan would benefit them. Zero first team minutes played in 2017/18 | England's trophy winners The fact of the matter is, though, that the majority of the players who have yet to taste first team action are still extremely young. Sancho's decision to go abroad was a brave one, but really, few actually break through at his age anyway. Plenty of the under-19s and under-20s have been given a fair amount of game time this season, and it really does seem as though some will make it to the top. Cook and Solanke, though, are the only players who have managed to make the step up to the senior England squad.
Whatever happened to England's world-conquering young stars?
Less than five months ago, England's brave under-17s cemented the view that the senior team's problems go far deeper than mere issues with their mentality. They came from two goals down against a highly-rated Spain side to become world champions and, in doing so, became the third English youth team to win a tournament in 2017. As they celebrated with their shirts turned back-to-front to show off their names to the watching world, there was a real feeling of optimism about England's footballing future. It concluded a successful six months for England, following the under-20s' World Cup win in June and the under-19s winning the European Championship in July. Once the fanfare had died down, though, much of the narrative surrounding these victories focused on the fact that these players needed game time, and it was the responsibility of their clubs to ensure their progress was not in any way hindered by a lack of it. That was a minimum requirement - and one that many thought was perfectly reasonable, too. England's under-17s celebrate their World Cup triumph Credit: Reuters In reality, the amount of football afforded to the likes of Timothy Eyoma at Tottenham or Dujon Sterling at Chelsea was always going to be limited, particularly while their clubs harbour hopes of challenging for the Premier League title and have the riches to improve their first team at the click of a finger. But that said, every player across the three squads proved that they did deserve a chance, and while there is plenty of negative feeling regarding the quality of Gareth Southgate's latest squad, there is reason for optimism about the future, right? Five months on from the third time football came home in 2017, has there been any palpable sign that England's youth are going to make inroads at a higher level? The success stories Plenty of England's under-20s are now playing at least semi-regularly in the Premier League, most notably Jonjoe Kenny and Dominic Calvert-Lewin at Everton, Lewis Cook at Bournemouth, Dominic Solanke at Liverpool and Ainsley Maitland-Niles at Arsenal. Cook has even made it into the senior England squad. From the under-17s, Rhian Brewster has shone for Steven Gerrard's impressive Liverpool youth team, gaining deserved attention for his ability when so much of the coverage on him has focused on the allegations he made of racist language being used towards him by a Spartak Moscow player. Top flight minutes played in 2017/18 | England's trophy winners The recent news that golden boot-winning Brewster had impressed Jurgen Klopp sufficiently to earn a place in the first team squad next season will provide some positive feeling that Liverpool-based players have a chance of breaking through, even if he is still yet to play for senior side. Similarly, Lukas Nmecha has been given the chance to train with the first team at Manchester City. Pep Guardiola has done a fair amount for England's chances at the World Cup this summer, with Raheem Sterling now a far greater force than a year ago, and many more fans will have been delighted to see Phil Foden afforded intermittent opportunities with the first team. He is training regularly with some of the best players on the planet under the watchful eye of one of the best coaches around, and has started twice in the Champions League. However, one of those games was effectively a dead rubber and the other was actually a dead rubber. His Premier League minutes stack up to 18 in total, each time coming on late in games already won. Foden has made three appearances in the Champions League this season Credit: Reuters Pep has the luxury of being able to give promising players like Foden minutes in games like these, but this is experience nonetheless, and it will certainly benefit him. The question remains, however, whether his path to the first team will be blocked by yet more inevitable big-money signings. Jadon Sancho saw his path blocked at City so went to Borussia Dortmund in search of first team football in the summer. He has racked up 303 minutes in the Bundesliga, completing 90 minutes on three occasions, and will be confident he made the right choice in going abroad. Injury has disrupted his progress, but he is making impressive strides in Germany. Five of the under-19s have played a significant amount of football this season, but nobody in the top flight and only two, in Ryan Brereton and Ryan Sessegnon have played more than a couple of matches at their parent clubs (Nottingham Forest and Fulham, respectively), rather than out on loan. Ryan Sessognon is one of the hottest prospects in English football Credit: PA Sessegnon has had a rapid rise, and is now reportedly being chased by Tottenham and Manchester United. His exposure to first team football has seen the biggest rise in profile and ability. Brereton, meanwhile, looked like he could cut it in the Premier League when Forest knocked Arsenal out of the FA Cup. More to be done The under-17s' Morgan Gibbs-White has made six appearances for Championship leaders Wolves, and at 18 years of age he would hope that his game time increases next season. However, with Wolves on the verge of the Premier League, reinforcements will be made, and Gibbs-White will do well to avoid being sent back to the Championship for more experience. From the under-19s, Jay DaSilva has made 32 league appearances on loan at Charlton from Chelsea; Mason Mount has played 22 times for Vitesse, also on loan from Chelsea; Bournemouth's Aaron Ramsdale has played 10 times on loan at Chesterfield. Mins played 2017/18 outside top flight | England's trophy winners Andre Dozzell tore his cruciate in the opening game of Ipswich's season, and will surely be straight back in the first team next season, while Spurs fans are still waiting for Marcus Edwards' career to take. He is yet to play a minute on loan at Norwich. There has been far more action in the under-20s, where Dean Henderson, Callum Connolly, Ezri Konsa, Josh Onomah, Kieran Dowell and Sheyi Ojo have all been given a significant amount of game time at a decent level. Adam Armstrong has been in fine goal-scoring form on loan at Blackburn. It's gone far too quiet First team football has eluded the remaining players in every squad. There is, of course, plenty to be said for the quality of coaching Josh Dasilva receives at Arsenal and the advice Mauricio Pochettino can give Kyle Walker-Peters at Spurs, but neither look at all likely to get a chance in the first team any time soon, and surely a stint out on loan would benefit them. Zero first team minutes played in 2017/18 | England's trophy winners The fact of the matter is, though, that the majority of the players who have yet to taste first team action are still extremely young. Sancho's decision to go abroad was a brave one, but really, few actually break through at his age anyway. Plenty of the under-19s and under-20s have been given a fair amount of game time this season, and it really does seem as though some will make it to the top. Cook and Solanke, though, are the only players who have managed to make the step up to the senior England squad.
Less than five months ago, England's brave under-17s cemented the view that the senior team's problems go far deeper than mere issues with their mentality. They came from two goals down against a highly-rated Spain side to become world champions and, in doing so, became the third English youth team to win a tournament in 2017. As they celebrated with their shirts turned back-to-front to show off their names to the watching world, there was a real feeling of optimism about England's footballing future. It concluded a successful six months for England, following the under-20s' World Cup win in June and the under-19s winning the European Championship in July. Once the fanfare had died down, though, much of the narrative surrounding these victories focused on the fact that these players needed game time, and it was the responsibility of their clubs to ensure their progress was not in any way hindered by a lack of it. That was a minimum requirement - and one that many thought was perfectly reasonable, too. England's under-17s celebrate their World Cup triumph Credit: Reuters In reality, the amount of football afforded to the likes of Timothy Eyoma at Tottenham or Dujon Sterling at Chelsea was always going to be limited, particularly while their clubs harbour hopes of challenging for the Premier League title and have the riches to improve their first team at the click of a finger. But that said, every player across the three squads proved that they did deserve a chance, and while there is plenty of negative feeling regarding the quality of Gareth Southgate's latest squad, there is reason for optimism about the future, right? Five months on from the third time football came home in 2017, has there been any palpable sign that England's youth are going to make inroads at a higher level? The success stories Plenty of England's under-20s are now playing at least semi-regularly in the Premier League, most notably Jonjoe Kenny and Dominic Calvert-Lewin at Everton, Lewis Cook at Bournemouth, Dominic Solanke at Liverpool and Ainsley Maitland-Niles at Arsenal. Cook has even made it into the senior England squad. From the under-17s, Rhian Brewster has shone for Steven Gerrard's impressive Liverpool youth team, gaining deserved attention for his ability when so much of the coverage on him has focused on the allegations he made of racist language being used towards him by a Spartak Moscow player. Top flight minutes played in 2017/18 | England's trophy winners The recent news that golden boot-winning Brewster had impressed Jurgen Klopp sufficiently to earn a place in the first team squad next season will provide some positive feeling that Liverpool-based players have a chance of breaking through, even if he is still yet to play for senior side. Similarly, Lukas Nmecha has been given the chance to train with the first team at Manchester City. Pep Guardiola has done a fair amount for England's chances at the World Cup this summer, with Raheem Sterling now a far greater force than a year ago, and many more fans will have been delighted to see Phil Foden afforded intermittent opportunities with the first team. He is training regularly with some of the best players on the planet under the watchful eye of one of the best coaches around, and has started twice in the Champions League. However, one of those games was effectively a dead rubber and the other was actually a dead rubber. His Premier League minutes stack up to 18 in total, each time coming on late in games already won. Foden has made three appearances in the Champions League this season Credit: Reuters Pep has the luxury of being able to give promising players like Foden minutes in games like these, but this is experience nonetheless, and it will certainly benefit him. The question remains, however, whether his path to the first team will be blocked by yet more inevitable big-money signings. Jadon Sancho saw his path blocked at City so went to Borussia Dortmund in search of first team football in the summer. He has racked up 303 minutes in the Bundesliga, completing 90 minutes on three occasions, and will be confident he made the right choice in going abroad. Injury has disrupted his progress, but he is making impressive strides in Germany. Five of the under-19s have played a significant amount of football this season, but nobody in the top flight and only two, in Ryan Brereton and Ryan Sessegnon have played more than a couple of matches at their parent clubs (Nottingham Forest and Fulham, respectively), rather than out on loan. Ryan Sessognon is one of the hottest prospects in English football Credit: PA Sessegnon has had a rapid rise, and is now reportedly being chased by Tottenham and Manchester United. His exposure to first team football has seen the biggest rise in profile and ability. Brereton, meanwhile, looked like he could cut it in the Premier League when Forest knocked Arsenal out of the FA Cup. More to be done The under-17s' Morgan Gibbs-White has made six appearances for Championship leaders Wolves, and at 18 years of age he would hope that his game time increases next season. However, with Wolves on the verge of the Premier League, reinforcements will be made, and Gibbs-White will do well to avoid being sent back to the Championship for more experience. From the under-19s, Jay DaSilva has made 32 league appearances on loan at Charlton from Chelsea; Mason Mount has played 22 times for Vitesse, also on loan from Chelsea; Bournemouth's Aaron Ramsdale has played 10 times on loan at Chesterfield. Mins played 2017/18 outside top flight | England's trophy winners Andre Dozzell tore his cruciate in the opening game of Ipswich's season, and will surely be straight back in the first team next season, while Spurs fans are still waiting for Marcus Edwards' career to take. He is yet to play a minute on loan at Norwich. There has been far more action in the under-20s, where Dean Henderson, Callum Connolly, Ezri Konsa, Josh Onomah, Kieran Dowell and Sheyi Ojo have all been given a significant amount of game time at a decent level. Adam Armstrong has been in fine goal-scoring form on loan at Blackburn. It's gone far too quiet First team football has eluded the remaining players in every squad. There is, of course, plenty to be said for the quality of coaching Josh Dasilva receives at Arsenal and the advice Mauricio Pochettino can give Kyle Walker-Peters at Spurs, but neither look at all likely to get a chance in the first team any time soon, and surely a stint out on loan would benefit them. Zero first team minutes played in 2017/18 | England's trophy winners The fact of the matter is, though, that the majority of the players who have yet to taste first team action are still extremely young. Sancho's decision to go abroad was a brave one, but really, few actually break through at his age anyway. Plenty of the under-19s and under-20s have been given a fair amount of game time this season, and it really does seem as though some will make it to the top. Cook and Solanke, though, are the only players who have managed to make the step up to the senior England squad.
Whatever happened to England's world-conquering young stars?
Less than five months ago, England's brave under-17s cemented the view that the senior team's problems go far deeper than mere issues with their mentality. They came from two goals down against a highly-rated Spain side to become world champions and, in doing so, became the third English youth team to win a tournament in 2017. As they celebrated with their shirts turned back-to-front to show off their names to the watching world, there was a real feeling of optimism about England's footballing future. It concluded a successful six months for England, following the under-20s' World Cup win in June and the under-19s winning the European Championship in July. Once the fanfare had died down, though, much of the narrative surrounding these victories focused on the fact that these players needed game time, and it was the responsibility of their clubs to ensure their progress was not in any way hindered by a lack of it. That was a minimum requirement - and one that many thought was perfectly reasonable, too. England's under-17s celebrate their World Cup triumph Credit: Reuters In reality, the amount of football afforded to the likes of Timothy Eyoma at Tottenham or Dujon Sterling at Chelsea was always going to be limited, particularly while their clubs harbour hopes of challenging for the Premier League title and have the riches to improve their first team at the click of a finger. But that said, every player across the three squads proved that they did deserve a chance, and while there is plenty of negative feeling regarding the quality of Gareth Southgate's latest squad, there is reason for optimism about the future, right? Five months on from the third time football came home in 2017, has there been any palpable sign that England's youth are going to make inroads at a higher level? The success stories Plenty of England's under-20s are now playing at least semi-regularly in the Premier League, most notably Jonjoe Kenny and Dominic Calvert-Lewin at Everton, Lewis Cook at Bournemouth, Dominic Solanke at Liverpool and Ainsley Maitland-Niles at Arsenal. Cook has even made it into the senior England squad. From the under-17s, Rhian Brewster has shone for Steven Gerrard's impressive Liverpool youth team, gaining deserved attention for his ability when so much of the coverage on him has focused on the allegations he made of racist language being used towards him by a Spartak Moscow player. Top flight minutes played in 2017/18 | England's trophy winners The recent news that golden boot-winning Brewster had impressed Jurgen Klopp sufficiently to earn a place in the first team squad next season will provide some positive feeling that Liverpool-based players have a chance of breaking through, even if he is still yet to play for senior side. Similarly, Lukas Nmecha has been given the chance to train with the first team at Manchester City. Pep Guardiola has done a fair amount for England's chances at the World Cup this summer, with Raheem Sterling now a far greater force than a year ago, and many more fans will have been delighted to see Phil Foden afforded intermittent opportunities with the first team. He is training regularly with some of the best players on the planet under the watchful eye of one of the best coaches around, and has started twice in the Champions League. However, one of those games was effectively a dead rubber and the other was actually a dead rubber. His Premier League minutes stack up to 18 in total, each time coming on late in games already won. Foden has made three appearances in the Champions League this season Credit: Reuters Pep has the luxury of being able to give promising players like Foden minutes in games like these, but this is experience nonetheless, and it will certainly benefit him. The question remains, however, whether his path to the first team will be blocked by yet more inevitable big-money signings. Jadon Sancho saw his path blocked at City so went to Borussia Dortmund in search of first team football in the summer. He has racked up 303 minutes in the Bundesliga, completing 90 minutes on three occasions, and will be confident he made the right choice in going abroad. Injury has disrupted his progress, but he is making impressive strides in Germany. Five of the under-19s have played a significant amount of football this season, but nobody in the top flight and only two, in Ryan Brereton and Ryan Sessegnon have played more than a couple of matches at their parent clubs (Nottingham Forest and Fulham, respectively), rather than out on loan. Ryan Sessognon is one of the hottest prospects in English football Credit: PA Sessegnon has had a rapid rise, and is now reportedly being chased by Tottenham and Manchester United. His exposure to first team football has seen the biggest rise in profile and ability. Brereton, meanwhile, looked like he could cut it in the Premier League when Forest knocked Arsenal out of the FA Cup. More to be done The under-17s' Morgan Gibbs-White has made six appearances for Championship leaders Wolves, and at 18 years of age he would hope that his game time increases next season. However, with Wolves on the verge of the Premier League, reinforcements will be made, and Gibbs-White will do well to avoid being sent back to the Championship for more experience. From the under-19s, Jay DaSilva has made 32 league appearances on loan at Charlton from Chelsea; Mason Mount has played 22 times for Vitesse, also on loan from Chelsea; Bournemouth's Aaron Ramsdale has played 10 times on loan at Chesterfield. Mins played 2017/18 outside top flight | England's trophy winners Andre Dozzell tore his cruciate in the opening game of Ipswich's season, and will surely be straight back in the first team next season, while Spurs fans are still waiting for Marcus Edwards' career to take. He is yet to play a minute on loan at Norwich. There has been far more action in the under-20s, where Dean Henderson, Callum Connolly, Ezri Konsa, Josh Onomah, Kieran Dowell and Sheyi Ojo have all been given a significant amount of game time at a decent level. Adam Armstrong has been in fine goal-scoring form on loan at Blackburn. It's gone far too quiet First team football has eluded the remaining players in every squad. There is, of course, plenty to be said for the quality of coaching Josh Dasilva receives at Arsenal and the advice Mauricio Pochettino can give Kyle Walker-Peters at Spurs, but neither look at all likely to get a chance in the first team any time soon, and surely a stint out on loan would benefit them. Zero first team minutes played in 2017/18 | England's trophy winners The fact of the matter is, though, that the majority of the players who have yet to taste first team action are still extremely young. Sancho's decision to go abroad was a brave one, but really, few actually break through at his age anyway. Plenty of the under-19s and under-20s have been given a fair amount of game time this season, and it really does seem as though some will make it to the top. Cook and Solanke, though, are the only players who have managed to make the step up to the senior England squad.
Less than five months ago, England's brave under-17s cemented the view that the senior team's problems go far deeper than mere issues with their mentality. They came from two goals down against a highly-rated Spain side to become world champions and, in doing so, became the third English youth team to win a tournament in 2017. As they celebrated with their shirts turned back-to-front to show off their names to the watching world, there was a real feeling of optimism about England's footballing future. It concluded a successful six months for England, following the under-20s' World Cup win in June and the under-19s winning the European Championship in July. Once the fanfare had died down, though, much of the narrative surrounding these victories focused on the fact that these players needed game time, and it was the responsibility of their clubs to ensure their progress was not in any way hindered by a lack of it. That was a minimum requirement - and one that many thought was perfectly reasonable, too. England's under-17s celebrate their World Cup triumph Credit: Reuters In reality, the amount of football afforded to the likes of Timothy Eyoma at Tottenham or Dujon Sterling at Chelsea was always going to be limited, particularly while their clubs harbour hopes of challenging for the Premier League title and have the riches to improve their first team at the click of a finger. But that said, every player across the three squads proved that they did deserve a chance, and while there is plenty of negative feeling regarding the quality of Gareth Southgate's latest squad, there is reason for optimism about the future, right? Five months on from the third time football came home in 2017, has there been any palpable sign that England's youth are going to make inroads at a higher level? The success stories Plenty of England's under-20s are now playing at least semi-regularly in the Premier League, most notably Jonjoe Kenny and Dominic Calvert-Lewin at Everton, Lewis Cook at Bournemouth, Dominic Solanke at Liverpool and Ainsley Maitland-Niles at Arsenal. Cook has even made it into the senior England squad. From the under-17s, Rhian Brewster has shone for Steven Gerrard's impressive Liverpool youth team, gaining deserved attention for his ability when so much of the coverage on him has focused on the allegations he made of racist language being used towards him by a Spartak Moscow player. Top flight minutes played in 2017/18 | England's trophy winners The recent news that golden boot-winning Brewster had impressed Jurgen Klopp sufficiently to earn a place in the first team squad next season will provide some positive feeling that Liverpool-based players have a chance of breaking through, even if he is still yet to play for senior side. Similarly, Lukas Nmecha has been given the chance to train with the first team at Manchester City. Pep Guardiola has done a fair amount for England's chances at the World Cup this summer, with Raheem Sterling now a far greater force than a year ago, and many more fans will have been delighted to see Phil Foden afforded intermittent opportunities with the first team. He is training regularly with some of the best players on the planet under the watchful eye of one of the best coaches around, and has started twice in the Champions League. However, one of those games was effectively a dead rubber and the other was actually a dead rubber. His Premier League minutes stack up to 18 in total, each time coming on late in games already won. Foden has made three appearances in the Champions League this season Credit: Reuters Pep has the luxury of being able to give promising players like Foden minutes in games like these, but this is experience nonetheless, and it will certainly benefit him. The question remains, however, whether his path to the first team will be blocked by yet more inevitable big-money signings. Jadon Sancho saw his path blocked at City so went to Borussia Dortmund in search of first team football in the summer. He has racked up 303 minutes in the Bundesliga, completing 90 minutes on three occasions, and will be confident he made the right choice in going abroad. Injury has disrupted his progress, but he is making impressive strides in Germany. Five of the under-19s have played a significant amount of football this season, but nobody in the top flight and only two, in Ryan Brereton and Ryan Sessegnon have played more than a couple of matches at their parent clubs (Nottingham Forest and Fulham, respectively), rather than out on loan. Ryan Sessognon is one of the hottest prospects in English football Credit: PA Sessegnon has had a rapid rise, and is now reportedly being chased by Tottenham and Manchester United. His exposure to first team football has seen the biggest rise in profile and ability. Brereton, meanwhile, looked like he could cut it in the Premier League when Forest knocked Arsenal out of the FA Cup. More to be done The under-17s' Morgan Gibbs-White has made six appearances for Championship leaders Wolves, and at 18 years of age he would hope that his game time increases next season. However, with Wolves on the verge of the Premier League, reinforcements will be made, and Gibbs-White will do well to avoid being sent back to the Championship for more experience. From the under-19s, Jay DaSilva has made 32 league appearances on loan at Charlton from Chelsea; Mason Mount has played 22 times for Vitesse, also on loan from Chelsea; Bournemouth's Aaron Ramsdale has played 10 times on loan at Chesterfield. Mins played 2017/18 outside top flight | England's trophy winners Andre Dozzell tore his cruciate in the opening game of Ipswich's season, and will surely be straight back in the first team next season, while Spurs fans are still waiting for Marcus Edwards' career to take. He is yet to play a minute on loan at Norwich. There has been far more action in the under-20s, where Dean Henderson, Callum Connolly, Ezri Konsa, Josh Onomah, Kieran Dowell and Sheyi Ojo have all been given a significant amount of game time at a decent level. Adam Armstrong has been in fine goal-scoring form on loan at Blackburn. It's gone far too quiet First team football has eluded the remaining players in every squad. There is, of course, plenty to be said for the quality of coaching Josh Dasilva receives at Arsenal and the advice Mauricio Pochettino can give Kyle Walker-Peters at Spurs, but neither look at all likely to get a chance in the first team any time soon, and surely a stint out on loan would benefit them. Zero first team minutes played in 2017/18 | England's trophy winners The fact of the matter is, though, that the majority of the players who have yet to taste first team action are still extremely young. Sancho's decision to go abroad was a brave one, but really, few actually break through at his age anyway. Plenty of the under-19s and under-20s have been given a fair amount of game time this season, and it really does seem as though some will make it to the top. Cook and Solanke, though, are the only players who have managed to make the step up to the senior England squad.
Whatever happened to England's world-conquering young stars?
Less than five months ago, England's brave under-17s cemented the view that the senior team's problems go far deeper than mere issues with their mentality. They came from two goals down against a highly-rated Spain side to become world champions and, in doing so, became the third English youth team to win a tournament in 2017. As they celebrated with their shirts turned back-to-front to show off their names to the watching world, there was a real feeling of optimism about England's footballing future. It concluded a successful six months for England, following the under-20s' World Cup win in June and the under-19s winning the European Championship in July. Once the fanfare had died down, though, much of the narrative surrounding these victories focused on the fact that these players needed game time, and it was the responsibility of their clubs to ensure their progress was not in any way hindered by a lack of it. That was a minimum requirement - and one that many thought was perfectly reasonable, too. England's under-17s celebrate their World Cup triumph Credit: Reuters In reality, the amount of football afforded to the likes of Timothy Eyoma at Tottenham or Dujon Sterling at Chelsea was always going to be limited, particularly while their clubs harbour hopes of challenging for the Premier League title and have the riches to improve their first team at the click of a finger. But that said, every player across the three squads proved that they did deserve a chance, and while there is plenty of negative feeling regarding the quality of Gareth Southgate's latest squad, there is reason for optimism about the future, right? Five months on from the third time football came home in 2017, has there been any palpable sign that England's youth are going to make inroads at a higher level? The success stories Plenty of England's under-20s are now playing at least semi-regularly in the Premier League, most notably Jonjoe Kenny and Dominic Calvert-Lewin at Everton, Lewis Cook at Bournemouth, Dominic Solanke at Liverpool and Ainsley Maitland-Niles at Arsenal. Cook has even made it into the senior England squad. From the under-17s, Rhian Brewster has shone for Steven Gerrard's impressive Liverpool youth team, gaining deserved attention for his ability when so much of the coverage on him has focused on the allegations he made of racist language being used towards him by a Spartak Moscow player. Top flight minutes played in 2017/18 | England's trophy winners The recent news that golden boot-winning Brewster had impressed Jurgen Klopp sufficiently to earn a place in the first team squad next season will provide some positive feeling that Liverpool-based players have a chance of breaking through, even if he is still yet to play for senior side. Similarly, Lukas Nmecha has been given the chance to train with the first team at Manchester City. Pep Guardiola has done a fair amount for England's chances at the World Cup this summer, with Raheem Sterling now a far greater force than a year ago, and many more fans will have been delighted to see Phil Foden afforded intermittent opportunities with the first team. He is training regularly with some of the best players on the planet under the watchful eye of one of the best coaches around, and has started twice in the Champions League. However, one of those games was effectively a dead rubber and the other was actually a dead rubber. His Premier League minutes stack up to 18 in total, each time coming on late in games already won. Foden has made three appearances in the Champions League this season Credit: Reuters Pep has the luxury of being able to give promising players like Foden minutes in games like these, but this is experience nonetheless, and it will certainly benefit him. The question remains, however, whether his path to the first team will be blocked by yet more inevitable big-money signings. Jadon Sancho saw his path blocked at City so went to Borussia Dortmund in search of first team football in the summer. He has racked up 303 minutes in the Bundesliga, completing 90 minutes on three occasions, and will be confident he made the right choice in going abroad. Injury has disrupted his progress, but he is making impressive strides in Germany. Five of the under-19s have played a significant amount of football this season, but nobody in the top flight and only two, in Ryan Brereton and Ryan Sessegnon have played more than a couple of matches at their parent clubs (Nottingham Forest and Fulham, respectively), rather than out on loan. Ryan Sessognon is one of the hottest prospects in English football Credit: PA Sessegnon has had a rapid rise, and is now reportedly being chased by Tottenham and Manchester United. His exposure to first team football has seen the biggest rise in profile and ability. Brereton, meanwhile, looked like he could cut it in the Premier League when Forest knocked Arsenal out of the FA Cup. More to be done The under-17s' Morgan Gibbs-White has made six appearances for Championship leaders Wolves, and at 18 years of age he would hope that his game time increases next season. However, with Wolves on the verge of the Premier League, reinforcements will be made, and Gibbs-White will do well to avoid being sent back to the Championship for more experience. From the under-19s, Jay DaSilva has made 32 league appearances on loan at Charlton from Chelsea; Mason Mount has played 22 times for Vitesse, also on loan from Chelsea; Bournemouth's Aaron Ramsdale has played 10 times on loan at Chesterfield. Mins played 2017/18 outside top flight | England's trophy winners Andre Dozzell tore his cruciate in the opening game of Ipswich's season, and will surely be straight back in the first team next season, while Spurs fans are still waiting for Marcus Edwards' career to take. He is yet to play a minute on loan at Norwich. There has been far more action in the under-20s, where Dean Henderson, Callum Connolly, Ezri Konsa, Josh Onomah, Kieran Dowell and Sheyi Ojo have all been given a significant amount of game time at a decent level. Adam Armstrong has been in fine goal-scoring form on loan at Blackburn. It's gone far too quiet First team football has eluded the remaining players in every squad. There is, of course, plenty to be said for the quality of coaching Josh Dasilva receives at Arsenal and the advice Mauricio Pochettino can give Kyle Walker-Peters at Spurs, but neither look at all likely to get a chance in the first team any time soon, and surely a stint out on loan would benefit them. Zero first team minutes played in 2017/18 | England's trophy winners The fact of the matter is, though, that the majority of the players who have yet to taste first team action are still extremely young. Sancho's decision to go abroad was a brave one, but really, few actually break through at his age anyway. Plenty of the under-19s and under-20s have been given a fair amount of game time this season, and it really does seem as though some will make it to the top. Cook and Solanke, though, are the only players who have managed to make the step up to the senior England squad.
Besides the souped-up SUV he drives, with its personalised numberplate, Sam Clucas gives few overt signals that he is Swansea City’s most expensive signing. Gangly, pale of complexion, with not a tattoo or an extravagant piece of jewellery in sight, the £16.5 million man also looks markedly younger than his 27 years. “Everyone thinks I’m 18,” he says, with a resigned smile. “Which is fine, apart from when you get ID-d everywhere on a night out.” At 18, Clucas was still working the till of the café at his local Debenhams in Lincoln. On Saturday, he will be hoping to light up an FA Cup quarter-final against Tottenham. Not that he has sundered his connections to a less gilded past: he plans to be at Wembley next month to watch Lincoln City, his teenage club, in the Checkatrade Trophy final, he still helps run a car logistics firm in his hometown, and he returns periodically to see the tutors at his alma mater, Lincoln College. “They now have a classroom called the Clucas Room,” he reveals, proudly. Clucas’ winding path along the highways and byways of English football would have sunk a less resilient soul. At Leicester’s academy, he was told aged 16 that he was too small to make a living in the game, even though specialists predicted – correctly, as it turned out – that he had another eight inches to grow. Even at Lincoln, under Chris Sutton, a polarising manager for whom he had little time, he started just a single match during his one-year contract and would lie awake at night, wondering if the humiliation was worth it. His peregrinations, taking in Hereford, Mansfield, Chesterfield and, most curiously, Jerez Industrial of the Spanish third tier, involved more graft than glamour. But where thousands like him had fallen by the wayside, Clucas somehow retained a faith that he was bound for greater glories than his career arc suggested. Sure enough, he secured elevation to the Championship in 2015, moving to Hull for £1.3 million. Two years later, as Swansea turned to him to fill the chasm left by departing star midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, he had reached the Premier League, once no more than a shimmering mirage. “It has been an unbelievable rise,” says Clucas, on a pristine afternoon at Swansea’s training ground on the Gower. “I do have to pinch myself sometimes. When I see guys I used to play with, they say: ‘I can’t believe it.’ In the lower leagues, it does seem a million miles off. And yet I managed to move up five leagues in five years, with a goal in each league.” Such a feat is far rarer than his modest nature will permit him to acknowledge. Clucas could, if he attracts the attentions of Gareth Southgate any time soon, also become the first player to climb all the way from England C – a semi-professional team, comprising only non-league footballers – to the senior side. Clucas has taken huge strides forward from his England C days Credit: Athena Pictures While he arrived in south Wales with a steep price tag, many Swansea supporters were perplexed as to how Clucas would justify the money. One commentary ran with the headline: “Who is he?” It hardly helped his acceptance, then, when he scored just one goal in his first 17 games, kicking a water bottle in frustration as a toxic Liberty Stadium threatened to turn against him after a tepid defeat to Brighton. Any doubters of his mettle can rest assured that Clucas has already endured far worse. “I used to look on the fans’ forum when I played for Hereford, and you would see people saying, ‘He’s the worst player we’ve ever signed,’” he reflects. “There was one, I actually took a screen-shot of it on my phone: ‘If he ever plays higher than League Two I’ll eat my hat.’ Now, I have turned all the social media messages off. Some of them, you wouldn’t get away with in any other walk of life.” Clucas can be forgiven for romanticising the FA Cup confrontation with Tottenham on Saturday lunchtime. For it was Glenn Hoddle, still such a presence in Spurs folklore, who did much to engineer his escape from the boondocks. After his torrid experience at Lincoln, Clucas was no one’s idea of a No 1 draft pick. But by happy quirk of fate, a friend managed to secure for him the last space on a trial day for Hoddle’s academy at Bisham Abbey. With over 1,000 players parading their talents across five pitches, Hoddle, watching from the sidelines, saw qualities in Clucas that persuaded him to take a gamble, packing the youngster off for an unlikely sojourn in Jerez. Modern heroes: Who has done most for your club in the last 20 years? “It was a massive step for me, because it was the first time I had been able to play consistently,” Clucas reflects. “The style of football helped hugely, too, because it was all on the floor, very technical. For most of the players, it was great being in a hot place – not for me, as a redhead, as my skin would get burnt in seconds – but I was just grateful to be out on a pitch every day. Without Glenn, I wouldn’t be where I am now.” When Clucas scored two goals against Arsenal in January, as part of a remarkable Swansea renaissance inspired this year by manager Carlos Carvalhal, Hoddle was among the first to text with congratulations. It is unlikely, given where Hoddle’s loyalties lie, that there will be much contact on Saturday. Just seeing his name on the team-sheet, though, is enough for Clucas to appreciate how far he has travelled from the morning coffee rush at Debenhams.
Picked from obscurity by Glenn Hoddle, Swansea record signing Sam Clucas has Spurs in sights ahead of FA Cup tie
Besides the souped-up SUV he drives, with its personalised numberplate, Sam Clucas gives few overt signals that he is Swansea City’s most expensive signing. Gangly, pale of complexion, with not a tattoo or an extravagant piece of jewellery in sight, the £16.5 million man also looks markedly younger than his 27 years. “Everyone thinks I’m 18,” he says, with a resigned smile. “Which is fine, apart from when you get ID-d everywhere on a night out.” At 18, Clucas was still working the till of the café at his local Debenhams in Lincoln. On Saturday, he will be hoping to light up an FA Cup quarter-final against Tottenham. Not that he has sundered his connections to a less gilded past: he plans to be at Wembley next month to watch Lincoln City, his teenage club, in the Checkatrade Trophy final, he still helps run a car logistics firm in his hometown, and he returns periodically to see the tutors at his alma mater, Lincoln College. “They now have a classroom called the Clucas Room,” he reveals, proudly. Clucas’ winding path along the highways and byways of English football would have sunk a less resilient soul. At Leicester’s academy, he was told aged 16 that he was too small to make a living in the game, even though specialists predicted – correctly, as it turned out – that he had another eight inches to grow. Even at Lincoln, under Chris Sutton, a polarising manager for whom he had little time, he started just a single match during his one-year contract and would lie awake at night, wondering if the humiliation was worth it. His peregrinations, taking in Hereford, Mansfield, Chesterfield and, most curiously, Jerez Industrial of the Spanish third tier, involved more graft than glamour. But where thousands like him had fallen by the wayside, Clucas somehow retained a faith that he was bound for greater glories than his career arc suggested. Sure enough, he secured elevation to the Championship in 2015, moving to Hull for £1.3 million. Two years later, as Swansea turned to him to fill the chasm left by departing star midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, he had reached the Premier League, once no more than a shimmering mirage. “It has been an unbelievable rise,” says Clucas, on a pristine afternoon at Swansea’s training ground on the Gower. “I do have to pinch myself sometimes. When I see guys I used to play with, they say: ‘I can’t believe it.’ In the lower leagues, it does seem a million miles off. And yet I managed to move up five leagues in five years, with a goal in each league.” Such a feat is far rarer than his modest nature will permit him to acknowledge. Clucas could, if he attracts the attentions of Gareth Southgate any time soon, also become the first player to climb all the way from England C – a semi-professional team, comprising only non-league footballers – to the senior side. Clucas has taken huge strides forward from his England C days Credit: Athena Pictures While he arrived in south Wales with a steep price tag, many Swansea supporters were perplexed as to how Clucas would justify the money. One commentary ran with the headline: “Who is he?” It hardly helped his acceptance, then, when he scored just one goal in his first 17 games, kicking a water bottle in frustration as a toxic Liberty Stadium threatened to turn against him after a tepid defeat to Brighton. Any doubters of his mettle can rest assured that Clucas has already endured far worse. “I used to look on the fans’ forum when I played for Hereford, and you would see people saying, ‘He’s the worst player we’ve ever signed,’” he reflects. “There was one, I actually took a screen-shot of it on my phone: ‘If he ever plays higher than League Two I’ll eat my hat.’ Now, I have turned all the social media messages off. Some of them, you wouldn’t get away with in any other walk of life.” Clucas can be forgiven for romanticising the FA Cup confrontation with Tottenham on Saturday lunchtime. For it was Glenn Hoddle, still such a presence in Spurs folklore, who did much to engineer his escape from the boondocks. After his torrid experience at Lincoln, Clucas was no one’s idea of a No 1 draft pick. But by happy quirk of fate, a friend managed to secure for him the last space on a trial day for Hoddle’s academy at Bisham Abbey. With over 1,000 players parading their talents across five pitches, Hoddle, watching from the sidelines, saw qualities in Clucas that persuaded him to take a gamble, packing the youngster off for an unlikely sojourn in Jerez. Modern heroes: Who has done most for your club in the last 20 years? “It was a massive step for me, because it was the first time I had been able to play consistently,” Clucas reflects. “The style of football helped hugely, too, because it was all on the floor, very technical. For most of the players, it was great being in a hot place – not for me, as a redhead, as my skin would get burnt in seconds – but I was just grateful to be out on a pitch every day. Without Glenn, I wouldn’t be where I am now.” When Clucas scored two goals against Arsenal in January, as part of a remarkable Swansea renaissance inspired this year by manager Carlos Carvalhal, Hoddle was among the first to text with congratulations. It is unlikely, given where Hoddle’s loyalties lie, that there will be much contact on Saturday. Just seeing his name on the team-sheet, though, is enough for Clucas to appreciate how far he has travelled from the morning coffee rush at Debenhams.
Besides the souped-up SUV he drives, with its personalised numberplate, Sam Clucas gives few overt signals that he is Swansea City’s most expensive signing. Gangly, pale of complexion, with not a tattoo or an extravagant piece of jewellery in sight, the £16.5 million man also looks markedly younger than his 27 years. “Everyone thinks I’m 18,” he says, with a resigned smile. “Which is fine, apart from when you get ID-d everywhere on a night out.” At 18, Clucas was still working the till of the café at his local Debenhams in Lincoln. On Saturday, he will be hoping to light up an FA Cup quarter-final against Tottenham. Not that he has sundered his connections to a less gilded past: he plans to be at Wembley next month to watch Lincoln City, his teenage club, in the Checkatrade Trophy final, he still helps run a car logistics firm in his hometown, and he returns periodically to see the tutors at his alma mater, Lincoln College. “They now have a classroom called the Clucas Room,” he reveals, proudly. Clucas’ winding path along the highways and byways of English football would have sunk a less resilient soul. At Leicester’s academy, he was told aged 16 that he was too small to make a living in the game, even though specialists predicted – correctly, as it turned out – that he had another eight inches to grow. Even at Lincoln, under Chris Sutton, a polarising manager for whom he had little time, he started just a single match during his one-year contract and would lie awake at night, wondering if the humiliation was worth it. His peregrinations, taking in Hereford, Mansfield, Chesterfield and, most curiously, Jerez Industrial of the Spanish third tier, involved more graft than glamour. But where thousands like him had fallen by the wayside, Clucas somehow retained a faith that he was bound for greater glories than his career arc suggested. Sure enough, he secured elevation to the Championship in 2015, moving to Hull for £1.3 million. Two years later, as Swansea turned to him to fill the chasm left by departing star midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, he had reached the Premier League, once no more than a shimmering mirage. “It has been an unbelievable rise,” says Clucas, on a pristine afternoon at Swansea’s training ground on the Gower. “I do have to pinch myself sometimes. When I see guys I used to play with, they say: ‘I can’t believe it.’ In the lower leagues, it does seem a million miles off. And yet I managed to move up five leagues in five years, with a goal in each league.” Such a feat is far rarer than his modest nature will permit him to acknowledge. Clucas could, if he attracts the attentions of Gareth Southgate any time soon, also become the first player to climb all the way from England C – a semi-professional team, comprising only non-league footballers – to the senior side. Clucas has taken huge strides forward from his England C days Credit: Athena Pictures While he arrived in south Wales with a steep price tag, many Swansea supporters were perplexed as to how Clucas would justify the money. One commentary ran with the headline: “Who is he?” It hardly helped his acceptance, then, when he scored just one goal in his first 17 games, kicking a water bottle in frustration as a toxic Liberty Stadium threatened to turn against him after a tepid defeat to Brighton. Any doubters of his mettle can rest assured that Clucas has already endured far worse. “I used to look on the fans’ forum when I played for Hereford, and you would see people saying, ‘He’s the worst player we’ve ever signed,’” he reflects. “There was one, I actually took a screen-shot of it on my phone: ‘If he ever plays higher than League Two I’ll eat my hat.’ Now, I have turned all the social media messages off. Some of them, you wouldn’t get away with in any other walk of life.” Clucas can be forgiven for romanticising the FA Cup confrontation with Tottenham on Saturday lunchtime. For it was Glenn Hoddle, still such a presence in Spurs folklore, who did much to engineer his escape from the boondocks. After his torrid experience at Lincoln, Clucas was no one’s idea of a No 1 draft pick. But by happy quirk of fate, a friend managed to secure for him the last space on a trial day for Hoddle’s academy at Bisham Abbey. With over 1,000 players parading their talents across five pitches, Hoddle, watching from the sidelines, saw qualities in Clucas that persuaded him to take a gamble, packing the youngster off for an unlikely sojourn in Jerez. Modern heroes: Who has done most for your club in the last 20 years? “It was a massive step for me, because it was the first time I had been able to play consistently,” Clucas reflects. “The style of football helped hugely, too, because it was all on the floor, very technical. For most of the players, it was great being in a hot place – not for me, as a redhead, as my skin would get burnt in seconds – but I was just grateful to be out on a pitch every day. Without Glenn, I wouldn’t be where I am now.” When Clucas scored two goals against Arsenal in January, as part of a remarkable Swansea renaissance inspired this year by manager Carlos Carvalhal, Hoddle was among the first to text with congratulations. It is unlikely, given where Hoddle’s loyalties lie, that there will be much contact on Saturday. Just seeing his name on the team-sheet, though, is enough for Clucas to appreciate how far he has travelled from the morning coffee rush at Debenhams.
Picked from obscurity by Glenn Hoddle, Swansea record signing Sam Clucas has Spurs in sights ahead of FA Cup tie
Besides the souped-up SUV he drives, with its personalised numberplate, Sam Clucas gives few overt signals that he is Swansea City’s most expensive signing. Gangly, pale of complexion, with not a tattoo or an extravagant piece of jewellery in sight, the £16.5 million man also looks markedly younger than his 27 years. “Everyone thinks I’m 18,” he says, with a resigned smile. “Which is fine, apart from when you get ID-d everywhere on a night out.” At 18, Clucas was still working the till of the café at his local Debenhams in Lincoln. On Saturday, he will be hoping to light up an FA Cup quarter-final against Tottenham. Not that he has sundered his connections to a less gilded past: he plans to be at Wembley next month to watch Lincoln City, his teenage club, in the Checkatrade Trophy final, he still helps run a car logistics firm in his hometown, and he returns periodically to see the tutors at his alma mater, Lincoln College. “They now have a classroom called the Clucas Room,” he reveals, proudly. Clucas’ winding path along the highways and byways of English football would have sunk a less resilient soul. At Leicester’s academy, he was told aged 16 that he was too small to make a living in the game, even though specialists predicted – correctly, as it turned out – that he had another eight inches to grow. Even at Lincoln, under Chris Sutton, a polarising manager for whom he had little time, he started just a single match during his one-year contract and would lie awake at night, wondering if the humiliation was worth it. His peregrinations, taking in Hereford, Mansfield, Chesterfield and, most curiously, Jerez Industrial of the Spanish third tier, involved more graft than glamour. But where thousands like him had fallen by the wayside, Clucas somehow retained a faith that he was bound for greater glories than his career arc suggested. Sure enough, he secured elevation to the Championship in 2015, moving to Hull for £1.3 million. Two years later, as Swansea turned to him to fill the chasm left by departing star midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, he had reached the Premier League, once no more than a shimmering mirage. “It has been an unbelievable rise,” says Clucas, on a pristine afternoon at Swansea’s training ground on the Gower. “I do have to pinch myself sometimes. When I see guys I used to play with, they say: ‘I can’t believe it.’ In the lower leagues, it does seem a million miles off. And yet I managed to move up five leagues in five years, with a goal in each league.” Such a feat is far rarer than his modest nature will permit him to acknowledge. Clucas could, if he attracts the attentions of Gareth Southgate any time soon, also become the first player to climb all the way from England C – a semi-professional team, comprising only non-league footballers – to the senior side. Clucas has taken huge strides forward from his England C days Credit: Athena Pictures While he arrived in south Wales with a steep price tag, many Swansea supporters were perplexed as to how Clucas would justify the money. One commentary ran with the headline: “Who is he?” It hardly helped his acceptance, then, when he scored just one goal in his first 17 games, kicking a water bottle in frustration as a toxic Liberty Stadium threatened to turn against him after a tepid defeat to Brighton. Any doubters of his mettle can rest assured that Clucas has already endured far worse. “I used to look on the fans’ forum when I played for Hereford, and you would see people saying, ‘He’s the worst player we’ve ever signed,’” he reflects. “There was one, I actually took a screen-shot of it on my phone: ‘If he ever plays higher than League Two I’ll eat my hat.’ Now, I have turned all the social media messages off. Some of them, you wouldn’t get away with in any other walk of life.” Clucas can be forgiven for romanticising the FA Cup confrontation with Tottenham on Saturday lunchtime. For it was Glenn Hoddle, still such a presence in Spurs folklore, who did much to engineer his escape from the boondocks. After his torrid experience at Lincoln, Clucas was no one’s idea of a No 1 draft pick. But by happy quirk of fate, a friend managed to secure for him the last space on a trial day for Hoddle’s academy at Bisham Abbey. With over 1,000 players parading their talents across five pitches, Hoddle, watching from the sidelines, saw qualities in Clucas that persuaded him to take a gamble, packing the youngster off for an unlikely sojourn in Jerez. Modern heroes: Who has done most for your club in the last 20 years? “It was a massive step for me, because it was the first time I had been able to play consistently,” Clucas reflects. “The style of football helped hugely, too, because it was all on the floor, very technical. For most of the players, it was great being in a hot place – not for me, as a redhead, as my skin would get burnt in seconds – but I was just grateful to be out on a pitch every day. Without Glenn, I wouldn’t be where I am now.” When Clucas scored two goals against Arsenal in January, as part of a remarkable Swansea renaissance inspired this year by manager Carlos Carvalhal, Hoddle was among the first to text with congratulations. It is unlikely, given where Hoddle’s loyalties lie, that there will be much contact on Saturday. Just seeing his name on the team-sheet, though, is enough for Clucas to appreciate how far he has travelled from the morning coffee rush at Debenhams.
<p><em>“Now the pigskin zings through the air and our scouts have returned with their findings. They criss-crossed thousands of miles of college high-ways. They took in scores and scores of football camps, watched the faces of hundreds of coaches and the gyrations of fifty times that many grid-men. They’re not easily impressed, these old, wise football judges, but this is what they predict: ‘This year’s crop will top the field. This is one of the highest-powered bunch of leather handlers that ever came along!’”</em></p><p>This explosive prose opened Football Illustrated’s 1936 Annual, which painstakingly covered collegiate ball across the country throughout the season long before the game was televised nationally.</p><p>Written by legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice and bookended by ads for 10-cents-a-day typing courses and a beautiful back-page display for Chesterfield cigarettes, this trade publication was one of four football-related titles trotted out by the Fiction House company between 1921 and 1955.</p><p>But it’s the only magazine to get a shout out from the Pro Football Researcher’s Association during their deep dive into the first NFL draft, which took place 82 years ago at the Ritz Carlton in Philadelphia. Back then, it was this 86-page booklet that served as a scouting bible of sorts for the 10 owners building for the futures of their franchises.</p><p>“Owners used to do did three things,” Upton Bell, the son of former NFL commissioner and draft pioneer Bert Bell, and the one-time youngest general manager in NFL history told me, “One, they read all the local and regional newspapers they could find. Two, they all got on the phone with their friends. For instance, an owner might call Bear Bryant and say ‘O.K., I read the clippings on this player, can you confirm or deny it?’ Three, they would read that magazine.”</p><p>As we head into draft season and the latest rendition of The NFL Draft Column, I think it’s important to start at the beginning. Today, the information overload is significant. There is an entire cottage industry of draftniks who need to do little other than master the language to sound important. The Art of Fluff. As Bell told me in a recent conversation, “Now the draft has more trolls than Russia.” There are scouting reports atop scouting reports. Endless mock drafts. Landfills full of misfired draft rumors. And still, the best coaches and general managers are the ones who simply trust their most basic instincts and ignore the noise.</p><p>Consider a few of the snippets available for owners at the time (we purchased the magazine a few weeks back from a collector in Texas):</p><p><b>Sidney Luckman of Columbia:</b> “Once in a blue moon, a sophomore springs full-panoplied from the shield of Jove—if you’ll excuse our waxing classical—clad in the shining armor of a game without a weakness. Such a youngster is Sid Luckman of Columbia who bobbed up at Morningside Heights just in time to double for Al Barabas of Rose Bowl fame. Luckman is as powerful and as fleet as Barabas and infinitely more versatile.”</p><p><b>‘Irish’ Carroll of Catholic U:</b> “Speaking of Irishmen reminds me—Catholic University at Washington D.C. has a dyed in the wool Gael, who can lug that apple for all the traffic will bear. His name is Maurice Carroll. But nobody on the C.U. campus calls the Baldwinsville Bullet that. He’s plain ‘Irish’ to the gang and pure poison to the enemy.”</p><p><b>Wojciechowicz of Fordham:</b> “’If you cant pronounce ‘em, they’re good.’ That old wise-crack of Knute Rockne’s comes to mind when you try to twist your tongue around Alexander Wojciechowicz’s consonant-dotted name. This rugged Polish giant from South River, N.J., is plenty good, so good in fact that he has made Fordham fans forget such crack centers as Del Isola and Tony Siano.”</p><p><b>Chavoor of UCLA:</b> “Have you ever seen a buffalo charging? Well, that’s Sherman Chavoor as he pounds down field in the shadow of a punt. Southern California seems to grow big crack centers the way it grows ripe juicy oranges. Chavoor is a prize specimen. A brick wall on defense, a bearcat at mussing up plays that come his way.”</p><p>As Bell notes, even back then without today’s encyclopedic draft content, there were teams drafting with startlingly good results. Seven of the 81 players taken that year made a Pro Bowl; four—Joe Stydahar, Tuffy Leemans, Wayne Millner and Dan Fortmann—were elected into the Hall of Fame. And that’s without Jay Berwanger, the first Heisman Trophy winner and arguably the most talented player in the class, who never played a single down of professional football (he balked at the salary, tried out for the Olympics and worked at a rubber factory in Chicago). Two players drafted in the first 13 the following year—Sammy Baugh and Ace Parker—both were enshrined in Canton.</p><p>“Go look at the drafts from the first in ’36 to today,” Bell said. “Back then, they spent no money. Today, they spend millions. How much different in success rate is it? I’m betting it ain’t far off.”</p><p>To Bell’s point, of the five draft classes that produced the most Hall of Famers, only one—1983—came after 1970.</p><p>And my point in telling you this? Let’s not take ourselves too seriously just because that’s en vogue. Back in the day, people seemed to have a hell of a good time writing about the players and people (did you catch that Shield of Jove reference in that Sid Luckman scouting report?). It all turned out fine. That’s what we’ll do each week atop The MMQB draft column.</p><p>?<b>WHAT’S COMING:</b> The NFL scouting combine runs from February 27 to March 5 in Indianapolis. Football’s annual convention will once again provide us with a week’s worth of televised workouts narrated in hushed, Jim Nantz-during-the-Masters voices. We will have a full preview coming next week. <i>ALSO … Albert Breer runs his latest mock draft on Wednesday.</i></p><p><b>PARSING THE DRAFT HOT TAKE DU JOUR:</b> Former Colts general manager Bill Polian went on ESPN radio Monday and gave the world his opinion on former Louisville quarterback (and 2016 Heisman trophy winner) Lamar Jackson. Here’s the meat of it, as <a href="https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/ex-nfl-gm-lamar-jackson-too-short-and-slight-should-switch-to-wr-for-2018-nfl-draft/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:transcribed by CBS" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">transcribed by CBS</a>:</p><p>“I think wide receiver. Exceptional athlete. Exceptional ability to make you miss. Exceptional acceleration. Exceptional instinct with the ball in his hand -- and that&#39;s rare for wide receivers,&quot; Polian said. &quot;[Antonio Brown] and who else? Name me another one who&#39;s like that. Julio [Jones]&#39;s not like that. This guy is incredible in the open field. Great ability to separate. Short and a little bit slight and clearly, clearly not the thrower the other guys are.</p><p>&quot;The accuracy isn&#39;t there. Don&#39;t wait to make that change. Don&#39;t be like the kid from Ohio State [Terrelle Pryor] and be 29 when you make that change.&quot;</p><p>ESPN’s pyramid of programming has always allowed them an incredible platform to <a href="https://deadspin.com/how-espn-manufactures-a-story-colin-kaepernick-edition-1185400028" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:create a story out of thin air and have it envelop the news cycle" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">create a story out of thin air and have it envelop the news cycle</a>. This is no different. Jackson will embody an age-old argument steeped in misinformation and inaccurate, damaging stereotypes. The truth is that quarterbacks of immensely different skill sets and talents have won in the NFL. If a team wanted to build around Jackson, they could. Just as the Seahawks made a team that could accentuate the strengths of Russell Wilson, just as the Broncos made a team that could hide the glaring deficiencies of a near-retired Peyton Manning, just as the Eagles altered a game plan to comfort and accommodate Nick Foles, it comes down to coaches intimately learning what their players are best at and using it to create a plan that exposes the defense.</p><p>It won’t be that simple this week. Jackson will be prodded over the coming months, with the wide receiver transition comment being a convenient entry point for any reporter or analyst to dive in and yank out a sound bite. He will be one of the prospects at the scouting combine I truly feel for, the ones that have to remain stoic in the face of the same, mind-numbing question asked over and over.</p><p><b>MOCK DRAFT ROUNDUP:</b> Like ragweed in the spring, mock drafts are unavoidable and often the harbinger for general, unwelcome sickness. Still, we must be aware. Here are the latest top fives from various analysts around the landscape:</p><p><b>Charles Davis, NFL Network (Feb. 20)</b><br><b>1. BROWNS:</b> Sam Darnold, Quarterback, USC<br><b>2. GIANTS:</b> Saquon Barkley, Running Back, Penn State<br><b>3. COLTS:</b> Bradley Chubb, Defensive End, North Carolina State<br><b>4. BROWNS:</b> Minkah Fitzpatrick, Defensive Back, Alabama<br><b>5. BRONCOS:</b> Josh Rosen, Quarterback, UCLA</p><p><strong>Will Brinson, CBS Sports (Feb. 20)</strong><br><b>1. BROWNS:</b> Sam Darnold, Quarterback, USC<br><b>2. GIANTS:</b> Josh Allen, Quarterback, Wyoming<br><b>3. COLTS:</b> Bradley Chubb, Defensive End, North Carolina State<br><b>4. BROWNS:</b> Minkah Fitzpatrick, Defensive Back, Alabama<br><b>5. BRONCOS: (TRADE!) BILLS:</b> Josh Rosen, Quarterback, UCLA</p><p><strong>Mike Tanier, Bleacher Report (Feb. 19)</strong><br><b>1. BROWNS:</b> Saquon Barkley, Running Back, Penn State<br><b>2. GIANTS:</b> Sam Darnold, Quarterback, USC<br><b>3. COLTS:</b> Bradley Chubb, Defensive End, North Carolina State<br><b>4. BROWNS:</b> Minkah Fitzpatrick, Defensive Back, Alabama<br><b>5. BRONCOS:</b> Quenton Nelson, Guard, Notre Dame</p><p><strong>John Harris, The Washington Post (Feb. 14)</strong><br><b>1. BROWNS:</b> Sam Darnold, Quarterback, USC<br><b>2. GIANTS:</b> Quenton Nelson, Guard, Notre Dame<br><b>3. COLTS:</b> Bradley Chubb, Defensive End, North Carolina State<br><b>4. BROWNS:</b> Saquon Barkley, Running Back, Penn State<br><b>5. BRONCOS:</b> Baker Mayfield, Quarterback, Oklahoma</p><p><b>YOUTUBE HIGHLIGHTS THAT ONLY INTEREST ME:</b> Despite writing several lengthy pieces on the art and history of scouting (you can find them <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/01/16/scouting-new-england-patriots-using-steve-belichicks-scouting-manual" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">here</a> and <a href="http://www.nfl.com/historyofscouting" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">here</a>) I am nowhere near qualified to break down prospects. That being said, it’s not hard to ascertain what a scout is trying to discover about a player this late in the process.</p><p>Here’s 13 minutes and 26 seconds of Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson in a disastrous Irish loss to Miami—a game that evaporated any hope of Nelson’s team heading to the college football playoff. Against an energetic, athletic, pressure-heavy Hurricanes team, did he relent down the stretch? Did he tip plays with his pre-snap posture or first steps off the ball? Did he finish his blocks? Did he maintain a level head in a match-meets-gasoline atmosphere?</p><p>Nelson is a favorite of offensive line Twitter this offseason and rightfully so. His highlight reel of WWE-style blocks will dominate the conversation heading into evaluation season, but teams will certainly be jotting down their thoughts about this particular Saturday:</p><p><strong><em>• Question or comment? </em></strong><em>Email us at </em><span><em>talkback@themmqb.com</em></span><em>.</em></p>
The Original NFL Draft Bible, and Lamar Jackson in an Old, Stale Controversy

“Now the pigskin zings through the air and our scouts have returned with their findings. They criss-crossed thousands of miles of college high-ways. They took in scores and scores of football camps, watched the faces of hundreds of coaches and the gyrations of fifty times that many grid-men. They’re not easily impressed, these old, wise football judges, but this is what they predict: ‘This year’s crop will top the field. This is one of the highest-powered bunch of leather handlers that ever came along!’”

This explosive prose opened Football Illustrated’s 1936 Annual, which painstakingly covered collegiate ball across the country throughout the season long before the game was televised nationally.

Written by legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice and bookended by ads for 10-cents-a-day typing courses and a beautiful back-page display for Chesterfield cigarettes, this trade publication was one of four football-related titles trotted out by the Fiction House company between 1921 and 1955.

But it’s the only magazine to get a shout out from the Pro Football Researcher’s Association during their deep dive into the first NFL draft, which took place 82 years ago at the Ritz Carlton in Philadelphia. Back then, it was this 86-page booklet that served as a scouting bible of sorts for the 10 owners building for the futures of their franchises.

“Owners used to do did three things,” Upton Bell, the son of former NFL commissioner and draft pioneer Bert Bell, and the one-time youngest general manager in NFL history told me, “One, they read all the local and regional newspapers they could find. Two, they all got on the phone with their friends. For instance, an owner might call Bear Bryant and say ‘O.K., I read the clippings on this player, can you confirm or deny it?’ Three, they would read that magazine.”

As we head into draft season and the latest rendition of The NFL Draft Column, I think it’s important to start at the beginning. Today, the information overload is significant. There is an entire cottage industry of draftniks who need to do little other than master the language to sound important. The Art of Fluff. As Bell told me in a recent conversation, “Now the draft has more trolls than Russia.” There are scouting reports atop scouting reports. Endless mock drafts. Landfills full of misfired draft rumors. And still, the best coaches and general managers are the ones who simply trust their most basic instincts and ignore the noise.

Consider a few of the snippets available for owners at the time (we purchased the magazine a few weeks back from a collector in Texas):

Sidney Luckman of Columbia: “Once in a blue moon, a sophomore springs full-panoplied from the shield of Jove—if you’ll excuse our waxing classical—clad in the shining armor of a game without a weakness. Such a youngster is Sid Luckman of Columbia who bobbed up at Morningside Heights just in time to double for Al Barabas of Rose Bowl fame. Luckman is as powerful and as fleet as Barabas and infinitely more versatile.”

‘Irish’ Carroll of Catholic U: “Speaking of Irishmen reminds me—Catholic University at Washington D.C. has a dyed in the wool Gael, who can lug that apple for all the traffic will bear. His name is Maurice Carroll. But nobody on the C.U. campus calls the Baldwinsville Bullet that. He’s plain ‘Irish’ to the gang and pure poison to the enemy.”

Wojciechowicz of Fordham: “’If you cant pronounce ‘em, they’re good.’ That old wise-crack of Knute Rockne’s comes to mind when you try to twist your tongue around Alexander Wojciechowicz’s consonant-dotted name. This rugged Polish giant from South River, N.J., is plenty good, so good in fact that he has made Fordham fans forget such crack centers as Del Isola and Tony Siano.”

Chavoor of UCLA: “Have you ever seen a buffalo charging? Well, that’s Sherman Chavoor as he pounds down field in the shadow of a punt. Southern California seems to grow big crack centers the way it grows ripe juicy oranges. Chavoor is a prize specimen. A brick wall on defense, a bearcat at mussing up plays that come his way.”

As Bell notes, even back then without today’s encyclopedic draft content, there were teams drafting with startlingly good results. Seven of the 81 players taken that year made a Pro Bowl; four—Joe Stydahar, Tuffy Leemans, Wayne Millner and Dan Fortmann—were elected into the Hall of Fame. And that’s without Jay Berwanger, the first Heisman Trophy winner and arguably the most talented player in the class, who never played a single down of professional football (he balked at the salary, tried out for the Olympics and worked at a rubber factory in Chicago). Two players drafted in the first 13 the following year—Sammy Baugh and Ace Parker—both were enshrined in Canton.

“Go look at the drafts from the first in ’36 to today,” Bell said. “Back then, they spent no money. Today, they spend millions. How much different in success rate is it? I’m betting it ain’t far off.”

To Bell’s point, of the five draft classes that produced the most Hall of Famers, only one—1983—came after 1970.

And my point in telling you this? Let’s not take ourselves too seriously just because that’s en vogue. Back in the day, people seemed to have a hell of a good time writing about the players and people (did you catch that Shield of Jove reference in that Sid Luckman scouting report?). It all turned out fine. That’s what we’ll do each week atop The MMQB draft column.

?WHAT’S COMING: The NFL scouting combine runs from February 27 to March 5 in Indianapolis. Football’s annual convention will once again provide us with a week’s worth of televised workouts narrated in hushed, Jim Nantz-during-the-Masters voices. We will have a full preview coming next week. ALSO … Albert Breer runs his latest mock draft on Wednesday.

PARSING THE DRAFT HOT TAKE DU JOUR: Former Colts general manager Bill Polian went on ESPN radio Monday and gave the world his opinion on former Louisville quarterback (and 2016 Heisman trophy winner) Lamar Jackson. Here’s the meat of it, as transcribed by CBS:

“I think wide receiver. Exceptional athlete. Exceptional ability to make you miss. Exceptional acceleration. Exceptional instinct with the ball in his hand -- and that's rare for wide receivers," Polian said. "[Antonio Brown] and who else? Name me another one who's like that. Julio [Jones]'s not like that. This guy is incredible in the open field. Great ability to separate. Short and a little bit slight and clearly, clearly not the thrower the other guys are.

"The accuracy isn't there. Don't wait to make that change. Don't be like the kid from Ohio State [Terrelle Pryor] and be 29 when you make that change."

ESPN’s pyramid of programming has always allowed them an incredible platform to create a story out of thin air and have it envelop the news cycle. This is no different. Jackson will embody an age-old argument steeped in misinformation and inaccurate, damaging stereotypes. The truth is that quarterbacks of immensely different skill sets and talents have won in the NFL. If a team wanted to build around Jackson, they could. Just as the Seahawks made a team that could accentuate the strengths of Russell Wilson, just as the Broncos made a team that could hide the glaring deficiencies of a near-retired Peyton Manning, just as the Eagles altered a game plan to comfort and accommodate Nick Foles, it comes down to coaches intimately learning what their players are best at and using it to create a plan that exposes the defense.

It won’t be that simple this week. Jackson will be prodded over the coming months, with the wide receiver transition comment being a convenient entry point for any reporter or analyst to dive in and yank out a sound bite. He will be one of the prospects at the scouting combine I truly feel for, the ones that have to remain stoic in the face of the same, mind-numbing question asked over and over.

MOCK DRAFT ROUNDUP: Like ragweed in the spring, mock drafts are unavoidable and often the harbinger for general, unwelcome sickness. Still, we must be aware. Here are the latest top fives from various analysts around the landscape:

Charles Davis, NFL Network (Feb. 20)
1. BROWNS: Sam Darnold, Quarterback, USC
2. GIANTS: Saquon Barkley, Running Back, Penn State
3. COLTS: Bradley Chubb, Defensive End, North Carolina State
4. BROWNS: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Defensive Back, Alabama
5. BRONCOS: Josh Rosen, Quarterback, UCLA

Will Brinson, CBS Sports (Feb. 20)
1. BROWNS: Sam Darnold, Quarterback, USC
2. GIANTS: Josh Allen, Quarterback, Wyoming
3. COLTS: Bradley Chubb, Defensive End, North Carolina State
4. BROWNS: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Defensive Back, Alabama
5. BRONCOS: (TRADE!) BILLS: Josh Rosen, Quarterback, UCLA

Mike Tanier, Bleacher Report (Feb. 19)
1. BROWNS: Saquon Barkley, Running Back, Penn State
2. GIANTS: Sam Darnold, Quarterback, USC
3. COLTS: Bradley Chubb, Defensive End, North Carolina State
4. BROWNS: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Defensive Back, Alabama
5. BRONCOS: Quenton Nelson, Guard, Notre Dame

John Harris, The Washington Post (Feb. 14)
1. BROWNS: Sam Darnold, Quarterback, USC
2. GIANTS: Quenton Nelson, Guard, Notre Dame
3. COLTS: Bradley Chubb, Defensive End, North Carolina State
4. BROWNS: Saquon Barkley, Running Back, Penn State
5. BRONCOS: Baker Mayfield, Quarterback, Oklahoma

YOUTUBE HIGHLIGHTS THAT ONLY INTEREST ME: Despite writing several lengthy pieces on the art and history of scouting (you can find them here and here) I am nowhere near qualified to break down prospects. That being said, it’s not hard to ascertain what a scout is trying to discover about a player this late in the process.

Here’s 13 minutes and 26 seconds of Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson in a disastrous Irish loss to Miami—a game that evaporated any hope of Nelson’s team heading to the college football playoff. Against an energetic, athletic, pressure-heavy Hurricanes team, did he relent down the stretch? Did he tip plays with his pre-snap posture or first steps off the ball? Did he finish his blocks? Did he maintain a level head in a match-meets-gasoline atmosphere?

Nelson is a favorite of offensive line Twitter this offseason and rightfully so. His highlight reel of WWE-style blocks will dominate the conversation heading into evaluation season, but teams will certainly be jotting down their thoughts about this particular Saturday:

• Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

<p><em>“Now the pigskin zings through the air and our scouts have returned with their findings. They criss-crossed thousands of miles of college high-ways. They took in scores and scores of football camps, watched the faces of hundreds of coaches and the gyrations of fifty times that many grid-men. They’re not easily impressed, these old, wise football judges, but this is what they predict: ‘This year’s crop will top the field. This is one of the highest-powered bunch of leather handlers that ever came along!’”</em></p><p>This explosive prose opened Football Illustrated’s 1936 Annual, which painstakingly covered collegiate ball across the country throughout the season long before the game was televised nationally.</p><p>Written by legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice and bookended by ads for 10-cents-a-day typing courses and a beautiful back-page display for Chesterfield cigarettes, this trade publication was one of four football-related titles trotted out by the Fiction House company between 1921 and 1955.</p><p>But it’s the only magazine to get a shout out from the Pro Football Researcher’s Association during their deep dive into the first NFL draft, which took place 82 years ago at the Ritz Carlton in Philadelphia. Back then, it was this 86-page booklet that served as a scouting bible of sorts for the 10 owners building for the futures of their franchises.</p><p>“Owners used to do did three things,” Upton Bell, the son of former NFL commissioner and draft pioneer Bert Bell, and the one-time youngest general manager in NFL history told me, “One, they read all the local and regional newspapers they could find. Two, they all got on the phone with their friends. For instance, an owner might call Bear Bryant and say ‘O.K., I read the clippings on this player, can you confirm or deny it?’ Three, they would read that magazine.”</p><p>As we head into draft season and the latest rendition of The NFL Draft Column, I think it’s important to start at the beginning. Today, the information overload is significant. There is an entire cottage industry of draftniks who need to do little other than master the language to sound important. The Art of Fluff. As Bell told me in a recent conversation, “Now the draft has more trolls than Russia.” There are scouting reports atop scouting reports. Endless mock drafts. Landfills full of misfired draft rumors. And still, the best coaches and general managers are the ones who simply trust their most basic instincts and ignore the noise.</p><p>Consider a few of the snippets available for owners at the time (we purchased the magazine a few weeks back from a collector in Texas):</p><p><b>Sidney Luckman of Columbia:</b> “Once in a blue moon, a sophomore springs full-panoplied from the shield of Jove—if you’ll excuse our waxing classical—clad in the shining armor of a game without a weakness. Such a youngster is Sid Luckman of Columbia who bobbed up at Morningside Heights just in time to double for Al Barabas of Rose Bowl fame. Luckman is as powerful and as fleet as Barabas and infinitely more versatile.”</p><p><b>‘Irish’ Carroll of Catholic U:</b> “Speaking of Irishmen reminds me—Catholic University at Washington D.C. has a dyed in the wool Gael, who can lug that apple for all the traffic will bear. His name is Maurice Carroll. But nobody on the C.U. campus calls the Baldwinsville Bullet that. He’s plain ‘Irish’ to the gang and pure poison to the enemy.”</p><p><b>Wojciechowicz of Fordham:</b> “’If you cant pronounce ‘em, they’re good.’ That old wise-crack of Knute Rockne’s comes to mind when you try to twist your tongue around Alexander Wojciechowicz’s consonant-dotted name. This rugged Polish giant from South River, N.J., is plenty good, so good in fact that he has made Fordham fans forget such crack centers as Del Isola and Tony Siano.”</p><p><b>Chavoor of UCLA:</b> “Have you ever seen a buffalo charging? Well, that’s Sherman Chavoor as he pounds down field in the shadow of a punt. Southern California seems to grow big crack centers the way it grows ripe juicy oranges. Chavoor is a prize specimen. A brick wall on defense, a bearcat at mussing up plays that come his way.”</p><p>As Bell notes, even back then without today’s encyclopedic draft content, there were teams drafting with startlingly good results. Seven of the 81 players taken that year made a Pro Bowl; four—Joe Stydahar, Tuffy Leemans, Wayne Millner and Dan Fortmann—were elected into the Hall of Fame. And that’s without Jay Berwanger, the first Heisman Trophy winner and arguably the most talented player in the class, who never played a single down of professional football (he balked at the salary, tried out for the Olympics and worked at a rubber factory in Chicago). Two players drafted in the first 13 the following year—Sammy Baugh and Ace Parker—both were enshrined in Canton.</p><p>“Go look at the drafts from the first in ’36 to today,” Bell said. “Back then, they spent no money. Today, they spend millions. How much different in success rate is it? I’m betting it ain’t far off.”</p><p>To Bell’s point, of the five draft classes that produced the most Hall of Famers, only one—1983—came after 1970.</p><p>And my point in telling you this? Let’s not take ourselves too seriously just because that’s en vogue. Back in the day, people seemed to have a hell of a good time writing about the players and people (did you catch that Shield of Jove reference in that Sid Luckman scouting report?). It all turned out fine. That’s what we’ll do each week atop The MMQB draft column.</p><p>?<b>WHAT’S COMING:</b> The NFL scouting combine runs from February 27 to March 5 in Indianapolis. Football’s annual convention will once again provide us with a week’s worth of televised workouts narrated in hushed, Jim Nantz-during-the-Masters voices. We will have a full preview coming next week. <i>ALSO … Albert Breer runs his latest mock draft on Wednesday.</i></p><p><b>PARSING THE DRAFT HOT TAKE DU JOUR:</b> Former Colts general manager Bill Polian went on ESPN radio Monday and gave the world his opinion on former Louisville quarterback (and 2016 Heisman trophy winner) Lamar Jackson. Here’s the meat of it, as <a href="https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/ex-nfl-gm-lamar-jackson-too-short-and-slight-should-switch-to-wr-for-2018-nfl-draft/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:transcribed by CBS" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">transcribed by CBS</a>:</p><p>“I think wide receiver. Exceptional athlete. Exceptional ability to make you miss. Exceptional acceleration. Exceptional instinct with the ball in his hand -- and that&#39;s rare for wide receivers,&quot; Polian said. &quot;[Antonio Brown] and who else? Name me another one who&#39;s like that. Julio [Jones]&#39;s not like that. This guy is incredible in the open field. Great ability to separate. Short and a little bit slight and clearly, clearly not the thrower the other guys are.</p><p>&quot;The accuracy isn&#39;t there. Don&#39;t wait to make that change. Don&#39;t be like the kid from Ohio State [Terrelle Pryor] and be 29 when you make that change.&quot;</p><p>ESPN’s pyramid of programming has always allowed them an incredible platform to <a href="https://deadspin.com/how-espn-manufactures-a-story-colin-kaepernick-edition-1185400028" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:create a story out of thin air and have it envelop the news cycle" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">create a story out of thin air and have it envelop the news cycle</a>. This is no different. Jackson will embody an age-old argument steeped in misinformation and inaccurate, damaging stereotypes. The truth is that quarterbacks of immensely different skill sets and talents have won in the NFL. If a team wanted to build around Jackson, they could. Just as the Seahawks made a team that could accentuate the strengths of Russell Wilson, just as the Broncos made a team that could hide the glaring deficiencies of a near-retired Peyton Manning, just as the Eagles altered a game plan to comfort and accommodate Nick Foles, it comes down to coaches intimately learning what their players are best at and using it to create a plan that exposes the defense.</p><p>It won’t be that simple this week. Jackson will be prodded over the coming months, with the wide receiver transition comment being a convenient entry point for any reporter or analyst to dive in and yank out a sound bite. He will be one of the prospects at the scouting combine I truly feel for, the ones that have to remain stoic in the face of the same, mind-numbing question asked over and over.</p><p><b>MOCK DRAFT ROUNDUP:</b> Like ragweed in the spring, mock drafts are unavoidable and often the harbinger for general, unwelcome sickness. Still, we must be aware. Here are the latest top fives from various analysts around the landscape:</p><p><b>Charles Davis, NFL Network (Feb. 20)</b><br><b>1. BROWNS:</b> Sam Darnold, Quarterback, USC<br><b>2. GIANTS:</b> Saquon Barkley, Running Back, Penn State<br><b>3. COLTS:</b> Bradley Chubb, Defensive End, North Carolina State<br><b>4. BROWNS:</b> Minkah Fitzpatrick, Defensive Back, Alabama<br><b>5. BRONCOS:</b> Josh Rosen, Quarterback, UCLA</p><p><strong>Will Brinson, CBS Sports (Feb. 20)</strong><br><b>1. BROWNS:</b> Sam Darnold, Quarterback, USC<br><b>2. GIANTS:</b> Josh Allen, Quarterback, Wyoming<br><b>3. COLTS:</b> Bradley Chubb, Defensive End, North Carolina State<br><b>4. BROWNS:</b> Minkah Fitzpatrick, Defensive Back, Alabama<br><b>5. BRONCOS: (TRADE!) BILLS:</b> Josh Rosen, Quarterback, UCLA</p><p><strong>Mike Tanier, Bleacher Report (Feb. 19)</strong><br><b>1. BROWNS:</b> Saquon Barkley, Running Back, Penn State<br><b>2. GIANTS:</b> Sam Darnold, Quarterback, USC<br><b>3. COLTS:</b> Bradley Chubb, Defensive End, North Carolina State<br><b>4. BROWNS:</b> Minkah Fitzpatrick, Defensive Back, Alabama<br><b>5. BRONCOS:</b> Quenton Nelson, Guard, Notre Dame</p><p><strong>John Harris, The Washington Post (Feb. 14)</strong><br><b>1. BROWNS:</b> Sam Darnold, Quarterback, USC<br><b>2. GIANTS:</b> Quenton Nelson, Guard, Notre Dame<br><b>3. COLTS:</b> Bradley Chubb, Defensive End, North Carolina State<br><b>4. BROWNS:</b> Saquon Barkley, Running Back, Penn State<br><b>5. BRONCOS:</b> Baker Mayfield, Quarterback, Oklahoma</p><p><b>YOUTUBE HIGHLIGHTS THAT ONLY INTEREST ME:</b> Despite writing several lengthy pieces on the art and history of scouting (you can find them <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/01/16/scouting-new-england-patriots-using-steve-belichicks-scouting-manual" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">here</a> and <a href="http://www.nfl.com/historyofscouting" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">here</a>) I am nowhere near qualified to break down prospects. That being said, it’s not hard to ascertain what a scout is trying to discover about a player this late in the process.</p><p>Here’s 13 minutes and 26 seconds of Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson in a disastrous Irish loss to Miami—a game that evaporated any hope of Nelson’s team heading to the college football playoff. Against an energetic, athletic, pressure-heavy Hurricanes team, did he relent down the stretch? Did he tip plays with his pre-snap posture or first steps off the ball? Did he finish his blocks? Did he maintain a level head in a match-meets-gasoline atmosphere?</p><p>Nelson is a favorite of offensive line Twitter this offseason and rightfully so. His highlight reel of WWE-style blocks will dominate the conversation heading into evaluation season, but teams will certainly be jotting down their thoughts about this particular Saturday:</p><p><strong><em>• Question or comment? </em></strong><em>Email us at </em><span><em>talkback@themmqb.com</em></span><em>.</em></p>
The Original NFL Draft Bible, and Lamar Jackson in an Old, Stale Controversy

“Now the pigskin zings through the air and our scouts have returned with their findings. They criss-crossed thousands of miles of college high-ways. They took in scores and scores of football camps, watched the faces of hundreds of coaches and the gyrations of fifty times that many grid-men. They’re not easily impressed, these old, wise football judges, but this is what they predict: ‘This year’s crop will top the field. This is one of the highest-powered bunch of leather handlers that ever came along!’”

This explosive prose opened Football Illustrated’s 1936 Annual, which painstakingly covered collegiate ball across the country throughout the season long before the game was televised nationally.

Written by legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice and bookended by ads for 10-cents-a-day typing courses and a beautiful back-page display for Chesterfield cigarettes, this trade publication was one of four football-related titles trotted out by the Fiction House company between 1921 and 1955.

But it’s the only magazine to get a shout out from the Pro Football Researcher’s Association during their deep dive into the first NFL draft, which took place 82 years ago at the Ritz Carlton in Philadelphia. Back then, it was this 86-page booklet that served as a scouting bible of sorts for the 10 owners building for the futures of their franchises.

“Owners used to do did three things,” Upton Bell, the son of former NFL commissioner and draft pioneer Bert Bell, and the one-time youngest general manager in NFL history told me, “One, they read all the local and regional newspapers they could find. Two, they all got on the phone with their friends. For instance, an owner might call Bear Bryant and say ‘O.K., I read the clippings on this player, can you confirm or deny it?’ Three, they would read that magazine.”

As we head into draft season and the latest rendition of The NFL Draft Column, I think it’s important to start at the beginning. Today, the information overload is significant. There is an entire cottage industry of draftniks who need to do little other than master the language to sound important. The Art of Fluff. As Bell told me in a recent conversation, “Now the draft has more trolls than Russia.” There are scouting reports atop scouting reports. Endless mock drafts. Landfills full of misfired draft rumors. And still, the best coaches and general managers are the ones who simply trust their most basic instincts and ignore the noise.

Consider a few of the snippets available for owners at the time (we purchased the magazine a few weeks back from a collector in Texas):

Sidney Luckman of Columbia: “Once in a blue moon, a sophomore springs full-panoplied from the shield of Jove—if you’ll excuse our waxing classical—clad in the shining armor of a game without a weakness. Such a youngster is Sid Luckman of Columbia who bobbed up at Morningside Heights just in time to double for Al Barabas of Rose Bowl fame. Luckman is as powerful and as fleet as Barabas and infinitely more versatile.”

‘Irish’ Carroll of Catholic U: “Speaking of Irishmen reminds me—Catholic University at Washington D.C. has a dyed in the wool Gael, who can lug that apple for all the traffic will bear. His name is Maurice Carroll. But nobody on the C.U. campus calls the Baldwinsville Bullet that. He’s plain ‘Irish’ to the gang and pure poison to the enemy.”

Wojciechowicz of Fordham: “’If you cant pronounce ‘em, they’re good.’ That old wise-crack of Knute Rockne’s comes to mind when you try to twist your tongue around Alexander Wojciechowicz’s consonant-dotted name. This rugged Polish giant from South River, N.J., is plenty good, so good in fact that he has made Fordham fans forget such crack centers as Del Isola and Tony Siano.”

Chavoor of UCLA: “Have you ever seen a buffalo charging? Well, that’s Sherman Chavoor as he pounds down field in the shadow of a punt. Southern California seems to grow big crack centers the way it grows ripe juicy oranges. Chavoor is a prize specimen. A brick wall on defense, a bearcat at mussing up plays that come his way.”

As Bell notes, even back then without today’s encyclopedic draft content, there were teams drafting with startlingly good results. Seven of the 81 players taken that year made a Pro Bowl; four—Joe Stydahar, Tuffy Leemans, Wayne Millner and Dan Fortmann—were elected into the Hall of Fame. And that’s without Jay Berwanger, the first Heisman Trophy winner and arguably the most talented player in the class, who never played a single down of professional football (he balked at the salary, tried out for the Olympics and worked at a rubber factory in Chicago). Two players drafted in the first 13 the following year—Sammy Baugh and Ace Parker—both were enshrined in Canton.

“Go look at the drafts from the first in ’36 to today,” Bell said. “Back then, they spent no money. Today, they spend millions. How much different in success rate is it? I’m betting it ain’t far off.”

To Bell’s point, of the five draft classes that produced the most Hall of Famers, only one—1983—came after 1970.

And my point in telling you this? Let’s not take ourselves too seriously just because that’s en vogue. Back in the day, people seemed to have a hell of a good time writing about the players and people (did you catch that Shield of Jove reference in that Sid Luckman scouting report?). It all turned out fine. That’s what we’ll do each week atop The MMQB draft column.

?WHAT’S COMING: The NFL scouting combine runs from February 27 to March 5 in Indianapolis. Football’s annual convention will once again provide us with a week’s worth of televised workouts narrated in hushed, Jim Nantz-during-the-Masters voices. We will have a full preview coming next week. ALSO … Albert Breer runs his latest mock draft on Wednesday.

PARSING THE DRAFT HOT TAKE DU JOUR: Former Colts general manager Bill Polian went on ESPN radio Monday and gave the world his opinion on former Louisville quarterback (and 2016 Heisman trophy winner) Lamar Jackson. Here’s the meat of it, as transcribed by CBS:

“I think wide receiver. Exceptional athlete. Exceptional ability to make you miss. Exceptional acceleration. Exceptional instinct with the ball in his hand -- and that's rare for wide receivers," Polian said. "[Antonio Brown] and who else? Name me another one who's like that. Julio [Jones]'s not like that. This guy is incredible in the open field. Great ability to separate. Short and a little bit slight and clearly, clearly not the thrower the other guys are.

"The accuracy isn't there. Don't wait to make that change. Don't be like the kid from Ohio State [Terrelle Pryor] and be 29 when you make that change."

ESPN’s pyramid of programming has always allowed them an incredible platform to create a story out of thin air and have it envelop the news cycle. This is no different. Jackson will embody an age-old argument steeped in misinformation and inaccurate, damaging stereotypes. The truth is that quarterbacks of immensely different skill sets and talents have won in the NFL. If a team wanted to build around Jackson, they could. Just as the Seahawks made a team that could accentuate the strengths of Russell Wilson, just as the Broncos made a team that could hide the glaring deficiencies of a near-retired Peyton Manning, just as the Eagles altered a game plan to comfort and accommodate Nick Foles, it comes down to coaches intimately learning what their players are best at and using it to create a plan that exposes the defense.

It won’t be that simple this week. Jackson will be prodded over the coming months, with the wide receiver transition comment being a convenient entry point for any reporter or analyst to dive in and yank out a sound bite. He will be one of the prospects at the scouting combine I truly feel for, the ones that have to remain stoic in the face of the same, mind-numbing question asked over and over.

MOCK DRAFT ROUNDUP: Like ragweed in the spring, mock drafts are unavoidable and often the harbinger for general, unwelcome sickness. Still, we must be aware. Here are the latest top fives from various analysts around the landscape:

Charles Davis, NFL Network (Feb. 20)
1. BROWNS: Sam Darnold, Quarterback, USC
2. GIANTS: Saquon Barkley, Running Back, Penn State
3. COLTS: Bradley Chubb, Defensive End, North Carolina State
4. BROWNS: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Defensive Back, Alabama
5. BRONCOS: Josh Rosen, Quarterback, UCLA

Will Brinson, CBS Sports (Feb. 20)
1. BROWNS: Sam Darnold, Quarterback, USC
2. GIANTS: Josh Allen, Quarterback, Wyoming
3. COLTS: Bradley Chubb, Defensive End, North Carolina State
4. BROWNS: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Defensive Back, Alabama
5. BRONCOS: (TRADE!) BILLS: Josh Rosen, Quarterback, UCLA

Mike Tanier, Bleacher Report (Feb. 19)
1. BROWNS: Saquon Barkley, Running Back, Penn State
2. GIANTS: Sam Darnold, Quarterback, USC
3. COLTS: Bradley Chubb, Defensive End, North Carolina State
4. BROWNS: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Defensive Back, Alabama
5. BRONCOS: Quenton Nelson, Guard, Notre Dame

John Harris, The Washington Post (Feb. 14)
1. BROWNS: Sam Darnold, Quarterback, USC
2. GIANTS: Quenton Nelson, Guard, Notre Dame
3. COLTS: Bradley Chubb, Defensive End, North Carolina State
4. BROWNS: Saquon Barkley, Running Back, Penn State
5. BRONCOS: Baker Mayfield, Quarterback, Oklahoma

YOUTUBE HIGHLIGHTS THAT ONLY INTEREST ME: Despite writing several lengthy pieces on the art and history of scouting (you can find them here and here) I am nowhere near qualified to break down prospects. That being said, it’s not hard to ascertain what a scout is trying to discover about a player this late in the process.

Here’s 13 minutes and 26 seconds of Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson in a disastrous Irish loss to Miami—a game that evaporated any hope of Nelson’s team heading to the college football playoff. Against an energetic, athletic, pressure-heavy Hurricanes team, did he relent down the stretch? Did he tip plays with his pre-snap posture or first steps off the ball? Did he finish his blocks? Did he maintain a level head in a match-meets-gasoline atmosphere?

Nelson is a favorite of offensive line Twitter this offseason and rightfully so. His highlight reel of WWE-style blocks will dominate the conversation heading into evaluation season, but teams will certainly be jotting down their thoughts about this particular Saturday:

• Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

Anti-racism organisation Kick It Out has hailed the Football Association&#39;s pledge to interview at least one candidate from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background for future roles within the England set-up as a &quot;watershed&quot; moment. FA chief executive Martin Glenn revealed the governing body will adopt its own version of the &#39;Rooney Rule&#39; as their plans for a more diverse and inclusive organisation were laid bare at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday. Glenn confirmed that the rule will be implemented when the FA choose Gareth Southgate&#39;s successor as manager of the men&#39;s senior team. There are only five BAME managers working in England&#39;s top 92 clubs. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink at Northampton, Carlisle&#39;s Keith Curle, Nuno Espirito Santo at Wolves and Chesterfield&#39;s Jack Lester. Brighton manager Chris Hughton is the only non-white head coach in the Premier League. The Rooney Rule, named after NFL diversity committee chairman Dan Rooney, requires American football franchises to interview at least one BAME candidate for each head coach or senior football operation vacancy. In November, Sports People&#39;s Think Tank said 22 of 482 coaching roles in the first four divisions were held by BAME coaches. &quot;This is a watershed moment,&quot; Lord Ouseley, Chair of Kick It Out said. &quot;I looked to The Football Association to give leadership on the matter of equality, inclusion and cohesion. &quot;I now expect those in positions of power across professional football, along with The FA, to drive forward the highest standards of activity in order to achieve these objectives which will benefit everyone who participates in the game &quot;We look forward to working with The FA and the other authorities to bring about the changes necessary to make the game inclusive for all.&quot; Football League clubs introduced their own version of the &#39;Rooney Rule&#39; on January 1, but it is understood that the Premier League has no plans to follow suit. Asked if the rule would be used to determine the next England boss, Glenn replied: &quot;Absolutely. We are there to set an example. In talking to people at the Premier League and the FA, I don&#39;t see any resistance to it.&quot; &quot;I think the Rooney Rule on its own isn&#39;t enough. All the other programmes about building the pipeline of talented young BAME coaches is important at the same time.&quot; The FA&#39;s plans for the forthcoming year came as a response to the issues thrown up by the Eni Aluko controversy, which eventually led to the sacking of England Women&#39;s team manager Mark Sampson. In consultation with UK Sport, a new whistle-blowing policy for players will now be established. Glenn also revealed that he is confident the Video Assistant Referee system will become a permanent fixture in English football following its competitive debut in Brighton&#39;s FA Cup win over Crystal Palace. &quot;The FA generally thinks that in a few years&#39; time we will wonder how we ever lived without it,&quot; Glenn added.
FA's Rooney Rule decision 'a watershed moment' says Kick It Out
Anti-racism organisation Kick It Out has hailed the Football Association's pledge to interview at least one candidate from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background for future roles within the England set-up as a "watershed" moment. FA chief executive Martin Glenn revealed the governing body will adopt its own version of the 'Rooney Rule' as their plans for a more diverse and inclusive organisation were laid bare at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday. Glenn confirmed that the rule will be implemented when the FA choose Gareth Southgate's successor as manager of the men's senior team. There are only five BAME managers working in England's top 92 clubs. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink at Northampton, Carlisle's Keith Curle, Nuno Espirito Santo at Wolves and Chesterfield's Jack Lester. Brighton manager Chris Hughton is the only non-white head coach in the Premier League. The Rooney Rule, named after NFL diversity committee chairman Dan Rooney, requires American football franchises to interview at least one BAME candidate for each head coach or senior football operation vacancy. In November, Sports People's Think Tank said 22 of 482 coaching roles in the first four divisions were held by BAME coaches. "This is a watershed moment," Lord Ouseley, Chair of Kick It Out said. "I looked to The Football Association to give leadership on the matter of equality, inclusion and cohesion. "I now expect those in positions of power across professional football, along with The FA, to drive forward the highest standards of activity in order to achieve these objectives which will benefit everyone who participates in the game "We look forward to working with The FA and the other authorities to bring about the changes necessary to make the game inclusive for all." Football League clubs introduced their own version of the 'Rooney Rule' on January 1, but it is understood that the Premier League has no plans to follow suit. Asked if the rule would be used to determine the next England boss, Glenn replied: "Absolutely. We are there to set an example. In talking to people at the Premier League and the FA, I don't see any resistance to it." "I think the Rooney Rule on its own isn't enough. All the other programmes about building the pipeline of talented young BAME coaches is important at the same time." The FA's plans for the forthcoming year came as a response to the issues thrown up by the Eni Aluko controversy, which eventually led to the sacking of England Women's team manager Mark Sampson. In consultation with UK Sport, a new whistle-blowing policy for players will now be established. Glenn also revealed that he is confident the Video Assistant Referee system will become a permanent fixture in English football following its competitive debut in Brighton's FA Cup win over Crystal Palace. "The FA generally thinks that in a few years' time we will wonder how we ever lived without it," Glenn added.
From Chesterfield to chasing Champions League: The making of Sean Dyche
From Chesterfield to chasing Champions League: The making of Sean Dyche
From Chesterfield to chasing Champions League: The making of Sean Dyche

What to read next

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes